Since Grace died I have been learning a great deal about her and about our relationship. I have felt many regrets for things I did and things I didn’t do, going all the way back to the beginning. What you don’t see in the lovely picture gallery of us is the many times of turbulence and distress, especially in the 60s and early 70s. What we went through is an important part of Grace’s story, and the story of many women in her generation and even later.
My many perfectionist suggestions of how Grace could be a better person ground away at her self-esteem. I was controlling in my rationality and my failure to really hear what Grace was saying. One friend got so angry at me over this that he broke off our friendship for two decades.
What long convoluted arguments we had in the kitchen about my quest for the perfect breast, my desire for other sexual partners, even to form sexual threesomes. Most times Grace closed down rather than wield her Irish anger in defense.
Finally, I had a few stoned one-night stands and Grace was patient with me, giving me space to have my fling. But then we joined Claudio Naranjo’s intensive spiritual-psychological group, SAT. One side-effect was a game of sexual musical chairs many of us played. I went to excess with one younger woman to the point that Grace finally threw me out, tearing my vintage Pendelton shirt and breaking my rare Hopi pottery in her rage. We each moved into communes of SAT members, I with my younger woman. Grace found a new partner.
This is how Grace looked at the time of our separation.
And here is what Grace wrote then and during the following summer:
Grace’s journal: Easter Sunday, 1973 at Claudio Naranjo’s working home
The recognition of being at a new beginning and of the God in all. Touching Judith’s stomach after crying for what is over between E & I & feeling the beginning of new life in her. The cycle — something ends and something else begins to let go of what is ended.
In all sense that space is over — new things to come. With great love and tenderness . . . What is past & what is now. And the God & beauty in all things. The acceptance of your destiny (mine)
The ways in which we are alone and the ways in which we help and can be with one another.
Although we are alone & must know that, to be able to reach out to those who suffer and have others reach out to you in your pain. In a way that is just accepting. Not to try to solve the pain or sense of loss thru anything but presence.
Do not regret the past & do not worry about the future.
The snake w its tail in its mouth.
There is no beginning & ending. It’s all continuum . . . cycles . . . circles . . .
Nothing is ever really finished. It just changes form & substance. Weddings, births, deaths, partings . . . all is flow.
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The Summer of 1973 Grace drove up the Pacific coast with Martha and Corky (our Samoyed) to Cortes Island in British Columbia.
OK so now I know:
- I can travel w/o a man.
- I can work a Coleman stove.
- I can change a flat tire.
- I can make a fire.
Pretty soon I will be self-sufficient enough that I can make the choice. It isn’t necessary to either be alone or no. Just to know it isn’t compulsive.
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Islands are good places. Places to leave the past behind. Not to be allowed for long though. BIG E comes on the scene. He sent the indications from Claudio & enclosed a little note saying he could see me again & wants to try to “get it back together” in the Fall. Flood of anger and sadness and the fear of being plowed under again—stifled—not having what I want—having to give up Clarke. I’m suddenly remembering the way E wooed me before and I wouldn’t like that near so well now. Anyway I’m trying not to let that spoil my time here.
The tide was way out yesterday. I walked to the little island and climbed to top. Beautiful view of Vancouver Island. Mountains clear with no clouds . . . fish in schools that M saw . . silver. . . an eagle. Went swimming in the “chuck” & dried nude on the rocks. Incredibly beautiful.
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Ernest says :
One of my regrets—beyond how I had forced her throw me out—is that I knew quite well how I had “plowed” her under. I’d let a character in my writing call me on it and I knew who was really speaking to me:
Anna Moon’s song to the poet
You tell me we’re one,
the two of us are one,
but you keep on forgetting
I’ve got to be me
before being you.
You tell me we’re one
with your eyes soft and warm,
but you never have seen
I’ve got my own way
of being everything.
You tell we’re one.
Your words suck me in,
but you push me away
for dancing my foxtrot
while you’re trying to tango.
I tell you I’m me,
shaped with great care.
Don’t tear me down
with your mystical eyes.
I’ll find my own way.
Grace was understandably wary of me when we started seeing each other again in the Fall of 1973. She finally accepted me when I came to her after photographing Swami Muktananda at a weekend retreat. I was so opened up by the experience that Grace looked into my eyes and said, “I think you’ve finally learned how to love.”
We traveled with Baba to Hawaii and Colorado, where he re-married us.