Posts Tagged ‘writing yoga facebook memoir lying dating’

A snippet from the years with Dr. Holistic Health

July 27, 2014
July 16, 2014
On my second date with Dr. Holistic Health (we’ll call him Ben), I galloped right past every red flag—for the first date had seemed to solidify everything I wanted to see. The first time he came to visit me in my little cabin in Ojai, he brought along his son, Alex, and daughter, Erica, ages ten and eight, which only further endeared him to me. Not only was this alternative doctor rich, successful, and movie-star-handsome, he was a loving, caring dad!
                      They arrived in a white convertible, windblown and laughing, on a warm Saturday afternoon. The kids hopped out and, after some brief introductions while looking dad’s potential new girlfriend up and down, wasted no time in running around the yard, checking out the rope swing, and making a hands-on inspection of my tiny two-room hovel. They noticed the sprouts growing in jars on my kitchen counter, the juicer with scrubbed carrots lined up and ready to go (I knew they’d be sold on me if I let them make fresh carrot and apple juice), my futon bed on the floor, and the green metal freestanding fireplace contraption.”How does the smoke get out?” they wanted to know.Strangest of all to their young eyes accustomed to a world of privilege was my clothesline with a row of yoga shorts, tops, and tights pinned with wooden clothes pins (Alex took one apart to see how it worked).Near the clothesline, they spotted a wooden rack on which some towels were drying. “What’s that, Dad?” they asked. After “Dad” laughingly explained that Suza dried her clothes in the sun, they solemnly asked, “You mean she doesn’t have a dryer?”And, most amazing of all, there was no TV. I later found out that on the drive home the kids had been very concerned. After some discussion between themselves, they cautiously told him, “Dad, we don’t know how to tell you this, but Suza is VERY poor . . . ” Ben joked to me that, to his children, in contrast to their three-story spread with a pool and four cars in the garage, visiting Suza in Ojai was like going to a Third World country. At least I did have a flush toilet and running water . . .

On this foggy morning, I thought about all that while I was shoving a table toward a window and setting up another box fan to blow the cool morning air into the house.

I want to be fully present while I’m straightening up the yoga room, washing last night’s dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning up the dog poop . . . But as the days fly by, I have to ask myself, “Where is this all going? Am I just a bag of bones and memories?”

Maybe this is all whirling in my head even more than usual, as I just finished reading Dying to Be Me, in which the author describes her near-death experience when she all at once saw everything that had ever happened to her. So why not while still alive? Everywhere I look, I see my own past—the stages of life that I’ve moved through—and my own potential future.

For all intents and purposes, I’m now in the nun stage of life. The days of dating doctors who sniff “nose candy” and drop Ecstasy in my orange juice are behind me. It’s my turn to step back and observe, and to learn from those who are still on the sex-and-romance merry-go-round. I joke about donning some kind of maroon robe; it would probably be good for my business. According to the yogic tradition, at this age I’m done with my householder child-raising and wifely duties, and I can now disappear into the forest. If there were a monastery that welcomed dogs, where I could earn my keep teaching yoga and peeling potatoes, I’d gladly move in and take a break from worldly responsibilities.

But I wouldn’t take any vows of poverty or chastity. I always like the option of changing my mind.

* * *
Photo by Ruth Miller: Supported Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), a gentle inversion that teaches us to let go and also how to revive ourselves. This is sublime yoga medicine for the beginning and end of the day. It aids the return of blood from the legs to the heart and the circulation of lymph fluid throughout the body. It helps relieve stress headaches, stabilizes blood pressure, and feels wonderful for the internal organs. Above all, with steady practice it gives us a taste of divine rest.

Photo: On my second date with Dr. Holistic Health (we'll call him Ben), I galloped right past every red flag—for the first date had seemed to solidify everything I wanted to see. The first time he came to visit me in my little cabin in Ojai, he brought along his son, Alex, and daughter, Erica, ages ten and eight, which only further endeared him to me. Not only was this alternative doctor rich, successful, and movie-star-handsome, he was a loving, caring dad! </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>On a warm Saturday afternoon, they arrived windblown and laughing in a white convertible. The kids hopped out and, after some brief introductions while looking dad's potential new girlfriend up and down, wasted no time in running around the yard, checking out the rope swing, and making a hands-on inspection of my tiny two-room hovel. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>They noticed the sprouts growing in jars on my kitchen counter, the juicer with scrubbed carrots lined up and ready to go (I knew they'd be sold on me if I let them make fresh carrot and apple juice), my futon bed on the floor, and the green metal freestanding fireplace contraption. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>"How does the smoke get out?" they wanted to know. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Strangest of all to their young eyes accustomed to a world of privilege was my clothesline with a row of yoga shorts, tops, and tights pinned with wooden clothes pins (Alex took one apart to see how it worked). </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Near the clothesline, they spotted a wooden rack on which some towels were drying. "What's that, Dad?" they asked. After “Dad" laughingly explained that Suza dried her clothes in the sun, they solemnly asked, "You mean she doesn't have a dryer?” </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>And, most amazing of all, there was no TV. I later found out that on the drive home the kids had been very concerned. After some discussion between themselves, they cautiously told him, "Dad, we don't know how to tell you this, but Suza is VERY poor . . . " Ben joked to me that, to his children, in contrast to their three-story spread with a pool and four cars in the garage, visiting Suza in Ojai was like going to a Third World country. At least I did have a flush toilet and running water . . . </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>On this foggy morning, I thought about all that while I was shoving a table toward a window and setting up another box fan to blow the cool morning air into the house. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>I want to be fully present while I’m straightening up the yoga room, washing last night's dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning up the dog poop . . . But as the days fly by, I have to ask myself, "Where is this all going? Am I just a bag of bones and memories?” </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Maybe this is all whirling in my head even more than usual, as I just finished reading Dying to Be Me, in which the author describes her near-death experience when she all at once saw everything that had ever happened to her. So why not while still alive? Everywhere I look, I see my own past---the stages of life that I've moved through---and my own potential future.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>For all intents and purposes, I'm now in the nun stage of life. The days of dating doctors who sniff "nose candy" and drop Ecstasy in my orange juice are behind me. It's my turn to step back and observe, and to learn from those who are still on the sex-and-romance merry-go-round. I joke about donning some kind of maroon robe; it would probably be good for my business. According to the yogic tradition, at this age I'm done with my householder child-raising and wifely duties, and I can now disappear into the forest. If there were a monastery that welcomed dogs, where I could earn my keep teaching yoga and peeling potatoes, I’d gladly move in and take a break from worldly responsibilities. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>But I wouldn't take any vows of poverty or chastity. I always like the option of changing my mind.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>* * *<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Photo by Ruth Miller: Supported Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani), a gentle inversion that teaches us to let go and also how to revive ourselves. This is sublime yoga medicine for the beginning and end of the day. It aids the return of blood from the legs to the heart and the circulation of lymph fluid throughout the  body. It helps relieve stress headaches, stabilizes blood pressure, and feels wonderful for the internal organs. Above all, with steady practice it gives us a taste of divine rest.

Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir, Yoga Teacher Magazine

January 28, 2014

 Book Review by Ivan Nahem,  founder/editor, Yoga Teacher Magazine

Suza_book_cover_on_trail_with_Honey

Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir is a well-told, well-paced and timeless tale. It’s really not all that much about yoga per se, although one might say it’s about the wisdom that comes from both yoga and suffering. Suza is a renowned yoga teacher with several wonderful instruction books to her credit, but this is more about her personal life, a disappointed-in-love story. As in most memoirs, the author is a good part of the story, and here she’s quite a character in and of herself. And the portraits of the supporting cast are vivid (especially the villain), and we even get fine ambience in the description of the Ojai environment, including the yoga scene there.

What threw me a few times while immersing myself in this story is that I kept hurting for the author, cringing for her unfortunate decisions, sharing her distress over the jerk with whom she was falling in love, and with whom she kept thinking, despite mounting evidence, she could make it work. Maybe it’s because I live with the handicap of being a guy and so I know guys – as in the principle that you can’t bullshit a bullshitter (not that I’m anything of the sort, of course!) ― he just seemed transparent, such a scammer, the kind of guy you run for the hills from. He proves to be a pathological liar, the kind of person who lies to themselves at such a deep level that lying is a way of life. AND he’s terrified of sex and does everything he can to avoid any such real situations; love is just power play. As a reader I sensed early on where the pattern was headed, so I knew that this paramour was a lost cause and that sometimes made the narrator’s choices appear inexplicable. In any case there were times when her hurt was so raw — and then she would see him AGAIN! — and I was quite tempted to hurl the book against the wall, but the book is actually in my Kindle, so that would have been counterproductive.

470591_10150741641279703_266408929_oAnd if I reflect in all honesty, I’ve been deceived myself a few times, so my discomfort with her naiveté is ultimately unwarranted. It’s apparent that Suza’s story strikes a chord, especially among other women (shocking surprise!). Recently I had a dialog with another yoga teacher about her lying ex-husband (or “wasband” as she put it) and how deceived she felt in that relationship . . . Well obviously this is not a unique theme, but Suza makes the story work with all the very verisimilitude detail. If you’re in the mood for a cautionary tale like this, definitely give it a read. Suza’s a deft writer and her voice is very welcome.

