Leonard Cohen: You know that I love to live with you, but you make me forget so very much. I forget to pray for the angels, and then the angels forget to pray for us.
From the early days of Rachel and Anthony/ John:
It’s easy, (even for us! as I am fond of saying,) to become bogged down, stressed by the things that don’t matter (decorating, paperwork) and neglectful of the things that do (how we are, how we are together) and before too long a distance is created, one or other or both of us are dissatisfied and then, well, nothing really, we might have a rubbish go at sorting it out the first time and end tense and cranky, me getting defensive and going off to bed, and then the next morning, he leans his leg in, I lean mine, we talk, we make plans. It’s not about what things we were or weren’t doing, it’s all part of it, it’s just about getting back on the path again.
He’d been feeling distance, we hadn’t been doing anything together. I’d thought it was all hearth and home or having ‘gone beyond’ but you never ‘go beyond’; and looking back it had been a bit distant, I mean, I haven’t been feeling that happy either. Then he goes into a charity shop in Dereham (Norfolk) of all places and finds a George Harrison book (I Me Mine) and in the introduction by Olivia his wife it sets out what their lives were like, and John said, That’s like you and me, well, without all the massive fame and wealth and so on. And I should have been happy and I was, but I struggle to appreciate things in the moment sometimes, especially unexpected big stuff and especially when we haven’t yet made up from some tension or distance (but that was him making up or trying to make up from tension and distance) and I poured cold water on it, mentioning his (George Harrrison’s) affairs etc- there was no reason for that, but John was better than me and didn’t appear to notice or mind.
Last night, I forced us to sit and watch something, and he sat through two episodes of a box set the same way a cat does when you are forcing it to sit on your lap when it doesn’t really want to.
He checked the oil in my car on Sunday even though we weren’t really speaking
I had this sense re the margarine left out and the toothpaste lid left off and I suddenly saw it as endearing- wow, how much I’d miss those things if they weren’t there, because they are a marker of him, his presence in my life, in the house. If they were the same as you you wouldn’t notice them or their presence, this shows they are here…
Talking about the shortest day coming and saying after that it will get lighter again, and yet not wanting to wish life and another year away, one less year to live, but John said, if you are truly living in the moment then that doesn’t matter.
I thought about that later when we had a few cross words and I was sulking and he was angry and I laid in bed wondering what to say to elevate us above this situation and change it, at the same time as going over the evening, how we got there, who said and did what, etc, etc, analysing it… but then I remembered, it is only the present moment, and do I want to spend it like this or do I want to change it? And I realised, before I can change us or him I have to change myself, so I lay and just focussed on my breathing and slowly, slowly I felt myself calm and come back to calmness, felt love come in again, felt love go out to him, then finally I rolled over and put my arms around him and said I love you, I’m sorry. I never normally apologise and like magic, it was all washed away and everything was as it was.
In meditation: warning for the future: you had everything and you threw it all away; So do the opposite, really nurture all that I have, appreciate it, give it my attention.
I don’t want your thanks. I just want your time and attention.
(When I was in meditation, thinking, I should pray, I should say thank you)
When I first got together with John, I had a student who had been to Japan, and she ran a calligraphy group, I did John’s name, it means ‘God has given’ in Japanese. I had forgotten that. God has given, why would He take away?
The problem with living together is that your moods don’t coincide: I come home high after listening to Jeff Buckley track 10 of Grace over and over. I walk in, he’s about to go to bed and also is very grumpy.
I guess that’s why people have date nights, so you both gear yourselves up to be happy and looking forward to seeing each other so both in a good mood at the same time rather than leaving that to chance, as well as you both being feeling like going out at the same time, which it seems is too much to hope for- both wanting to go out and both being in a good mood, all at the same time!
Still, I coped; my bubble might have been burst- from being in the car, feeling full of love and magic. But I wasn’t distraught. And maybe the still space I had was useful- I stayed up a little, read some Elizabeth Gilbert stuff online. Maybe it was for me to do that, a little bit of stuff for me, or maybe it was just a reminder that my mood need not, must not, depend on his.
A few weeks later we went for a bracing January walk on the beach and we spoke a little about the day where we hadn’t spoken all day, he couldn’t remember what it was he’d been pissed off about, but it certainly wasn’t watching two episodes of Twin Peaks. I had made up a whole schema around it and it wasn’t even true. He said, Seriously, you don’t ever have to worry about days like those, about silly arguments, about moods. Nothing you can ever do will stop me loving you. You have nothing to worry about.
Nice evening paying cards with John. Played several games, me totally relaxed, even winning some hands, and him seeming so pleased- ‘look at you, I’ve created a monster’, etc. It’s the small things that count. So I am so glad I learnt to play despite how hard it was for him/me. (I have a real aversion to learning and playing games). He said connecting with the person you are in a relationship with is a spiritual practice. He appreciates: dinner, sex, playing cards, watching films with him.
‘God has given’ what to do? Answer: all we have to do is love and allow ourselves to be loved.
Is the nature of a marriage all to do with your own energy field, it’s just you, reflected back at yourself? And if you aren’t careful you can blame the other person for things- convenient- but if you look back honestly you realise those things have always been there, your own problems or ways of doing things that you don’t like, you might think getting married will sort them all out, but of course it can’t, you don’t realise any of this consciously though, and then when things or problems arise, as they would have done anyway, it’s easy to blame the other person, as you have conveniently forgotten how you/your life used to be before you met them.
I went for a walk to the church, John said, Say a prayer for me, for my soul. I didn’t actually go to the church in the end, my legs took me along the footpath, past the big ivy covered trees that marked the start of my spiritual awakening. I said a prayer anyway though: I pray that John will be happy and free from worries and that I will be able to rise above the day to day worries and stresses that sometimes cloud things between us, and connect again to that force of love that brought us so spectacularly together in the first place. Anyway, it worked: he said this morning, ‘let’s have an early night, let’s go to bed before we are tired so we can talk’ (!) and sent me nice messages at work. I like the way one of us always comes forward, or should I say back. Like sometimes I think he’s moody and distant and sometimes I try to be loving and cuddly and sometimes I am distant and stressed and he is all compliments and cuddles and come ons. But we get there, the two of us, thank God.
Thank you very much for reading