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THE WONDER explores perspectives, rituals, and observances of modern, naturalistic, Earth-revering Neopagan religious paths. Naturalistic Pagans embrace the world as understood by science (that is, without gods, magic, or the supernatural), and enhance our lives with myth, ritual and activism. Hosted by Mark Green (author of ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science) and Yucca (formerly of The Pagan Perspective YouTube channel, now of the Magic and Mundane channel).

Named #4 in the top15 Pagan podcasts for 2022! https://blog.feedspot.com/pagan_podcasts/

Relationships - Part One

June 28, 2021

Remember, we welcome comments, questions and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com



Mark: Welcome back to the wonder science-based paganism. I'm your host Mark. 

And today we're going to talk about relationships, big topic, lots to say about it. We expect this will only be kind of a first. Crack at what could be ongoing conversations on this subject, but particularly because relationships in the pagan community can be significantly different than mainstream kind of over culture driven relationships.

We wanted to talk about that and what the differences are and some of the things to watch for.

Yucca: Right. And also since we do enjoy talking about seasonal topics for many people, we're going into what's sometimes called wedding season. And this year there are a lot more than there were last year. There's people are still kind of holding off, but you might be going to a wedding or you might be having one yourself or. 

Mark: You might be officiating at one.

Yucca: exactly. Right. So not only for that seasonal reason, but also because this is such a human thing, relationships, whether it's a marriage or a partnership or a, I don't know what you would call a, a relationship with, not a partnership, but a 

Mark: Well, because social 

Yucca: social. Yeah. 

Mark: you know, it's a sort of a social circle of friends, right. You know, we're, we are social animals. We evolved in packs and we rely heavily on the fact of the existence of other fellow people around us. And of course there are exceptions people who. You know, who are antisocial and don't really want to be very connected with other people.

Humans are very diverse, but as a species, we did evolve that way. And so. And we're the way that we're built. When we reproduce, we have what is essentially a larval human, which is completely incapable of taking care of itself. And that requires ongoing relationships in order to support that child until they can care for themselves.

And that requires many years of those relationships being attacked.

Yucca: Yeah. So, so when we talk about relationships, We have many different levels, right? We can be talking about our romantic sexual relationships, but we also have the relationship between parents and children, friends, extended family work, all of those things. And the word relationship encompasses all of that. 

Mark: Yeah, we have lousy terminology in English. I think I've talked about this before. We've got this one word love, which is supposed to encompass the emotional experience of all these different kinds of relationships. And then we have one word relationship, which is used to fill in the, the explained connection between people who are friends, people who are coworkers, people who are family, people who are lovers, people who are.

Siblings, it just goes on.

Yucca: so let's get into that. And let's also talk a little bit about. Why we wanted to talk about this topic, because this is a podcast about non theist paganism, specifically science-based non theist paganism. And sometimes it might seem like our topics are a little far off from that, but they're not right.

This is all really connected. So, so let's get into that a little bit. Why this is so important. 

Mark: Sure. Well, as I mentioned at the top of the episode, one of the things that I think about a lot, when I think about relationships with. Within the pagan sphere, is that fine? No, mentally we are a different kind of religious tradition and then the Abrahamic, right. Religions that drive the over culture, Christianity, Judaism, Islam.

Those are authoritarian religions. They're hierarchical in nature with God at the top of the pyramid and they are filled with. Inherited rules revealed dogma doctrine, which is told to you for how you're supposed to behave. And that includes in your relationships. There's all kinds of stuff about, you know, first of all, there's very, very kind of siloed gender roles.

So there's men and there's women and that's it. And then. There's a set of rules for how men are supposed to behave and what they're supposed to do, and a set of rules for how women are supposed to behave and what they're supposed to do, which is usually worse. And all of that is sort of handed to you and built into the assumptions that you have as you develop relationships with people at any level.