Ivan Nahem is the founder/editor of Yoga Teacher Magazine.
http://www.yogateachermagazine.com/review/fishing-on-facebook%3A-a-writing-yoga-memoir

Time for a Little Levity

May 8, 2013

Time for a little levity:

Last Friday I walked into my bank. Way on the other side of the room I immediately spotted “Liz,” the character in my book who blew the whistle on “Adam.” If it hadn’t been for her revelation, who knows how much longer the charade would have played on.

I hadn’t seen Liz in more than two years, and for a second my mind went into a spin. She walked over to where I was filling out my deposit slip and we gave each other a hug.

“I see you got your book published,” she said, laughing.

“Yes, I did!” I replied. “Did you read it?”

“Yes, I did!” she said, with a knowing smile all over her face.

We just looked at each other and laughed as we each remembered the synchronicity of Adam arriving just as she was leaving my Sunday-morning yoga class, and the look on her face when she recognized him.

“I’ve lost all respect for him,” she confided as the teller credited my deposit. We laughed and chatted some more as Honey and Chico ate the biscuits the teller gave them.

“The good thing about writing that book,” I said, “was that I learned how to write dialogue. That book got me going on turning my journals into memoirs.”

Bumping into Liz at the bank made my day. I walked out of there feeling like a wealthy woman.

Health—including mental health—is wealth!

Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir

Suza_Book_Cover_Front_Only(1)

Spring Equinox Giveaway: Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir (Kindle edition)

March 20, 2013

Suza_Book_Cover_Front_Only(1) “You own everything that happened to you.
Tell your stories.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them
they should have behaved better.”
—Anne Lamott

Spring Equinox Giveaway! For those who missed it the last time, the Kindle edition of Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir is free for five days: Wednesday, March 20, through Sunday, March 24, 2013.

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
–Mark Twain

Reviews

I want to direct people to Suza Francina’s engaging, honest story about a dating saga many women can relate to. With class and seriousness, but humor too, Suza exposes the experiences of dating at mid life and older, and the mistakes a woman makes when presented with charm that appears and disappears.
—Nancy Gross, editor, publisher, The Bubble

I think it’s great that you are going public with this, to warn other women but also so he can see what he looks like. No sense of bitterness or vengeance seeps into the story, so it does have this objective view to it. —Richard Laubly, educational consultant, Paris, France

New Reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars A Service To All
By EmilyB – This review is from: Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir (Paperback)
Thank you for writing this book. I really enjoyed reading it and I think your honest and spiritual (and very human) approach is relatable and offers the reality of healing and growth after painful & traumatic experiences of the heart. This book is a service to all.

By Jenny (USA) —I really enjoyed this book! It was a good one that I couldn’t put down long. I’d keep thinking about it, wondering what was up and end up getting right back into it. It grabbed my attention from the very beginning.

(Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir is available at local bookstores, including Made in Ojai, The Rainbow Warehouse, Soul Centered, the Ojai Library, The Best of VC Marketplace, Barnes & Noble, and bookstores nationwide. All proceeds help the author feed her rescue animals.)

Stories about the book:

Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir, How It All Looks a Year Later

Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir, small town version of what goes on nationally

Suza_book_cover_on_trail_with_Honey       470591_10150741641279703_266408929_o467405_10150743640074703_301792493_o

Last night I made a fatal error

November 11, 2012

Last night I made a fatal error. For the life of me I could not fall asleep. I usually hit the astral plane while reaching for the light switch but on this night I lay awake, waiting . . . waiting . . . but peaceful oblivion never came.

At 2 a.m. I wrote in my journal: “It’s no use, the muse won’t let me sleep.” Bleary-eyed, desperate, I got in the shower, hoping the luxury of hot water would beat the insomnia devil out of me. If only I did not have to get up early, walk dogs, feed cats, pack car, get dressed, look good, and go to my book signing in faraway Santa Paula to which probably nobody will come. Then I could have channeled my hyperactive mind into a story. But I feared that if I turned on the computer then I would be really doomed!

Then it dawned on me. At around 11 p.m. I thought I’d have a nice cup of hot tea. Everything looked so homey in the dim yellow bug light, cats snoozing on my pillows, Honey’s large black body sprawled in the center of the mattress, and Chico wrapped up in a wicker basket. A cup of tea would cap the scene. Why oh why didn’t I just hit the hay? Instead, without thinking, I drank a cup of Zhena’s coconut chai black gypsy tea. The label says, CAFFEINE MODERATE.

Realizing this, I stopped fighting, wrapped myself up in three yoga blankets like a mummy, and just lay there flat on my back like in Savasana, Corpse Pose, watching my breath. . . . and sometime, before the crack of dawn, slipped slowly into merciful sleep . . . .

Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir, How It All Looks a Year Later

August 15, 2012


You own everything that happened to you.
Tell your stories.

If people wanted you to write warmly about them

they should have behaved better.

—Anne Lamott

Last night I reread the last two Chapters of my memoir for fun—not to catch errors—and I found myself laughing and thinking, “It’s so good!” (I don’t have a publicist, so please forgive  this momentary lapse in modesty.)

I wrote on my Facebook page, “Laugh if you like, but the way out is through! Don’t suppress your personal stories. Bring them out into the light of day. Write in your journal . . . talk with friends who are a few miles ahead of you on the road of life, find a therapist you resonate with . . . whatever it takes ! Memoirs provide an opportunity for  writers to share aspects of themselves not possible in casual conversation and sometimes not even in a formal therapeutic setting. I’ve learned so much about the human condition from the memoirs I’ve read. Maybe you’ll learn something from mine.”
A few hours later, I spotted the above quote by Anne Lamott. I said to myself,  “Every time the idealistic-yoga-zealot-guilty-goodie-two-shoes-pentecostal-christian-daughter and the writer get in a fight in my head over whether I should say something or not, I’m gonna pull that quote out of my hat!”
Ever since I first published a draft of Fishing on Facebook on the Ojai Post and my blog, suzaji.com, about a year and a half ago, I’ve gotten a steady stream of public comments and  private messages. I’ve heard secrets (from both strangers and friends I’ve known for many years) that they might not have felt safe to confide to me had they not read my story.
  After the paperback edition was published (in April 2012), on several occasions when I’ve walked in the door to teach a yoga class, students have told me that Fishing on Facebook was the most honest memoir they’ve ever read.  (Having read stacks of soul-bearing memoirs, I wouldn’t go that far, but I appreciate that they say this.) None of my fears around “What will my students think?” have materialized. On the contrary, they now feel more free to speak the truth about their own lives and share their own stories. Our social masks are falling away.

Here’s one excerpt from a yoga teacher’s response to my book, lightly edited to preserve her privacy:
Hi Suza,
We met many years ago at your studio. I would love to talk with you about your book. I have had the unfortunate experience of being involved with a yoga narcissist/ sociopath. It has been a long journey of dealing with him, and also with the yoga community embracing narcissism and this guy—and the others like him—and calling it spirituality.
In my case, he is a kirtan singer, welcomed into studios across the country and at yoga conferences to create “spiritual experiences” while being the antithesis of that behind the scenes. Plainly, he is a fraud. But for me to say this publicly—even to warn others—has not been a possibility.
I have had to retreat from the yoga community and watch while people make the choice to suspend their critical thinking and be drawn into what they want to be true.
I feel the yoga community is desperately in need of some self-reflection, looking at the hard things—not simply alienating the con-artists who prey on those seeking true spiritual insight, but questioning ourselves as a whole. Also, some self-defense against narcissists who find easy cover in spiritual disguises. As you know, even strong, smart, savvy women (and men) can fall prey.
Up to now I have mostly retreated from it as I watched yogi after yogi opt for star-power over integrity. It has broken my heart. I have been considering ways to confront this in a larger way within the yoga world as a whole. But I think now that others are coming forward with their experiences it may be the time to do something. (For example, teaching using the yamas* and niyamas *—ethical precepts—for self-empowerment to avoid narcissists. How to change your perspective without giving up your boundaries. Etc.)
As two people who have been around the world of yoga a long time before it was part of popular culture, I think it would be great if we could connect. Would you be open to sharing and hearing more about my experiences and thoughts? Maybe together and with others we could nudge this yoga life back from the “spiritual” precipice to be a bit more grounded. At least, maybe spare a few people from having to go through what we did.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for putting yourself out there so bravely. I know how hard it is, and I appreciate that you have.


****

 

Finding my balance in nature

   A few days ago someone asked, “So how do you tell a sociopath from a real emotionally available man (or woman)?” My response is that at first it may not be easy to tell the difference. Even professionals in the mental health and legal fields can be duped. Anyone who thinks they can’t be fooled hasn’t met one of these charming, often highly intelligent characters, often involved in all kinds of good causes, environmental activism, politics, and spiritual and religious endeavors.

