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  • Intimacy and Balance Both Needed

    • Posted on Feb 21, 2016

    Here is my Valentine's Day column, published last Sunday in the Courier.  Pondering what makes a relationship last and work--balance and intimacy, both.   


    Now in the middle of winter weariness and political nastiness, we could all use a pause.

    Time to reflect on hearts and flowers, romance and soul-mated-ness  That’s Valentine’s Day.   Who needs politics when you have love?       

    Actually, love and politics overlap.  They both require candidates, they both involve necessary support from family and friends, they both sometimes end in heartbreak.

    There the similarity ends.  Nothing in politics goes as deep or lasts as long or requires as much energy and attention as romantic love.  Presidents are remembered for love partners almost as much as their politics.  Think Mary Todd and Abe, Eleanor and Franklin, Bess and Harry, Mamie and Ike, Jackie and Jack, Rosalyn and Jimmie. Oh yes, Hillary and Bill.  

    Those powerful partnerships were formed well before their political successes and lasted well after.  

    Politics amount to the little leagues of human activity compared to love.  Romantic love, being the source of our deepest happiness and most long-lasting pleasures, deserves the constant attention it gets.

    What to say about love in this era of fear and loathing? 

    Two words:  intimacy and balance.  Lasting love brings both intimacy and balance, which contribute mightily to successful bonding.

    My last marriage—in both senses—is now going on two decades.  We’ve been up and down, out and around, endured losses of parents, siblings, close friends and colleagues. We’ve grieved long and hard together.  

    Through upheavals we’ve depended on our intimacy to regain perspective and return to life as we know it.

    The hardest part? Accepting each other’s obsessions, neuroses, scars, carbuncles, warts—clusters of imperfections that make us who we are. 

    We’ve learned to accept, not fix.

    At first I was annoyed by imperfections, then realized I wasn’t going to change hers, nor she mine.  Now I accept them as inevitable and endearing.  

    Along with intimacy goes balance, of necessity.    

    Without an intimate partner, people start taking their beliefs and themselves far too seriously.  Partners provide a sounding board for foolish notions that throw you off kilter. 

    As Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”  And your destiny, if it’s true to who you are, requires balance all the way.   

    One example out of dozens:  Every time I fly, I convince myself that this time I’m going down.  I visualize the boom, the drop, the terrible fear ending in darkness.  I’m potentially a mess.  I’ve learned to blurt this fear out loud, and she just smiles, rubs my shoulder and says, “It’s real but not true.”  

    That reminder, which doesn’t work when I say it to myself, sets me straight.    

    Multiply that dozens of times for other fears and obsessions, and you have a more balanced, less fearful man. I do the same for her.  

    Without each other to offer trusted advice and support when we slip out of balance, we’d fall all over ourselves.  Close friends do the same, by the way, but they’re rare.  

    So Happy Valentine’s Day to long-term couples who’ve discovered intimacy with balance, and balance with intimacy.  

    It’s worth celebrating today—and every day.

                 

     

               

               

               

               

               

               

                

    Go comment!
    Posted in
    • Romance/Love
    • Holidays
  • Last Night's Caucus: It was a tie

    • Posted on Feb 02, 2016
    Our little caucus was just that--little.  Two rural townships in Blackhawk County were represented:  Union (where I reside) and Washington.  We had a total of around 70 (I estimated) participants, and from Union, 25 were for Clinton, and 18 for Sanders--meaning we could select one delegate to the Blackhawk County Convention (March 12) for each candidate.  It was in fact a tie, though there were more Hillary supporters overall.  Very civil.  This is Iowa, after all, and the ideologues and loonies haven't invaded the Democrats.   

    The Washington township folks' number was smaller, but they also earned the right to send one delegate for Sanders and one for Clinton. We were done by 8:15--with very little discussion of anything substantive.  There was some discussion of education funding, but it didn't rise to a debate.  Could have used a sound system--most of it was unintelligible due to ambient noise.   

    It was almost interesting.   As Will Rogers said, "I don't belong to an organized party--I'm a Democrat."   Actually, it was reasonably well run and I thought surprisingly well attended.   A few pics below.

    Go comment!
    Posted in
    • Politics
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