Friday, January 2, 2009

Collision of Mars and Venus

On a day way too bitterly cold to ski more than a run or two, and in the sublime spirit of celebrating a brand new year, I stopped on the way home to visit an old friend.

A surprise, being unannounced, and probably a year since seeing each other, we sat comfortably in their kitchen, his family and my son, sharing tales as if the days between visits were as few as the miles between our homes. True friendship is a blessing revealed when pieces can be so easily picked up as if never dropped.

Focused for so many years on the attempt to save my marriage, several strong bonds were tested by such neglect, friendships withered to near silence. In the process of reconnection, powerful lessons intensify the differences of the masculine and feminine energies in my soul.

Four sisters and a strong mother influenced my childhood deeply. No matter the rough and tumble world I juked and jabbed outside the home, my mother was always present to listen and advise, encourage and stimulate. My sisters shared their lives openly around the table. I learned to emote more than wrestle.

Despite adopting two brothers for balance, I have been most comfortable emotionally in friendships with women, hanging in dorm rooms, visiting with neighbors, standing in the kitchen instead of in front of the TV. With no girlfriend in high school and one sporadic relationship in college, when I became involved, I quickly married emotionally.

It is significant that I am turning from an uncompromising need to please to a more self-centered life, paying attention to the things that make my spirit soar. So willing to defer to the choices of others in my past, I begin now to choose for myself, accepting companionship or solitude, but following my own special needs.

In this process, I begin to notice that my gifts to others are actually stronger, more heartfelt and true.

Perhaps this has little to do with masculine or feminine influences, but it feels to be a likely categorization, given the evidence of activities supporting my observations. My dependence on social relationship and interaction (largely female) gives way to action-directed movement and problem-solving concentration.

Nearly a decade ago, on walks through the park with my family, I discovered a soccer game regularly occurring which stirred my desire to run and kick. The next summer, I interrupted the family weekend, playing a few times and returning home exhilarated and satisfied. Over the years, the game became important to my week, so difficult to leave the home, but wonderful to get sweaty and dirty shoving other men. My return home in better spirit would not always ease the interruption, but my heart was better for the exercise.

In my adult life, I have adopted another brother, a man who invites me to help with projects on his home. Over the years, we began to meet for lunches, talking furtively at first about our relationships and our other dreams for life. Creating tension at home where I was wanted for more lunches, I discreetly continued this affair of friendship because it served me well.

Joining the Mankind Project, it was enlightening to find so many men willing to take emotional risk to elevate their lives to authentic passion. Looking hard at the confusing shadows that hinder us from attaining our dreams, we support each other to lead ourselves forward without compromise, to love and be in relationship with all our hearts, not just our fearful or dutiful hearts.

So today, I visited my friend, a man I have known since we were little, little boys. Over so many years, we have played so much together, shared wonders hysterical and mischievous, and learned lessons of life profound. It is a shame that I allowed distance to settle between us, and others as well, as marriages and busyness grew complicated. Had I maintained a better balance in these years, perhaps I might have been more true to my marriage and career.

Please share with your friends


persistentillusion said...

That's a great idea!

I have encouraged Chris to play more volleyball. (His passion as a youth.) You would not believe how much of an impact it has on him. If I'd known then what I know now, he would have been involved in V-ball 5 years ago.

P.S. It even effects the way he is in bed. ... !!! ... So, yes, I am SO a fan of the more action + more men.

Anonymous said...

Kip: I don't think it's possible to live a truly genuine life when we're giving so much of ourselves to others. It's so very important for our own 'self' and the relationships surrounding us that we're able to nurture our own spirits fully. While we're unable or unwilling to do this, for fear of hurting or offending others, we're only really life a 'half' life.

I'm so happy for you that you're now willing and able to nurture your own inner being.

Anonymous said...

we're only really 'living' a half-life. Darn it, I hate it when I make typos *lol*

Laurie said...

Kip you said," Had I maintained a better balance in these years, perhaps I might have been more true to my marriage and career."
You can if only yourself to death. Don't go there. Reflection for growth is good, but to go back to "if only" ourselves, ends up bringing on pain with no gain. You wouldn't have done it differently then anyway because of where you were on your path. Now, further into your journey and loaded with more wisdom and insight, you can see what was with different eyes. In stead of mourning what was, celebrate your growth and commitment to authenticity.

I know what you mean about friendships with women. Give me a man to be friends with any day.