Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.
Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly
By the time I met my friend who became my wife for 16 years, I had failed so many times in my youthful attempts to love and be loved.
Every book I’ve written in my 35-year career emanates out of my old failures. Courting a Woman’s Soul is no different.
By the time a man is, say 35, he knows, even if he can’t say it, that the things he has been taught, told, saw, and heard from his peers, Playboys, and yes, even his parents, do not work in life or love.
Like most “straight” young men, I was only seeing, no – worshiping, the bodies of the women I slept with or wanted to sleep with. I was un-tutored and un-emotionally intelligent.
By my 40s, thanks to about a million hours of therapy, recovery and men’s work, I finally was yearning to see something eternal – for a glimpse of a woman’s soul, bare of society’s makeup and my upbringing. I wanted to see the beauty that time and knowing enhances. Now don’t get me wrong – I can still enter the slip stream of my own latent narcissism and regress back to adolescence from time to time.
Here are just a few lines from Courting a Woman’s Soul about the moment I stopped being a naïve, irresponsible boy:
We are not going to be lovers, are we, Isabella asked timidly.
No, Isabella. You deserve the kind of love I can’t give you… If we made love, I would be one more pathetic jerk included on the list of men who have hurt you. I have hurt enough women in my life.
Why had it taken me nearly four decades to realize the difference between lust and love?
Lust takes everything and gives nothing; love gives everything and takes so little.
At first when I was working on “Courting” I didn’t have a title. I asked my wife (my ex-wife and still best friend) why she picked me to love and marry. Without a moment’s hesitation she said, “That easy. You’re the only man who ever courted my soul.”
I hope you can join me Feb. 29th at “Recovering Our Power” A conference for women inspired by the dedication of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to make women’s lives matter presented by Creative Changes Conferences being held at the Annenberg Health Science Building in Rancho Mirage, CA.