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A Dad’s Open Letter to the Homophobic Parents Caught on Video Throwing Their Gay Son Away

A Dad’s Open Letter to the Homophobic Parents Caught on Video Throwing Their Gay Son Away
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Redefining the 3 Essential Elements of Love

WHOLE-imogen

You know it when you feel it, and you recognize it when you see it in another person. There is no faking inner joy.

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[Responding to the feedback on the post here on the GMP: The Fading Passion of Monogamy, here is more about what is essential in building a long-lasting and loving relationship.]

It is easier to say what didn’t work than to count up the things that did work. Especially as we arrive at the end of yet another relationship (dating, marriage) it is more common to identify the things that broke down. But in focusing on the positive aspects of what has worked in the past, you might be able to focus your attention there. It’s looking for the positive as opposed to looking out to avoid the negative.

♦◊♦

Here, in my experience thus far, are the three essential elements of love:

Joy.

Calm Center.

Passion.

Let’s take them one by one and see if we can illuminate what makes love blossom in the company of someone with these qualities.

Joy.

You know it when you feel it, and you recognize it when you see it in another person. There is no faking inner joy. Positivism can help, but the peaks and valleys of life puncture positivism all the time. The joyous person stumbles just like the rest of us, but they tend to get back up quicker and with a hopefulness that accelerates their recovery.

I would love to have you along side me, grooving to your own dream. And together we can bond and thrive in support of our mutual time together and our individual dreams.

We are all looking for joy, both in our lives and in the relationship with another person. If there is a huge imbalance in the levels of innate joy, there will be trouble ahead. And maybe there are highly joyous people and people who are comfortable and fine in a more medium joyousness. Perhaps I am asking for someone to match my highly-activated happiness. And maybe it’s more important to understand your own energy and set-point of joy; then you can align yourself with a similar inner smile.

What demonstrates joy? How do we recognize this joyousness?

Smiles that light up the eyes are a good start. But even from a distance, if you are tuned in, you can feel a joyous person enter a restaurant. It’s an amazing recognition. And when you see it, feel it, taste the hint of joy in the other person, you can no longer do without it. I remember standing next to a date at an art reception and being rather painfully aware of her self-consciousness and over-thinking, while being a bit blown over by a woman, several groups of people over, who I recognized as a fellow radiator.

Perhaps not everyone radiates at the same intensity. If you are a highly joyous person, like myself, perhaps anything less will be painful and disconnecting. I know that I seek joy above all else in my next relationship. I will settle for nothing less.

♦◊♦

Calm Center.

We all deal with all the tumbles in life, the setbacks and interruptions in our own ways. If there is drama in our lives we can either respond with more drama, or urgency, or we can pause and reevaluate. I am a slow down and observe what’s going on type. When the drama hits from outside my life, I do my best not to respond in kind with more drama. I have always scored very low on the “sense of urgency” scale. It’s one of the things, I think, that drove my then-wife crazy. She always felt she was the only one responding with the appropriate action.

But I’m not looking for any more drama or urgency in my life. The world brings out enough of that in our lives without us contributing to the frenetic pace. Calm centering is one of my super powers.

I’m almost always hopeful and joyous about this new journey. As a single dad I have more time and more complications than when I was married.

If your partner is also a centering person, you might have a better chance at finding that inner peace together, in spite of the drama around you. Listen to their words. Listen to how they express the frustrations of the day. You want to hear a lack of victimization. You want to hear a simple pragmatic approach to getting the tasks and chores of life accomplished without struggle. Sometimes there will be frustration and energy—that’s okay. But what is not okay is the needless amplification of the urgency of any issue.

“Is someone going to the hospital?” If the answer is no, then you can take your time in the response. And, especially in dealing with your ex-partner, the pause is your friend. They no longer respond within minutes, they no longer have to. So you too have the option to wait a bit before responding to any request. Time is on your side. Not manipulative time, but time to pause, reset, think, and respond.

It is always a good idea to get your center before responding to a dramatic or urgent message. Again, unless there is a fire or someone needs to go to the hospital, the urgency is probably constructed falsely to elicit a response. Give your response, on your time, by taking a moment to breathe and think about what you want as a result.

♦◊♦

Passion.

What keeps you up at night? How are you envisioning your life beyond the daily grind? Do you have goals that transcend your role as a parent or worker bee? If you don’t, this might be a good time to figure out what other goals you can put out there for yourself. You need bigger goals. Call them life work, hobbies, or passions. You need to have some bigger ideals and bigger visions for your own life.

And seeing that passion in another person may be the final critical element I look for. I want a passionate partner. I want to be a cheerleader for your dreams. Of course I am sensitive to your needs and goals for your kids, but I’m most interested what warms your synapses in the off times.