Paganism is fundamentally different than that because it's not an authoritarian framework. It's a framework that's built around agency and empowerment. So relationships can become partnerships of discovery and evolution over time, and they have the opportunity to be negotiated in any terms. You know, the, the insulin.

In a given relationship. Dad wants to be the caregiver and the, the, you know, house husband and do that and, well, great. No problem. It doesn't give anybody the willies the way that it does in, you know, some corners of, of the overall culture. The The things that people can choose to do can be much better adapted to who they are as individuals, rather than dictated to them because they are expected to behave a certain way.

Yucca: Yes. Yep. And, and as always, this comes up in a lot of topics. When we talk about the over culture and pig and approaches, we are still steeped in the overall culture. And it's in so many ways that it's usually completely unconscious. And even though we may be coming from a different perspective, sometimes.

We don't even realize what we're, what expectations we're bringing with us from society about gender roles or relationships, or, you know, what, what the, the expectations within a relationship, what those expectations even are and right. So, so think about. What constitutes cheating. So thinking about a romantic relationship, what's cheating and what's not cheating. Well, there's an answer on a societal level of what's cheating and what's not, but if your rules are slightly different than the expected rules, then it may or may not be, but that might not even be a framework that exists within your relationship.

Mark: right. Exactly. So, because by definition, cheating means to break the rules, but if you invent your own rules, That are different than the over cultures rules. Then you can do things which the over culture might consider cheating. You don't because that's the agreement that you have with your partner.

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: That's, that's the big difference. And so, for example, in pagan circles, we see a lot of polyamory. A lot of people who are having either open relationships or relationships with more than one partner and that means forming family units. You know, raising children together, the whole nine yards which on the face of it has a lot to be said for it in terms of attention to children and just the sheer available number of hands to do the work of a household, earning potential, lot of things like that.

But the over culture will tell you that that's wrong. It can't tell you why it's wrong. It just tells you that it's wrong because it's sinful. It violates that that revealed dogma, that doctrine that was handed down and now suffuses our culture.

Yucca: Yeah. So I think it's, it's really interesting to look at where we have those discomforts. Right. Like if you were listening to this and you had that discomfort of oh, oh multiple right. And examining where's that from is that leftover from the one man and one woman and they have to look the part and all of that, or, you know, perhaps there's somewhere else, perhaps you had a negative experience in your, or something like that, but, but often it comes from that from the Abrahamic religions.

Being government. 

Mark: Yes. And it's, it's challenging to conduct a relationship based on negotiated agreement. many ways, it's much easier to sort of lie back and kind of go with the model that everybody else is doing or nearly everybody else is doing. And the reality of course, is that as with all so-called normals, People are doing all kinds of stuff that isn't particularly normal, but they aren't admitting it.

And they, and they are still, you know, keeping themselves looking respectable for their fellow 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: Yes. Whoever's observers. 

Yucca: Facebook friends and mother-in-laws and all of them. 

Mark: exactly. So, but when you're in a situation where you don't subscribe to that, Revealed handed down doctrine instead where you say, well, okay, you know, I wanna, I want to connect with you and now let's talk about how that's gonna work and everything can be on the table.

Now, some people run screaming from the prospect of that. I find it to be very engaging, interesting, and much more Much more acknowledging of me as a person in the relationship, because it says, okay, I'm willing to look at you. You yourself, you're a real person hood. Rather than I'm going to look at you as an example of this role model, and I'm going to relate to the role model.

Yucca: Yeah.

Yeah. So it, it takes more vulnerability. It takes that communication, that the true communication. It's vulnerable because you have to, you have to be looking at the actual person and looking at your ex at you too, not just looking at the role, looking at your partner or the other person as whatever role they're supposed to be filling, but looking at yourself, not just the role you're supposed to be filling and supposed tos with these big quotes around them.

Mark: Yes. 

Yucca: Yeah.

And so it. Sometimes it can be painful to be, to really look at, have that presence and self-reflection to be able to really come to the table with that authenticity in that honesty and what you need, what you want and the difference between those and. 

