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“Everything is right on time,” a massage teacher once said.

I am trying very hard to grow up. It is not easy. I am trying to hold up my end of the tanda. I am trying to be on my own axis and simultaneously be with my partner.

I am trying to stand up for myself instead of remaining silent, and also without lashing out. I am trying to hear and be heard. I am trying to hold a conversation.

It is very trying.

I've always said I could never really be a Buddhist, because I like samsara. I like being attached to things! I am attached to things! I love what this brings to my life; actually, this is my life! But today I learned from a yoga teacher that the message of the Baghavad-Gita (which I read in college and assumed was just a big pile of yarns) is that it's ok to have passions and commitments. That's what life is. Our job is to learn how to detach ourselves from the outcome of these things.

Now that, I can get a handle on.

So here I am now, and every week lately, I'm getting an opportunity to engage in the kinds of fights that I previously would have handled by saying nothing. By being miserable. By leaving. By being a tortured emotional wreck. By feeling horrible about myself. Mmm...all ohsoproductive uses of finite emotional energy. Or, I would previously have handled by saying everything I really felt, exactly how I really felt it, lashing out and stinging with my fatally-poisonous Scorpio tail and leaving the other person dead on the sidewalk. Mmm...this is such an effective way to make sure the other person stays around for happier times!

How do we learn to neither avoid nor seek out conflict and discomfort, but rather live with it in a way that is productive and teaches us the difficult lessons we need? How does it help us grow, and how does it help us expand our definition of comfort?

Sigh. It's easy to make love in a with-me-but-on-your-own way. It's exciting. It's grounding. It's an idealized situation that makes for a deeper understanding of the person you're with and of humanity in general. But the real test of technique is making war in a with-me-but-on-your-own way. Can we do it exactly the same? Can we maintain the same feeling of peace, acceptance, and centeredness? Can we remain true to our own needs and our own process while being open to the other person's needs and processes? Can we fight from a place of clarity instead of a place of hurt feelings? Can we find the essential in a sea of molten-lava feelings and issues?

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