Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Fruit of My Action

I was feeling so cruddy last night and I went to bed early to read a little before Hubby came up and did his imitation of a cat -- he snuggles up to me, arms around me, and basically stares at me two inches away from my face as I read until I look at him, to which he replies, "Am I bothering you?"

I opened up "Practicing the Power of Now" to page 44, and here's what I found:

"DO NOT BE CONCERNED WITH THE FRUIT OF YOUR ACTION [his bold and caps] -- just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord. This is a powerful spiritual practice.

"When the compulsive striving away from the Now ceases, the joy of Being flows into everything you do. The moment your attention turns to the Now, you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace. You no longer depend on the future for fulfillment and satisfaction -- you don't look to it for salvation. Therefore, you are not attached to the results. Neither failure nor success has the power to change your inner state of Being [my italics]. You have found the life underneath your life situation.

"In the absence of psychological time, your sense of self is derived from Being, not from your personal past. Therefore, the psychological need to become anything other than who you are already is no longer there. In the world, on the level of your life situation, you may indeed become wealthy, knowledgeable, successful, free of this or that, but in the deeper dimension of Being you are complete and whole now [again my italics]."

While I'm no expert at being a conscious person, reading this passage did make me feel better because it reminded me that these little bumps in the road, these successes and failures, do not change my inner Being.

When Hubby did come upstairs I addressed last night's ice cream incident, and somehow in the process of telling him how it made me feel he said something to the effect of "now we're even." While I knew he was joking (although it's often said there's a lot of truth in joking), I threw the notion out there that it was a passive-aggressive way to get back at me for something he's upset about.

Last week my friend SS invited me to join him and our other friends J&M on a trip to London in January. SS and I are ginormous Anglophiles, addicted to British entertainment, and he's been there several times and knows his way around. His partner B won't be able to go because he's just starting out as the sommelier of a great Tapas restaurant in D.C., so I would basically be SS's travel companion and make the trio a quartet.

SS, J & M have been three of my closest friends for many years. They have been like siblings to me and have been there for the best and the worst of times. Since SS moved to D.C. and I got married, I haven't spent nearly as much time with them as I used to, and I miss that. So this would be a fantastic opportunity to do that as well as go to a city I've always wanted to explore.

When I brought up this invitation to Hubby he was not happy. He admitted this was irrational and a double standard -- I've never complained once over his Alaska trips and actually encourage him to spend more time with his friends -- but it wasn't changing how he felt. Hubby and his family feel that couples should do almost everything together and do very little apart. They are in to constant togetherness to the point of suffocation, at least to me. Both my sister-in-law and I deal with the situation of wanting to spend time with old or new friends and dealing with husbands who try to make us feel guilty about it.

After his displeased reaction last week, I let it drop for a while, telling him I was still thinking about it and nothing was set in stone. During that time I've talked to a few people about it, trying to get reaction and feedback, and every single person has said I should go.

Yesterday afternoon I brought home some books out of storage and found my book of walking tours of London (obviously I've always dreamed of this). Hubby saw it and asked if I had thought more about the trip, and I told him I was leaning toward yes. I could tell he wasn't happy.

About half an hour later I gave him a kiss on his neck and he responded, "Don't try to butter me up!" At first I thought he was busting me for saying something similar to him (when he first got home he went on this rant about me being the most perfect, beautiful, sexy woman in the world, and I asked him if he was buttering me up for something). But then I realized he thought I was trying to make up to him for saying I wanted to go to London.

I don't respond well to guilt trips, which is what this clearly was. Which made it even funnier when later that evening he got so insulted that I accused him of being passive aggressive and said he never does that. Actually, his reply was something to the effect that I may be used to passive aggressive behavior, but he and his family don't do that kind of thing. Which made me laugh right in his face because anyone who knows him and his family know they are well versed in this behavior. But my initial laugh quickly turned to anger and I told him I was not going to get into a p*ssing match with him about whose family is better, and he retreated on that subject.

While he denies the ice cream was a roundabout punishment for me telling him I'd like to take a trip with my friends and not him, he did admit that he screwed up. At first he thought getting the ice cream would make me happy, but when he walked through the door he realized that the happiness would last maybe two minutes and then I'd feel bad the rest of the night. But by then it was too late.

I guess I should see this as progress. At least he's beginning to figure it out. Maybe next time he'll realize this before he buys the ice cream and will prevent another incident like this.

I'm glad I confronted him about this. I don't know what the fruit of my actions will be, but at least I made the effort and stood up for myself.


Beula said...

I am well versed in passive aggressive stuff. I can't stand it when I am being given the guilt business. Early in our marriage I stated clearly I would no longer put up with it. I would rather be alone.

Go on your trip. Hubby's reactions are his own and have NOTHING to do with you. As long as he knows he can manipulate you with guilt he will consciously and unconsciously attempt to do so. The passive aggressive behavior is one of HIS hangups and he needs to address it, not you.

Like I said, I know this one inside out. Happy travels.

Lori said...

I agree wtih Beula. Go on the trip. Break the cycle of guilt trips etc.

I'm glad he did think about it a little bit -- he just needs to nudge his brain cells a little bit forward more to finish up that original thought of "Maybe I shouldn't buy this for Andrea."