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Where you messed up. Right. Being able to go, Okay. Yeah, I messed up,

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: right? 

Mark: we, we agreed on this and I didn't do it. And whoops. 

Yucca: Yeah. Or I, I put a little knife in the end of that statement and I really I'm sorry that wasn't okay. On my part. 

Mark: yeah. Yeah. So, So we're, we're talking, w what we're really talking about now is kind of the, the beginning part of a relationship, which, and it evolves over time because you can renegotiate agreements, but what tends to happen when people first become connected with one another in, in some way, there are all these implicit agreements that they make about how they're going to engage with one another.

And some of that has to do with sort of. Category of relationship. You're we're lumping the person into, right. It's like my friend, Gary is a dear dear friend of mine. I'm not having sex with him. I'm having beer with him. And we get together on about a monthly basis and enjoy one another's company and talk about things that matter to us in the world.

And that is kind of our understanding of what we're going to do, you know, together with one another. It can be. Very helpful and healthy early on in a relationship, especially a deeper, more intimate relationship to really explicitly have that conversation about what the agreements are. In fact, you can even write them down.

It can be very helpful to say, okay, we agreed that we're going to relate to one another this way. And of course, then you're kind of accountable.

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: and it may be helpful to have that over several conversations. Right to, to not be putting yourself on the spot and let yourself feel through some of those things, because you might be talking about, okay, well in a romantic relationship, how okay you are with, you know, how open in terms of being able to see other people or not, or, you know, feel through what that really is for you, because what's happening in a conversation. In the moment, there's all the social contracts and the, you know, agreeing with the other person and not upsetting them or those sorts of things that when you step aside and really feel through it, it might feel different than what it did at that moment. And making sure that you have a way to come back to that and go, okay, so this is what we talked about and you know, I've been really reflecting on it and these have, this is what's come up. 

Mark: this is. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: And I think that it cuts both ways. I think that on the one hand, it's important to step back and reflect on your own so that you understand what your, your true feelings are about, what has been suggested or proposed or asked for by a person who you're connected with. And, but the flip side of that is that sometimes, you know, you hear something and just go.

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: And then have this terrible reaction and the reaction can be loud and explosive and inconsiderate. And and I, and I don't mean you podcast person listener that I'm talking to, or even myself necessarily. But a person, you know, sometimes when, when people feel very threat. They will, they will swell up and bark as that's what primates do when they feel threatened.

They, they make themselves large and they bark and Part of the trick of maintaining an ongoing relationship is the ability to come back to that table and have a calm conversation afterwards about the thing that's really scary. And some people are more able to do that than others. But it's a really valuable skill to cultivate the ability to disconnect behaviourally from.

A strong emotion that you're feeling. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: and you can say, you know, I'm feeling really scared and really angry right now, but I'm going to talk in a calm tone of voice. And I, I, I want to know more about this and I want to know what you're asking for. Okay.

Yucca: I think it's, it's really valuable. You mentioned that it's a skill to cultivate 

Mark: Hm.

Yucca: this. Isn't something that. For born with this is this is practiced. It's, it's something that, that we stumble with and that we can get better over time. But just because it's hard now, doesn't mean that it's always going to be that way.


Mark: Right. Right. And. You may find is that it gets easier with time because the outcomes end up not being the scary picture that your mind has presented to you when, when it was scared, the outcome turns out to be something that's more benign. It's, it's something that you can either embrace or at least you can live with.

And that's just what, when you have those experiences a few times, it makes you less likely to go into that panic because you're not, your experience has been that when that triggered, since happens to you, It doesn't necessarily result in the disaster, the catastrophe that you've you've imagined it might.

Yucca: Okay. 

Mark: So a lot of what we're talking about here is we've been talking about agreements and one kind of agreement that people make implicitly or explicitly is about boundaries. Boundaries are really important in relationships because when we violate them, people feel violated. They, they feel that they've been treated badly in some way, and that can be.

