As I was saying last Sunday, when our big kids were teens, Jude was very online, busily teaching himself computer programming languages. One day, I happened by his desk and heard some music that captured me immediately. “Who is this?” “Porcupine Tree.” That moment was my introduction to the musical love of my life, Prog Rock.
Porcupine Tree’s leader is Steven Wilson, quite the musical prodigy, who has created unique music over the course of many years. In 2015, Greg was working in Phoenix, and I heard that Steven Wilson’s tour was going to play in Phoenix and I thought it would be fun to fly out and spend a couple days with Greg and go to the concert.
After the brilliant concert (Hand. Cannot. Erase. tour), I started looking at the other projects of the band members, including Craig Blundell (drummer). The rabbit trail that I went down about Craig introduced me to a band called Frost* as he also played drums for them. At that time, they had two albums, but their first one, Milliontown, captured me immediately at the time. “It had me at hello.”
Greg and I make ourselves very grateful for having found the Imago Dialogue and Radical Honesty, two separate concepts that work very well together for us. With the Dialogue, over the course of a couple of years with an excellent therapist, we were able to extract ourselves from the power struggle that most (all?) couples find themselves in at some point.
You can love each other with your whole hearts and still have these sticking points that are seemingly unresolvable. Once we learned the Dialogue concepts, we started being able to really hear each other, empathize and validate. Being heard? Empathized with? Validated? about all the things we’ve tried to communicate to each other? Priceless.
Then along came Radical Honesty. The thumbnail sketch here is that most of us hide our true selves in a lot of areas in our lives. I personally would say I rarely shared any “difficult” feelings and often said yes when I wanted to say no! Attending the RH workshop separately, and then together in October, this year has been a rich experience of beginning to share both appreciations and resentments with each other. We NEVER said “I resent you for …” before we found Radical Honesty.
Expressing resentments while paying attention to what is happening in my body helps me make a connection about the sensations (tight stomach, clenched jaw, heavy shoulders) with the emotions that are co-existent with them.
Frost* were to tour in April, this same set of five concerts. I knew about the concerts and had a desire for Greg and me to go, but we couldn’t quite pull it off and then the tour got cancelled anyway. When I found out their tour was rescheduled for November, I knew I wanted to go, and I imagined I would go by myself because of the short notice, Greg having to work, etc. But I imagined this would be a huge thing to pull off on such short notice.
When I knew for sure that I wanted to do this (Monday, November 21, 2022), we were preparing to go to Ithaca for Thanksgiving. Greg was out with Kepler when he received a text from me saying I would like to go to England the following Saturday (November 26, 2022). He did not respond by text and when he got home, I imagined I was seeing a very angry Greg.
Now here’s the thing about emotions. They don’t necessarily make any sense whatsoever logically. To wit: Greg was furious with me for texting that to him and putting emojis in the message. He also imagined making the plans would take me out of really participating with the holidays with family. I asked if he had any resentments to express. Spoiler alert: he did. All I can say is that because of the work we have done, he was able to express all of it, and I was able to witness what he was expressing.
When you do this kind of expression, what happens is you come to a place of forgiveness in your body because you expressed it until you are complete. While some people raise their voices when they express resentments, Kepler is usually nearby, so we very intensely, but also mostly calmly say what we want to say.
The main things with noticing and reporting is your emotions do not get to stay stuck in your body, but are rather expressed and the intensity is discharged. We got through the conversation. I hadn’t known that it would bother him so much to send him a text, and I’m still not exactly sure I understand the piece about the emojis, and I am so grateful he told me what was going on with him.
The next morning before we got up, I asked him about England, what he was thinking about the idea. He said, “Oh, I thought we had that all figured out.” He was all in favor of me going. (NB: Before the Dialogue and especially before Radical Honesty, we would simply not have been able to resolve the conflict and I definitely would not have been going to the UK). I tried to think about things I might need to quickly find to take to Ithaca because I wanted to fly from JFK, so I packed my passport and a couple travels items, and off we went to Ithaca. This is Tuesday. I have no arrangements made yet.
On the drive to Ithaca, I first buy my concert tickets for the five concerts. Next I arrange my flight. Then I need to get a britrail pass to ride those lovely trains around the country from place to place. Greg encourages me to get a first class coach pass, which I do. Finally, I search “lodging near [venues where Frost* is playing].” I am able to make lodging arrangements.
By the time we reach Ithaca, my trip is pretty much planned and I’m leaving for the UK on Saturday. Mitzi (Greg’s sister) and Vanessa (our niece) help us brainstorm how to get to JFK on Saturday. I end up taking a bus down to the city, and then making a transfer to the subway, and eventually finding my way to JFK.
Greg and Kepler headed back to Ohio on Saturday morning, and Mitzi and I did some last minute shopping for travel size thises and thats, and she walked me to the bus two blocks away. And I was off on an adventure of a lifetime.