RV Life – Are You Guilty Of Pecking?

 

Pecking – Little Deaths

This may be my most important blog yet about our intimate relationships as we live the RV Life!  Years ago Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey.   These words stood out from everything else she said.

 

 

“Do not let yourself be surrounded by people who will

peck you to death like a duck.”

 

I remember thinking,  “I’m guilty of making comments that imply Stephen is somehow inferior in his way of thinking.  Or, for that matter, being.  I immediately started self-regulating to diminish this behavior in myself.  The other day I was thinking about this.  The image of a bonsai tree come to mind.  You prune it every day, wiring the limbs to create a pleasing form, as you slowly guide the tree into your own idea of beauty.  Seems like a creative act, doesn’t it?

Recently, we were with another RV couple.  I kept hearing one of the partners making subtle digs.  I could see the pain these pecks inflicted.  When I heard them, I thought, “Oh no, I’m still guilty of this.” When I heard this diminishing of a loved one come out of the mouth of someone else, I knew I could, and should, do better.  I’m reminded again of what I learned from Brene Brown’s book Rising Strong.” I quote, “Men are most vulnerable when they think their competency is called into question.”  Read more about how this book has positively impacted our relationship here.

 

As a result, I asked Stephen later if he’d noticed the pecking, and he said “yes.”  Then I asked if he’s aware I still peck at him, and he said “yes” again.  He also said, “It makes me want to snipe back.”  Oh no, I thought.  I don’t want this in our relationship.  So we came up with a signal. What could be said that would not cause further antagonism between us?   What would facilitate us moving towards each other rather than away?  Our signal is,  in as calm a voice as can be mustered, the words “I feel pecked at.”

Oh, this relationship stuff can be hard.

 

 

The interview of Maya Angelou by Oprah Winfrey delivers the feeling of what it’s like to be pecked.  She’s mostly referring to people out in the world.  However, her advice can certainly apply to the intimate relationships we enjoy in the RV life.

Maya:  Some people don’t have the nerve to just reach up and grab your throat, so they just take little pieces of you with their rude comments. 

Oprah:  They try to demean you.

Maya:  Reduce your humanity through what Jules Feiffer called little murders.  The minute I hear someone trying to demean me, I know that person means to have my life.  And I will not give it to them.” 

Read the whole interview here.

Sadly, this behavior is often seen in couples.  Acknowledging our partners boundaries is an important component of intimacy.  Unfortunately, intimacy can breed contempt!  So what does it mean to be respectful?  For me, it’s stretching the ability to acknowledge that my partner sees the world differently.  When I embrace and enter his world, I grow.  When I embrace and enter his world, we grow closer.  Diminishing my partner because he doesn’t see the world through my filters says more about me than it does about him.

Have you ever been to a duck pond and seen how ducks will just peck and peck at each other until pretty soon someone has no feathers?

In conclusion, I’m saddened when I see couples caught in this behavior.  I see the wounds each little dig makes.  Pretty soon – no feathers and bleeding to death!  But, there’s hope!

I’m reminded of Brene Browns book Rising Strong and what I learned.  She said “Men are most vulnerable when they think their competency is being called into question.”  That’s really what is getting attacked when you peck at a person.  The validity of their thoughts.  Read more here of what we’ve learned from this book.

Finally, many years ago, the wife in a famous couple made this statement on TV. 

“My husband and I decided a long time ago we would only say things in front of other people that lifted each other up in the eyes of those around us. 

Wow.  We wanted to be that couple.  It’s a high mark to shoot for but worthy of the effort.  Still working on it.

Are you ever guilty of pecking at your mate?  This behavior can be changed!   Notice what you’re doing and the negative impact on your partner.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Since my last post, we’ve left Nova Scotia and enjoyed time along the Maine coast.  Ocean vistas have lifted us up around every corner of U.S. Highway 1.  We delighted in coastal towns with wonderful galleries that fed our need for Art as well.  We were sad to leave the ocean but we’re now visiting friends in woodsy Vermont and this too has it’s own pleasures.

 

RV Life – Harmony Happens!

Harmony Happens!

Well we finally hit a bump in our RV Life that was the most difficult one to put behind us. But what can you do when it is only the two of you out in the big wide world coping with challenges and overcoming them as a team?

I’ll just lay it out here. First of all, I was driving the toad from one place to the other and Stephen was driving the coach. He arrived at Walmart before me and proceeded to back into a light post in the parking lot! What was Stephen doing backing up when he couldn’t see what he was backing into!!?!! I’ve noticed him making assumptions about backing up without thoroughly checking out what was behind him. He could see in the backup camera which shows what is directly behind you, but he hit the light post on the corner by the ladder where he had no visibility.

I was so frustrated that he decided to back up without either me looking for him or getting out and seeing the lay of the land KNOWING there were blind spots.

Getting over being SO angry at the stupidity of it took a while. I couldn’t even talk for a few hours. What could I say that would not have been demeaning and blaming because those were the sentiments that were very definitely going on in my head.

“Well timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.” Martin Farquhar Tupper

While stewing in my juices, I just sat with those feelings. I know Stephen was backing up to make sure we were level so we could get a good nights sleep. I’d been having terrible nights when the bed was leaning one way or the other. He was trying to please me which made it even harder to stay mad at him!

Pretty soon I realized yes, he made a mistake. A STUPID mistake. Have I ever made a stupid mistake? Yup. So, gradually I let the anger go. What else could I do? The greatest thing to me about being an RVing couple is knowing how much you need each other. You need each other for companionship as well as the daily teamwork that RVing involves.

How Harmony Happens as we pursue RV Life

Furthermore, I’d promised myself that this would be a post about Harmony. Actually, even the beginning of this post is indirectly about it because harmony is always the goal. Being imperfect humans, we fall and get back up, fall and get back up. I acknowledged what I felt, felt it for a while, then came back to calm. Pretty much works every time.

The day after this mishap we were spending a couple of days at Spry Harbor Campground. We were in need of some down time, and it was peaceful and restful. The RV Life is challenging!  So, as a result, we took advantage of our nearness to the Taylor Head Provincial Park Beach and enjoyed a walk on the deserted ocean front.

 

RV Life – Harmony Happens!  Go to my channel

 

There is no one with whom I would rather have shared that time. Because we are both artists, we are very attuned to seeing the beauty and pointing out what we are seeing and experiencing with each other so that we may share the moment.

It’s times like these when I remind myself of all the qualities Stephen has that make our life together so amazing. Why, you might ask, am I sharing such personal information? Read here to learn the answer to that question.

Being in harmony with your partner is also an indication of being in harmony with your innermost self. Here is an excerpt from a blog that tells the harmony story in a most perceptive way.

“From my own experiences I know that a relationship is literally like a fairytale, you have the good forces and the bad ones combined into one single story. Often the dark forces get stronger and stronger and just before they are about to succeed, they get defeated by the power of love.”

How does the power of love show itself when you hit the rough patches?

I’m currently working on a new Youtube channel I’m calling RV Stories people and places.  I have videos I’m in the process of editing of stories I’m documenting while living the RV Life. I am interviewing locals and other RVers and learning about their lives.  I’ll let you know when this Youtube channel is active.  We’ll also share what we learn as we visit interesting museums.

I’m having a hard time expressing how much we love Nova Scotia and it’s people.  Here’s a map of our recent explorations.