Table of Contents

Targeting and refinement

Targeting and refinement are two closely related processes. I have to find the target before I can hit the bullseye. The story I tell in Pigeon toed: a minimalist mistake illustrates the relationship. I went through an elaborate process of refinement to adapt my walking to the uberminimalist water shoes my wisdom helpfully suggested. I was aiming at the wrong target. Not even the spiffiest laser sight will help me hit me hit a target to the north if I'm shooting south. In that case no refinement was needed. I already had the shoes I needed. I'd thrown them over for some alluring minimalist crap. My wisdom made it a lesson I will not forget. Likewise I became homeless because I insisted on aiming at shared housing and couldn't find it. I had to get all the way desperate before I could come to see that living alone was what I needed. Ever since I moved into my new home my life has been nothing but refinement. I'm learning how to use my new home as a tool for making progress with love.

Conceived. I should have started Waltz etcetera by myself. Why didn't I? Partly because it wasn't my idea. It was modeled after a waltz practice session a guy put on in spring 1998. That one lasted six weeks. It was technically a class offered at the Queen Anne Community Center, but the guy just put on waltzes for us to dance. I went to every one of those with my wife. I missed it when it was over. I was griping about the lack of opportunities to waltz and she said Why don't you start your own like he did? Waltz etcetera was conceived in that moment as the result of her comment. I felt obliged to include her as part owner. I was not the sole parent. I put a sheet of paper out at the front desk of classes and dances we went to saying we were going to do this. We asked people to put down their name and email address if they would be interested. Outreach was email only from the beginning. A dance friend said Arnold, whom we didn't know, was also interested in developing a waltz dance. I reached out to him and the three of us met over beers. That's how Waltz etcetera was born. Now I can see that my wisdom set it all up like that. I needed to have to fight the two of them to get what I wanted. That fighting didn't start till a little while after my come to Jesus moment, more than six years later.

I love my new home. When I first moved in it was not fully my home, even though I lived here and was happy to be here. It was not fully my home because I had another home: Ruth, my ex. For a full decade she was my home, in the deepest sense. She was as much home as I had since childhood. I lost my childhood home when I moved to Kenya and took up drugs. Home is wherever the deep parts of me get nurtured. Before Kenya my home was nature. In Kenya I traded the real magic of spontaneous meditation for the fake magic of drugs. I got over drugs while we were together. She gave me a place to be where my wisdom could reach me deeply even though we never lived together. She already had a home. A family. I couldn't be part of that. The home she gave me was dancing. I danced with her like I've never danced with anyone.

Becoming independent. I had a bunch of gear stored in the garage where I was living. The homeowner decided he was going to sell the place. Eventually he did. That's how I became homeless. His first move in that direction was telling me to clear my gear out of the garage. He needed space to prepare for his move. This was over a year before he put the place on the market and kicked me out. I didn't want to pay for a storage locker. Ruth, then my sweetheart, had two storage lockers she'd rented for her parents to prepare for their move from Monroe to Seattle to be nearer her. There was plenty of space. She let me move my gear into one of them. Having my gear there kept me from being fully at home. I was relying on her for a home for my gear. That kept me from being fully at home in my new place. My wisdom showed me how to fix that. I had to become independent of her. I did that internally then externally with my wisdom's guidance. Now all my stuff is here.

Overlap. I met Ruth when I was still with Cindy. There was some overlap. A lot. But it started slow. Ruth was a dancer. She'd been away from dance for years because she had kids. The kids were now old enough for her to get away and she came to my dance, Waltz etcetera. I saw her walk into the room and there was just something about her.

After a few songs I saw that she was free and headed over to ask her to dance. I got there at the same time as another guy. We asked her simultaneously and I lost the toss. That stung. This is my dance. Who does she think she is, turning me down for some schlub who can't count to eight? That was in the fall of 2009. She came a few more times. I ignored her. Then she disappeared. Meanwhile things were tanking with Cindy. She wanted more than dancing and sex. She wanted me to move into her life and her apartment and heal her broken family. She started pressuring me to come hang out there with her and her kids. I gave it a try, I really did. But it started to feel bad. Stale and forced. I didn't want that kind of life. That's what I had with my ex wife, a whole family. I left her to get away from that. By the time Ruth showed up at my dance again I was really ready for something else. This time I didn't miss my chance to dance with her. I pulled out the stops and wowed her good. We made a date for later that week, to meet at the Little Red Bistro, LRB on our calendars.

LRB. I already had an LRB date that night with another dance friend, but I arranged to meet Ruth anyway. We met for dinner at a pub then headed to the LRB. Ruth and my other date knew each other. They'd been lindy hoppers together when Ruth first arrived in Seattle, before she had kids. My original date didn't like this development but she put on a good face. Even when it became clear Ruth was the one I was interested in. Dancing with Ruth was heavenly. We soon became lovers even though I hadn't broken up with Cindy. The transition was messy. It dragged on for months until I finally confessed to Cindy there was someone else, naming no names. That was the problem: Ruth was kind of cheating on her husband with me. Kind of because they had agreed to an open relationship. Cheating because that was years ago. Secrecy was paramount, making a clean break with Cindy harder for me to face.

Family ties. I didn't care that Ruth was married, and I didn't want to break up her family. I was up front about that with her. Being with Cindy had made me leery of family ties. Her being in a family seemed ideal. I didn't think that through. I fell hard for Ruth. Love like I never knew love could be. We were able to pull off cheating for a full year before her husband twigged to us. It all came out during a family vacation. That gave them lots of time to talk it over. Her husband was able to see that family life had improved dramatically since Ruth and I got together. We became openly poly. We had a glorious time. Then in 2016 I quit drinking. That changed everything and put me and Ruth on a path to breakup. Without a nice warm alcoholic buzz I was able to feel how lonely I was in a part time relationship. Even with booze I had dreaded evenings at home alone. Now that got much worse. Plus, when Ruth and I were together I wasn't as much fun to be around. Booze made me a much more fun guy, the fun guy she fell in love with. Now neither one of us were getting our needs met. We broke up in February 2020 right before the pandemic hit.