Love You Baby…Guest Post by James Vincent Knowles

27 Feb

Although James and I have never met face to face we have become friends. He has become a source of inspiration for me, as well as a champion to me.

I am always inspired by what James writes. I asked him if he would write a guest blog for me on his 3 words of the day.
The following is what he wrote me yesterday.

It is absolutely beautiful.

Love You Baby

Define strong.

I could lift a 90 lb. sack of cement when i was 10. That was almost 50 years ago. I’d spent that weekend helping my dad build a patio. That same weekend I also helped him rip out all that troublesome California ice-plant that had been overtaking our backyard. That Sunday night as the 4 of us, mum, dad, younger sis & i, sat down for dinner, my father uncharacteristically announced with, what was for him quite the emotional outburst, “Okay, Jim is a man now, he worked hard this weekend.”

But okay, my dad was wrong. I was 10. At 10 i was just a kid Like most boys I was a wanna-be man, not a real man. Like most boys, I just wanted to do stuff my dad could do. Like most boys, I liked doing stuff with my dad. To me, my dad was a real man. I wanted to be strong like him. I thought that when I grew up I’d be much stronger, like dad. Around him, I was never strong enough. He never talked with me except to tell me how to do stuff right with as few words as possible. He was good man, he just didn’t communicate with me. He never seemed to have any sort of emotions I thought that was strong. I spent most of my life either trying to be like him or resenting him for not explaining anything about the stuff that really matters in life. It seemed the only time he thought I was strong was that one Sunday when I was 10. Ever since then I’ve been trying to become stronger. Hell, I’m still not strong enough to take on everything that comes my way in life. Hell~! When I was 10, I was still trying to figure out how to be happy. How to have fun. How to play. But ok, there wasn’t much time for that… I had to work from then on. I was a man now.

50 years later I can only say I’m beginning to comprehend what strong means. And I can tell you this, it’s not lifting stuff or fighting or killing or working. And it’s not lording it over others with quiet-cool entitlement nor loud-macho scare tactics. It’s not seething controlled resentment contained inside, unleashed only in that singular & sudden burst of orgasmic release that occurs when the first punch is thrown in a bar-fight over some stupid remark or unnerving glance by a stranger. It’s not a lot of things men seem to teach men which ends up causing themselves & others nothing but pain.

Being strong, as far as I can see, is best learned from a woman. Probably most women are stronger than most men in all the ways “strength” matters in life. I’d make a stronger declaration than “probably” but I know better than to make sweeping generalities. As I’ve gotten a tiny bit stronger by knowing some strong women, I’ve become more aware of my own weaknesses. One of which was to make proclamations about what I thought I knew.

And it’s been mostly women who’ve shown me that happiness is gained by authentic, genuine, giving without expectation for something in return. The “without expectation for something in return” part is the part few men seem to understand. I’m still trying to get it. From what I can see, it seems to be a sort of generous, non-attached attachment to the value of connection & a letting go / allowing separateness-togetherness, with a dash of real love… not that cloying, suffocating, needing sort of love but just love… the nurturing kind that can’t be seen in the physical Universe unless you really pay attention to the smile in a her eyes and the feeling of her touch, the sounds she makes when you touch her the way only you know she likes to be touched. Near as I can tell, it takes a real woman to help a man become a real man. It’s that dam joy in their heart & ability to suffer more pain than any man i’ve known could do without shouting or grabbing a beer. It seems always to be there too, even when a woman is crying she’s always immediately ready to feel joy, to give back comfort. Women. How the hell do they do it? How the hell did they manage to convince men they think we’re strong?

So okay, I’ve learned a lot from women. A lot.

I think M. Scott Peck pointed out that spiritual growth has something to do with, being able to “… serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to one’s self.” Something women seem inherently good at doing. I’m 59 now. And I’ve only just begun comprehending how strong one must be to do that.

I chose to bear that trial of being displeasing of myself about 18 months ago. (mind you, i’ve been working on my own spiritual growth since forever). But the past year & a half have been extraordinary. Mostly due to an extraordinary woman. I won’t go into the details except to say it has taken every bit of strength i have to examine my self, go to the deepest depths of shame & look into that abyss of self-loathing and worthlessness, to allow myself to be vulnerable, and to do so at a time, in a place, where all those whom I believed were my friends, were no longer there. I didn’t necessarily choose to do it that way. It’s just how it turned out. After all, when one chooses the path of serenely bearing the trial of being displeasing to one’s self, it’s not a party. haha … To some it may seem I went a bit overboard with the concept but I assure you, for my own spiritual nurturance & growth, under the extraordinary circumstances of knowing a most extraordinary woman, it was the only way I could see I’d have a chance at getting stronger, at becoming a man.

Finally, just a few words about love.

It’s so important to understand love. What it is and what it isn’t. Again, I will quote M Scott Peck, as his is to this day the singularly best definition i’ve found, “The willingness to extend one’s self to nurture one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” To me, that bit about willingness to extend says a million things. Bearing the trial of being displeasing to one’s self is just one of them. The word, “nurture” also says a million things. So that’s like a million squared. And what about the things “love” is not? That’s another million things. A few would be; dependency, suffocating clinging, platonic-ness (if intimacy AND closeness are not there, it might be another type of love, but it’s not going to be fulfilling, wholehearted love), jealousy, controlling, manipulative, mean-spirited, selfish, etc.

So for today, my 3 words are, “Love you, baby.”

So okay, I’m finally beginning to feel a little bit stronger, a little bit like a real man. Thanks to strong women. God, how i appreciate and adore you all~!

********************

James Vincent Knowles
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