Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Eight: Yoga Room in Ojai

This is Chapter Eight of a true story.  All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

People who are only willing to look at or to be aware of one portion of themselves  are essentially living in a delusion—-well-intended though that delusion might be.  –The Shadow Side of Intimate Relationships, by Douglas Moseley and Naomi Moseley

On December 27, 2010, I wrote in my journal: 

The strangest thing happened today when Adam came to see me after he returned  from the trip he took over Christmas weekend.

He suddenly remembered that he “forgot “to tell me he almost died last year!

We were just standing around getting ready to walk the dogs when he turns toward me with an alarmed look on his face and blurts out, “I can’t believe I forgot to tell you this! Everyone else knows this about me but I haven’t told you. I’ve told you everything else — the story about my birth parents –my step father –my biological father — I took you to the land where I was raised. You know my whole history — but I haven’t told you this.”

” I can’t believe I forgot to tell you this! ” He repeated this again.

I’ll try to remember the gist of what he said.

“I can’t believe I forgot to tell you that last spring I almost died. I had open heart surgery. One of my valves collapsed. The doctors said that in another hour I would have been dead.”

When I asked to see the scars he said he did not want to show me.

I suddenly felt exhausted and said, “Let’s lie down while you tell me the whole story.”

I hadn’t seen Adam in almost four days – since the day before Christmas. It felt nice just to relax and be close to him while he talked.

I could not help but notice that  inside the house I did not feel the same sexual pull as out in nature. Even later, when he kissed me after telling his near-death story in great detail for about ten minutes, I felt nothing. In fact, I felt his kissing was impersonal. More like him reacting to the proximity of a woman –not necessarily responding to me personally.

He described how last spring –back in March– he had been feeling increasingly breathless. He had low energy and he noticed when hiking how he was slowing down. But typical macho man , he dismissed the seriousness of his symptoms over and over again, even when all his friends told him he had to go see a doctor. He told himself it was some infection or something in his lungs.

By the time he went to the doctors’ office they said he was “an hour away from being dead.” And rushed him into surgery.

Later, after I assured him that I was like a Yoga Doctor and that I had seen lots of surgery scars on my students and that his scars would not turn me off, he finally pulled up his shirt and showed me.

You can see where they cut his chest open. He said he has seen his heart beating and pumping blood up close on a monitor. I would hope his close brush with death would make him take Life more seriously.

Adam’s health revelation gave me a jolt. This explains why we haven’t done any strenuous hikes and why he stops to catch his breath when we walk uphill. He’s still recovering.

A little later, while we walked the dogs, he  told me about his Christmas visit with his  cousin Jean, and her life long live-in boyfriend Sam. He described how they all ate at Wendy’s for a treat. [Dear Reader, The reason I’m telling you these mundane details will make sense down the road.]

Later, after I absorbed that he almost died, Adam said he has his blood checked regularly to see if the medication dosage is OK .  I think he takes blood thinners, coumadin or cumudin —isn’t that rat poison? Apparently they check his blood regularly, weekly or twice a month.

I find it mighty curious that he did not mention any of this in that email where he described his perfect health. I don’t get it. How could he forget to tell me something like this especially since he’s on medication?

All this time he’s been going to the doctor at least twice a month. But all this time he “forgot” to tell me?

I even wrote in my journal, You can’t help but think, “What else has this goon forgotten to tell me?” 

But just like all the other thoughts that threatened to burst my bubble, I brushed them aside.

As I type my journal notes and write this part of the story it strikes me that finally revealing that he “almost died,” was a very clever move on Adam’s part.

 I can see now that the revelations about his health further softened my heart and helps explain why I cut him so much slack as the truth about his life unfolded in the days ahead.

And, by the same token,  I have to cut myself some slack and keep in mind that while all this dating and soul baring was going on that Adam and I were working on several hot environmental and wildlife issues. He was the shining knight on a white horse mentoring me. I was super charged to hang in there because at the end of the fairy tale we would metamorphis into a committed political “power couple.”

A day later, while resting in the Goddess Pose on my yoga bolster, it hit me how lonely I felt. I realized I needed to Speak My Truth to Adam.

 Soon. Today. Now. Before he was out of reach on another nature adventure.

So two days before he headed out to some cabin on the Kern River, I made a heroic attempt to reconcile his  love-letters with real-life.

