A Third Body by Robert Bly

I read this poem in a book yesterday and it made me pause and reread it. After several readings I decided to post it and share it here. What is so compelling about this poem?

Looking back, I can remember the gentle silences and the awareness that all was well. The feeling that life was good and feeling sorry for anyone who was not us. Such sweet words.

A Third Body

A man and a woman sit near each other, and they do not long
at this moment to be older, or younger, nor born
in any other nation, or time, or place.
They are content to be where they are, talking or not-talking.
Their breaths together feed someone whom we do not know.
The man sees the way his fingers move;
he sees her hands close around a book she hands to him.
They obey a third body that they share in common.
They have made a promise to love that body.
Age may come, parting may come, death will come.
A man and a woman sit near each other;
as they breathe they feed someone we do not know,
someone we know of, whom we have never seen.
                                                     –Robert Bly


5 Life Long Potty Training Lessons 

Potty training. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…And in a blink of an eye, it’s was over and done and quickly forgotten.

It’s that time for my granddaughter. She’s 2 years old and is doing amazing. She’s ready and is just learning the steps. In the meantime, we keep her close to the toilet.

Which means for the next week, we stay close too. With rewards, accolades and appreciation. We celebrate every time the deed is done. As a mom, this was a pretty exhausting time for me. As a Nana, it’s about reminding the parents of her progress and rewarding her as she steps away from being a toddler.

  1. Know this will be over in the blink of an eye. Done. It’s true. Ask any mother of a teenager.

It’s been over 40 years since my boys had to learn to leave the diaper behind and become ‘big boys.’ The thing is, I can’t remember that time in my life too clearly. I can remember a basket of ‘rewards’ on top of the refrigerator for each successful trip to the toilet. The treats were rubber balls, match box cars, balloons, suckers, stickers and other five and dime type gifts. They were individually gift wrapped and offered as if it were Christmas morning.

  1. Give rewards for every successful potty in the potty chair.

If you watch to see how dogs are trained, you will notice that with every successful action, they are rewarded. If rewards are not a big thing in your child’s life – then they will work even better. Potty training is a big deal. Live it up and make it a party.

  1. This is the hardest one of all – EMBRACE this stage.

Remember when you longed for the days when your newborn would let you sleep through the night? Well, now your newborn is potty training. You will get through this. Use all the positive words you can and then …

Poof! Over! Done! On to new tasks, lessons and challenges.

  1. Potty training and life are a series of baby steps.

My world of being the mommy, making bread, canning tomatoes, freezing corn and stocking up on sweet pickles eventually came to an end. When I was in the mist of them, I never saw the big picture. The daily picture was about dozens of mundane things stung together that tied us together. Eventually, bedtime stories were replaced by soccer, school, Little League Baseball and their father became more prominent in their world as coach and sports companion. As they moved through grade school, I returned to college to earn my Bachelor degree. Baby steps helped us all move on from one stage to another.  Going back to complete my university degree coincided with kindergarten and T-Ball.

  1. See the BIG PICTURE and know this is a teeny dot on the lifeline.

Back then, my life was bursting at the seams with children, family, classes, work …and now I struggle to recall those days.  Now my son is the one offering praise and clapping with pride every time there is potty in the potty chair. And I am the ultimate cheerleader to all three of them.  I like being Nana.



sunset over rocky mountains

My very first time…

I’m convinced that time flies by faster now than when I was little. Minute by minute it slips by and the days and months fly by but so do the years. Sometimes I just have to do the math and count on my fingers (yes, it’s as silly as it sounds…) to come up with simple math. I’ve lived here over 6 years? My car is how old? How many years have I been out of high school??? OMG!

And yet we all know instances when time refuses to budge. Waiting for a medical report. The ninth month of pregnancy. Awaiting a vacation or trip. The countdown to 5:00 pm and quitting time. A job acceptance call. Traffic on the way to the airport… you know what I mean. Sometimes it takes forever and other times, zoom. GONE. Time is barely here and totally gone. For instance, what happened to July?

Time passes, no doubt.

But why swiftly for some and so slowly for others. Waiting for Christmas as a kid was painful. Then, blink, winter vacation was over and I was back in the classroom. Hardly able to enjoy my Thumblina or Betsy Wetsy dolls that Santa brought me.

It’s about being present.

One way to make my moments count is to paint them in rainbows and sprinkle them with glitter! Or something like that, right? Find a way to make them pop! Skip the boring cup of tea at home and fill a thermos and drive to the lake and drink it listening to Bruno Mars. Or drive to a greasy diner and sit at the counter and order the biggest cinnamon roll they have. THAT WOULD BE MEMORABLE. RIGHT?

Psychologist William James states that adulthood is filled with ‘fewer and fewer firsts.” For instance, as a child we had our first day at school. Our first bike. Our first lunchbox. First time on an airplane. Growing up we had our first romance, first kiss, first date and each new first was a significant place in time.

And I bet, most of us have a story about a First. “I remember the first time I met your dad.” Or “Renee was my very first friend. We met in kindergarten.”

Other Firsts include not such happy events as well. The first funeral I ever attended. The first time I got drunk. The first time I took my drivers test (then the second time, then the third time!)

sunset over rocky mountainsNow, in my retired years, the first are a bit harder to come by. Well, they are more planned and less happened-upon. For instance, my first solo camping trip didn’t happen by chance. It was planned and the map was used, search engines were engaged, items were purchased and THEN my solo adventure happened. But that was a first for me!

My first time as a senior counselor at a leadership camp has come and gone and it sticks in my mind like a beacon. The week was so jam-packed with activities, speakers, events, hikes and each day seemed to last forever and yet the week flew by!

Making time slow down is a game.

And the fun thing is we get to make the rules. And change them as much as we like. Doing something different, adding a bit of color, laughter and throw in some music for the heck of it and the end result is magic. Shall we try?

The answer is Yes to all of the above.

Ok, TIME for you to shake things up. The clock starts now…