“Loving someone is like having a mental illness that’s not covered by health insurance.”
– from “On a Stone Pillow” in First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami
May 18 2021
“Loving someone is like having a mental illness that’s not covered by health insurance.”
– from “On a Stone Pillow” in First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2021/loving-someone/
Oct 03 2016
“There were things Jacob wanted, and he wanted them from Julia. but the possibility of sharing desires diminished as her need to hear them increased. It was the same for her. They loved each other’s company, and would always choose it over either aloneness or the company of anyone else, but the more comfort they found together, the more life they shared, the more estranged they became from their inner lives.”
-From Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/desires/
Sep 19 2016
…since I’ve posted anything about what is going on with the divorce. Largely, that is because nothing much had happened on that front. Both A and her attorney seem to have been in no hurry to move the process along. They have both taken their time to respond to my attorney and turn over required information. However, finally things are starting to move forward again. Our initial settlement proposal was sent to her attorney on Friday afternoon. So at least the negotiations can now begin. There is also some sort of hearing date set finally (the end of Oct)…so hopefully we can get things settled before then and avoid needlessly going to court.
As for me personally, things are going ok. I’m embracing the beginning of my 40s and the opportunity for new beginnings and discoveries. I still have the occasional thought while doing things of “A. would love this right now,” which is still a little weird feeling. Divorce is still the most disorienting thing that has happened in my life. I still wish she would have talked to me more about what she was thinking over the last year or so of our marriage. I wish she could have seen how hard I wanted her to be happy. Our relationship still may not have survived, but at least it could have been more amicable than duelling lawyers.
The biggest thing for me going forward is learning how to trust again. Not only other people, but myself and my instincts. I struggle with doubt about pretty much everything A told me over the last year or so of our marriage. Was she being honest with me (or to herself and then me)? Often much of it feels like a lie (even though logically I know it probably wasn’t at least completely). Like I’ve said before, I knew everything wasn’t perfect…but I didn’t know things were as far gone as they were.
As I begin to date again it’s probably going to take a special woman to get me in another serious relationship. Someone who has some patience as I figure out how to open myself up to them. It’s probably going to be someone who takes some initiative in the beginning. Someone willing to put themselves out there and say…hey I think you are cool and I’d like to get to know you better. I was thinking about this recently and my serious relationships have generally been like this (even A took the initiative for our relationship to be more than just friends). I’m not really sure how to do the dating thing these days. The online apps are weird and awkward to me. I spend a lot of time with folks in the Timbers Army, but so many people have a “no dating in the TA” policy (which I both understand and think is a little ridiculous). I’m in no rush to be in another relationship, but I do look forward to feeling some chemistry with someone again.
So that’s where things are at with the divorce. I’m mainly waiting for things to be negotiated by lawyers to a point where we can both sign off and be done. Where that final piece of closure can happen and our lives will move on in separate directions. I’m still grateful for the time we had together and how both the good and bad of our relationship has helped me grow to be a better man.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/its-been-awhile/
Jul 18 2016
My sister, who has been living in Hungary, was able to move up her flight moving back to the states a week and arrived to PDX on Friday night. Since one of my parents had to come up from Eugene to pick her up from the airport, I decided to head down with them and catch a Bolt Bus home on Sunday. Despite getting back to Eugene right around midnight, the whole family went over to sit with Grandpa for a little bit.
Each day we went over for a little bit and basically just watched him sleep.
I went with an old friend on Sunday morning (who knew him well), and then once more by myself right before I had to head down to the bus stop to go home. As I left, I kissed his forehead and told him I loved him one last time.
Overnight, he passed away peacefully in his sleep. His journey on this crazy planet complete.
I’m going to miss you grandpa.
I’m happy he got to meet both of my sisters children before he passed away. Someday I hope to tell my own children stories about him.
This is one of the last pictures of him, from the weekend James was born:
I love you grandpa.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-final-part/
Jul 15 2016
For most of my college years, I lived in the mother in-law suite at my Grandparents house. During that time, I acquired a dog from a co-worker. Bruno was approx 2 yrs old when I got him (but his age wasn’t really known). My grandparents had huge back yard with plenty of room for him to run (and run and run and run). Inside the house…he was pretty good at following basic instructions, but when he was outside it was like all hearing disappeared. He was a mix of Walker Hound and Black Lab (at least).
