Dedication

This book is dedicated to Patricia Barry Ryley. She has generously offered boundless energy and creative collaboration with us in pursuit of our dreams. Her openness, selflessness, and insight has helped us find our way. An unyielding belief in our story led her to partner with us, resulting in the design and completion of this book. Her knowledge and intuition have truly been inspirational. Countless hours, long work days, and late night conversations have nurtured a relationship that happens perhaps once in a lifetime. She was always the first to read our stories, listen to the latest version of our music, or help us with the drawings. She was also the first to give us feedback, encouragement, and support. We wish for everyone to have such a wonderful friend.

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Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Chapter One – TimepiecesChapter Two – DuskChapter Three – NightChapter Four – DawnChapter Five – DayReferences

Music – Never Sleep

uncommonpromise.com

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Acknowledgements

When we started this journey, we realized that we were embarking on a path that was mostly unknown, needing guidance and direction along the way. We just didn’t know exactly where to turn, to whom, or when. We trusted that each collaborator would show up at the right time–and that’s exactly how it happened. We offer our heartfelt thanks to each person, whose continued and sincere support has helped to make this book possible.

First and foremost, we want to express love and appreciation to our children, Iris and Aaron. They offered insight, support, and challenge throughout our process. But mostly, they gave us the space we needed to be different, room to change and grow and the patience to let us find our own way. Our first partner, Dr. Jean Moore is a valued friend and counselor who helped us unravel confusion to create possibilities. We are fortunate to have had conversation and listening partners who provided encouragement when we most needed it: Rosemary and Gary Richardson, Tonya and Dave Timmons, Marti and Scott Colglazier, and Judith and Frank Marshall. In addition, Dr. Jos Tomlow graciously offered his time and insights into the architectural world of Antoni Gaudí. Roberta Lapucci shared her knowledge and access into the Florentine world of art conservation. Jim Bruno provided countless hours of vocal coaching and recording assistance in our pursuit of find our own voices. Tom Tomasello taught us the basics of arranging our music into pieces that better expressed our accompanying musical story Never Sleep (uncommonpromise.com). Mary Jane Ryan helped us turn our rough ideas into a refined manuscript that could be shared with others. George Beinhorn carefully copy edited our writing, giving it far more clarity than we could have achieved on our own. We also thank JoAnne Boncher, the first person to read our finished manuscript cover to cover. Her insights and suggestions made a significant difference in how we expressed our story.

We extend appreciation for friends in Italy who guided us in our search for enchantment. Barbara Cardinali provided countless hours of counsel and support in securing a small piece of Tuscany for our studio, while sharing her home and family with us. Pietro Quagli, and his late wife, Paola, offered us authentic Italian hospitality, friendship and support.

We also want to express our love and appreciation for our parents, Kenneth and the late Margie Tibbs, Rose and the late Harry Emerson Martlage for modeling values that underpin all that we do. Again, we say thank you to all these special people who have truly made a difference by choosing to walk with us on our path.

The following people were responsible for specific aspects of the book and related music—Editor: Mary Jane Ryan, Copy Editor: George Beinhorn, Graphic Design: Patricia Barry Ryley PBR Studios, Illustrations: Emerson Martlage.


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Introduction

In 1999 we set out together on one of the most important journeys of our lives. After being married for more than 25 years in traditional roles with work, family and friends, we wanted to free ourselves to integrate our lives in a new way, creating a new relationship—one profoundly different that would take us into the next half of our lives in surprising ways. We left our jobs and packed up 10 years of journals, setting out for the Spanish coastal town of S’Agaro.

Once there, literally alone, in the early spring, we began reading our journal entries aloud to each other. We spent the next 6 weeks opening ourselves and expressing feelings like never before. That was only the beginning. We left Spain for Florence, Italy with stacks of stories, which became the early manuscript for our first book of stories, music and art. We called it Time to Partner—Relationship changed through dreams, intuition, trust and courage. After arriving back home in California 3 months later, we compiled all of that early material into a handmade book and CD. We made 27 copies to give to those people around the world who had been instrumental in influencing our life change.

Now, in 2012, some 12 years later we are making that original story available to those of you interested—certainly, not as any type of blueprint . . . but maybe, as a small inspirational piece of encouragement for living your own unique and deeply personal dream. We offer this simple love story in hopes that you too can continue to find ways to lovingly open aspects of your own authentic self that may have been previously covered over by life’s best intentions.