But as far as the dating/relationship world is concerned, had I done a background check on the antagonist in my book I would have seen from the get-go that he was lying about certain aspects of his life. So first thing is check the facts—do not assume anything. Alas, as my book illustrates and as many of us have experienced, when we “fall in love,” we tend to resist the notion that the person looking into our eyes and nuzzling our neck could possibly be lying!
Just now as I was feeding my four-legged menagerie I was thinking I hope people don’t think I’m all doom and gloom with all these writings about relationships that could be interpreted as negative. I can honestly say I’ve never felt more liberated and empowered in my life. I have my moments when I’m weary of having to deal with flat tires, clogged drains, a hovel that’s falling apart, no one to walk the dogs but me, etc., but those moments pass. If there is such a thing as past lives, this might be the first incarnation in which it’s even possible for me to survive on my own and be the master of my own fate. Perhaps singlehood is a golden opportunity that has yet to be fully explored.

 

 
From the Afterword:
So, what have I learned from all this?
I now have a deeper understanding of why women, for the most part, don’t speak out. Or if they do speak out, why they often wait for years, till something pushes them over the edge.
We do not want to risk not being believed. Or being viewed as vindictive. Or appearing gullible and naive.
Society gives the man a pass and asks her, “Why were you so easily duped?” [or the woman, as the case may be]

Our culture tends to blame the victim—”You should have known better!”—rather than holding the liar accountable. We yogis and spiritual types dream of becoming enlightened by chanting, doing our asanas, our breathing
practices, walking in nature, doing good deeds and imagining
love and light.
In years of yoga workshops, meditation retreats and relationship counseling the term “pathological liar” never came up. Yoga and other spiritual practices have the potential for expanding consciousness and giving some semblance
of inner peace, but we are fooling ourselves if we run away from the darker side of life.
All my adult life, the mantra, “look for the good,” has been drummed into me. The problem with looking for the good is that too often we do so at the expense of denying the bad.
Our great psychological challenge, both in human relationships and the wider world, is to see what actually is, without projection, without the veil of illusion, and thus see the mixed bag that all human beings are.
Psychologists point to the universal desire to hear, see, and speak no evil.  The problem with that desire is that we fail to recognize the true nature of people we encounter in daily life. Sociopaths have a mask which is used to fool others and to make themselves, on the surface, look like they are good people.

 
 
For Reviews and to Look Inside the Book:
 
Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir is available at Made in Ojai, The Rainbow Warehouse, Soul Centered,  the Ojai Library, Barnes & Noble,  other bookstores, and Amazon.com.Notes:*Yama and Niyama are the ethical precepts such as non-violence, non-stealing, and truthfulness set forth in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as the first and second of the eight limbs of yoga.  The practice of yoga begins with Yama and Niyama, and extends into asana and the other limbs of yoga.

Fishing On Facebook, Afterword and Resources

July 27, 2011

Update, May 31, 2012:

One of the benefits of self publishing is that you can make changes even after publication.  Last week I submitted a third round of corrections since publication on April 10, 2012 —mostly punctuation and grammar mistakes.

Here is a link to “Look Inside” the book which features the opening pages and excerpts from the Afterword and Resource section: http://www.amazon.com/Fishing-Facebook-Writing-Yoga-Memoir/dp/1467963992

Update, December 23, 2011:

Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir, will be available on Amazon.com, other sites and bookstores, April 2012.

The Afterword is being revised — again!

It’s the Friday before Thanksgiving. The writer in me can’t help but remember my sorry state of mind on this very day, exactly one year ago. It rained that night, and I felt sad and alone. An editor friend sent me this quote, that she knew I would like:

A thought for today:
A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.
–Jorge Luis Borges, writer (1899-1986)

Namaste.

Suza Francina

Ojai, California

www.Suzafrancina.com

Suza Francina
Thank you, Writing Yoga author Bruce Black, for this auspicious quote:
A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is. … As I sit at my table for days, months, years, slowly adding words to the empty pages, I feel as if I were bringing into being that other person inside me, in the same way that one might build a bridge or a dome, stone by stone. … The writer’s secret is not inspiration for it is never clear where that comes from but stubbornness, endurance….
– Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize winner

Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Fourteen: Stick with Honey

May 18, 2011

A pathological liar is like a four year old kid, who tells you what happened to him down by the lake. Meanwhile, there’s no lake.

The important question here is this: does the pathological liar know he is lying?  Or does he believe his stories?  Is he lying, or is he delusional?

The answer is: both. Sort of.

He is not delusional, but he hovers in that half-world of the narcissist…where the lies are believed until he gets caught, but then– and this is the move that only a few can pull off– he acknowledges that the “facts” are lies, but not the essence, the spirit. 

— The Last Psychiatrist: Pathological Liars

This is Chapter Fourteen, the last Chapter of a true story. All of the names (except the author’s) and some of the locations have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011, Full Moon in Scorpio.

Six weeks have gone by since I started writing this story in April. I thought I had made a clean break. Except for those last phone calls a few hours after we broke up at the Garden Terrace Restaurant on March 10th, there was no more communication between Adam and I. No phone calls, no e-mails, no Facebook messages or comments, not even a “Like.”

OK, I confess I did a peek at Adam’s Facebook page and saw that a few days after our break up he was back fishing in full swing: “I’m going to a potluck tomorrow. Anybody have an easy casserole recipe?” Seven sirens took the bait and posted easy cheesy dishes complete with shopping and baking hints, no doubt imagining Adam in his bachelor kitchen, all alone, just as I did.

It’s a good thing none of them asked if they could come along. Because there was no potluck “tomorrow.”

How do I know there was no potluck?

Because, toward the end of the time that I was dating Adam, I gradually came to realize that he was describing events on Facebook that did not actually take place in real time, similar to the emails he sent me at Christmas and New Years where he described his out of town trips. Because of my friendship with Diane, I could now do a reality check. If he posted he was going to a potluck, for example, she would observe him and report whether or not he even left the house at the time of the event in question.

Women were still falling hook line and sinker, just as I did.

Think you’d never fall for a guy like Adam? Think again. How about this one:

Spent the morning in meditation in the gardens at Krotona Hill, in Ojai. It was so quiet and peaceful. I let the beauty of the natural surroundings soak in and let my spirit wander.

Sounds sweet, doesn’t it ? Only problem is, again, he wasn’t there. Yes, he was there another time, so the spirit of the Comment is true. But on this particular day Adam never left the house. Diane confirmed that he was home the morning of the date in question.

If you think you would not be fooled, think again. Men like Adam are charming and have the gift of gab. We not only fall for them, we vote them into office. Adam was elected by the people, four times, so far. I have no doubt that if he runs again, he will schmooze his way to victory. Diane tells me that a few months ago he told her he pulled papers to run for office. When she asked him, “What if the voters find out about your past with women, “ he just shrugged and said, “The American people are forgiving. They don’t really care about personal stuff like that. “

When I told her that it was way too early to file papers for the seat in question (I called County Elections to verify this) she said, “Even after all this time, he fools me.”

Adam’s transgressions are small potatoes next to the Arnold’s and Edward’s of the world.

The patriarchy gives them all a pass.

As for me, if it wasn’t for my journals and journalistic habit of saving letters, and my new friendship with Diane, I might have dropped Adam into the cellar of my unconscious and locked the door. I deliberately avoided certain meetings and green type events, and hoped I wouldn’t bump into him anywhere, not even on the astral plane.

His letters were so beautifully written that two weeks after I broke up with him I was still asking Diane if such and such incident was really something he just pulled out of thin air such as leaving town for Christmas and New Years.

I just could not accept that a man who opened his Love Letters with “My Dearest Suza,” could be lying through his teeth.

It did not help when my women friends tried to console me by saying, “Anyone would have been fooled by him, Suza.”

Only one friend was totally unsympathetic. She said, “Stick with Honey.”

And through it all, my friendship with Diane flourished:

On Saturday, March 26, I emailed:

Thank you, Diane, I really appreciate all your messages. I realize that I’m not completely recovered yet. I still get mad when I think about all the lies. I do not speak to Adam because he has created a situation where I no longer know  what to believe. Now even if he is telling the truth I am apt to think he is lying.  I no longer give him the benefit of a doubt.

Diane replied:

Of course you are not completely recovered from this situation.  It will haunt you for months and months.  You were lied to, taken advantage, and fell in love.  You can’t expect to recover overnight.  The worst part is that you need to get rid of these feelings before you can move on.  I am so sorry this is happening to you, you are such a sweet lovely person. 

And I replied that same day:

The worst lie Adam told was that he does not lie. He swore the story about you and your house  was an isolated incident. And that he would not lie in the future!

 

I think I also feel humiliated that I was not more suspicious of him and introduced him to many friends. It strikes me as so mean on his part because so much of my trust in him was based on us having this long Ojai history.  We know so many of the same people.

 

The next day, Sunday, March 27, Diane wrote:

You cannot let your experience with him keep you from doing what you love the most.  It was not your fault, you were a very trusting person, .  Let people know the truth. Believe me, so many of us have been duped by men.  We all have had bad experiences.

Women understand these things — that some men are just creeps.  You have nothing to be ashamed of Suza, you are a very trusting, loving, and kind person.  I hope that one of these days you will find someone that deserves you. 

Believe me, before Adam finds someone and is happy with her, he has a lot of changing to do.  Will he do that? I don’t know but it is not our problem.  He has been doing this for a long time, decades.  He has to face his own problems and want to change.  You can only lead a horse to water you cannot make him drink. 