When I moved up to Portland in 2004, Bruno stayed at my grandparents house. He was happier there than he would have been able to be anywhere I would have been able to live at the time. He truly became my grandparents dog though the time one of them fell (either in the bathroom or outside…my memory is failing me at the moment) and the other was either outside or in the house. Bruno went and found the other of them to get their attention and lead them to the other.
Bruno lived a long time. I got him sometime in 2000 and he finally had to be put down just last year (or maybe late 2014…dates seem to be failing me at the moment). As much of a pain in the ass Bruno could be at times. I’m glad he was able to be a companion to my grandparents for a while. I know he loved being there with him.
Love you Grandpa.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-part-3/
Jul 14 2016
For Lost Friends
As twilight makes a rainbow robe
From the concealed colors of day
In order for time to stay alive
Within the dark weight of night,
May we lose no one we love
From the shelter of our hearts.
When we love another heart
And allow it to love us,
We journey deep below time
Into that eternal weave
Where nothing unravels.
May we have the grace to see
Despite the hurt of rupture,
The searing of anger,
And the empty disappointment,
that whoever we have loved,
Such love can never quench.
Though a door may have closed,
Closed between us,
May we be able to view
Our lost friends with eyes
Wise with calming grace;
Forgive them the damage
We were left to inherit;
Free ourselves from the chains
Of forlorn resentment;
Bring warmth again to
Where the heart has frozen
In order that beyond the walls
Of our cherished hurt
And chosen distance
We may be able to
Celebrate the gifts they brought,
Learn and grow from the pain,
And prosper into difference,
Wishing them the peace
Where spirit can summon
Beauty from wounded space.
– John O’Donohue (from To Bless the Space Between Us)
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/for-lost-friends/
Jun 20 2016
A planned trip to Eugene to visit family became all the better when I arrived to find that my pregnant sister and brother in-law had headed to the hospital about a half hour before I arrived. A few hours later, my parents and I joined them at the hospital to await the arrival of their baby! At around 11:20pm on 6/17, Robert James H. arrived at 6 lbs 10 oz and ~20″ long. First for my youngest sister (second time uncle for me).
I’m excited for my sister and brother in-law. I’m excited to be able to watch my nephew grow up. (My other nephew was born overseas and has been overseas other than for visits his whole life…though they come back to the states later this summer.)
New life. New beginnings. Growth. It is a wonderful thing.
This is definitely the best thing that has happened so far in 2016 from my perspective. Something good, pure, and honest.
New life. It brings hope. It brings unconditional love.
It is “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love”
I love you Ashley, Blaine, and James. Congrats on the addition to your family!
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/new-life/
Jun 13 2016
In the shadow of the horrible tragedy in Orlando Sunday morning, Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator of the hit musical Hamilton) delivered a passionate sonnet as part of his acceptance speech for Best Score. At its climax he pleads “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”
If there is any truth and hope to be found in the world, it is this. If anything will ever change the horror and sadness in the world it is this.
Hold on to love. Do not let it go.
Let hate go as it will only prevent you from loving.
There is nothing bigger than love.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/love-is-love-is-love-is-love-is-love/
Jun 01 2016
This article from the Atlantic popped up in my Facebook feed earlier this week: Masters of Love.
It covers some of the research by social scientists relating to the success of marriages in response to rising divorce rates beginning in the 70s. In the first section of the article, the research of Psychologists John Gottman and Robert Levenson is reviewed. In their study they brought newlyweds into the lab and observed how they interacted with each other. They also hooked the couples up to electrodes to measure and record the body’s response to their interactions. Six years later, they brought the couples back in to see who was still together.
From their data, they grouped the couples into two groups the masters and the disasters. The masters were still happily together after six years, while the disasters had either broken up or were chronically unhappy. In their observations of the disasters, the disasters looked cool and calm during the interviews, however the electrodes told a different story of what was going on physiologically. Their heart rates were quicker, sweat glands more active, and blood flow was faster. The data pointed to a conclusion that the more physiologically active a couple was, the quicker their relationship deteriorated. The masters had a lower physiological response and were able to maintain warm and affectionate behavior even when they fought. This helped create a climate of trust and intimacy that made both partners more emotionally and physically comfortable.
