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Barry from Australia is a questioning soul who looks at social issues from an alternative point of view and instead of asking, “Why?”, he asks “Why not?” He’s convinced that many of his previous incarnations were spent in China. He feels drawn to the people there; attracted by their rich culture and way of life. If given one wish from God, he’d reply, “I want everyone on Earth to be the same colour, speak the same language, and treat each other as they themselves would like to be treated.”
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My First Date After Lily (Part 1)

By Barry Pittman
1056 Views | 28 Comments | 5/12/2017 9:58:32 AM

Learned  people inherently knew there were three channels to learn wisdom. The first method was by pondering and reflection, that supposedly was the most noble way. But this was for people smarter than me who sat cross-legged in caves all day and ate nothing but lettuce leaves.



The second method was by observation and imitation, that was the easiest path.  But because it needed less effort, its lessons were more shallow.  This technique suited me more.  I felt I could do this.



The third method was by placing one’s nose against the grim grindstone of life, that is, through wretched experience. This naturally was by far the most painful technique.



As Murphy's Law perversely stated, if there were three ways to do something, the one that you'd end up doing would be the hardest.  Of course, this is what happened to me.  No surprises here. The only thing that had surprised me was my naivety in thinking that perhaps occasionally, important things in life would fall easily or neatly into place for me, rather than chronically experiencing a continued succession of dissonance and discord as events around me manifested completely beyond my control. 



Whoever said it was the sublime struggle rather than the ultimate outcome that was the most pleasing was a damned liar who should be hung upside down from a yard-arm somewhere, to give him time to ruefully contemplate his delusional deception.



I thus intuitively sensed that from this China trip and all its associated lessons, I'd return to Australia a much wiser, more seasoned person than ever before. My bloodied nose had become almost non-existent, as it had rubbed so oppressively and for so long against that accursed grindstone. In my mind's eye, I resembled a grimacing gargoyle, the only difference being the gargoyle was more handsome than the grotesque persona I was metaphorically morphing into at that time.



It was May 2016, in the immediate aftermath of being callously dumped by my long term girlfriend. As I discovered to my continuing chagrin, there was a terrible pain in realizing you loved someone more than they loved you. As penned elsewhere, I was shocked also by how vitriolic she'd become, sending me personally insulting text messages and suchlike, none of which I responded to.  Wow.  This really stunned me, after everything we'd been through. I thought she was a better person than this.



Having walked so many miles with Lily literally up and down mountains, as attentively described on this very website in the preceding sixty or so blog articles, suddenly I was bereft and alone in China, like a blind man stumbling down a dark alley full of lurking and rather intimidating obstacles.  The language in this vast land sounded like a cross between Swahili and Martian, utterly incomprehensible for a normal Westerner to comprehend or communicate in.  I knew I was in trouble, simple things like getting a taxi to the airport by myself as I needed to do soon and checking in there suddenly worried me. 



My unforeseen plummet into a dark void of discouragement was utterly depressing.  These feelings became especially amplified every time I visited the areas where Lily and I had previously cheerfully ventured together.  Good memories involuntarily would come flooding back, momentarily immersing me with feelings of happiness and joy, merriment and smiles, hopes and high spirits.  These quickly dissolved however into alternating waves of dolefulness and disillusion. 



I kept wondering what the hell was wrong with me?  My erratic life had been a long succession of failed relationships. Why were some couples able to bask in seeming contentment with supportive partners for half a lifetime? Thirty, forty, fifty years and longer. What was their secret?



I eventually realised that all of these disconcerting, unpalatable thoughts and occurrences were for a reason. It was a woeful wind indeed that bore no nutriment at all. Lessons were being learnt even though I didn’t particularly want to be taught! I felt like a chastened schoolboy who was continually being referred to the headmaster for admonition and punishment.