I mean, it can, it can be small things. It doesn't have to be big things. It can be small things. But if someone finds, you know, a turn of phrase, a tone of voice, something to be threatening or off putting to them, then they're going to feel like, Hey, you know, you crossed a line that I didn't want you to cross.

Yucca: Yeah,

well, and, and remembering that what is small to one person. Can be huge to another and vice versa that we are all different with very different experiences. And so our boundaries are going to be different as well. There may be some that are fairly universal, you know, don't hit. me with a car guessing that that's pretty universal 

Mark: Don't hit me with anything 

Yucca: No hit me with anything. Yeah. And then even then let's, let's have some very specific understandings around that. 

Mark: Yes. Yes.

Yucca: But yeah. So, so, but, but beyond something like that, there can be things like you were, you're saying the tone of voice or the type of language used the, you know, is it okay to follow someone? If they leave the room during an argument, things like that can be really, really key to work out because if we aren't emotionally and physically safe and our bodies don't really know the difference between those two things, 

Mark: That's Right. 

Yucca: we respond the same way. It's. I mean, it comes back to, what's the point of the relationship for you?

If the point of the relationship is to be mutually nurturing? Well, that's not going to be a nurturing situation for any party involved, Right, 

Mark: right. And once again, when we talk about boundaries, there's this whole template that gets provided to us by the over culture. And Yeah. Some of it is really pretty toxic. Like the idea that an angry man doesn't have to follow any boundaries that the fact that he's angry gives him justification and authority to do whatever strikes his fancy is as an action.

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: That is, that is a subliminal rule in our existing culture. And it leads to a lot of violence, particularly against women also against children. And it's, it's a problem. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: So those inherited templates around, you know, how to be, you know, for women, you know, do you just swallow it all in and not say anything about how you're unhappy because you're afraid of, 

Yucca: Or internalize it as your fault. 

Mark: yes, yes.

Very much. 

Yucca: shouldn't have made a mad. 

Mark: Right. Yeah. And that's, that's a whole other episode right there of, you know, just the, the terrible mind games that people can get into with themselves to rationalize abusive behavior towards the in the context of a relationship where you are freely negotiating your boundaries, there are opportunities.

There are great opportunities to get your needs met. I mean, one of mine is I don't like to be yelled at, I do not want to be talked with in a really, you know, sharp, critical tone. And I just don't. It shuts me down. I don't want to listen to it. And this is a challenge between myself and Amanda, my partner, because her impulse is to yell when she feels upset about something.

So, having a, a conversation about, you know, how, what kind of communication style are we going to agree on? That's going to make everybody's needs. Is a really powerful thing. And in the context of a pagan framework where it's about agency and self-empowerment rather than following the rules, we can develop agreements for ourselves around what those boundaries are and how we're going to treat one another.

Yucca: Yeah. And again, it's going to look different for every, group. 

Mark: Right, right. It is. It's going to look very different. And of course, one of the things that, that, that does, as we said, you know, you can put everything out on the table. And discuss what we're agreeing to, what we, you know, what we reserve to ourselves as individuals, what we see as a part of the relationship, what we you know, how we're going to support one another in, in having that relationship.

And, but some of those things can be very scary for people. You know, the idea of sexual openness in relationships is terrifying to a lot of people because they're convinced that it means that they're going to lose the person that they love. 

Yucca: Or that it's a reflection upon their value or worth, 

Mark: yes.

Yucca: Right, That, oh, somehow if my partner is looking at or attracted to, or has feelings for someone else that that somehow means that I'm not enough. And that's something that we really get taught from, from a tiny age. 

Mark: Yes. Yes. The whole idea of the one, the soulmate is a terribly toxic toxic idea. For one thing, there are a lot of people out there that can be compatible with anybody else in there. There is nobody on earth for whom there aren't multiple possible compatible partners. 