On Thursday, December 30, 2010, I wrote in my journal:

Suza, snap out of it.  Practice “Divine indifference.”

At the top of the page I had written “John Muir.” That is how I thought of Adam and why I made excuses for his absence at Christmas. I reminded myself, “You knew he was like this from Facebook. He likes going into Nature alone.’

Then I wrote:

Must not forget to write down the phone conversation I initiated Wednesday that ended up with him saying, “Well, let me jump ahead. Would you like me to come live with you?”

 Suza, the problem is that you are conflicted, split in two.

This week you’ve heard him say several times that the two most significant events of 2010 were in April, when he almost died and doctors saved his life, and meeting you. That was the Friday before Thanksgiving, only seven weeks ago. But because you’ve known him since the 1970’s, it feels much longer.

I also wrote: The other day while he drove through the Arbolada he brought up again about eating meat. He is worried that if he hooks up with me he’ll have to cut back on Wendy’s hamburgers and trips to the steak house!

Part of me is incredulous that he is making meat-eating an issue but it turns out he’s been down this road before. He had another vegan or vegetarian girlfriend and, he said, “In the beginning, it’s not an issue but then reality enters in.”

What an insult. He’d give me up for a hamburger?

Wednesday December 29, 2010

On the phone with Adam I heard myself tell him again, “It’s been like this from the beginning. You act interested. But you are not available.”

I  told him, “Waiting has been good for us. It’s been hard for me, but good. It’s good for both of us to look at our patterns.”

I talk to Adam on the phone while sitting on the yoga room floor in Upavista Konasana, Seated Wide Angle Pose.  My feet wide apart, legs open, anchored to the Earth, my chest lifted, my pubis, navel, heart, third-eye, brain, mind centered.

I say, in my sweetest, calmest, most non threatening voice, “There is something I want to talk about.

 It may take a little while. It is very  sensitive. So it might take me awhile to find the right words.”

“Oh Kaaay…” He drawls.

I said that talking is like writing. If it does not come out right you can wipe the slate clean.  Like tearing up the page or deleting, and starting over. And if it still doesn’t come out right, you can try again.”

There’s a pause and then he says,”That’s very powerful.”

He always knows what to say.

So, then, encouraged by his response, I continue.

 “I want to tell you what I’d like. I know that doesn’t mean I can have it. But I want you to understand how I feel and what I’d like.”

“I’d like to spend New Years eve with you. Either in front of a fire at your house or on a futon in my yoga room with candles all around.

I need warmth. I need to be hugged. I want the evening to be open-ended. Where you don’t have to leave at 8pm and we can see how we feel.

It’s been good to delay sex. But there comes a point where it does not feel right to keep getting all fired up –and then –nothing.”

I said this so much better than I’m writing it.

I warmed up to it.

I said, “I want to give you space. I understand about being alone. ”

 (Earlier he had  tried to bring up that old-worn out point about “What if he wants to take off to the Grand Canyon for three weeks…”)

I said, “This is not about taking off to the Grand Canyon later on in our relationship, after we’ve been together. You going off alone in nature is not a problem. I told you, I’m a writer. I need time alone.

I understood when you left for Christmas to be with your cousin. But I really want to be with you on New Year’s eve.

I do not understand how you can write me those letters about how much you want me and then take off  again so soon.

It makes me feel lonely, rejected and confused.”

Adam’s response was very sweet. He is no dummy!  His voice got ever so tender and serious. So I know he heard me and understood.

But then, instead of staying quiet,  I made it easy for him to have an out.

I said, “ Even if I cannot have what I want at this time, I want to be understood.”

Then he says, “Now I feel torn. I’m glad you can express how you feel. I want to know how you feel. I’m glad you shared this.”

And then the tone of his voice got firmer. ” I’ve planned this trip. I’m going. I don’t go to New Year’s eve parties. And I go to bed early.”

“OK,” I said, “But I want you to know how hard this is for me. All this longing. I want to lie down with you and be close. It does not have to be all or nothing. I don’t know what it will lead to.”

“I guarantee I know what it will lead to.”  Says he.

So then I said, “OK. I respect that. I would not want to talk you into staying and then have you resent me because I talked you out of your trip.”

And then I dug in my heels.

I said, in my firmest feminine voice, “But I still do not understand why you have to be gone New Year’s eve.  Why leave that night? You have plenty of free time. Why not go mid week? Or next weekend.”