Tell me about your dreams. What are you passionate about?

If we can find the balance of these three traits between us, perhaps we can build “what’s next” together.

I have a few things that I will slowly reveal to you as well, as we get to know each other. But I don’t want to overwhelm you. I don’t want to brag or show off with what I’m working towards. But it’s one of my most prized accomplishments. Sure, I love my kids. And I am clear that they are the priority in my life, way beyond my ultimate dreams for myself. BUT… They will grow older and no longer require my utmost attention and nurture. What will I be doing after they are gone?

Retirement is not an option for me. The time gained in divorce has been a boon to my big dreams. (This blog, for example, is a direct result of having the additional time when I don’t have my kids.) So as I continue to move through my life, I am growing my bigger dream. I am gathering momentum as an artist, writer, musician, and poet. I am happy with my alone time. I would love to have you along side me, grooving to your own dream. And together we can bond and thrive in support of our mutual time together and our individual dreams.

I’m almost always hopeful and joyous about this new journey. As a single dad I have more time and more complications than when I was married. And if we can find the balance of these three traits between us, perhaps we can build “what’s next” together.

Looking for a together partner, and a partner who is together already.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

back to Dating After Divorce

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image: imogen heap – pop tech 2008, kris krüg, creative commons usage
Imogen Heap embodies the three qualities, and this picture shows her inner joy.

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Mariano Rivera Brings Energy

Mariano Rivera AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Baseball great Mariano Rivera uses his compassion to connect with and help kids.

Professional athletes have two things in abundance that most of us do not – money and time. Inevitably, inertia must draw them to causes and foundations, and Mariano Rivera is no different.

“I believe in youth. We created this foundation to help kids who are less fortunate and get their focus on school rather than the streets,”

he said at Bedford Hills Acura on Saturday. But it was the infectious energy and illumination around young fans that made him a man of his words.

Signing autographs for little Reid and Riley Bakuzonis, Rivera made sure to get a hands-on demonstration of the younger boy’s Spiderman ring.

“I think my son thinks Mariano Rivera is Spiderman,” said his mom Genienne.

Later on as he took questions from the audience, a shy voice ecked out a – “Do you like playing for the Yankees.”

Staying on the child’s level without talking down, Rivera exhibited a boyishness in response that delighted everyone. “I love to be on the Yankees,” his eyes smiled as wide as his grin.

The future Hall of Famer has no intentions of ever being greedy when it comes to goodwill.

A spokesperson with that much spunk, the Mariano Rivera Foundation will always get its due. But the future Hall of Famer has no intentions of ever being greedy when it comes to goodwill, according Thomas Conklin, president of the Hudson Valley Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, who was on Hand with representatives from Ronald McDonald House…

“Whenever he makes appearances he reaches out to local charities like us to join him,” said Conklin. “How cool is that.”

Conklin wasn’t hesitant either to share some second hand accounts to help gauge the true warmth of Rivera.

“We know when kids come back they consistently single out guys like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter as going out of their way to grant a wish. They are the class of the Yankee organization,” he says.

Eventually, though, the grownups did get a chance to have their say. Referring to the cause of the season ending ACL injury, Rivera was succinct in response to whether he will stick to his pre-game outfield warm up.

“If they don’t want me in the outfield,” he said, “they better tie me up.”

Rivera stuck to the sentiment in offering advice to young fan with major league aspirations.

“Don’t pay attention to what people tell you that you can’t do. Just believe and follow your dream,”

said Rivera. Of course, he tempered that with the need to study and put faith in God’s plan – no matter where it leads.

Given the manner in which he described his playing relationship with long time battery mate Jorge Posada, faith and mystery must take precedence in Rivera’s said plan. Always knowing what the other is thinking, he joked in response to Yorktown Middle School Softball player Taylor Ricardo,

“It’s almost like a marriage.”

Dissolved, on a day to day basis with Posada’s retirement, the greatest closer in the history of baseball will not simply tail off as someone else assumes his role.

“I’m going to stay involved in my church. I’m going to serve the lord and I’m going to continue trying to be a role model for kids,” he concluded.

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Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

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How Not to React When Your Child Tells You He’s Gay

How Not to React When Your Child Tells You He’s Gay
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Portrait of Jealousy: A Man Accused

Did this man’s roving eyes really ruin the picnic outing, or was it his wife’s jealous nature?

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Bad acting aside, this dramatization of a woman accusing her husband of flirting paints a chilling portrait of the jealous spouse. The video is not meant to gender stereotype; jealous men behave in the same inexcusable way towards women.

Portrait of Jealousy by Terry Moore

Photo—Terry Moore/YouTube

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