Yucca: And if there were, if there really was only one, that's quite depressing. Because your chances of inner of there's a lot of humans, your chances of encountering that one. I mean, they're what 8 billion, I 

Mark: Yes, exactly. You know, here, here I am looking for the one and unfortunately she was born in Thailand and I will need her. That's the end of the story. So that whole thing, that whole. And, you know, mostly what people mean when they talk about a soulmate is somebody that they really feel that deep resonance with a deep connection of shared commonalities as well as real appreciation for the beauty of the person, for who they are.

And that's a wonderful thing, but the idea that that person therefore has to be all of the things that we want in our lives. Pernicious. I mean, if you have someone who, as a partner is everything you want in your life. Good for you. Great. Terrific. But if not then in a pagan framework, it's possible to have a conversation and say, well, these are needs that I have, that aren't getting met.

And I'd like to talk about how I can get them in.

Yucca: Yeah. I think it's an awful lot of pressure to put on one person, 

Mark: It is, 

Yucca: right? 

Mark: it's a tremendous amount of pressure to put on one person and people break under it. And what you w w but you end up with is a lot of divorce, which is what we have a lot of divorce.

Yucca: Yeah. Or just unhappiness 

Mark: Yes. 

Yucca: And 

Mark: a lot of people who are unhappy.

Yucca: And an acceptance of that, that well, that's just the way it is, right? Well, of course you're, you know, that's just what marriage is. That's just what a partnership is. Or, you know, those sorts of things. 

Mark: oh, in that whole awful genre of jokes about wives and husbands and you know, those sort of, you know, denigrating, you know, the old ball and chain kind of, They're just terrible. And it starts from the very beginning in the, in the over culture. I mean like the whole idea of stag parties, you know, is the idea is okay, you get to be sexy with, with other people for the last time before we close the gate on you forever.

It's, it's silly and it's kind of gross and desperate and really unconscious. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: And what I, I dunno, I have mixed feelings about it, but the fact that bachelorette parties are becoming more and more like that I think is on the one hand, a good thing in that women are being able to own their sexuality more, but on another it's like, but it's a crappy model.

Why would you know, why would you want to emulate men? Men are some of the most unhappy. You know, be knighted creatures in our, in our culture. They're only allowed to experience one emotion, which is anger and 

Yucca: But even then Only sort of, 

Mark: right. Only sort

Yucca: Yeah. Yeah. Not really. It only in very certain circumstances. Yeah. 

Mark: So, you know, the, the turning, turning, the available roles of women into the available roles of men is not necessarily a step forward.

In my opinion, in all cases certainly the entrance of women into the workplace and into professional spheres and, you know, all that kind of stuff is really a tremendous step forward. Feminism ultimately was about choice. It's always been about choice. It's about women's abilities to make decisions for themselves about how they want to live their lives.


Yucca: right. 

Mark: well, yes, 

Yucca: just right, because if it isn't everyone. then it's going to be no one 

Mark: Right?

Yucca: fundamentally. Right, And, and it's, and it. off on a tangent again, but it's one of the areas where I think that there's some times some missed understanding that people have that it's not just, we call it feminism because that's where the big problem was and how women and femininity and females and all of that is related to, but it's not the only challenge in society. right. 

Mark: No,

Yucca: You know, it's not, it's not, it's not saying that that's the only thing that matters and men don't matter and males don't matter. And all of that, like, no, no, no, no, no, No, no, this is less, but we've got a problem here. Let's take a look at this problem. And if it upsets you, that people are talking about the importance of women that's might not.

be part of the problem. 

Mark: Yes, you might want to, you might want to take a look at that,

Yucca: yeah. Why is, why is that,

So why is that? So triggering. 

Mark: right? 

Yucca: And, you know, we can tie that to, to stuff happening today with, you know, racial tensions and things like that. It's, you know, it's the same idea. 

Mark: Right. 

Yucca: But, but it sounds like you were talking about the, the roles that many of the roles that we have are very limited and toxic 

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: that it's on the one hand it's, it's a positive thing. That more people are able to be in different roles, but that maybe we also need to start breaking down some of the toxic roles that, and opening up 

Mark: That's.

