A shallow person will have only shallow relationships. Real love is not one person clinging to another; it can only be fostered between two strong people secure in their individuality. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince wrote in a work called Wind, Sand and Stars, “Love is not two people gazing at each other, but two people looking ahead together in the same direction.” from Buddhism Day by Day–Wisdom for Modern Life, by Daisaku Ikeda, February 14.
Along with her reason for writing this book, she offers an excerpt on mortality and a couple blurbs that will make you want to put it on your reading list. Take it away, D.G.!
Writing this book was a true labor of love. The book stemmed from little things that popped into my head last year when my husband took ill. I was riding a roller coaster of emotions for much of the year with my husband’s health, and it got me thinking about how much had really changed through the years as his aging was happening well ahead of mine.
I’m not suggesting that time isn’t catching up with me too, but what I mean is that my husband happens to be two decades older than me, and when we first got married I let that factor slide because there were so many good reasons to get married. But it’s a learning curve when you have a ringside seat watching your spouse go through situations that become a bit more difficult as the body ages and sickness sometimes takes its toll.
It was an actual statement that my husband made one day that lit up my brain with the book idea. He made a comment out of the blue – “We’ve been together twenty years.” When you read the book, you will understand why that statement spurred the title of the book. And from there, well, it got me thinking about some of the day-to-day activities we do that tend to get altered as one ages, as well as some of the things about the future we don’t normally tend to think about when we’re younger, but become things we’re forced to think about and reckon with.
The basic formula that I can share to keep the engines of a marriage running smoothly is to always remember compassion and kindness, listen with your heart, talk about your feelings, be a supportive partner, and don’t forget to include laughter in your life every day!
Chapter – Questioning Mortality (an excerpt)
Dying is a part of life, the end result of having had the privilege to live. The life we live is the middle between the two bookends, birth and death, and all the living between the pages becomes the stories people will remember us for. I always felt it morbid to talk about dying, and I’m also superstitious when it comes to speaking out loud about death. I fear I’m opening a door to invite it in as though death were an entity that could hear me speak in the same way that I hope God hears my prayers when I pray. But the fact is that the end of life is inevitable for everyone, whether we think about it or not. No amount of praying, pleading, or wishing to live forever will change that fact.
Blurb: May/December memoirs.
“In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.
Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.”
“Twenty Years: After “I Do” shows not only newly married couples but also those in the middle of their lives how to navigate companionship challenges and show love and kindness to their partners, handling life together gracefully and in harmony.
Multibook self-help author D.G. Kaye demonstrates, using examples from her own marriage, how to really commit to a relationship—till death do us part.” – Doris-Maria Heilmann, 111 Publishing
Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.
D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.
When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
Why I Write
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”
“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”
When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.
Yes, despite his best efforts to foment hate and divide America through word and deed, Trump ironically is uniting America! Not behind himself, of course; but in opposition to him and his hate. You know what he has said or done and continues now that he is a squatter in the White House. So there’s no point repeating it all again.
Instead, consider the response of ordinary people and religious leaders to our so-called president. The ones who refuse to accept the us versus them blame game. The ones who refuse to hate. The ones who have empathy and compassion–something which the would-be emperor knows nothing of and has never experienced at any point in his seventy years of life.
People carry signs at protest rallies and marches that say:
Love Trumps Hate
I am a Muslim (when they’re not)
Refugees Welcome Here
Or just fill in the blank from one you’ve seen or carried yourself
They undergo training to learn how to protect and support the undocumented immigrants. They open their homes, their places of worship and other sites for sanctuary to worried undocumented.
In Victoria, Texas (a town of 60,000 people near the gulf coast), a rabbi offers the keys to his synagogue to the imam of a mosque that has been destroyed by arson.
In St. Louis, a Muslim group sets up an online fundraising effort to pay for repair or replacement of 200 tombstones tipped over or broken in a Jewish cemetery.
Not only that, but all over the country, people are resisting the policies and executive orders established by Trump at the direction of Boss Bannon.
“When great evil occurs, great good follows,” said Nichiren in 13th century Japan.
It doesn’t happen automatically, of course. It requires the belief and the actions of people. We are seeing that in America today–thanks to the evil of Trump. In the end, America–and the world, will be a better place for all that Trump and Bannon do to destroy it.
The shootings at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina by a young man intent on fomenting a race war. Other churches burned across the South. Homophobes incensed at the notion of same sex marriage vow resistance to the Supreme Court decision. Donald Trump calls Mexicans rapists and drug dealers. Yes hate is abundant still in America. Pronouncements by all the courts in the land, all the legislation passed to prohibit hate-based actions will not alter the hearts and minds of people. In a recent piece on Brain Pickings, the blog site of Maria Popova, can be found this quote from MLK:
“Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.”
Cut off the chain of hate–a simple enough concept, yet seemingly so difficult. It begins with an identification, a categorization, of others as different. It proceeds with the notion that the other has less value, deserves less respect–may even be less than human. Finally, responsibility for one’s own problems are the result of them. They have taken the jobs. Got the school slots you or your kids should have. Taken the money you should have received from your employer or from the government in the form of assistance. They have introduced drugs, depravity and other awful things into the community. They despoil neighborhoods, disrupt institutions like marriage and generally ruin America as we know it.
Popova notes that:
“Although Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used Christian social ethics and the New Testament concept of “love” heavily in his writings and speeches, he was as influenced by Eastern spiritual traditions, Gandhi’s political writings, Buddhism’s notion of the interconnectedness of all beings, and Ancient Greek philosophy. His enduring ethos, at its core, is nonreligious — rather, it champions a set of moral, spiritual, and civic responsibilities that fortify our humanity, individually and collectively.”
As a Buddhist myself, I can attest to the principle of the interconnectedness, the interdependence of all. We live in a physical, as well as a social environment. That social environment in fact is a reflection of our inner selves. View others with disdain or worse yet, hatred, and the consequences are entirely predictable. Buddhism at it’s core is a humanistic religion–not one based on commandments not far removed from the court decisions and the legislation modeled on them which fail to alter human misbehavior. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging is an allegorical character whose humanistic behavior centered on bowing to all he met while praising them as Buddhas, needing only to awaken and assuring them that he could never despise them.
As a consequence, people hit him with sticks or threw stones at him. Compare what happened to Gandhi, King and countless others. Popova goes on to describe at some length, the six pillars of nonviolent resistance set forth in King’s essay, before addressing the ancient Greek principle of Agape. I mention it here to connect it to the perspective of the Bodhisattva noted above. Here is the quote from King that Popova includes in her piece:
“Agape means understanding, redeeming good will for all men. It is an overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative. It is not set in motion by any quality or function of its object… Agape is disinterested love. It is a love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes. It is an entirely “neighbor-regarding concern for others,” which discovers the neighbor in every man it meets. Therefore, agape makes no distinction between friends and enemy; it is directed toward both. If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves him for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend’s own sake. Consequently, the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.”
Whether the love of agape, the humanism of Buddhism or some other perspective, the essential task is to stop blaming others–stop making others them, and stop hating them.