Tag Archives: Green Tara

I love my wife

I love my wife. Those are four words that I think many men facing the kind of crisis I am would have a hard time saying. I mean, she has spurned me, betrayed me, lied to me, abandoned me, you name it. But I still love her. Why is that?

Love is irrational. Love transcends ego. Love transcends attempts to put boundaries around it and attach ideas to it. Love just is. It isn’t ours to own, either. It’s way too primordial for that. So I admit it might sound strange to think that today, with my wife 237 days from the start of her affair — that’s nearly 8 months — that I still love her.

It just makes the pointlessness of her life trajectory right now that much harder to bear. She sent me a text yesterday, asking me to put some money in her checking account. $180, to be precise.  She was expecting a paycheck to come, and I guess she was going to use that money for something or other. I have a lot of bills to pay this time of month, and I simply cannot pay the bills and honor her request. I think she has probably written a rubber check, and it will just have to bounce.

Tonight she has a concert. I emailed her a couple of days ago to see if I was invited. I did not expect a response. She emailed this afternoon to ask me not to come, as it would make her feel uncomfortable. She said that there will be friends there who “know about our situation.” Well, if they know about our situation, that means two things: 1) she violated my privacy, and 2) there should be no discomfort. I mean, if she’s blabbed to these people — and she’s blabbed to anyone and anyone who would listen — then what’s the big deal, right?

Here’s the big deal: the adulterer is going to be there. I’m pretty certain of it. I expect that she plans to introduce him to various and sundry people. If I’m there, then the situation becomes very uncomfortable, right?

So, I’m not going. The music is definitely not my taste, and under normal circumstances I would only go if she asked me to go and to give her support. My support does not seem to be desired.

You know what else I did? I got out my I Ching and posed a couple of questions. Yes, I’m an amateur, but it’s uncanny the kinds of answers that I get. The questions were a) what happens if I go to the concert tonight, and b) what happens if I don’t go? For “a” the answer was “hindrance,” alternating to “retreat”. Hindrance is sort of what it sounds like; retreat, however, is actually seen as a positive: one bides one’s time and strengthens one’s reserves. So there would likely be discomfort, but a positive outcome eventually. For “b” the answer was “humbleness,” alternating to “brilliance injured”. This interpretation is far more auspicious: humbleness is a very auspicious quality, and the transformation indicates that one simply needs to bide one’s time and wait for the negative circumstances to pass. The inner meaning of this interpretation is “relief”: that relief from hardship is sure to follow.

This was enough to convince me to stay away. I do have alternatives, anyway: Green Tara practice is tonight. There will be far more benefit from me doing that than there will be in my sitting at that concert causing discomfort.

I love my wife. She might be nuts right now, but I still love her.

A month in review

I realize I’ve been silent for a while, and that’s mainly because I haven’t really had anything new to report. I haven’t really had any meaningful ruminations, either. I’m mainly writing this post so that I can get a clearer idea of the trends that seem to be happening in my relationship with my wife. They are a bit confusing, actually, because the outer signs seem negative: she moved out, has been avoiding me, will not take my calls, and appears to be living with the adulterer now. The inner signs, however, seem to be positive: the big, genuine smiles she has given me recently, the warmth I can feel coming from her, the gifts and requests to spend time together, and so on. It’s just really incongruous in a way.

I just feel the need to look back on the past month or so, and to see how things have progressed. I have an appointment with my counselor in a little while, and I feel that it would be good for me to have my thoughts collected and processed a bit so that I can make good use of my time with him. It’s actually been 35 days since I spoke with him last, and I’d say that I probably do only speak with him about once a month. I don’t really need guidance much more than that. When you’re trying to reconcile a marriage, you don’t measure things by the hour or the day, but rather in terms of weeks and months. A week is not a long time, if you are trying to reconcile, nor is a month. In fact, a whole month can go by in a flash of an eye and nothing has seemed to change. This is probably why people get discouraged.

Not me. I’m still committed to this journey of reconciliation.

Reaching back to my last conversation with my counselor, we mainly talked about the letter my wife had left me last month. This was a confusing message, as it seemed not to really communicate much beyond a desire to express gratitude and offer some apologies. Her intent was quite different, though: she wanted to tell me she was done, and that there was no hope in going back to our previous relationship. That, of course, is utter hogwash. So it was in the week following the receipt fo that letter that she sat down to tell me what her plans really were. She was going to send me a “harsh message” and move her stuff out. I just wasn’t “moving on” to her liking. I still had hope. She needed to kill that hope. That’s how it works, anyway: hope only dies if you kill it. Of course, this was hard for her to talk about this, and she ended up crying in my arms.