Being a scourged student of life, having been unceremoniously brought to my knees more than once before the astringent gods of affliction and adversity, I subconsciously understood that being able to relinquish with grace something precious was in fact a sign of immense strength, not insipid weakness. A resilient character who could give up on something significant was often paradoxically stronger than the defiant obstinate who refused to let go.  In my case, for a long time I worked hard at being the determined, resolute soul I knew I could be.  Yet in the short term, I felt fatigued and fractured.  I fell short on possessing enough maturity to compliantly forego what I once had, that is, a loving relationship with a beautiful person. 



It annoyed me even more when I realised that I hadn't fully appreciated at the time what I once had, til it had gone. Joni Mitchell's classic 1970 "Big Yellow Taxi" song irksomely echoed in my head often during this percussive period.



"Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got

Till it's gone

They paved paradise

And put up a parking lot"



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhxZ8ok3Z2o



Despite all the above, deep within I sensed that no matter what happened, life went on.  We're all shattered at different stages. We burn and feel pain. We fall and go lame. We weep, we mourn. We scold, we scorn. But ultimately, morning always arrives, a dawn of fresh hope and new beginnings.  Amen to that. Those who were blinded to such truths were indeed the architects of their own stupidity and ignorance, a lurking trap to be avoided at all costs. I thus determined not to stumble into the quicksands of endless wonderings about things that once were, but to forge forward alone in this strange, foreign land, with or without Lily.  Who was it who said success was never forever, failure was never fatal, it was the courage to continue in the chaos that counted in the end?



Our little lives could in one way be compared to a game of chess.  In my case, the Queen had suddenly departed, but the King was still present.  Acting like an emotional jellyfish did no one any good, especially myself.  I forced myself to focus not on what I’d lost, to being grateful for what I had. 



God knew  -  as did I also  - that on so many levels I was immeasurably better off than millions of sad souls wreaking out a meagre existance in so many dirty streets and rubbishy back alleys of China.  Sure, the middle classes in this seething land of colossal contrasts and gluttonous wealth were expanding rapidly, but tragically left in their wake lay an egregious mass of squalid humanity struggling valiantly to survive.  Places where naive tourists were carefully guided away from, where genteel folk dare not tread nor envisage in even the most abstract or remote way.



No thinking person could ignore such atrocities.  Who on Earth could turn a blind eye? Who amongst us could possess neither conscience nor morality not to be appalled by such injustice?



Apathy was indeed a fleecy, welcoming mitten where evil slyly slipped its most hateful hand.  But this deeply fraught truth was for another day.  Now was not the time to expand on this point or discuss this situation, as crucial and downright disturbing as it was and still is. I must first finish my astonishing tale, one that even now remains resolutely inviolate, despite malefic machinations from furtive forces best left unmentioned, for by their very acknowledgement, succor and sustenance discreditably was theirs.



With apologies to the great Omar Khayyám:



“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,

Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

The bell that's rung, shall ne'er be undone

Insult you've thrown, forever you'll own

Pain you've inflicted, so shall ye be afflicted"



(To be continued)


Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 10 of 28) 1 2 3 More...
#2017-05-12 11:29:08 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Hmmmm?  Is it just me, or does it seem like several of our long absent bloggers have been off honing their writing skills, and expanding their souls. First Imi, then Peter and now you, Barry, have all come back from long absences to post three truly outstanding blogs. 



And each of these blogs reveals, I think, a step forward in the way each of you has found your own way to communicate in the English language such that your words are worth the reading for the pure joy of the reading itself, the enjoyment of how the prose is formed, how the language flows, how the meaning is envisioned as clear pictures painted with beautiful brush strokes composed of letters and words.



Barry, the writing in this blog is outstanding.  You have gone from being a good, solid, well written "blogger" to being a finely tuned "writer". 



In doing so you have revealed what appears to me to be a change in self since last we heard from you. Maybe I am overstating it, but it feels while reading this blog that you have transformed yourself. When you were posting before your recent absence, it felt like we were reading the words of a man lost in anger and disappointment. Anger at the woman he loved who failed to love him quite enough, disappointment in a world that would allow that to happen. Lost and feeling maybe a little soulless.