It is really sad because Adam loves plants, animals, the earth, and all the things that nature brings to this world, but he doesn’t like himself.  There is nothing we can do to help him unless he wants to help himself.  He has had a lot of time to do that and still he continues down the same old path. 

When will he stop using women and start liking himself?

  I wish you would share your experience with your women friends.

* * * *

Then, wham, three days after this email exchange with Diane, out of the blue, I saw Adam’s cell number on my land line call-waiting screen. I did not take the call. A few minutes later it popped up again. Still did not take it. Just kept right on yakking with one of my honest women friends.

A few minutes later, I heard my cell phone ring. When I played it later, there was a message from Adam. True to form, it had a hook.

Hi Suza, this is Adam. I just finished giving a talk on the environment at Moorpark College…“

He was all ready to make nice.

I could not risk returning his call. But I was curious if he’d followed up on our last conversation three weeks ago about getting some therapy for his lying.

I emailed Diane:

Adam just called out of the blue and left a message saying he just gave a talk…

She wrote back:

He did? Look out! Why do you think he is using that environmental talk as an opening?

On Thursday, March 30, at 6 am, I wrote:

Adam,

I was on the phone when you called my land line. Got your message on my cell .

I am still grieving and it is too painful to talk to you. It will take me some time to process the fact that by lying to me you also stole from me. You think you are honest because you don’t steal money but by pretending to be someone you are not you stole my trust, my time and my affection.

 

Please let me know if you’ve gotten counseling or therapy about your lying. Pathological lying is like alcoholism and drug addiction. You are in denial as to the seriousness of your illness, just like an alcoholic is in denial. 

 

The last time we spoke you said you would get help.

Half hour later Adam sent the following reply:

 

Hi Suza:

My first therapy session is scheduled for next week.

I hope that you will take some time to enjoy the season of spring.  There is so much beauty out there right now.  Do you know I counted over thirty wildflower species over in the Casitas Watershed area?

If you can get away from Ojai for a day trip, you must see the hundreds of acres of wildflower meadows up at Fogueroa Mountain (north of Solvang), or the upper desert carpeted with orange California poppies at the Antelope Valley poppy Preserve.

 

Thanks,

Adam

Well that made me mad. Forget about the wildflowers. I did not believe for one minute that he had scheduled a first therapy session next week.

Two can play this game. I fired back:

Adam, please  tell me more about where you are having your first therapy session. The date, time, place, etc.

 

You must realize that without this information  I cannot believe you.

 

When I wrote this email I also mentioned that I questioned some of the “facts,” he had noted in one of his recent editorials.

That evening Adam sent the following reply:

Hi Suza:

My therapy will be done through the Santa Barbara County Mental Health Department. (That’s where I have my medical insurance). The staff said they will call me this coming Monday to schedule my first session on either Tuesday or Thursday, after my work hours.

People may have gotten the wrong impression from that comment in my editorial. I need to be more careful in how I speak and write, giving wrong impressions. I am trying to learn.

And ever the master at distracting me, he added:

How did your event at WordFest go for you?

Best,

Adam

OK. I’ll play along. I ignored his WordFest question and wrote back:

I look forward to hearing about your first therapy session next Tuesday  or Thursday.

Let me know the name of your therapist and how it goes.

In addition to all the emotional pain that your lies have caused,  the other tragedy is that even when you are telling the truth, people will think you are lying.

It took a few hours for Adam to dream up an answer but when he did, it was a killer.

Hi Suza:

I hope that all is well with you up in the Ojai Valley. 

When I called you the other night, I was only calling to see how you were doing.  It was not a call to try and get you to believe or not believe anything I am doing. We both know that is hopeless. 

If we had talked I would have kept the conversation on lights things, like how you did at WordFest,, the weather, spring flowers in the valley, etc.

I do not feel comfortable  sharing with you any information about my therapy meeting location, therapists name,etc.

One night after your meeting with Diane, she shared a few things with me about your meeting. ( It was interesting how you both had totally different versions of your meetings, oh how us humans have a different perspective on exactly the same thing). 

Diane said she thought that you might be a vindictive woman over all of this and she seemed upset that I had told you where my new job was. 

She thought you might try to do something to wreck the job for me.  She also said you know where she lives.

Since we both trust Diane I have to believe her, So in the back of my mind I am thinking, why does Suza want this information and how will she use it (or perhaps use it against me). 

I do believe that mental health information is private.  But I will be happy to give you a general overview of my therapy.

 And since I understand that you will not believe that I will attend sessions, I thought you or I, or both of us, could ask Diane (again we both trust her, and you did tell me you were becoming good friends) that once I get started, to meet me at one of my sessions and watch me walk into the therapist’s office. 

This way Diane could report to you that I did go in. 

But she would not reveal to you the location or name of the therapist.

Again I am not doing any of this to get you to believe or not believe me.  We both know that is hopeless. 

The therapy is for myself.

There is something that you did tell me once about all this.  You said if I just told the truth, that it would be no big thing to people.  Instead of something I thought was shameful and negative. 

So while meeting several new women over the past couple of weeks, when it was appropriate, in the conversation, I mentioned that I have been married before. I also explained that I live with Diane. 

And you are right. Nobody thinks it’s a big deal. 

How refreshing!

Thank you for that.

Enjoy this lovely spring,

Adam

Now the blinders were really off!

I saw Adam as a cold, cruel, calculating predator.

I told Diane:

Now I am seeing  a really cruel  streak in him. He is like a person that stabs you in the heart and then smiles and says, “Enjoy spring … enjoy the beautiful wildflowers…” 

 

His killer Letter just about did me in! 

I was livid!  

All my yoga and Krishnamurti peace & love good Christian philosophy flew out the window. Every button in my psyche was pushed to the max.

Adam’s lying about getting therapy for his lying, accusing me of “fatal attraction,” stalking him at his home and job, and telling me all these other women didn’t think it was any big deal that he lived with Diane (“how refreshing”) so infuriated and enraged me it took every bit of restraint I could muster not to blast him on his lying Facebook page.

I wanted to throttle the daylight out of him.

I wanted to wring his sun-kissed neck, the same neck that I nuzzled up to at Beatrice Wood’s garden when I thought he was some kind of groovy outdoorsy woodsy nature loving eligible enlightened bachelor only a few months ago.

My John Muir man was worse than a total impostor! A man my friend Macy dubs as a “Pretend Man.”

It makes me sick to think I kissed his lying lips right in Beatrice Wood’s front yard.

How could I forget Beto’s hard-won wisdom, “All men are bastards*.”

I should have branded that quote on my quadriceps.

What could I do at the end of this absurd exchange but laugh!

It was the only weapon I could use without getting arrested.

It took every ounce of will-power to keep from doing something crazy and vindictive.

I had to lie down in the Goddess Pose.

I managed to respond to his email. I planned to then send his emails to Diane. I would not have done this had he not lied about what she said.

On Saturday, April 2, the day before I started writing this story, I wrote:

In your own words at Meditation Mount, you have “taken my heart and squashed it.” 

 To now accuse me of doing something to wreck your job when I shared in your happiness and expressed my support, even after we broke up,  is beyond cruel.

I spent hours working on your resume and wrote letters recommending you to my friends for work. Have you forgotten this?

 

I will ask Diane to verify that you are getting therapy.

Adam was incorrigible. A few hours later he wrote back:

Subject line: This is getting interesting

Suza:

 

  I, (me-Adam) did not say you would do something bad about my new job. It was just a concern Diane expressed to me about you. 

I trust her, don’t you? She mentioned the term “fatal attraction,” so she might have been thinking along those lines.

 

  I mentioned to Diane that you would call her to get things straightened out.

 

I am curious, since you and I no longer have any relationship or ever will in the future (you could not or should not  ever trust me again) why do you care what I do in life, therapy, job,etc.?

 

Don’t you believe in moving on?

 

Enjoy spring,

 

Adam

As you can imagine, I flew even further over the edge. Adam was like some demon stabbing me in the heart, all the while smiling and saying, “Enjoy spring.”

What a jerk!

I should have disconnected my phone and internet service right then and there.

Instead, I wrote back:

May I remind you that I did not call you. You called me.

 Your definition of “moving on” is “move on to the next woman and play the same game over and over again.”

 

It takes time to heal when someone you trust and bare your soul to betrays you.

 

I asked if you were getting therapy to help determine whether or not I might speak to you in person. And to see if you kept your word.

Adam, unruffled, wrote back:

Subject line: A simple phone call

Suza:

 

  Yes, you are right. I did call you.  But, as I said in an earlier email, my phone call was just to see how you were doing, not to try to get you to meet me or believe me in any way. 

As I said, had we actually talked I would have kept the conversation light.

 

  I had no idea that a simple call would have generated all of these emails between us.

 

Again that is not what I wanted. Out of respect,  I will not contact you again.

 

Adam

 

  I could not leave this world without writing back one more time:

I’m sad to say that the fact that you think that you can make a “simple” phone call only tells me that you have not really reflected on the consequences of your actions.

 I don’t want to make light conversation with a man who has lied to me until he has demonstrated that he understands the emotional havoc his duplicity caused.

 It saddens me deeply that after all we have been through you would actually lie to me about getting therapy for lying.