Yucca: for people to be what they want without it being poisonous. 

Mark: Right. That's really what I mean. And that ranges everything from being a sexual and a romantic all the way, you know, to being hyper-sexualized and, you know, highly, you know, I don't like this word because it's got a, you know, it's got a negative connotation to it, but highly promiscuous or, you know, relating with other people.

Yucca: Can be highly engaged, 

Mark: yes. 

Yucca: might be. 

Mark: Hi, highly having a highly diversified portfolio of, of, of humans. 

Yucca: Oh, yes. 

Mark: So, and, and once again, it comes back to agency and choice, and I really do think that this is the profound difference in terms of understanding human relating between the over culture and the pagan framework. At least as I've seen it practiced in the United and states

Yucca: Well, cause we're doing it in other places too. So I think it's easier for us to. To look at everything that way, right. We're already kind of going against the grain when it comes to what our thoughts about nature and what are thoughts about divinity and all of these things. 

Mark: right, right. Yeah. And. It seems pretty clear that the rise of the Neo pagan movement in the United States, because it was rooted, it was definitely bound in with the sixties counterculture. It was a movement of people who were going against that grain of people who were rejecting institutional doctrine, who were questioning Sort of Axiom of how the culture looks at the world.

Certainly, you know, pulling up the floorboards and looking at all the bigotry that underpinned everything. So the pagan project has, has been one fundamentally of giving people. Personal autonomy and authority and agency to make their own decisions and then supporting them in, in doing that, at least in its idealized sense.

That's what it's been now. Pagans are human. Like everybody else, people get scared. People have negative reactions, people, you know, discover that they really don't like the wife's boyfriend. They. They don't like him and it's not because he's the wife's boyfriend. They just don't like this guy. He's not, you know, he's just not the kind of guy that they like.

So now what do you do, right. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: And that requires a lot of work and it requires a lot of processing and maybe things work out and maybe they don't. But the point is you got to make those decisions for yourself rather than just being told you can't even experiment in this realm because it's not allowed.

Yucca: Yeah. It's not whatever, it's not natural. It's not moral. It's not legal, you know? 

Mark: Right. Right.

Yucca: Now one interesting area that I personally don't have very much experience with within the pagan community is that there. And I think this is, is somewhat falling out of fashion. But in, if we go back several decades, when there was much more focus on the God and the goddess duality, especially within WCA in particular, I think some of that did have influence on the, the communities that we're practicing in that and how relationships should look.

But in a lot of ways, though, some of those representations of the God and the goddess were really. Based in the preexisting gender 

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: constructs, right? Those gender roles. 

Mark: Yeah, very much so. And that's why there is so much controversy now. And there are so many people working within WCA to, to dissolve that gender polarity and look at divinity as much more fluid. And as we do, as science-based pagans, understanding that gender and sexuality exist on spectrum. That that can be very, very nuanced and that's true throughout nature.

And it's true for humans too. And that that's all great.

Yucca: And it's only a tiny minority of nature that even does that. 

Mark: Right, 

Yucca: right. It's pretty new, very, very new. And, and it's, you know, 

Mark: We're still ironing the bugs out.

Yucca: oh yeah. And we'll see you in a million years, what happens with, well, we won't humans. We'll see you in a few million years. If we're still around, what happens with us? See how that goes. 

Mark: Right.

Yucca: So, 

Mark: I we're, we're getting towards the end of the podcast now, but I'm I'd really like to invite people who are experiencing what they feel are actualized kinds of relationships, you know, where you have a good. Communicative. Negotiating collaborating kind of relationship with your partner or partners be really interested to hear about your experience with that in a pagan context and how your paganism informs you know, Your relationship.

It's a whole other thing to talk about relating to family that aren't pagan when you are, we did an episode on that a while back. But I'll at least touch on the issue here just to, you know, so, so you can see that there's representation. Yes, we see you. We know that that's a challenge. It's really hard.