She went away for 5 days, and then came back and started packing. She had really determined herself to do it this time, too. I think it probably took her a couple of weeks to work up the courage to actually do it, but she did. She hired movers to come the following day to take her stuff out of here. It was a tremendous waste of money, since her things were just going into her friend’s garage 2 blocks from here, but she still hired movers to do this. She tidied up the house, rearranged furniture carefully, and tastefully displayed some photos for me as well. This was far too thoughtful a gesture for a spouse who just wanted to get the heck out.

I did not see her again for 10 days. She emailed me the morning after she moved out, and it was nothing more than a link to a webcam trained on a bald eagle nesting some hatchlings. She must have seen the video (probably with the adulterer) and thought of me. Weird. She did come home on the Wednesday following her move-out, but I did not see her. She left me a gift of some gourmet coffee beans.

Then, that weekend, she went on a road trip with the adulterer. To my knowledge, they were somewhere in the vicinity of Santa Cruz, California and they spent the night somewhere in Oregon both on their way down and back. I’m pretty sure one of the stops was in Ashland, and this is curious because my wife and I had spent the night there once while we were driving south. I recall even the basic motels being very expensive, because the Oregon Shakespeare Festival was going on at that time. There is an ample evidentiary trail to suggest their whereabouts for much of this road trip. I’ve heard some rumors about this trip, that there were pie-in-the-sky plans being made about purchasing land and other stuff, and frankly I think there is a 0% chance that my wife will ever get to that point. The affair will come crashing down long before that could happen.

When she finally did come home, we worked out some logistics for the dog, as I was going to California for Easter. She came back that Friday, collected the dog and vacuumed the entire house. Now, that latter action doesn’t make any sense at all. But she did do it — vacuumed the entire house.

I didn’t see her again until the following Wednesday, which would have been Wednesday of last week. She asked me to come pick up the dog, and I discover that she is staying in a new location in the basement of an acquaintance’s house. Her demeanor toward me was very positive, almost as if she had really missed me. We ended up having a “date night” of sorts, hanging out at a coffee shop for about an hour. I saw her again the following day as we needed to work on our taxes. Again, the energy was very positive and that lasted for the first couple of hours. Then she got a phone call or text from the adulterer (I think), decided to leave early and take the bus somewhere, probably so she could meet him. Her energy got very negative and unsettled from that point on. I’m calling it the “Pig Pen Effect” now: it’s a cloud of greyish-black energy that descends and hovers above her, much like that cloud of dust would follow Pig Pen around in those old Peanuts comic strips.

I have not heard from my wife since last Thursday. She continues to avoid my phone calls, letting them go straight to voice mail, and I still officially do not know where she is. Of course, I actually do know where she is, I’m not that stupid. She posts pictures to her blog that almost certainly indicate that she’s up at Camp Chicken-House-of-Poo. (By the way, “house of poo” is the most common search term leading to this blog, if you can believe that!) She has also changed her Facebook profile picture to one of her with the adulterer’s cat. Sheesh, I know way too much about this situation — I even know the adulterer’s cat’s name!

So there we are, my friends. Somehow my intuition tells me that this is really the beginning of the final phase of this crisis, and that things will be wrapping up in the pretty near future. Just how soon that will be is anyone’s guess, but I think “soon” is a good enough estimate. I still don’t know if she has any other unexpected things up her sleeve that she’ll try to blindside me with. For now, it might just be enough for her to try to remain distant and incommunicado. My conversation with my counselor today is mainly going to be a planning session, so that I can know ahead of time how to deal with the post-affair clean-up, since I think this is definitely on the horizon. I know, I know, I’ve said it before. If you go back and look at the posts from January, February, and March, you’ll see that I’ve said similar things and have been totally wrong in my predictions. So let’s just put a date out there: April 27, 2012. This day will be significant for some reason. Maybe I’m wrong, but in 11 days, I’ll find out one way or another. With that said, I’ve pretty much tried to stop guessing how all this is going to play out and how it finally will end. I’ve been wrong too many times, and trying to predict the future is pretty much useless. But I just thought I’d put that date out there, as a sort of aspiration. Aspirations do have power.