 In spite of it all, I am a human being with deep compassion for other people. I hope you get the help you need. Your lies are tainting your work for the environment and wildlife.

 I would like to know how your work is going and miss our meaningful talks But it is just too painful to talk to you under the present circumstances.

A little later I forwarded Diane our insane exchange:.
Subject: Adam’s reply. Tell me if you actually said any of this!

She wrote back:

I did not say that.  As you may or may not have noticed he did not cite any examples.  Good try Adam!!!  This therapy cannot begin soon enough.  You need to stop e-mailing him, the animals can take care of themselves.


Later Diane and I discussed all this. She reminded me how laughable his accusations were. Her home address is listed in the phone book and on the internet. Adam seems to have forgotten that when we first met he told me that he had a problem with women stalking him.  I’ve never even driven past their house.

  On Sunday April 3, the day I began writing this story, Diane wrote:

I was watching TV with my mother and I kept thinking about his e-mail to you. 

I never said that you could be vindictive and call about his job.  

Adam told me that you were the one that wanted me to follow him to his therapy session and watch him go in. 

I told him ‘No” I would do no such thing!

He has no appointment for therapy. And if he did, how could it work? He would lie to the therapist.

Suza, we did not have different stories about our conversation over breakfast at Coffee Emporium  He is making this all up. I don’t know why. 

************************

And now, at last, we come to the end of the story. Now you know what pushed me over the edge, why I wrote in Chapter One, on April 3, 2011:

Yesterday I got so mad that I ran into Rainbow Bridge and bought two slices of Raw Vegan Cheesecake, the only real treat on the Planet with no calories. And a bottle of Pacific Redwood Organic Red Mendocino Wine, the least expensive bottle on the shelf. While unlocking my E-bike, I overheard two women talking about how men in their age range (50 to 100) are now looking for women to support them. One said that the last man who left her hooked up with a woman who owns a lot of property and she got him to marry her by putting his name on the deed.

I zoomed home on my E bike, sat under a tree and slowly devoured the first piece, labeled “Find your thrill on blueberry hill.” Right away I felt better. I decided to save the wine for a future emergency and fortified myself with a few more bites of the second piece, “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Then I went back inside my little apartment, laid down on my yoga bolster with the soles of my feet together in the Goddess Pose, and waited for my emotions to calm down.

And then I reached for my journal and began this story:

About five months ago, on November 19, 2010, I wrote:

Today I dipped my toe into the muddy waters of relationships. I hardly know this man and already he is causing trouble and disturbing my tranquility. The only way I’m going survive seeing him and not drown in a pool of unconsciousness and all my primal sexual longing, hopes and projections, is to write about it everyday…

May we live like the lotus, at home in muddy water. — Buddha

Still to come: Afterword

Three things cannot be hidden; the sun, the moon and the truth. — Buddha

*Note: Beato’s infamous observation, expressed in the heat of the moment, is not mean to be taken literally!

Fishing On Facebook, Chapter Thirteen: Garden Terrace Restaurant

May 14, 2011

We feel the pain most severely when we uselessly fight against a necessary ending. Holding on is the painful element of letting go. What do we let go of? What we thought the relationship was and found out it was not, what we tried to make it into and could not, what we hoped it would become and saw that it did not, what we believed was there and was not there at all.

David Richo, Jungian/Buddhist author of How to Be an Adult in Relationships

This is Chapter Thirteen, the next to last chapter of a true story.All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective.

On Thursday, March 10, I met Adam at the Garden Terrace Restaurant at 1:00 pm, as noted on my week at-a-glance day timer. When I arrived he was waiting in the parking lot.

When Diane first contacted me only five days ago, I was recovering from the flu. This made it easy to not let the cat out of the bag that we were doing a reality check behind Adam’s back. I’m a terrible liar but under the circumstances I could cough up the half-truth that I was too sick to see him. But now the day of reckoning had arrived.

For a moment it was like old-times. I was happy to see him. We walked into the restaurant together just like on a previous lunch date, looking for all the world like a happy couple. The weather was warm and the sun was shining. He told me how much he liked the lacy blouse I was wearing and that he could see that my hair had grown longer since the last time we met.

We sat down at a table near the window. I ordered my favorite Baby Greens salad, the one with sliced pippin apples and walnuts, and the vegetarian squash soup. He ordered a Tuna Melt. After the waitress took our order, we chatted about light things.

The atmosphere was so lovely and pleasant, the waitress was so friendly, it was a shame to have to bring up anything unpleasant and ruin a nice lunch date.

I decided to wait until after the food arrived to tell him I was conspiring with the enemy. Once I got started I did not want to be interrupted.

Adam asked how my parents were, how my daughter was doing and if Honey missed him. He brought me up to date on various environmental causes. The usual familiar prattle that I so enjoyed.

The difference was that I no longer wore rose-colored glasses. I saw him as a predator. I also saw him as the innocent child of God he was.

As he sat across the table from me, sipping iced tea, I remembered the things about his childhood that he told me on our first date at Farmer and the Cook.

Adam knew that the man who raised him was not his biological father.  But, what he didn’t know was that a man who often visited his family’s ranch and watched Adam grow up, was his true birth father. 

How strange it must have been to find this out at the age of forty-five, and how unsettling to realize that everyone knew but him – his mother, his mother’s husband (the man who raised him and who Adam considers his real father) his grandparents, even his aunts and uncles. 

His biological father had watched him grow up  but never revealed his true identity.

He also found out that his birth father and birth mother had one other child,  a daughter, born two years before Adam.  He had a full-blooded biological sister. That had been kept from him, too.

Adam’s sister didn’t know that the woman who raised her (the wife of her birth father) was not her birth mother, until after she died.  A  relative told her at the funeral that her mother was not her real biological mother.

It was during her search for her birth mother that she learned that she had a brother — Adam — with the same biological mother and father.

It’s not an excuse for lying, but I can’t help but wonder how all this affected Adam’s state of mind. There is ample evidence that children sense the truth of a situation and if it is denied by the adults around them it does influence their perception of Life.

All this was in my head as I looked at Adam and wondered how a person with so many good qualities could look me in the eye and say he and Diane led completely separate lives while they shared a bed together.

When I caught his eye he winked at me but it seemed so phony.

About half way through the soup and salad I could not postpone fate any longer.

We have some serious things to talk about,” I said, very calmly.

He did not look surprised. Or worried.

I reached deep inside and spoke to him from my heart. I never raised my voice or got mad.

I tried not to sound like a schoolmarm lecturing a delinquent boy when I asked if he remembered what I told him that first date at Farmer & the Cook. I’d said, “I demand complete honesty…”

He said, “Yes.”

We’d already been through this twice before. He knew the routine. Acknowledge what was said. Apologize profusely and sincerely. Promise to do better.

I was wasting my breath but habit has a death grip on me as well.

I revisited our conversation at Meditation Mount where I asked him if his lying to me was a one time thing. How he swore he just told those tall tales about his house so that I would go out with him. But other than that he was honest as the day is long.

He acknowledged this interchange too.

I told him that I think his main task in life is to stop lying.

He agreed with that!

Then I cut to the chase and told him that I had made contact with Diane.

I did not reveal that we just had breakfast together. Or that we talked over two hours on the phone and exchanged twenty emails in five days. I made it sound casual.

He said he suspected that we had been talking.

Dang! I should know that a predator stays ahead of his prey.

I felt compelled to justify my sneakiness by reminding him that I’d said all along that if everything was above board he should have no problem with Diane and I talking.

He agreed.

He even acted like he seemed to think it was good that Diane and I talked!

 

I told him that in the course of my communicating with Diane the subject of Christmas and New Years came up. I said, “Diane tells me you were home for Christmas eating a steak dinner.”

Adam shook his head. “Nope,” he said, “I was out of town both weekends.”

I sat taller in my chair and glanced around to be sure no one was eavesdropping.

Diane said that her son will come to my house and personally testify that he sat next to you at Christmas eve dinner.”

Adam adamantly denied all charges.

And then he pulled out the “She’s Just Trying to Get Me Back” card.

She’s just saying all that stuff to try to push you away, ” he said, mockingly.

He basically spun everything I said into a scenario where we girls were fighting over him!

 

When I tried backing him into a corner, he cleverly tried to turn the tables on me.

He said, and I paraphrase here, “You and Diane are just playing games. He said. She said. He said. She said…” insinuating that all this talk behind his back was some kind of a joke where no one really knows the truth.

Then he took the high road and rose above the two females fighting over him and said, “I’m not going to play this game. If you and Diane want to talk and do this ‘he said—she said stuff’–fine. But leave me out of it.”

When I came back with, “Look, either you were at home for Christmas and New Year’s or you were out of town, “ he stuck to his story.

In the midst of this inane exchange Adam struck another low blow.

He tried to lump all three of us into the same lying pot.

He allude that Diane and I were lying to each other about him.

I said, my voice indignant with great dignity, “Adam, you know very well that I have not told Diane any lies about you!”

He must have felt desperate to save face because then he had the  unmitigated gal to say to my face, “But I don’t know that. How can I be sure the two of you aren’t telling lies about me?”

Still flattering himself that we were fighting over him!

Yeah, right. As in “You take him –no –you take him!”