I don’t give up easy.

I said, “Adam, we are at the beginning of a relationship. New Years eve is special and I want to be with you.”

I was careful to say all this with dignity and not sound like I was begging to go to bed with him which ofcourse in a way I am.

He’s so smart.  He says, “OK.  Let’s just keep talking.”

I say, “I do love that you want to be alone in nature. But this is something to look at. Just like you say to me, “I want Suza to be Suza, I also want Adam to be Adam.”

So I said, “I’ve told you how I feel. Now the ball is in your court. Maybe you can find a way for us to be together before you leave.”

I need a Zen Master to hit me over the head with a stick.

Instead of staying quiet I dug my own grave. I said,

“If you go I will not be mad. We will see each other in a week. I just want you to know how I feel .

I cannot go on like this. Each time you visit it takes me day or two to recover. I can’t go on being distracted always thinking about sex.”

Then, after a few more minutes of this kind of hopeless exchange Adam suddenly says:

“Let me jump head. “ Pause. “Do you want me to live with you?”

Well, that’s one way to silence me. I wasn’t ready for that.

I told Ann some of this.  She said, “ I’m with your Gemini twin who knows how to practice divine indifference and love what is!  The more freedom you allow him, the more he’ll keep wanting to come back to you — scarred heart and all!”

December 31, 2010, Friday morning, I wrote in my journal,

Now it is Friday and this conversation seems long ago. I prefer that Adam not come to Ojai this morning and disturb me. I want to enjoy my weekend and not be missing him.

Mantra for the day: Suza, see things as they are, not as you wish them to be!

But Adam came to Ojai to say goodbye. I had to go finish emptying out my storage unit so we only had a few minutes.

As I gave him a  hug, he pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket. It was a sketch of a gardening plan for my new place.

It made me feel so hopeful! A tangible sign that Adam did care about me and intended to plant my dream garden after all!

A few hours later I went to Westridge Market. As I walked the aisles they were playing Allison Kraus, one of my favorite songs, You say it best, when you say nothing at all.

A wave of loneliness and sexual longing overcame me. It just about knocked me over into the cat food. Inside I was crying.

I went outside the store and called Adam’s cell. But it was too late. He was off my radar screen –again.

Out of reach.

That night I wrote this note to myself in large print:

It is so confusing. You don’t know if you don’t trust him because of your past, or his past, or both, or his actions in the present. Or the fact that he was lied to by his two fathers, his mothers, all his relatives, so you are apt to wonder if he lies too.

Three days of silence during which I tried to put my Life in order and make a plan for the New Year.

Then this hopeful email blinked on my computer screen. writes:

My Dearest Suza:

I am home now.

Had a very enriching and rewarding stay at a cabin along the mighty Kern River north of Bakersfield. The Kern was reallly roaring. The conifer forest trees were covered with snow on their branches. Brrrrrrrrr was it cold. Saw several robins and six young weasels out and about in places where there was no snow. I have always thought that the Kern River Canyon was one of the most beautiful spots in all of the Southern Sierras.

And seeing it this winter brought back many memories of my many visits here over the years.

Now home to reality and time to “get my act together” for the New Year. And see you.



I replied, right away:

My Dearest Adam

I love you and I am happy you are home. Looking forward to dinner Tuesday evening and hearing more about your adventure in that cabin along the mighty Kern River  — which intrigues me to no end.


*     *    *     *    *

The first week of the New Year flew by. Things were so busy I didn’t even think about going to visit Adam’s place in Ventura.

I had started teaching a small group Sunday morning class at my house and Adam was coming over after class. We planned to walk Honey together, go check out the new Hip Vegan Cafe for lunch and catch up on things.

There was a new student in the Sunday class, Jill, who I noticed was one of the many women who left Comments on Adam’s Facebook page. She was involved in several wildlife projects. I knew she would enjoy meeting Adam in person so I suggested to Adam that instead of picking me up at 11 am as we had originally planned, that he come at 10:30, right when class was over, so that he and Jill could meet and chat.

My students were still in Savasana, Deep Relaxation Pose, when Adam’s car pulled into the driveway. As he approached the house I put a finger on my lips for him to be quiet and motioned through the window to wait outside.

A minute later I brought the students back up  to a sitting position and ended the class.