Speaking of aspirations, a brief word about the featured image for this post. The right-hand gesture is the mudra that Green Tara is often shown holding. It is a boon-granting mudra that bestows blessings and wishes, which in this case can clear away obstacles. I’ve done a lot of Tara practice this past month, and at times the dispelling of obstacles can be palpable. My aspiration has been that not only are my obstacles to reconciliation removed, but also the obstacles faced by all other married couples who find themselves in similar forms of distress. May we all find the happiness we seek and enjoy the peaceful times we have worked so hard at trying to cultivate.

Weekend wrap-up

I had a very busy weekend. But then, I’m pretty much busy every day these days. On Thursday, my wife suddenly left a day early for her weekend at Camp Chickenshit. On Friday, I had plenty of work on my plate. Then the weekend rolled around, and things were going to be busy as well.

On Saturday I had a full day of teaching, starting at 8:30 a.m. I pretty much worked straight through until 6:00 p.m., with only a couple of breaks in between. Then, after that, I had an event to attend that would stretch pretty late into the evening. Today (Sunday) was also fairly busy: two students to teach, wrap-up of a morning retreat practice, and then the weekly Green Tara puja that I invariably attend, and often lead these days.

Around 5:00 in the evening, as I’m just relaxing and unwinding, my wife suddenly calls. Hmmmmm. It’s totally unlike her to call, unless it’s something logistical. In fact, it was just that. She was wrapping up a rehearsal that I had no idea was even going on; one of the groups she plays for has a couple of concerts next weekend, so this was pretty much the last rehearsal before the dress rehearsal. She hadn’t said anything at all to me about this, and I don’t know what she would have planned on doing had I not been available. She said we could swing by and pick up the dog (“you can take her to ‘your’ place,” is what she said) and that she’d come home with me. I don’t know what for, except that maybe she needed a change of clothes. To my knowledge, she never took a suitcase over to her friends’ house, so she must come home when I’m not here to refresh her clothing situation every now and then.

So I picked her up, and we joked around a bit. As we arrived at her friends’ house to pick up the dog, the friend (the wife) was in her car getting ready to leave. She greeted me somewhat awkwardly; my response and behavior was totally normal. My wife went in to get the dog, and as she walked by the other car, her friend invited her to come out with her, as she was going to meet her husband and his friends. She came back with the dog, and told me she was going out instead. Whatever. I gave her some Pocky (she loves that stuff) as a quick parting gift, and that was it.

The dog, once again, smelled of Camp Chickenshit. You know, that standard kitty litter/chicken coop smell. When I took her out of her carrier, she was full of energy and ready to go. Then I noticed something odd: the inside door of the carrier, which is made of nylon mesh so that the dog can see out and the carrier can ventilate, was all torn up. It appeared as if the dog had tried to scratch her way out of the carrier on more than one occasion. Hmmmmmmmm. Very interesting. Now, my wife loves this dog more than life itself, so I just wonder how that happened. I suspect she puts the dog in the carrier while they are on the way up to Camp Chickenshit, but I don’t know if they put the carrier in the cab of the adulterer’s truck or in the back. I do hope that it is the cab; I just couldn’t see my wife putting the dog in the back of a truck, not at all. Something about the experience seems to be unsettling to the dog, though. At the very least, I’m going to have to buy a new carrier, since that one is trashed.

The only other real news to report is that I called my wife this evening to invite her to the Green Tara puja next Sunday. She went with me to the first one I ever attended, and this occurred last year about a week or so after the massive Japan earthquake. The community decided to dedicate that puja and its merit to all the people affected by the disaster, and there was a very large turnout for the event. Next Sunday marks the one-year anniversary, and I plan to dedicate the puja to the memory of the victims of that disaster, as well as to those who are still affected by it. Under normal circumstances, she’d come with me. But our circumstances are not normal, and haven’t been for nearly 5 months now. I wouldn’t be surprised if she declined my offer entirely, but I guess we’ll just have to see.

