I married a stalwart German man.
(Half of him anyway.)
This is very good for getting things done. For no one else is able, with quite so much aplomb, to come into a given situation and quickly weed out the chaff, the muck and whatever else is gumming up the works of Life.
He can walk into a room and quickly surmise the top three things currently amiss.
Fast. Strident. Swooping in to get the job done in one mighty “whoosh” in his wake.
Quickly out go elements A, B & C - the laundry, the dishes left drying in the basin just a spot too long, and last week’s bygone paperwork - obliterated, destroyed and thoroughly handled in one fell swoop.
The complex business transaction, the cloudy relationship, the loose-leaf plans and priorities. All neatly shaped and shifted in his swift-moving hands.
Over the years, I’ve learned to tap some of this spartan efficiency for my own — channeling it with an extra strong pot of coffee, loud music pouring through the living room speakers and out into the hall below, and machete my way into whatever tasks the day’s presented me. Slicing them to ribbons with a caffeinated, laser-beam focus all my own.
This juJu, so very good for forward momentum, so fluid and certain in scissoring the World down into the perfect, pleasing and manageable shape…
It turns out, as in all things -- this energy contains a shadow side as well.
For while we may find ways to regulate the gross mechanisms of a home and family with some modicum of ease, these same methods fail us when we apply them to the finer mechanics of a beating heart, or the mercurial architecture of another’s Soul.
“You’re an idiot with money.”
“You’re a terrible listener.”
“I hate it when you do that.”
“You did it wrong - again.”
The particulars of a given situation may vary - Today it is the four-year-old stamping her feet into the earth and issuing forth a full-throated wail to voice her feelings about the current hair-brushing/vegetable-consuming/bedtime-looming policies we keep.
Tomorrow it’s the poor impulse control exhibited when purchasing an exorbitantly-priced pair or earrings, or the fancy cheese and good wine bought for no-apparent-good-reason at the Co-Op, or the cost of Life in general it seems.
While yesterday it was the constant forgetting and re-telling of dates, times and meet-up places, the diligent Scheduling fallen on deaf, unwitting ears. Or the pile of filthy clothes left on freshly-cleaned floors.
In myself, daily, I witness an unyielding list of sins and shortcomings.
My eyes are greeted anew with the pitfalls and pockmarks of my character, my body, my own fickle heart & mind.
And my family, for all that is working and fluid - finds equal stockpiles of dysfunction and discord woven into our web.
Light & Dark.
Gracious & Deeply Petty.
Sweetness & Bitter.
Intermingled in one dazzling, confounded display.
And the hyper-minded little, caffeinated Germans in us want to just cut that sh*t out.
Remove the feckless, messy & broken little human bits - and streamline it down to the Good, the Efficient, the well-oiled and Clean.
And yet…. we’ve found - by drilling it down, by hammering away at the blighted spot, or staring down the hated stain - we do not erase its mark. If anything, we just increase its domain.
How then, if not through brute efficiency, are we to disentangle ourselves from the habits, forms and frequencies which seem to always drag us down? If a swift and ruthless snip is not the way to un-encumber ourselves, then what is the way???
I married a soft-hearted Italian man.
(Half of him anyway.)
Which, of course, is not so very good for getting things done.
For while there is always another stack of laundry to be folded, he will ante up to the ancient, off-key piano once again, and bang out another aimless, rambling tune.
Whilst everyone else is gearing up to chase the American Dream, he will dig up the passports and describe his own reverie of living once more aboard a sailboat, an island, or a tiny, non-English-speaking seaport somewhere - spending his days eating beans and rice, fish and fruit, surveying the endless array of shades of Blue.
And it is this piece of him which can stop arguments dead in their tracks with one honeyed glance.
It is this aspect which gives the best, most soul-engulfing hugs and schools our watchful daughter in the way of the Power Cuddle.
It this place in him which makes art and studies the lines of the Sea.
It is the Soft singing mellifluously back to the ardent Toughness he contains as well.
The Yin to his Yang.
The Honey to the Sting.
Reminding me once more that we each contain these dual points as well.
And that the way to tame, transform and transmute the Shadow Side - is not to slap another layer of Shame & Dark upon it..
It is in attuning our ears once more to a Separate Frequency - the soft, sweet humming of the Light.
Choosing once more to sit with the Broken, the Messy, the Beleaguered and the Stuff that Confounds and simply Pisses Us Off.
Once more we Breathe, Reset & Re-Affirm the Good.
Leaning into the part of us that Knows, Trusts & Invites us once more to Remember:::
In each moment, Season, & varied situation there exists a Choice ~ An Invitation to lean once more into the beating of our own tender and courageous heart - and let the Light call softly to the Dark.