Yucca: Yeah. I see the topic come up quite frequently about having a spouse with a very different religious view. 

Mark: Yes. Yeah. That can be really hard. I would think. I, I don't know.

Yucca: I would imagine much more so than having parents or children with different views. 

Mark: Yes, yes. Yeah, that's a really tough one and, you know, For me where I am, my spirituality is important enough to me that I don't know that I could do that. 

Yucca: I think for me, it's so entwined with my world view, right. That I don't know if that could the person that I'm with that. Our worldview. Have to match enough, at least that we are able to, to interact and have that, that we can come to the table and work out whatever's happening with us after week after week, because it's not like it ever stops.

We've we, we keep growing, we keep changing. The world keeps changing way faster than we can keep track of. right.

And so, I, don't know if, if. I don't even know how to separate out my religion and spirituality from the rest of me. It's so I don't see it as these separate boxes. He doesn't know who to talk about the physical, emotional, spiritual, like, no, no, no, that's all, that's all just part of me. That's all related and that's part of my relationship. Right. 

Mark: Okay.

Yucca: So it's, it would be. Yeah. There's just so much to, every relationship has so much to navigate because it's not just every single person does, but then when It becomes a relationship, the emphasis so much it's exponentially more complex.

Mark: It is, it's a multiplier effect. It's not additional, it's a multiplier. And where people you add, the more of a multiplier it is. I mean the Emirates are famous for lots of processing, lots and lots and lots and lots of processing. And

Yucca: And in that case, I would imagine that, and this is a topic to come back to at another point, but that some sort of formal structure for conflict resolution might be incredibly valuable. In a case like that, again, depending on the group, but, but even having a structure for two people for conflict resolution.

But once you're starting to add more people in and then adding on layers of, of, if they're a household together, there's finances there's, there may be children. There may be all kinds of levels that get added on to that. 

Mark: sure. There's just scheduling time for people to be together. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: Which I mean, if you add children into the mix and everything, it can just get all very, very, very complicated. And then what time is available, you may end up, spend up end up spending processing instead of like enjoying the presence of your partner.

So it, yeah, it it's, it's challenging, but the people that practice it find it very rewarding. And what I want to say is, I'm not advocating any particular style of relationship. What I'm advocating is that people have the styles of relationships that they want. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: And if that is a very traditional look, getting men and women in a household with children, that's terrific if that's what you want, but there's a range of what people can want and they should have what they want.

Yucca: Yeah, exactly. And that, if that is what you want.

that's what works for you. There doesn't need to be the shame around it. Right, 

Mark: right. 

Yucca: and, and there's, and my personal opinion, we got way too much shame going on. Right. You're it's always the damned if you do damned, if you don't, you know, you, you wanna. Be a homemaker and shame on you for doing those old fashioned, you know, not sticking up for your gender or whatever you want to be out in the world then.

Oh, shame on you for not spending enough time with your partner or children or, you know, and none of that is helpful. 

Mark: No.

Yucca: Right. And It's hard to get rid of. Right. I feel it, everybody deals with it.

Mark: It's been the primary enforcement weapon for the over culture for centuries, you know, the, the, the use of, of shame and not, not just like social shame, like the Scarlet letter, but internalized shame the sense of doing wrong because you're violating that doctrine that has been, you know, kind of. Beaten into you by the fact that you live in this culture, that you've seen it over and over.

You've seen it in a million movies Noumea and I have a joke that polyamory would destroy most movies. 

Yucca: Yes. 

Mark: Because all the tension, all the conflict, you know, all the, all the love triangles, all the, it would just destroy the plot of many dramas, almost all the romantic comedies. It just, 

Yucca: just,

honest communication. Just say what you're feeling, you know, or common sense. Right. You know, put a drop of common sense in there. And that whole thing dissolves 

Mark: Right. Right.

