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945Re: [steiner] introduction

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  • Ashley Case
    Jun 15, 2002
      >
      What a deliciously self-indulgent excercise, to consider your list of questions!  My IRL housewife friends *bristle* at the mention of my marital and personal problems.  I have attached my answers in a MS Word document.  Thanks again, Christine!  I look forward to knowing you better on this list.
       
      -------Original Message-------
       
      Date: Saturday, June 15, 2002 10:42:43 AM
      Subject: Re: [steiner] introduction
       
      Hello Ashley,

      Welcome to the wonderful world of Anthroposophy. :  ) I am sure that you will
      get many answers to your basic questions in the training program. Be patient.
      It's a lot to take in, even if it is a "remembering" from within your own
      spirit. But I would like to extend my friendship toward you, particularly in
      regard to the emotional situation that you are in right now. I cannot speak
      as an "Anthroposophist" or quote what "Herr Doktor hat gesprachen" in any way
      that would provide a definitive answer. But I am a 46 year old woman who has
      been involved with Steiner and Waldorf since the age of 16 and I have lived
      through two marriages and lots of relationships, so I have my own unique
      perspective. There are many levels and facets to any relationship, but the
      male/ female partnership is truly complex. There is the purely karmic aspect
      (what you may have been to each other in a past life or lives and what you
      have intended to accomplish together in this lifetime). There is the very
      practical (you have two children to take care of financially and
      emotionally). There is the mental and emotional which may (and will) range
      from intoxication to infuriation to total boredom with every shading in
      between.

      Whenever there is the question of abuse - physical, mental or emotional, I
      say - get out - now immediately, then try to figure it out. But it doesn't
      sound like you have these problems. It sounds like you are in the midst of a
      totally normal process of development in any marriage.

      In today's society, really only for the last one or two hundred years, we
      have been taught to place a great deal of emphasis and importance on ROMANCE!
      Every book, magazine, TV program, popular song and film advertises it. From
      the "stars in the skies" romance of the 30s, 40s, & 50s, to the "If it feels
      good, do it" of the 60s, 70s & 80s, to the "am I getting enough out of it?"
      of the 90s and today (My opinion here, entirely). We are taught to dress for
      it, scent ourselves (or unscent ourselves) for it, scheme for it, dream for
      it, wait for it, search for it, advertise for it, take risks for it and live
      for it.

      However.... at some point in one's life process, it really is important to
      sit back and take a real good LOOK at it! :  ). No matter what one does to
      get it, to keep it or because of it, no matter how wonderful, how tragic or
      how "karmic" it is, it is always temporary!

      Romance is built on a combination of fantasy, hormones, chemicals in the body
      and brain and an often complicated set of values that we have been raised
      with and either accepted or rebelled against. It has it's really valuable
      place in our lives and there is no problem in enjoying it fully when all of
      the elements work in a relatively healthy way. But it has it's cycles of ups
      and downs and one needs to balance it with basic realities of life.

      I do recommend "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus." by John Gray. I
      think he has a really good way of looking at some of our communication
      problems and knowing about the differences can help overcome some of the
      miscommunication that can lead to irritation and resentment in a
      relationship. There are lots of other "very deep" books that I read during my
      struggling years, but they are not necessarily the kind of thing that can
      give on a real lift.

      I also heartily recommend Erma Bombeck's books - especially "Motherhood the
      Second Oldest Profession" and "A Marriage Made in Heaven - or Too Tired for
      an Affair" :  )
      It's really good to balance the heavy stuff with a good old sense of humor
      about it all.

      There is a really beautiful Christian Community pamphlet called Marriage. I
      will try to find a source for you, or else perhaps I can copy it or even type
      it here in the computer and forward it to you. I don't want to infringe on
      any copyright, but I am not sure who may have it. Dr. Starman may be able to
      help with that.

      So on three levels, here goes:
      1. Mental/ Spiritual
      Who were you before? Do you sense it was a good relationship in the past? Or
      troubled? Do you feel that you have to continually fight ongoing battles with
      each other? Do you feel that you were attracted to this person because you
      could really imagine doing something important together in this lifetime? Was
      the attraction strong, but relatively brief, and could it have been caused
      simply by your children wanting to be born to you? What are each of your life
      visions, your goals. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, in 10, in 20. What
      do you want to be doing? How do you want to be living. Try to get by yourself
      and answer/ ponder these questions in terms of "I" - not in terms of "we".
      See if you husband would be willing to do the same, alone, then give each
      other your written answers and ideas. Do they match? Do they relate at all?
      Are they both do-able if each supports the other? Or are they really very
      different and represent totally unrelated world views? Is there value in
      learning about each other's world views and just accepting them? Or is the
      conflict too great. I have know good marriages where the world views are
      diametrically opposed, but each person TOTALLY accepted the other without
      criticism and each allowed the other to live their own way and do their own
      thing. But that's not always easy to do.

      2. Emotional/ Familial
      Do you respect your partner as a parent? Do  you basically agree on issues
      regarding the children? Or does your partner cause you real concern in some
      way. Be careful as you explore Waldorf, etc. One can get really "gung-ho" and
      turn the other person off, or be really fanatical and rigid. I have a
      terrific article on that, too, that I will try to get you a copy of. Remember
      the sense of humor! Look at things from a point of view of balance, not
      perfection. The only exception here, as I stated before is abuse - with
      something like that, there is no compromise.