 

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Ceaseless Change


Hours of our lives are connected in repeating cycles

Beginning with Dusk’s quiet reflection and rest.

Night follows, bringing dreams and vulnerabilities.

We awaken at Dawn, with hope.

Day arrives, filled with activity and direction.

Yet we know that Dusk will return.

And so we begin our journey.

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Chapter One—Timepieces

We live our lives moment by moment, focusing on the pieces, the details, the ordinary. Consumed with the necessities of the day, we are drawn into each second–an intense, microscopic point of view. Stepping back for a broader perspective, we see life beyond the immediate. We see our days. We can set a new rhythm, engaging closely, briefly, then holding our experiences at arm’s length for a fresh view. Endless cycles, ceaseless change. The turning circles of time can bring revelation.

Nearly 500 years ago, at the dawn of the Renaissance, Michelangelo contemplated the unending recurrence of the daily cycle and made it the subject of intriguing new sculptures. He fashioned the never-ending journey of life into great reclining figures of Night, Day, Dawn, and Dusk, realized in marble and placed in the Medici Chapel in Florence for future generations to see. The concepts of the daily cycle are etched in the psyche of our everyday lives as reminders of the simplicities and complexities of our living. Michelangelo fused the paradoxes of light and dark, male and female, inside and outside, suggesting possibilities of a greater wholeness, and new relationships within ourselves and with each other.

Where does the day begin? At sunrise, when we awaken? Was the day born in our sleep, while we were still lost in dreams? Or does it matter? We think not. The times of day aren’t isolated, but connected, one to the next, made of small, subtle, and broad repeating cycles. Our lives move as the days move. We have structured our book to reflect these cycles. We begin our day at Dusk, a time of quiet reflection and rest. Night follows, bringing dreams and vulnerabilities. We awaken at Dawn, with hope for the unlived day. Finally, the Day arrives, filled with activity and direction, yet we anticipate that Dusk will surely return.

In view of the lives that gave birth to this book, we reflect on Michelangelo’s sculptures as symbolizing the process and time it takes to partner, which is cyclical. Centuries after they were created, Michelangelo’s marble images generate new meaning for us, as we travel the never-ending circle to understand ourselves, as individuals and as a couple. The eternal theme of time of day has taken new life as we’ve reinterpreted its meaning with our own words, music, feelings, and intuitions. It has become the fundamental framework on which we build. We feel intensely aware of the repeating cycles of mood and change. Just knowing and even anticipating the next sequential phase provides perspective and resolve. And the story continues . . .

Life’s meaning rests within our days of endless cycles and ceaseless change.

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Our Book

Libraries are filled with volume after volume. Bookstores relinquish texts for a tiny ransom. Meaning isn’t released until we open the cover. The spine crack, and words and images spring into being, entering through our eyes, into our hearts.

We invite you into our book, the collected expressions that capture the essence of our transformation as individuals and as a couple. The stories are based on real experiences. The give glimpses into very private lives, lives that may be uncomfortable to read about,since they have been at time uncomfortable to experience. The journey extends of a period of ten years, beginning at a time when we sensed growing dissatisfaction and restlessness. Simultaneously, we were reading and learning about philosophy, ancient and modern. Those philosophies, based in truth, passion, enchantment, and psychology, inspired us and influenced our individual perspectives. Our search for ourselves took us on literal journeys as well as spiritual ones, resulting in fresh personal awareness and interpretations.

Time to Partner is about individual growth, and about establishing true partnership. We pursue a dream of the soul. That dream is to celebrate the human spirit, and to recognize that there are no time references or constraints. We believe the human spirit seeks expression, and harmony with realities far beyond its own immediate surroundings. We believe that most people ignore or deny parts of themselves and long to rediscover those shelved aspects. Have we lost sight of our passions in living our day-to-day routines? Do we miss the excitement of discovery, or the feeling of being in love? Is there a reason why our wildest dreams can’t come true? We believe that uncovering and nurturing wonderment and awe is a missing step,one that we all can rediscover and enjoy. We invite the reader to revisit an old dream. Create a new one. Share a passion. Grow an idea. Engage in conversation with a friend, partner, lover, or someone who might just be in the same place at the same time. Keep a diary. Scribble notes in the margins. Jot down some random thoughts. Drop a hint. Create a memory of a melody that someone might hum. Leave a trace, a clue about yourself for someone to find, to know you just a little better.