He said that Diane and I were just acting like we were some sort of saints.

I’m surprised he didn’t think to quote the bible: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I have to say that man is fast on his feet – but now that the rose-colored glasses were off everything sounded so ludicrous .

It hit me that I wasn’t going to pull a confession out of him anytime soon .

Maybe I should have taken the coward’s way out and broken up by email. Or better yet, left him a vengeful message on Facebook.

I still had one more thing to get off my chest.

I said, “I searched your name on People Finder. And the names Priscilla Johnson and Janet Johnson came up with yours, with your same address.”

He looked at me as if to say, “So what?” and neither denied nor confirmed any significance to this.

When I asked why he lied about being married he said he felt ashamed about these marriages.

OK. The shame part I understand.

I said, “ All you have to do when someone asks if you’ve been married before is say, ‘Yes.” You don’t have to give details if you don’t want to. Just tell the truth.

It’s not a problem for me that you’ve been married before but it’s a huge problem that you told me all these stories about why you’ve never been married..”

 

He just shook his head and said something like, “Diane is my spokesperson in the marriage department. She can tell you anything you want to know.”

Wow! Suddenly this woman he never spoke with was his spokesperson!

We finished our lunch.

Adam said,  “What’s done is done. The past is the past. I can’t change the past. Time to move on.”

He showed no emotion or remorse.  

This time, unlike the other two times at the Basin and Meditation Mount where I was merciful and gave him another chance, I was clear that the time for making promises was over.

Adam did not say, “Look, I am truly sorry for all the grief I’ve caused you. I know it was wrong for me to start dating you while I am still living with Diane. I am moving out tomorrow and getting counseling …”

He said. “I’m not going to say anything to Diane about this.”

Why not?” I naturally asked.

“What’s the point of talking to her about this?” Diane does not like to discuss things.”

I did not tell him that the person he refers to as “Diane Does Not Like To Discuss Things,” was quite the talker.

At the very end, as we were preparing to leave, he asked, “So does this mean we are no longer boyfriend and girlfriend?”

I couldn’t just simple say, “Yes, that is what it means.”

I honestly didn’t know which answer he would have liked better, seeing as I was so much trouble.

So I said, softly, ” I told you from the very beginning that I cannot date a man who is involved with another woman. The way you portrayed your relationship with Diane is not really how it is.”

He politely thanked me for meeting with him.

When he got up I walked out to the parking lot to say goodbye.

 

He thanked me for having lunch with him. And for seeing him in person. 

I reached out to give him a goodbye hug…but he stepped away.

After he drove off I sat stone still on the curb of the parking lot, hugging myself and staring at the distant mountains. The warm sunlight felt good.

It was only 2pm. Still early in the day.

I went home to Honey, my cats and my yoga bolsters.

I was exhausted.

I fell asleep on a big green yoga bolster in the Goddess Pose.

Then I got up and opened a bottle of organic red Casa Barranca Syrah wine.

A vivid wine manifesting eminent purity…”

I sat at a table under tree with my journal and glass of wine. The phone rang. It was yours truly. I sipped wine while he talked.

When we hung up I opened my notebook and wrote at the top of the page in big bold Letters: Suza to the Universe

The Adam I love just called. He was so sorry for the pain he caused me. Said I looked so sad and so hurt when he left, sitting there on the curb. He said, “That’s understandable.” – understandable that I am in pain. He told me again how beautiful I looked at lunch with my hair growing longer and that he hoped we could stay in touch.

He thanked me for all I taught him. He said I was miles ahead of him.

He said he was going to talk to some counselor at a church or a Rabbi at a Jewish Center near where he lives.

And he invited me to an event in May. He said he would make sure I got an invitation. That’s eight weeks from now.

I left the door ajar and said I might go.

After we hung up I slowly sipped a second glass of wine. My writing projects could wait.

Under the circumstances I deserved a break.

The wine was a sacrament that quieted my mind and uplifted me into the present moment.

I took a few more sips and looked up at the vast blue sky. I saw the tops of the tall Eucalyptus trees, not far away, gently swaying in the breeze. All the leaves  sparkled in the sunlight.

After a while, maybe it was the wine,  the conversation with Adam hit me.  

Man that man is smooth!

I recorded this insight in my journal.

 How ironic that Adam was so proud of the fact that he never drank. His parents taught him not to smoke or drink or do drugs. But what happened to telling the truth?

Then I called my loyal friend Michael and asked him to meet me at the basin with his dogs. I said, “I’ve had two glasses of wine. I need someone to keep an eye on me because I am in an altered state.”

And then I went on the most magical walk with Honey.

I cut through a field of weeds and wildflowers to get to the trail that leads to the basin. Honey ran ahead, overjoyed that her mistress cut loose in the middle of the afternoon.

I clambered up a hill of rocks and giant boulders to get to the top of the basin, Honey leaping from rock to rock like a mountain goat.

Michael and his dogs were waiting at the top of the basin.

I was in high spirits! I didn’t even want to talk about my talk with Diane and Adam. In my altered state that seemed like a million years ago.

I was aware this chemically altered consciousness wouldn’t last long but for now I was happy to enjoy the eternal present.

I took off my shoes. Just for fun, I wanted to test my balance. First I stood stone still on both feet, anchoring myself to the earth and stretching my arms up towards the sky. Then I focused my gaze on a spot in the distance and lifted one leg straight up, holding my big toe.

I stood steady on one leg, like a crane, and felt my inner balance returning, albeit in an altered state.

Our little pack of humans and canines slowly circled the basin and walked a ways up Pratt Trail. The earth, the dirt, felt so soft under my bare feet and everything smelled so good.

I had my own sweet life still. Nature all around, my dogs, my yoga practice and my loyal, lifelong friends.

* * * * * * * *

Early the next morning I called Adam to wish him well at his new job.

That afternoon he called me to report how happy he was at work. We kept the conversation light. He again mentioned about going to a counselor or speaking with a Rabbi about his problem with lying. He said he realized he needed help.

A month later, when my real anger surfaced, I would remember this.

That evening Adam called again. This time I did not answer.

My old relationship with Adam ended.

My new friendship with Diane began.

Three days after I broke up with Adam, Diane wrote:

Suza, he really does not like the fact that we are communicating.  He brings it up often. Today I again asked him if he had lied about anything he feels that we discussed in the past few days.  He resounded, “No. “

But we know he lied to me about you about a lot of things.

Again he reiterated that you didn’t seem to mind at all that he was in a relationship with me. 

I told him going to a therapist isn’t going to work if he lies  It is a waste of money. 

His attitude about relationships is that it is water under the bridge. Just move on to the next one. Plenty of fish in the sea.

I asked him to lend me the book you had purchased for him (How to Be an Adult in Relationships).  I read the chapter on ending relationships.  

Suza, you don’t know how lucky you are that it ended before you became more involved.  He thinks he has an answer for everything.  He tells me, “You and Suza are just wasting your time talking about me”. 

“Oh, really?”  I told him, “That is what women do and we don’t feel we are wasting our time at all.” 

When I told him we were going to share a bottle of wine he wanted to know if you were coming here.  I told him I was going to Ojai. 

My reply

Hi Diane,

 

From my viewpoint, Adam owes us both a huge apology for his disrespectful, dishonest and hurtful behavior. 

 

This whole episode with Adam has shaken me to the core. I am questioning how I could be so duped and fooled by someone.

 

While I find his behavior toward women completely unacceptable, I do not want to say things I may regret.  I was kind to him when I said goodbye the other day, because I honestly hope he will stop lying and do something positive with his life.

 

I hope that after all is said and done that by some miracle something positive comes out of all this.

 I sincerely hope for the best for both of you. I hope Adam makes amends  for the pain and trouble he has caused you and starts being a truly kind, helpful and supportive friend!

She wrote back:

 When I asked him what he wanted out of life, he never said a life long partner. 

 He will be like all the other old goats, wanting a woman to take care of them when they are old and need help.  Who wants a man then?

Basically Adam does not like women.  I am telling you, the next time I date a man the first question I am going to ask is, “Did you like your mother?”

To be continued, Chapter Fourteen, the last chapter.

Afterword.

All relationships end—some with separation, some with divorce, some with death. This means that in entering a relationship we implicitly accept that the other will leave us or we will leave him. Grieving is therefore included in what we sign on for. But grief is built into all of life because of life’s painful events, changes, transitions, and losses.

David Richo,Jungian/Buddhist author ofHow to Be an Adult in Relationships

Fishing on Facebook, Chapter Twelve: Ojai Cafe Emporium

May 11, 2011

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

–Sir Walter Scott

Don’t confuse intelligence with honesty. Just because someone has an articulate, respectable appearance doesn’t mean they are trustworthy.

From the website, Out of the Fog

Just because you meet someone at a Full Moon Meditation at Meditation Mount or a talk at Krotona, a yoga class, a Green Coalition meeting, a booth on Earth Day or any one of dozens of other “spiritual” “conscious” “green” scenarios, does not mean you should not scrutinize that person the same as if you met them at a party, a bar, or any other setting. We tend to give people a pass when we meet them in settings that we assume attract people who are honest.

–Excerpt from a conversation I had with a reader who called me after reading this story.