Instant karma, part II

Karma means “action,” but action with a dualistic edge. Action that is good or bad, right or wrong, up or down, black or white. It doesn’t mean that, when you do a good deed, a good deed of equal measure will return to you in kind. I hope that my previous post didn’t lead anyone to believe that to be the case; my tone was more facetious than anything. Karma is more like a storage house in which positive and negative seeds are stored, and so long as we buy in to the whole dualistic view of existence, we are destined to watch those karmic seeds come to fruition. Our present moment actions have a lot to do with how they come to fruition, though. If your actions are fundamentally virtuous, you can expect positive karmic seeds to be more likely to manifest, and negative karma to be relatively minimized. The opposite is also said to be true. So this is a story about karma as it manifested in my life today.

My wife came home around 11:00 a.m. unannounced, and with the dog in her carrier. She said she “misplaced the leash” at the “other house,” so she had to keep the dog in the carrier. The dog seemed very relieved to be home again, and I don’t blame her. She had that barnyard funk that she picks up on these weekends. It’s actually not so much barnyard as a mixture of chicken coop and cat litter. Somewhat bizarrely, my wife had an even stronger tinge of that barnyard funk about her. It was really weird: she smelled worse than the dog, and the aroma pervaded the entire room.

She didn’t stay long, maybe just 20 minutes or so. Then she told me she was going to leave for her rehearsal. It was not yet noon, and the rehearsal began at 3:00. I offered to give her a ride, as it’s quite a distance, and takes over an hour by bus to reach that destination. She declined. Before she left, I offered her a lunchbox I’d made for her, and she declined that too, telling me that her bag was too heavy. She asked me to leave it in the fridge, as she might come home and eat it later. She never did, but maybe she will do so tomorrow. She looked very tired, and seemed quite unhappy.

After she left, I decided to go out and run some errands. I had it in my mind to do a bit of decorating in the house; nothing major, but it just seemed to me that the bedroom needed a bit more abundance and magnetizing energy. So I thought I’d get some flowers, and find a couple of vases for them, since we didn’t seem to have any extra vases. I went on line to look for consignment stores, and discovered that there is one not too far away. I went over to check out their inventory, and found a couple of nice vases, and spent about $15 or so for them. Then I went on a hunt for a flower shop, and in the process ended up visiting a tiny curio shop that sells Tibetan goods. Many of the things they have are spiritual/ritual/devotional objects; I think I had been there once with my wife many years back. She had been there a few times in the past, and bought me Chögyam Trungpa’s Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior there on the recommendation of the owner. Somehow I knew I’d be in good hands if I went there again.

I entered the tiny shop and the owner was conversing in Tibetan with his wife and high-school age daughter. He greeted me, and offered his assistance. He asked me if I was looking for prayer flags or something like that, but I told him I was looking for something for my bedroom, but aside from that had no agenda; I was just using my inspiration. I did ask him to show me what he had. He went straight to a shelf with tapestries — not prayer flags, per se, nor thangka paintings, but rather something one would more or less have to call tapestries. Not large ones either, mostly just cloths that were about 2 feet square. He took one off the shelf, a green one with Tibetan prayers written all over it, and an image of Green Tara in the middle. He said, “this is the 21 Praises to Tara, you know.”

I was astonished. I have done Green Tara practice for about a year now, and have found it completely transformative. I often lead the practice on Sundays. I’ve been also reciting the 21 Praises to Tara since about the beginning of the year, and recently have made it a daily practice. I told him about this, and he said, “isn’t that interesting that this is the first thing I found for you.” We also looked at a couple of thangka paintings, plus some calligraphy he had done, but in the end I bought the tapestry. I just trusted my intuition on this one. That’s how karma works. You walk into a shop and this connection suddenly happens. Not only that, but the tapestry is green, and that is the color of karma energy. He said it would be appropriate for the bedroom. Somehow he had the sense that my bedroom needed karma energy. I felt that it needed something, as the energy was just stale in there. I felt so immensely grateful.

I never did find that flower shop, by the way, so I ended up getting some flowers at a grocery store that evening. I came home to discover that my wife had not returned during the day at all. I imagine she’ll be by tomorrow at some point. I plan to ask her for advice as to where to hang the tapestry. She’ll likely say that she doesn’t care, since she doesn’t feel it to be her bedroom anymore. But, she will get to experience Tara’s karma energy face to face.

Change of focus

Not that there are many people to whom this might apply, but if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll notice a couple of changes. Namely, the title and subtitle of this blog have changed. I’ve replaced the word “betrayed” with “reconciling,” and then rewritten the subtitle to reference the future.

