Right Here With You
was an only child, and on Saturday mornings I'd watch cartoons all by
myself while my mother slept in. Sometimes, when the cartoons dragged
on, I would sneak into the kitchen for a snack. I’d climb on top of the
counter and rummage around in the baking supplies. I’d put peanut butter
into a bowl and smother it with thick corn syrup, stirring in chocolate
chips, sprinkles, and brown sugar. Then I'd park myself in front of The Smurfs and relish each spoonful.
All this is to say that I do
know saccharine and I hope that what I'm about to tell you doesn't
strike you that way, but if it does, please bear with me: Under the
cocktail of a Mexican sunset, my husband, Adán, and I had our first kiss
on August 9, 2006. So on the ninth of every month, we celebrate. Season
in and season out, to this day.
celebration almost always includes dinner at a restaurant, but the rest
of the day is ordinary—at least on the face of it—because we do regular
things. If the ninth falls on a weekday, we might make smoothies and
eggs for breakfast, then drive to work. If the ninth falls on a weekend,
we might walk in the park, buy groceries, do laundry, or go to a yoga
class. The flavor of the day, however, is never usual.
On the ninth, the first thing we say to each when we wake up is "Feliz día especial,"
or "Happy special day." On the ninth, we’re very careful with each
other; we’re careful to remember how lucky we are to be together and to
not bicker over stupid things, like being five minutes late or leaving a
wet towel on the bed. On the ninth, we listen more, kiss more, hold
the ninth of the month is our day of mindfulness. When we look at our
lives clearly, we see that every day is a special day, but because we’re
not always paying attention, non-ninth days slide by, seemingly without
specialness. I really like that Adán and I share the ninth, but I’d
like to develop more awareness for the rest of each month, and the
teachings in this issue are helping me on that path.
Me Count the Ways” by John Tarrant is a celebration of love. “Meeting
and marrying,” he writes, “we are ten feet off the ground, our hearts
beat fast; the moment can’t find a way to end. That’s really how life is
when we are not pouring it into little containers.” But, continues
Tarrant, “Love is not an equanimity practice; it doesn’t filter your
responses or fit them to a preset level.”
a practical guide to working with relationships, there is Susan Piver’s
“Six Ways to Make It Work.” The key, according to her, is the six paramitas,
or transcendent perfections: generosity, discipline, patience,
exertion, meditation, and wisdom. In “When You Greet Me, I Bow,” Norman
Fischer expands on how couples can benefit from the tools of spiritual
practice. Meditating together enriches a relationship, but the wider
view, he says, is that there is no spiritual practice greater than just
being alive with others.
Up Alone,” by Karen Maezen Miller, is a teaching on how we can grow
through heartbreak. It’s also a reminder of what it is that enables some
couples to make it through the long haul. “Love that lasts,” she says,
“allows the love story to end. It isn’t laden with romantic fantasies or regret.”
Rose Gimian’s “The Buddha in the Mirror” is about self-love—being
unconditional friends to ourselves—and how that is the foundation for
loving others. Finally, Judy Lief’s teaching, “Biggest Love,” offers
insight on how we can expand the love we have for the people closest to
us so that it embraces everyone, even people we don’t know, even people
we find difficult.
I like about the teachings in this issue is that although they are all
about love and very celebratory, they aren’t too sugary sweet—not at all
like that concoction I made as a kid. These teachings have the grit of
real life in them—the acknowledgement that relationships are often work
and sometimes painful. If you appreciate that quality, too, you may also
like to read Right Here With You.
It’s an anthology I edited for Shambhala Publications about bringing
mindful awareness into relationships, and it offers kitchen-sink wisdom
from some of the teachers in this issue, as well as from Thich Nhat
Hanh, Tara Brach, Rabbi Harold Kushner, Jane Hamilton, and more.
Right Here With You is
being released on a very special day. You guessed it — August ninth. The
same day Adán and I will be celebrating exactly five years of being
—Andrea Miller, Deputy Editor
preview: "right here with you"
Edited by Andrea Miller and the editors of the Shambhala Sun, this
new book will help you better understand what it means to bring mindful
awareness into your relationships. Read two essays from the book, by
contributors who also appear in our current magazine, here:
Norman Fischer on sex, family, love and
Love all beings? Love even one? Either way, your heart breaks open. Susan Piver ponders the choiceless choices.
Click here for more information about Right Here With You.