 This is Chapter Twelve of a true story.  All of the names except the author’s have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent, depending on your perspective.[Please note that in a few places bold and italic formatting are unintentional. The blog  program put them there and I can’t remove.]

Now we come to the part of the story where I finally meet Diane, the woman Adam lives with.

The fact that Diane had sent me an email the night before, made it a thousand times easier to call her.

 I waited till mid morning to be sure Adam was out of the vicinity. I got her answering machine but decided not to risk leaving a message. He might be home when she played it back.

 I felt a teeny twinge of guilt. Like I was being disloyal to Adam (which I was) and doing something behind his back (which I was) and like I was breaking some sort of taboo (which I was) .

 I called again an hour later. This time Diane answered.

 In my calmest, clearest voice I said, “Hello, this is Suza. Is this Diane?”

 Hi,” she said.

 Pause.

 To get past the initial awkwardness and establish friendship, I said, “Thanks for contacting me.”

 I’m sorry to ruin your day,” Diane replied, in a half-joking voice.

 You did not ruin my day. I’m grateful that you reached out to me. “

 It’s too bad we have to meet under these circumstances.  I understand that you are a very nice person, but I think you are lucky that I finally decided to  contact you.”  

 I silently agreed. 

 Soon Diane and I were talking like old friends – about our mutual old friend, you might say.

 Even though Diane had already communicated that she harbored no ill feelings toward me, I wanted to be sure to set the record straight.

 I hope you know that I would never knowingly date a man in a relationship with another woman, “ I told her.

 I moved from my kitchen into the yoga room and sat down on the floor. I could tell this was going to be a long conversation.

When I first realized he was seeing someone I could not bear to tell my son.  He has not liked Adam from the get-go, but tolerated him for my sake.  

” Adam and I dated in 2000 for about a year, she continued. Then we dated again four years ago and Adam moved in with me.  

“He can be very charming when he wants to be, and very cold and cutting when he doesn’t care. 

“I would hope that our four years together has had a positive impact on him.  Our four years together has had a very negative impact on me. 

“I try to take the good out of a relationship and dump the bad. But, to quote Adam, “He has gotten everything out of this relationship and I have gotten nothing.”

“I hate to say this because it makes me look like an idiot, but he is right!

“I am 100% happier knowing we are no longer a couple.  I have not been happy for a long time, but I felt responsible for him and didn’t know what to do.  I knew he was having a relationship with someone, but didn’t care enough to find out.  I figured it would surface eventually. 

“On Thanksgiving Day my son told me he thought Adam was having an affair with someone.  I suspected as much.

It was pretty obvious. When a man starts taking more showers, washing his hair, caring about his appearance, you know something’s going on.

“After Liz told me that she saw Adam waiting outside after your yoga class,   I was very pissed at him because he made me look like such a fool in front of all of my friends.”

I interrupted her and said, “Diane, I cannot tell you how angry it makes me that he started a relationship with me while still in a relationship with  you.

 

After I found out he was living with you, Adam assured me when I questioned him that the two of you led completely separate lives. That you hardly ever saw each other. He said that he might see you in passing in the hallway.

And,” I made sure to add, “He said he had his own room.”

Own room?

When she explained that Adam did not move into the guest room till well after Liz’s outburst in the yoga room I felt sick to my stomach.

Hadn’t I told him at our first lunch date back in November at Farmer & the Cook that I don’t date married men (any idiot understands that includes “living together”) and that the one thing I demand is complete honesty?

Diane went on, “The first morning we slept in separate rooms he asked me if I missed having him in bed. 

I said, “Do I miss having the covers pulled off of me all night and having to fight for covers? Do I miss someone hanging over on my side of the bed with his pillow, breathing in my face? Do I miss someone snoring all night? Hell  no!”

Then she added, “You should not let the fact that Adam is living here bother you.  Even though we shared the same bed we have not had any type of romance in our life for way over a year

The day we decided to no longer be a couple I asked him if there was someone else in his life.  I knew there was.   He said “No.” Then a couple of days later this whole thing blew up.  After he spilled his guts he came over to give me a hug.  I told him, ‘Don’t even think of touching me,’ and he left the room.” 

Suddenly I felt very content sleeping with Honey and my three cozy cats.

I am a serial monogamist. I didn’t care how celibate their bed was. After Adam told me those tall tales about how he and Diane hardly ever see each other, the idea of them in the same bed fighting over the covers felt like a kick in the gut.

 

Then Diane said, “He told me that when you found out about me that it bothered you for half day and then you were back to usual.”

That made my blood boil.

I told her, “Adam conveniently forgot to mention that when I first found out about you he fabricated an elaborate story about how you were an ex girlfriend that was having a hard time and he was helping you get back on your feet. He described to me how he hardly ever even saw you. It sounded like he had a huge house and you lived in one end and he occasionally saw you in the hallway.

 

 He also told me how your mother had Alzheimer’s and that’s why you  needed a temporary place to stay. So you could take care of your mom. And not put her in a nursing home

 

 Well that got her dander up. “He told you he was letting me stay in my house!? I own this house –not Adam,” she reminded me.

 

But the biggest bomb was when Diane started talking about Adam’s ex wife.

When I heard her say “ex wife” I actually thought, “she must be making this part up.”

I flashed back to our romantic date at Casitas Lake. How we sat close together on the hill overlooking the lake, talking about nature and the nature of love. I had asked him again why it was that he’d never been married. Adam adamantly stated that marriage was always something “just out of reach,” extending his arm as he said this, and that he had “never walked through that door,” (the matrimonial door).

 But that wasn’t what totally blew my circuits.

While sorting out how Adam was talking out of both sides of his mouth, I started telling Diane about his trips at Christmas and New Years.

Trips?”she said, “What trips? He was home for Christmas. He was home for New Years. I swear he was here. I’ll have my son come over and tell you himself that he sat right next to Adam during Christmas dinner.”

“We broke up just before Christmas. I even asked him, “Why aren’t you with Suza for Christmas? He said you were out of town with your family.”

I told Diane, “That’s a lie. I was home. He said he was spending Christmas with his niece and her live-in boyfriend.

Suza,” she said, lest I doubted her word, “I swear that Adam did not go away at Christmas.  He had Christmas dinner with us.  I had made a prime rib and my son Bob, Adam and I sat at the table.  He would never go out and spend time at Jean and Sam’s house during the holidays. They both work.  Christmas is one of their busiest times of the year. 

I swore to Diane that I would keep our communication confidential. But in my heart I knew from the get-go that the best thing for all concerned was to let Adam in on the fact that the two of us were talking – and confront him.

Diane and I made plans to meet on Thursday, 9 am, at Ojai Cafe Emporium.

 

After I hung up and absorbed it all, the first thing I began obsessing over was how Adam had lied to me about going on trips at Christmas and New Years. I reread his emails.

My Dearest Suza: Had a very enriching and rewarding stay at a cabin along the mighty Kern River north of Bakersfield. The Kern was really 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…

It sounded so sincere and real. I re-read the parts about nature and felt so duped, betrayed and manipulated. He knew those images of him alone in a mountain cabin would get to me.

And when I saw him after the trip he continued to describe his fictitious saga.

In my heart of hearts I still hoped Diane had it wrong. In fact, I wrote four emails asking if she was sure.

I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

I googled “liars,“ and found a website, Out of the Fog, that described exactly how I felt.

When you discover that you have been lied to, it can make you feel as though you have been taken advantage of, made to look foolish, had something stolen from you. You may feel anger, disappointment and fear all at the same time. You may feel the urge to get even, get justice, settle the score, clear your name.

I emailed Ann:

Ann, Adam is in LA and Diane and I were on phone for two hours. Found out so many things. Alas, he is a pathological liar. He has been married before, possibly twice. She told me everything. I will do a background check these next few days and sort things out.

 

Am exhausted — both sad and  relieved to find all this out.

 

He has no spell over me any more. At this point I want to gather facts –sort out fact from fiction. It is hard because the whole thing is mixed up with nature and politics.

 

Saturday night, March 5, Ann wrote:

Wow, Suza. I’ve just read all of today’s emails. Wow.

What the hell do you do now? Can you really break the spell Adam has cast?

 I wrote back the next day:

Ann, there is still a part of me that wants to give Adam the benefit of a doubt. Am gonna try to type up everything Diane told me.

 

 I wrote in my journal:

Nothing is as it seems.

Of all the things Diane told me the thing that struck me the most is that he went home to her bed.

That just gives me the creeps.

I mean the creeps!

The bizarreness of the whole situation is just beyond the pale.

All the loving words (as I type this I think of the cliché, “all the loving lies.”)

It sounded so sweet and sincere when he said, “Please be patient with me. I am really trying with the tools I have.”

On Monday, March 7, I emailed Diane:

 

Diane, are you sure that Adam did not go away for Christmas? 

 

Below is a copy of the note he sent me on 12/26, when he came home from his trip to visit Jean and Sam.

 

Sunday, December 26,  adam1@gmail.com  writes:

My Dear Suza,

I am home. Wonderful to visit the high desert. A real adventure to visit Jean and Sam (my cousin and her lifelong boyfriend). No rain up there. Got to see all the snow though in the high country above the Antelope Valley. Took a hike in Saddleback Butte State Park. Played with Jean’s  two cats and they took me out to dinner at Wendy’s (big event for them).

