Wednesday, October 7, 2009

From the Inside Out: On Being in Amsterdam For the Second Time

By Chuck
I have been accepting, for the most part, of our situation. I once heard a sentiment from a very wise woman to the effect that when you disagree with reality you are incorrect 100% of the time. We have been in a situation where we have very little ability to influence; I recall from a popular book on negotiating from many years ago that there are 3 dominant factors: information, knowledge and power. We are lacking in all.

I am resigned to not departing until Thursday evening - it will actually be Friday morning before we hit the road. I do regret missing out on so much of France - we have decided to do France-lite in order to not sacrifice time in Italy. We will also blow off Spain, unfortunately; we had planned to briefly visit Bilbao and Barcelona and to visit a Salvador Dali museum.

It has been beneficial to our enjoyment of the trip and each other that neither of us went off the deep end during this time and that we manage to come back to equilibrium and acceptance after brief excursions into annoyance and frustration with the situation. I have a tendency to remain on an even keel - a dual-edged sword in my life - while Claire is more apt to respond from an emotional place at first. But, we both accept where we are and gradually come back to center, if not by the end of the day, at least in the morning; then, we begin again to look forward to all we still hope to see and experience. I think we both understand where the other comes from and realize that we are heading in the same direction and are able to let the differences slide even as they are resolved or worked out.

Just before leaving on this trip, I asked one of my teachers for suggestions about how to maintain my (Buddhist) meditation practice over the year. He suggested that I not worry about that since travel itself was a powerful teacher. I am finding that to be true. Patience, for example, is one of my very weak points; since Claire also has challenges in that area, this provides me with opportunities to stop and reflect on what I am doing (or reacting to) and why; I also have opportunities to consider how she sees things and how her filters and reactions are different simply because we are different people with different histories. The differences, thus, become facts rather than problems.

Ultimately, I think the best is yet to come - where have I heard that, before? - and I recall, frequently, Diane's offhand comment several years ago about Claire being the "perfect life partner." I think she just about nailed it; how fortunate I am.

Patience is just procrastination without the anxiety.
Harry Pierce, MI5


Tai said...

You two are doing great with the unexpected. Chuck, I admire very much your teacher's words. Traveling, by any means, always increases one's vulnerability, and it is the unplanned events that are often the most memorable. In my case, they have been the opportunities to acquire some much-needed humility. I'm disappointed that you are going to miss Spain, but perhaps that will open the opportunity for me to report on it to you someday. I should be so lucky! The best IS yet to come and we all look forward more great posts.

Chuck and Claire said...

Thanks for the response. I look forward to hearing your report from Spain. Be well.

Pat in Santa Cruz said...

I, too, am disappointed that you will miss Spain. "Somethin's gotta give" :-) Have enjoyed learning of your thought processes in dealing with the unexpected. In one of my classes we talked about the "choice" being in how you react to situations. So, if "patience is a virtue"...sounds like you two are becoming quite virtuous! Here's hoping for "lift off" on Fri. a.m.

Diane said...

I was tearing up as I read your latest posting Chuck. Indeed--you are perfect life partners for each other, no matter where you are or what the circumstances. I think we keep being re-introduced to our most challenging issues and I can relate to the patience challenge. There is wisdom to gained from all of this--it's a choice that obviously, both of you are making. Love to both of you--Diane

Anonymous said...

Patience is a virtue I tell myself too. Yet I find myself "patience challenged" all the time. It would be nice if we were born with all the patience we needed for life. On the other hand, at times my impatience leads me to action that gets things done--things that need doing.

Ah well, Asi es la vida! So, I will volunteer us to take a trip to Spain with you folks sometime.

May the the rest of your trip have only easy to solve challenges.

Oh, the MA reunion is this weekend. I will let you know what interesting things happen there.


Chuck and Claire said...

I sure hope you're right and we've become virtuous! We sure have had a lesson in patience.

Chuck and Claire said...

Thanks for the response! Our love to you and David. We are learning as we go.

Yes, patience keeps coming up. See you in Spain in another time.

Toni said...

Chuck -- You and Claire are doing amazingly well, given the situation. I'm glad you asked a teacher about meditation because now you need not think you're not doing something that you should!

I just wanted to mention that if your travels take you back to Paris (probably not part of your France-lite itinerary) there is a funky but wonderful little Salvador Dali museum tucked away in Montmartre. I'm sure it's in your books (and sorry if you've already been and posted about it. I would have read it...and then forgotten).

Anonymous said...

Chuck, you've written words to live by. Thanks for the lovely post and tribute to Claire. Peace and safety, I wish you. Merlyn