As with all research, we must include resources and credits. Authors, experts. and examples are plentifully offered. In the body of the stories, there are references to specific influences. In attempting to weave our own fabric, we have taken up odd thread, here and there, harvesting the occasional shiny ribbon and blending it with twigs and treasures to create this nest we now recognize, as the beginning of our truth. It is the home from which we fly and to which we return, gathering food for our daily sustenance. Our lives are bound together spiritually and tied to the world by these threads. Harmony is a journey, as well as a destination.

Our lives in the past were filled with predictable certainties, but in this re-acquaintance with our core personalities, we have been met with surprises. It has been an awakening, a spiritual renewal, and a time of growth and change. Or learning have brought deep happiness, fulfillment, and enthusiasm. To call this simply a “book” is a misnomer. It is intended to be non-traditional. It is intended to be interactive and provocative. Each story is captured as a self-contained moment, amid the full and certain knowledge that there is no such thing.

In our early forties, we became increasingly aware that we were living lives that were failing to satisfy us completely. Despite a wonderful family and successful careers, over the years we had adopted a life-style and values that didn’t appear to reflect our true identities. Awareness of dissatisfaction began to show up at home, at work, and deep in each of us. We were no longer satisfied with the self-limitations we had accepted, or the prospects of continuing in the life-style we had created. After nearly ten years of introspection and documenting our conversations, mood, and feeling, we made a joint commitment to one of the most significant endeavors we had ever undertaken together. We decided to reread our years of journal entries, reinterpret the drawing we had made, and rediscover the music we had written to accompany the narrative of our lives. Slowly, we unraveled the tangles that hd led us to this time of frustration, and began to carefully reweave the individual threads into a new future.

We wrote Time to Partner over a four-year period. It is the narrative of how we reassembled the pieces of our lives into a new story. We believe that our story is uniquely ours, but that it mirrors common human conditions. It is a tale told in poetry, song, and everyday anecdotes that, we hope, will enable you to see more clearly who you are and who you can become. Time to Partner is a process that resulted in the creation of a product, namely this book and our music. It has given us the clarity and strength to follow our dreams. Now, we hope it will inspire you to follow your own visions and imaginings. The book is a handwritten, old-fashioned love story, for those of us in the new millennium who long for the courage to build more soulful relationships, while finding extraordinary meaning and satisfaction along the way.

We have included small pictorial icons to distinguish realizations, observations, or learnings. Thoughts are accompanied by a photograph of an antique watch or a copy of a hand-rendered sketch of one of the four faces depicted by Michelangelo’s Dusk, Night, Dawn, and Day cycle. Scattered throughout the book, the icons are visual reminders of personal hopes, possibilities, and dreams.

If intentions are true and pure, our vision comes into view, and we begin our journey.

Our narrative collage is built of many inlaid pieces from the lives of our two wonderful children, now adults. Our son, Aaron, and daughter, Iris, were daily participants in the scenes that unfolded. Their gifts of letters and stories have lent reality and texture to the picture. Other friends, family, and acquaintances are included anonymously or with permission. It has been our intention to share only what we have experienced, while not betraying the confidences of others. In each case, our hope has been to create learning and growth.

We had been married thirty years when we began our journey, leaving our professions to become self-employed in pursuit of our dreams. Formerly, we enjoyed successful careers in a variety of professional roles that included art, architecture, corporate positions, and college faculty. Other experiences included leadership roles in human resources, city planning, engineering, European studies, community relations, and communications. Our work has taken us to different countries and cultures. It has given us a rich perspective and has stimulated deep reflection on who we are as individuals and partners. We have lived in a variety of contexts, from small-town heartland USA, to the fast-paced, dynamic Silicon Valley. During the writing of this book and the decade beyond, we have lived in the village of Saratoga, in the San Francisco Bay Area and countryside in the outskirts of Florence, Italy. The contrast between the two environments has added greatly to our evolving perspectives and inspiration—and for that we are extremely grateful.

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