I told Jill that Adam was waiting outside. As the door opened and students began leaving, Jill and Adam greeted each other. They stepped off to the side, a few feet away from the front door, where they could talk.

A few seconds after Jill and Adam met, I heard another student, Liz, exclaim, “Oh,” “That’s Adam Johnson, Diane’s  boyfriend!”

Talk about the cosmos pulling my yoga mat out from under me!

The Zen Master with the big stick had arrived. And he was hitting me full force on the head.

The moment I heard Liz say “That’s Diane’s boyfriend,” I knew it was true, even as in the next moment I told myself, “There must be some explanation.”

Well of course there was. Adam is never short on explanations.

As I found my legs and tried to recover from the blow, I glanced toward Adam for any sign that he heard Liz’s spontaeous outburst.

Adam was totally engrossed in his conversation with Jill. I don’t know how he could have missed it. Maybe I imagined it.

I followed Liz to her car. I said, “Who is Diane?”

She said, “I don’t think Adam expected to see me here. All I know is that that he and Diane have been together for at least  two years – -they have been to my house for dinner a couple of times… They live together…as far as I know they were still together at Christmas…. And they live in the same place…”

I know this happens all the time, since the beginning of time, all over the world — but still I had trouble wrapping my head around it.

Who was this man, really?

While  Liz was telling me all this I vaguely realized that if Adam had arrived a few minutes later he and Liz would not have bumped into each other. There was really only about a two-minute window of time for this synchronicity to occur.  Liz  goes straight from the yoga room to her car and zooms home.

In my pre menopause  years when  things like his happened I would have been screaming and yelling and calling Adam a liar and cheater.

But now I did no such thing.

Liz said she would call Diane and find out if Adam and her were still couple.

I said, “Please find out as much as you can. I do not date men involved with someone else.”

That old familiar queasiness I felt was not new. I’d been here before. Hadn’t I learned this lesson years ago? What kind of cosmic prank was this?

I went inside.  Jill was gone and Adam was sitting on the couch petting Honey and acting perfectly normal.

Maybe he hadn’t heard anything. No, he wasn’t deaf. He heard. He was just hoping I hadn’t heard.

I said nothing.

I went into the bathroom to calm myself and think.

I decided if he did not volunteer an explanation, I had no choice but to ask him “Who is Diane?”

I would stay calm and hear him out.

And then I would let him have it.

So I said in my most normal, neutral, natural voice, “Let’s go for a walk…”

Dear Reader, I still had no clue what I was really dealing with.

To be continued,

Chapter Nine, the basin, near Pratt Trail

Chapter Ten,  Meditation Mount, the Garden of Peace

Note: This is a work-in-progress.  When all the Chapters are complete the manuscript will go through a rigorous editing process.

The book version of these chapters will have side bars on yoga and writing. Keeping a journal, writing daily, is part of the author’s yoga  practice.

In the immotal words of  the Greek philosopher Socrates (469-469 BC) ,  Know thy self.


8 Responses to “Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Eight: Yoga Room in Ojai”

  1. Bryn Says:

    I’m beside myself.


  2. Candy Says:

    Hurry Suza ❤


  3. Tom Erickson Says:

    It doesn’t say “draft” anywhere that I can see. Unless you had more to say, I think this doen’t need editing. It flows right along! Can’t wait for Nine!


    • Suza Francina Says:

      Thanks so much Tom, a few minutes ago I removed the word “Draft..” I better remove that Comment …


  4. Sarah Says:

    I feel sick! And I also felt that Zen Master’s stick too! Very powerful stuff, Suza. You do realise that we will want a daily update from now on, even when we know the truth? X


  5. nancy Says:

    Sheesh…..I too know this happens every day but it is nevertheless still shocking. I have wondered which is better, to retain an open trusting heart (while still trying to be as wise and discerning as possible), or to be stony and untrusting and a tough nut for only a really emotionally hard-working man to crack….I don’t want to do the latter, just don’t want to. But nobody wants to be played either.


  6. Heather Says:

    I have lived this exact story — amazing I was hoping the man I went through this with was a aberration, I guess not, there are others. I went though it for 2 years before discovering there was another woman. Unbelievable. I am sorry you had to go through this.


    • Suza Francina Says:

      Hi Heather, and I’m sorry you had to go through two years of being lied to! I’m deep into Chapter Nine and will post it in a day or two. Thanks for your friendship and reading along!


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