Good to be home. Had one inch of rain in my rain gauge. Saw the snow on top of Topa Topa… beautiful.

Will call you in the AM…plan to come up to Ojai midday on Monday or Tuesday.

Give Honey a hug for me.

Love,

Adam

Diane’s reply:

I can’t believe he would lie to you like that.   Why did he have to tell you he had to go away.  He broke our relationship two days before Christmas.  We were invited to an open house Christmas eve and I went alone.  My friend asked me where Adam was and I remember telling her we were no longer a couple. He could of seen you at that time. I don’t know why he lied. 

 

After that I sprung into action.

I went to People Finder and did a record search.

A search for Adam Francis Johnson along with his date of birth and current city brought up a list of addresses from 1980 through 2008. He uses a PO Box so perhaps that was the reason his current address at Diane’s house was not listed. This same list included two women who lived at different points in time at the same address with him.

I know these searches are not always accurate so I asked Diane for more background details.

She said, I asked Adam about Janet Johnson three years ago and he said she was just an older woman with the same last name. 

 

  It is so odd why Adam has repeatedly told me that he has never been married. He went out of his way to explain to me that he and his last relationship a were never legally married. And that they did not live together

I decided I had to find out if this other woman was his first wife.

I googled, “How to find out if someone has been married before,” and wasted $19.95 on a phony website that claimed to deliver marriage and divorce records within minutes. They charged my credit card but no records showed up.

While I was searching the Ventura County Courthouse marriage records I got another email from Diane.

I’m telling you, truth is stranger than fiction.

Diane wrote:

Suza, you won’t believe this! I just came back from the gym and the gardener next door leaned over the fence and yelled, “Hey Diane, did Adam tell you I dated his ex wife?” 

I said, “You mean Priscilla? (The one I already knew about.)

  He said ,“No, Janet Johnson.”

  I said, “Oh my God so he has been married twice! “

Three years ago when my son looked Adam up on People Finder her name popped up with his. I asked Adam about her and he said she was just someone with the same last name .”

Suza, I’m not making this up! The gardener told me all about Adam’s marriage to Janet. So now we know for sure that Adam has been married twice.

Don’t you dare mention this to him!  He is sleeping now, but when he wakes up I am going to tell him what I found out.  I can’t wait to hear the lie about this one. 

Suza, I hope your eyes are wide open and you are taking all this in.  You cannot make excuses for this man and think that things will be different with you.  

I know that you are very much in love with him. Take off the rosy glasses. Discuss this with one of your closest friends.  I know it is difficult for you to believe me 100% as I am the ex-girl friend. 

Maybe tomorrow at breakfast when we meet you will see that I am a completely honest person.  I have never lied to Adam. As a matter of fact, I am beginning to feel like a creep going behind his back like this  I wonder how many more lies he has he told that we don’t even know about. 

 

I immediately wrote back:

 

Dear Diane,

 

Tomorrow we will have a heart to heart talk!  Coming from the gardener next door this latest revelation about Adam’s first wife is just to much! Am looking forward to meeting you in person. I have as long as we need to visit–I do not teach tomorrow. 

 

Please let me know what Adam says about his first marriage!

 

Suza

Diane wrote back a little later:

Of course I am not one to mince words or beat around the bush.  When I got off the computer Adam was in the kitchen eating some grapes.  I started in with the gardener story and asked if it was true that there was another ex wife.  He said “Yes.”, Then I reminded him that I had asked him who this woman was and he said an older woman with the same last name. 

 This time he said the marriage was such a long time ago it didn’t count!

Supposedly he was forty when they married and it only lasted two .years.  I asked why it lasted such a short period of time and he said he got bored. 

Then I asked him about the second marriage since that was also only for about two years. He said they had some kind of agreement.

So there you have it in a nutshell.  The first one was a long time ago and the second one was an agreement marriage, so neither one counts. 

So I was married in 1968, that was a long time ago, so basically I was never married either.  Not to mention I divorced in 1982 and that was a long time ago also. 

I am telling you, Suza, who would have thought I would have heard this news from the next door gardener. ! You never know.  The whole time I am hearing this news I couldn’t believe it myself. 

Adam acted very unconcerned about the whole thing. No big deal. It’s not a big deal to me either because I am no longer involved with the man, but I am stunned at how he lies and at the things he has told you. 

Did you get your running shoes out of the closet yet?

Wednesday evening, March 9, 2011:

Diane, this is unbelievable! I was married in 1968 at age eighteen for about nine months. I guess that doesn’t count either. And in the mid 1970’s through 1986. I guess that does not count either. Then I got married a third time. And to think I believed Adam when he assured me he had never ever been married. I must have asked him at least four times when the subject came up. And he teased me about my three failed marriages. Of all the nerve!

It shows a total lack of conscience that he is unconcerned about lying about this!

  

Amazing you heard this from gardener next door. Reminds me of that Sunday when Liz stepped out of the yoga room and I heard her say, “That’s Adam. Diane’s boyfriend!”

 

Half hour later another email from Diane:

Suza, I cannot believe the timing of this whole thing.  First Liz in the yoga room and now the gardener next door.  How quirky is that?  Kinda gives you the chills when you think of it.

 

Have you thought how you are going to handle this whole thing when you meet up with him?

I emailed back:

Diane, it is an amazing coincidence how the gardener next door told you about the first wife right at this point in time!

I think after we meet tomorrow I will have a better sense how to handle this. See you in the morning.

I had already decided that we needed to tell Adam we were talking but I wanted to negotiate this with Diane in person.

I shared all this with Ann, who was out of town visiting her grandchildren.

She wrote:

Wow, Suza. I’ve just read all of today’s emails. Wow.

What the hell do you do now? Can you really break the spell Adam has cast?

On Thursday March 9, 2011, I wrote Ann:

Adam called just now and left a sweet message. His voice tugs at my heart.

 

But when I feel sad and sorry for him I think about his lies. And all the times I missed him so much.

 

Ann, I have a clear conscience sharing all this with you since Diane suggested that I talk about this with a friend. It’s a dilemma for me because Adam does so many good things. I don’t like saying anything negative about him.


He’s coming to Ojai today. He said he was having lunch at the Garden Terrace and  wished I could join him. So I called back and said I would meet him there at 1pm.

 

I am going to have to tell him what I know. I had planned to have this conversation Sunday but looks like it’s today.

 

Ann wrote back:

And you’re meeting Diane this morning, yes? What a day!

 

Thursday, March 9, 2011,

Diane was waiting for me when I arrived at Ojai Cafe Emporium. . We sat outside. The waitress was a friend I went to Nordhoff High School with back in the 1960’s. When she took our order I clued her in.

I joked, “You’ll want to hear this conversation. About a man.”

The three of us laughed – just like teenagers. Because on one level it’s all so funny!

Diane was much more attractive than Adam had described her. She had a smiling, friendly, pretty face and nice figure.

We had already talked so much on the phone and emailed back and forth that we could enjoy meeting each other face-to-face and having breakfast together.

I ordered my favorite tofu scramble. She had a vegetable omelet.

I right away told her that I was meeting Adam for lunch at Garden Terrace. And that I planned to break up with him. But I waited till later for a good time broach the subject of telling Adam up front that we (Diane and I) were talking.

Diane revealed more about her life with Adam.

I couldn’t help but laugh as she described how much he eats. Sounded like she has this big kid eating her out of house and home.

 

Two hours into the conversation I said, “Diane, let’s talk about what I’m going to tell Adam.

“We’re going to have to tell him sooner or later that you and I are talking. I can’t just tell him I found out all this stuff on People Finder.

“I know I agreed to keep all this confidential but now I’d like your permission to tell him that I met with you this morning. It’s much cleaner that way.”

I was relieved when Diane saw the wisdom of this course of action.

However, she was still a bit worried Adam would sway me in the wrong direction.

She said,   “Something tells me that even with all this information you have, you still love him and would still want to have a relationship.  You think you are different from other women and things would be different with you.   All he has to do is confess his lies and promise not to lie again.  Yes or no?”

No.”

 

Then she hit hard to be sure I got the message:

I worried about you falling into his trap.  Remember he told me he gets into trouble with his mouth and gets out of trouble with his mouth.  This has been going on for a long time now, he will never change.  It is an ego booster to think he can get women back after they found him out.

 

I am so glad you found out now and not three or four years later what kind of guy this is.   No woman deserves to be hurt by him in this fashion. 

It just doesn’t phase him. He just moves on to the next woman. Lord help us all.  You just wonder when he is going to get his due.”

As we prepared to leave, Ann said something that really struck a chord

You know what is so sickening about this whole thing is that Adam is really a soft and gentle person.  I don’t know why he has to lie.  And not just to build himself up but about stuff that makes no sense, like going out of town on that Christmas trip.  I just don’t get it.

I said, “Has he ever seen a psychiatrist about this lying? It makes no sense to me either. It’s very sad! “

By the time I got home it was almost noon. Time to rest in the Goddess Pose and get ready for lunch with Adam.

To be continued, Chapter Thirteen: Garden Terrace

Chapter Fourteen

Afterword on Writing Yoga


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