In a follow-up study, Gottman and Levenson set up a lab to look like a bed and breakfast retreat and invited 130 couples to spend a day at this retreat. In this study, they observed the couples go about what they would normally do on a vacation. In this study, an observation would come that be a key indicator on whether or not a relationship would thrive or languish. Throughout the day, partners would make “bids” for the others attention. “For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife—a sign of interest or support—hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.” In this scenario, the wife can respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” from her husband. These interactions had a profound effect on marital well-being. The couples who had divorced by the six-year follow-up had “turn toward” bids only 33 percent of the time. Those that were still happily married had “turn toward” bids 87 percent of the time.
One of my goals as I move through the process of my divorce is looking at ways that I can improve myself and the way I will interact with a future partner. There was a time in my relationship/marriage with A that I was definitely in the “turning away” camp. There was at least one stretch of time in our marriage that it might have been pushing it to get up to the 33 percent of time for “turning towards.” In that time, the seed was planted that would eventually lead towards the pending divorce. While I did make an effort to improve my moments of “turning towards” during and after a period of couples counseling last summer and fall, it was perhaps already too late even at that point. The seed had been sown.
The article goes on to talk about the habits the masters have. How they are looking for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. In doing this they build a culture of respect and appreciation. Disasters end up looking for their partners mistakes. This behavior ends up building a culture of contempt and ends up being the biggest factor that tears partners apart. They give their partner the cold shoulder – deliberately ignoring or responding minimally – thereby damaging the relationship by making their partner feel worthless and not valued. This ends up not only killing the love in the relationship, it makes it harder for the partner to fight off physical ailments (such as viruses). In this culture of contempt we miss around 50 percent of the positive things our partner is doing and see negativity that isn’t there.
This paragraph reflects where I most contributed to the downfall of my marriage. I was guilty of this for far too long, creating an environment where…while love may have still been there…its hold was tenuous. I had killed enough of it that fighting for what remained became difficult. Stepping outside of comfort zones to have difficult discussions took more energy then it should have. It was easier to let the feelings of contempt to control our thoughts instead of the hard work of focusing on kindness and generosity.
So as I look to heal from the trauma of divorce and eventually to opening myself up to a new relationship it is important that I take lessons like this to heart. I need to focus on being someone who “turns toward” those bids for attention from romantic interests, friends, and really just people in general. I don’t want to be someone who’s heart is ruled by contempt. Kindness and generosity sound like a better way to live life.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/the-science-of-happily-ever-after/
May 06 2016
On March 12th, my wife told me the news that would take my then generally happy marriage to being over officially on May 4th. Of course there were things we could have used to work on before then, desires and needs we each wanted to improve (some of which actually overlapped). But the morning of March 12th, I did not see the storm coming that would build over the next 6-7 weeks and eventually drown our marriage.
In retrospect, I suppose there were signs that our marriage wasn’t as grounded as I thought it was. I won’t go into the details of what went wrong…or how things got to the breaking point. We both did things during those weeks that contributed to the breaking down of our union. I know I wish I could take back a lot of the things I said and ways I acted. I’m left to question if we had been able to get into couples counseling earlier if things could have worked out differently. Most likely they wouldn’t have though. One of the major reasons she gave me was that she didn’t believe we could change the way we communicated with each other enough to meet the needs she was discovering about herself.
Now I’m left with a sense of loss. The initial anger has passed. Sure there are still moments of it…but its mainly loss. I miss my partner of the last 8 years. I miss the life we had built together. I’m grieving the loss of our future dreams…the kids we had talked about having…the places we had planned to go…the life we had planned to live.
I will need to learn to love and be loved again. I will need to learn how to trust my heart to someone again. Its going to take time. I’ve not felt this kind of heartbreak before. My friends have been a great support though. Both my close friends and friends that I don’t know so well. People have done so much to help me through these trying days and I will forever be grateful.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/two-months/