      What about your own emotions? Did you get married believing that you would be
      emotionally taken care of? LIstened to? Understood? Loved unconditionally?
      Are you happy with yourself when you are alone? (Not that a woman with young
      children is EVER alone - not even in the bathroom!) :  ) Do you want to feel
      needed? Do you want to be a full time nuturer? Do you want someone to respect
      you? Do you need this in order to respect yourself? Do you want to have fun?
      Are you having fun? Do you need to feel secure? Do you feel secure? Mars/
      Venus is very helpful here :  ) There is such a tremendous difference
      emotionally between men and women. It is good to know that if you don't feel
      that you are getting what you want, it's probably very normal.

      Is there more fulfillment, or more frustration in your role as wife and
      mother? Do you feel that you are recognized for more aspects of your
      personality or is this your total identity. It seems like it will last
      forever, but it won't. You will have many years to be someone else. Are you
      working on what that person will be? Do you have personal goals or quests? Or
      are you totally fixated on what your children will do/ become and what their
      lives will be like?

      Do you have a good relationship with your family of origin, or a troubled
      one? Are you trying to "show them" or be like them? Do you still need their
      approval? Do they approve? What about your partner's family? In today's
      complex and transient society, do you still feel there is value in giving
      children a stable family to start their life with? Do you feel that the
      family that you have created for them is basically healthy and happy? Can you
      enjoy living as a family with or without "romance"?

      3. Physical/ Economic
      It's tough enough today economically, with two working parents. Single
      parenthood is exhausting and difficult on many practical levels. Is there a
      sense of economic partnership in your relationship? Or is money the root of
      (almost) all squabbles? Does one partner feel "used" either for their money
      or their work? Is there any way to create more equilibrium? Do you value both
      kinds of contribution? Young adults are rarely ever given any real education
      in the handling of money. Our money styles can be incredibly different. A
      five dollar bill in one person's pocket is totally content to curl up and
      remain there. In my pocket, it parachutes out immediately! :  ) Do you each
      have your own money? Even $20.00 a week to "blow" on frivolities, or feed the
      piggybank of your soul? Do you sit down together and rationally budget and
      plan your common needs and wants? Do you need help with this? Most people do.
      Most people are only familiar with the money style they were raised with.
      Spend today, for tomorrow we (don't know and don't care). Or "There is never
      enough for... we can't afford.... don't waste it because....." Is the world
      an abundant place or is the wolf always at the door? The economic life is a
      really spiritual sphere, the world of the will, governed by very powerful
      forces, many of them unconcious. Open communication is very essential and
      again, balance and humor.

      Sex - there, thought that'd wake you up :  ) Isn't that what they magnetism
      is all about? It had to have been pretty good at one time, or else one or
      both of you were really desperate. If you really love someone, won't it just
      be great all the time? If you really love someone, you could never be
      attracted to anyone else, right? (wrong!) You know how sometimes you get a
      real craving for pizza, then the next weekend it's chinese food? Well, sex is
      an appetite also and pizza every night can get real boring, real fast!
      Oregano the only spice on your shelf? Have you every tried cooking with curry
      or dill or chili powder? Ever look at "Gourmet" magazine, or "Vegetarian
      Times?" It's fun to get new ideas once in a while, you know.

      There are going to be times when you have absolutely NO appetite, nothing can
      tempt you and forcing yourself to eat can really be a chore. Other times you
      can be really ravenous. Of course, it's very frustrating when you cook like
      mad, dream up a real banquet, then the other person just sits and picks at
      his food. :  ) Communicate. Learn to cook together. Take cooking classes.
      Find out what the other person really likes and just can't resist. Respect
      the other person's appetite cycles and learn to cook for yourself sometimes.
      But never go out to eat alone!!! Got it? Together, maybe, but not alone.

      Remember, the kids will not be little for very long. There is always Club Med
      (my sister takes her family frequently). Plan vacations and romantic get
      aways, for soon and for the long term future. Have something to look forward
      to. Fantasize. Accept your partner's fantasies without criticism. Some ideas
      may be new to you and unappealing, but if not harmful in someway, try to be
      open minded and accepting. You can accept that the other person has such
      fantasies, without necessarily agreeing to participate in reality.
      Participate in fantasy if necessary. You never know, you just might end up
      liking it, too someday.

      And remember - there is no "magic person" - someone who would be better, more
      attractive, etc. The next guy is just the same. You would have to start all
      over again, teaching and learning. You would get bored again in time. Your
      excitement and satisfaction is really all in your head. Unless he is really a
      lazy, selfish bum, he will get the hang of it eventually. If he IS a lazy,
      selfish bum, why the heck did you marry him in the first place? These days,
      we can test drive, you know!

      Laugh a lot, spice things up, enjoy finding out who YOU are as a person and
      what you can do and what you want to do. Enjoy being "Mom" while they are
      still willing to cuddle. Cuddle a lot! Relax, let things go. You don't have
      to "win" unless it involves the violation of your personal space (inner or
      outer). Accept each other. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, a
      perfect parent, a perfect child, a perfect husband, a perfect wife. Have
      friends, get out and have fun. A tea party, a picnic, a bike ride. Use the
      power of fantasy to make it tea in a castle, a picnic in Timbuktu or a trip
      to Mars. Love your child within and protect her from harm. Look forward to
      the coming years - they just get better and better! REALLY! I LOVE my forties
      - and really am looking foward to my 80's. Do you want your children to be
      happy? Don't try to make them happy - just be happy yourself. They will learn
      only by example. You know the best way to get your child to learn to play the
      piano? Get a piano and take lessons yourself, practice every day and tell the
      kids that it's YOUR piano and they can't touch it! They'll be little Victor
      Borges in no time!! :  )

      Well, all this might not be very "Anthroposophical" but I hope one or two
      points may be of some help. Let's put the "Happy" back in "Happy Anniversary!"

      Lots of love,
      Christine


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