Yucca: we have. Well, it, and the shame about the shame thing is that it doesn't serve anyone. 

Mark: No.

Yucca: It's not like there's someone winning. So to say out of any of it, we're all just suffering from it. 

Mark: Right. Well, I mean, if you really buy into the, the mainstream framework, then the idea is that the shame is driving you to walk the straight and narrow so that you can go to that. But we don't buy any of that at, we just, you know, we don't buy any, any single part of that. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: and if you do well power to you enjoy that.

If that's the path you want to walk, but what we're doing here is really key that happiness. Here in this world, but that we know that is here and

Yucca: I personally doubt that there's anything after words. Right? I 

Mark: yeah.

Yucca: that we are a beautiful, wonderful collection of atoms that. Breaks apart and becomes part of another beautiful, wonderful collection of atoms at some point. But I could be wrong. I highly doubt that there is something, but I don't.

But what I do know is that there is now 

Mark: This is 

Yucca: me. I'm here. This is all I know that I get. And I don't even know if I get tomorrow. 

Mark: Right. So pursuit of practices and and values that foster happiness become very important because what else are we doing here? And it's not just our own happiness, it's the happiness of those around us. It's the happiness of the ecosystem. It's the happiness of the future, as well as our own Honestly, if this is all there is what other possible value set would make any sense, because accumulating lots of stuff, you're still gonna die.

Accumulating a lot of power you're still gonna die. If you accumulate power and you use it for good, well, I can see some rationale for that. So, you know, I have a couple of friends who were in Congress and they're good people and they're doing good work and I'm glad that they're there. But I don't know.

I just it's. Unfathomable to me, why people would clean to the guilt and the shame around their desire and around their wish to connect with other people and around their doing the things that they love. 

Yucca: Okay. 

Mark: it's just, it's not helping anybody. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: It's certainly not helping the people that are feeling.

Yucca: And this, this relationship. I again, everybody's going to come into it with a different approach, different hopes from it. For me, it really just always comes back to it's about nurturing each other and supporting each other in that beautiful, happy, meaningful, joyous life. That's that's what it comes down to.

And it's, it's not easy all the time. And the whole, the love will carry you through happily ever after. I don't really believe in that. I think that it takes work. It takes commitment. You're going to be pissed off. Right. 

Mark: Right.

Yucca: gonna do something that is just, what the hell were they thinking? And frankly, you're going to too, because we're humans. 

Mark: Hm.

Yucca: Right. And, and everything changes and, and being, being able to come back just to always being able to come back to that table with that honesty and that self-reflection and re evaluation is what lets us. Take this journey together, then help each other through it. 

Mark: Right. Right. And not be alone 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: to feel truly seen and connected and valued. Over a long period of time, which, which will be an evolutionary journey. It will not be the same as when you started. So if you do decide to write down some agreements, I suggest you revisit them every few years, tear them up and start over because people change.

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: And, you know, one of the things that we've seen with the Abrahamic religions is that once you write things down, they don't change their, you might reinterpret them, but they're really locked in on the page and you don't want to be locked in. You want to be having agreements that fulfill who you are at this time.

Yucca: Yeah. They keep growing and changing like that river, Right.

It's the same river or is it love that? Right. And you keep, it keeps readjusting itself. Okay. 

Mark: Yeah. One of the really cool archeological. Fines in the American south is a steamship, a, a river steamer that sank with all of its cargo and was rediscovered in an Arkansas cornfield, something like a mile and a half from the Mississippi river, because that's where the river used to be. 

Yucca: That's great. 

Mark: It is really cool.

They. Th all the stuff was there. And so there's now a museum and, but yeah, the river moved

Yucca: So we'll come back to this topic again, but this was our kind of our intro, our thinking about relationships. Wedding season or reevals or all of that stuff. 

Mark: And if you're doing those things, our fondest wishes to you and best of luck, and we hope you have a beautiful day.

Yucca: Thanks, Mark. 

Mark: Thank you. Thank you.