But in this blog it feels like you used your time away to go do some serious soul searching, and by God you you seem to have found a new and improved one!  I am not suggesting you had no soul before your journey with Tina, but that maybe you lost track of it in those worst of times, and maybe the process you went through had eaten away at it until it was difficult for you to embrace it. I'm looking forward to the next stage of the journey, and to finding out more about nature of that new soul you've discovered.


#2017-05-12 13:03:48 by Imi5922 @Imi5922

Barry, this is the best I've read from you so far. Your words are not marching after one another but strolling on the beach while you can hear languid waves breaking to the shoreline. Good job. 
 

#2017-05-12 13:43:03 by melcyan @melcyan

Barry, reading your blogs about events that have taken place twelve months ago, sometimes makes me confused about whether I should be responding to the past Barry or the present Barry. In the comment section of your last blog you wrote these words - 

 

 "I accept fuly that  fault lies on BOTH sides. I have learnt many lessons as I am sure Lily has also." 

 

so I am assuming that this current blog was written before your words that I have quoted were written. 

 

I  was pleased to read the following words in this blog -

 

" I forced myself to focus not on what I’d lost, to being grateful for what I had. "

 

This approach sets the foundation for living a better life. Gratitude is not only powerful when you are picking up the pieces of a setback in life, it also is an essential part of the every day practice of a life that is fully lived.

 

Whenever I practice gratitude I try to make it as personal as possible and independent of the suffering of others. There will always be others worse off and better off than us, so it is better to avoid invoking a gratitude based on comparing ourselves with others. Genuine heartfelt gratitude fully locates you in the present moment and it is very much about self awareness.

 

#2017-05-12 16:09:21 by Barry1 @Barry1


@JohnAbbot

 

" the writing in this blog is outstanding.  You have gone from being a good, solid, well written "blogger" to being a finely tuned "writer"."



Thanks John  I write what I myself would want to read.  Such a simple concept. But this is the underlying method of my writing.

 

"in this blog it feels like you used your time away to go do some serious soul searching"

Yes John, I was absent from CLM for over half a year.  My parting from Lily hurt me more deeply than initially I'd thought.  But slowly over a period of many months, a myriad of memory snippets, reminiscences and recollections galvanised in my mind, some that seemed quite random and disconnected. 

 

Ultimately however, conclusions were finally reached.  Thoughts became clarified.  Lessons were learnt.

 

And so, my series of blogs will hopefully continue. As much for myself, as for anyone else.  I hope they turn out okay. 

 

Thanks again, John.  (beer)(think)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2017-05-12 23:45:45 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@Barry1

Firstly, welcome back!

I have said before that I was 'with you' during those difficult times with Tina/Lily, but you need to understand something. Everyone who knows me on CLM will know that I am not in the least bit 'religious' - but does that mean that I cannot be 'spiritual'?

We are an 'entity' in a human body. Our 'life' on this planet is simply nothing other than an experience. 'Regret' is futile. It serves no purpose other than to accept the fact that we made a mistake that we should not repeat. Regret itself, is pointless.

We should also consider the fact that we have no determined 'future' - we only have the 'now'. The decisions we make in 'the now', are the decisions that will shape our 'future'. In other words, our future depends on 'the now' and the decisions that we make.

No-one can say that you didn't do the 'right thing' by Tina/Lily. You gave up your life in Australia in order to be with her. You even went through the ordeal of gaining a TESOL accreditation in order to be able to work in China and provide for her. You were never 'useless'. That accreditation will allow you to teach in China for as long as you like, as long as your employer will accept your age (which is also something you have no control over).

 

You did your BEST! No-one could have done more that you did! Don't beat yourself up because things didn't work out - they (obviously) were never MEANT to!

Life is all about learning! Accept that in your heart and life will become easier for you.

Lily was the 'loser' - not you!

#2017-05-13 12:47:22 by Barry1 @Barry1


@Imi5922

 

"this is the best I've read from you so far."

 

Thanks for this Imi, but right back at you!  