Why have I done this? Well, I think that holding a vision of where we want to be is very helpful in actually getting there. Thoughts can create our reality, and it’s actually a pretty simple process. Thoughts aren’t really anything substantial, yet we take them as real — very real — and give them a tremendous amount of weight and presence. Think about it: when was the last time someone insulted you, and how did you respond? When was the last time someone cut you off while you were driving, and how did you react? Chances are you went into an elaborate self-justification process, creating a narrative that supported your actions and reactions. This is normal, that’s pretty much human nature. It is also more or less the basis of suffering.

I was drinking my morning coffee when I realized that I actually should make these seemingly superficial changes to this blog. I began to realize that by keeping the headers at the top of the blog as they were, I was committing myself to stay in a sort of permanent funk about my marital situation, rather than moving it forward toward its eventual and inevitable destination. This destination has two components: 1) my wife’s affair ending, and 2) our reconciliation. I have no doubt about either of these things happening. It’s simply a matter of time at this point.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a journey, and that journey often seems like a roller coaster ride, with lots of emotional ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns. Another way to describe it is the way my counselor described it to me three months ago on our first session. “Your running a marathon,” he said, “and you’ll need to have endurance.” I guess I was pretty naive at that time, and thought the marathon would be something like a 5K run, and that the crisis would be over pretty quickly and then I’d be on to reconciling. But, the race continued on for a while, and my pace started to slow. It became more like a 10K, then a half marathon. Right now, I just know that I’ve been running this course for quite a while, and although there is an eventual end to it, I just don’t know how far down the road that is and how much longer I’m going to have to keep running. I do know, however, that there is an end — I can see it, even if I can’t locate its exact point in time — and that I am well conditioned and have the endurance and stamina to make it there.

I wrote the other day about the movie The Secret, and how, despite my objections to the faux-spirituality movies like this can engender, it got me thinking about how I’m leading my life and how my thoughts and actions were influencing the course of affairs, and perhaps for all my positivity I was still holding on to things that were nudging things in a negative direction. I also began to think about visualization, which the movie (and, I take it, its accompanying book, which I have not read) encourages. There is enough science behind the idea of visualization leading to positive outcomes that it is certainly something that should be considered.

Then I thought about my own spiritual practice, and how visualization figures in with that. Actually, visualization is a substantial part of Buddhist meditative practices, and the tantric Vajrayana practices elevate this to a very high form. I don’t do those practices, as they require preparation and initiation that I don’t have, but one practice that I do on a weekly basis, Green Tara, does include visualizations, and these can be quite complex. The goal of the practice is to visualize the yidam (meditation deity), and through the visualization to take on the qualities of that deity. Now, the term “deity” here is not exactly what you think: there is no actual belief in God or gods in a theistic sense, but rather the recognition of these deities as manifestations of enlightened mind that are present within our being at this very moment. One visualizes the deity in various ways: in front of you providing initiation, in front of you bestowing blessings, or above your head enabling your transformation into the deity. And it is this latter which is truly transformative: the self-visualization can lead you to suddenly realize that there is a shift in your being for a time, and you take on the qualities of that deity: compassion, wisdom, and so forth. I have experienced this many times, and it is both possible and real.

So, I have simply decided to incorporate visualizations into my reconciliation efforts. I don’t dwell on the past, or at least try not to, nor do I obsess about negative things going on and how they might continue into the future. Instead, I hold a vision of the future that is one of reconciliation: I see what that would look like, I experience it in detail, and I let that be the reality of my relationship with my wife. There is an energetic shift that occurs when you do this. It’s not as if you are living out of an altered state that is in avoidance of reality, but rather that you are changing your reality to alter your course toward the future. This does make sense: if my vision is one of complete reconciliation and a marriage that is beyond my wildest dreams, then my behavior in the present will change to make that possible. This is where belief comes in: you have to let go of doubt. If you doubt that this will happen, then you begin to push the seeds of that fruition deeper into the soil and make it harder for them to sprout. In a way, belief isn’t even the right term: a better word would be trust. You simply have to trust in the process, and trust that it will lead you to your goal.

That’s where I’m at, and that’s why this blog looks a tiny bit different. I just don’t want to come here and remind myself of how I have felt in the past and feel as though I am struggling with the present in trying to get into the future. Instead, I want to cast that positive vision of the future openly and live from within that space.