 

I thought your last blog was excellent, better than I could have done, because it captured beautifully a scene that was so rich in detail yet devoid of any significant action.  This made it quite difficult to write well, at least for most people with their limited imagination and fear of self-expression.

 

Thank heaven, we're lucky here on CLM that you are not like most people!    (clap)

#2017-05-13 13:01:17 by Barry1 @Barry1


@melcyan

 

"reading your blogs about events that have taken place twelve months ago, sometimes makes me confused about whether I should be responding to the past Barry or the present Barry."



Interesting point, Melcyan.

 

Suffice to say all of us are learning and growing.  I see now that it's almost a year since Lily dumped me, how time flies.  So my articles are written about the past yet with my current mindset.  Confused?  So am I.    (giggle)

 

"Gratitude is not only powerful when you are picking up the pieces of a setback in life, it also is an essential part of the every day practice of a life that is fully lived"

 

You're a smart man, Melcyan.  Your wife is lucky to have you as a husband, your children also are fortunate to have you as their father.  Most certainly, the world would be a better place, were everyone like you.  (clap)

 

 

#2017-05-13 13:18:06 by Barry1 @Barry1


@paulfox1

 

" 'Regret' is futile. It serves no purpose other than to accept the fact that we made a mistake that we should not repeat."

 

So true, Paul! 

 

I can see that you also practise what you preach.  After your acrimonious divorce, you rolled up your sleeves, went to China and have tirelessly worked like a dog there, without complaint or enduring bitterness.  You're now in a situation where you can choose whatever Asian country you want to live in, in a manner and style to which you fully deserve.  In many ways, you're a genuine inspiration to millions of divorced men around the world who've had to pick themselves up by their bootstraps and march forward with their lives, often in harsh economic circumstances.

 

"No-one can say that you didn't do the 'right thing' by Tina/Lily. You gave up your life in Australia in order to be with her. You even went through the ordeal of gaining a TESOL accreditation in order to be able to work in China and provide for her."

 

Agreed, Paul.  I sacrificed so much more to be with Lily than what she did for me.  But in the end, these were largely ignored by her... overlooked.  So anyone who suggests it's normally the man at fault in a relationship is dead set incorrect.

 

"Lily was the 'loser' - not you!"

 

Yes, I concur.   What greatly confused me was the lack of discussion about the break-up. The lack of any real dialogue.  She simply made up her mind and that was it - a done deal.  

 

As you said though, our relationship was never meant to be.  Cheers mate, for your good advice.  I commend you also for the success you're creating over there for yourself.  Good job!    (beer)(beer)

 



 

#2017-05-13 13:24:31 by paulfox1 @paulfox1


@melcyan

Awesome!

Barry, you should heed Melcy's words, as should we all.....and here's why.....

Have you ever walked into a room full of sad people and thought 'You could cut the atmosphere with a knife'? Why is that, do you think?

Conversely, the opposite is true, in a room full of happy people you can almost feel the 'electricity'. Why?

The answer is simple - Energy!

Energy is attracted to energy. Have you ever wondered why someone may be 'more successful' than you, or why some people just seem to attract 'bad luck'?

Energy is attracted to energy. If we give off negative energy, we attract negative energy, it really IS THAT simple!

Being grateful for what you have, means you have positive energy and you will attract positive things into your life. Bemoaning the fact that you DON'T have something exudes negative energy, and thus, attracts negativity.

This is one of the most fundamental laws of nature.

 

#2017-05-14 00:55:57 by anonymous16051 @anonymous16051

Barry, very happy to read this entry, well written once again. I agree with Paul, Lily is the loser not you! 

One thing I fear is that not very many of the female members here will be able to read  your blog series as not many read, write English as well the translation into Chinese is not very accurate. Therefore they may give up trying to read your blogs which in turn means they will miss wonderful opportunites to learn and understand western/chinese relationships better.

Looking forward to reading your next episode in the My first date after lily series!

Cheers Mate (beer)

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