Tag Archives: Being Brave

thoughts on a Sunday afternoon

Thoughts always come to me circuitously, prompted by something external, harvested like resin on the barks of trees, occurring by virtue of the cuts inflicted upon the tree’s surface.

They are like disparate threads gathered from things people say, or things that I see and hear that have a common resonance, an emotional coalescence.

Yesterday I read several posts on Facebook, one from a friend who had gone on a date filled with hope only to return home disappointed. Another post I read spoke to how language is largely an inadequate method of communicating a description or explanation of the energy which underlies the more mystical aspects of this existence, which my friend had said was more appropriately expressed through emotion rather than termed as energy.

I have also been reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, a book that I had begun a while ago, got about a third of the way through and then parked. I picked it up yesterday morning and became reacquainted with it as if it were an old friend.

Without laboriously going over its contents, in fact skipping over that altogether, what culminated from these disparate threads was this thought: I think the poets, bards and lyricists have it right – the only way to share the numinous is through story, the telling of them meant to evoke within the reader or listener the sort of emotion that mirrors the state they are trying to describe.

Words ARE inadequate, in and of themselves, to express the depth of an experience that is such an internalized process that it often lacks description.

An experience must be shared in such a way as to allow the readers to intuit the meaning of it on a personal level – to have it move them and thereby establish an emotional connection to the material – in order to understand the progression that one is meant to take internally in order to get to the desired place.

The dating experience my friend described largely mirrored my own, which was an endless stream of disconnection and repeated disappointment in finding that those who were moved to meet me were either horribly bitter about their previous relationship(s) or were looking to be intimate rather than for intimacy – sometimes it was both.

I realized then that I had to step away from it all, and come to terms with myself. If we are essentially drawing like with like, then they were mirroring parts of myself that I had not come to terms with, and it seemed to me that I was best served by becoming the person that I wished to find.

It’s been a long, difficult, journey, and one not yet completed. That’s not to say that I haven’t made progress – I have – but I continue to struggle with the very things that disturbed me in the potential suitors. Things like bitterness resurfacing after a hiatus, after my having declared myself its victor, requiring me to find ways in which to sit with that bitterness without allowing it to consume me so entirely that it would end up funnelling down into hatred and despair.

Other things came to fore too, like the realization that I keep people at arm’s length because I am incapable of trusting them or myself with the enormity of emotion that might perhaps expand between us if the relationship progressed naturally, and I (and my partner) were to show ourselves vulnerable to each other.

What is natural, anyway? I tout being “natural” as thought it was some sort of badge of honour but I wouldn’t know it, some days, if it bit me in the ass.

Natural.

I’ve spent a lot of time – my lifetime, so far – reigning myself in (that would be as far from natural as one could get, I imagine). So much so that it appalls me when I realize that in order to survive this next part of my life with an intact soul I will need to deconstruct everything and every way I’ve learned to be and figure out a new way.

I don’t know if I’m brave enough. I don’t know if I can take the torment that accompanies this process… not alone, and I truly am alone. Alone, surrounded by people, just like the girl in my tiny book on loss.

There are tiny losses, like some loose change inadvertently falling out of a pants pocket down into a sewage grate, or chipping a nail and having to cut all of the rest of them to even them out, but others are far larger than that, like losing your sense of dignity even before you really knew what that meant, or never really knowing what greatness lies within you because you got lost along the road to finding out what truly lies within.

The thing about discoveries is that you can’t not see them once you’ve seen them. You have few choices in how you will choose to live with them. Only two, really: pretend that you didn’t see them, and let their truth gnaw away at your insides while you maintain the status quo, or you choose to acknowledge them, which also necessitates figuring out how to make a better life by humbly embracing those truths and sitting in the discomfort until a better solution presents itself.

Neither is an easy route, really. One can potentially bring me closer to becoming the person that I would want to spend some time with, perhaps even the rest of my mortal life, while the other would cause me to continue to harden and shrivel, becoming but a husk of my former self, never really knowing just how close I was to finding my way back home.

your choices matter… even the bad ones

Rumi - Field

“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense any more.”  ~Rumi

(Because y’all know I contemplate a lot – it’s just what I do I’ve been thinkin’…)

Someone on my Facebook friends list posted that relationship is her spiritual practice. This of course got me thinking (because … see above) about all of the relationships I’ve had in my life, as well as those I’ve observed first hand (like my parents’ relationship, for example).

I thought about my last intimate relationship and how it’s affecting my present moment.

I’ve thought about that person’s new relationship and how joyous it seems, how right, and effectively how wrong we now appear for each other, in retrospect.

I’ve thought about my abandoned marriage and the choices that paved their way to my finding myself here, now.

I thought about my mother’s relationship with my father, and how the choices she made affected both our (actually, our whole family’s) lives, and how both of us, at points of our lives not terribly far from each other’s in age, we made different choices, and how each of us chose to be brave in the best ways we knew how.

I thought about how other people have influenced most of my choices throughout the course of my life; how through fear-imbued rhetoric they managed to shape the way I viewed my potential and possibilities, and how, when my mother had to make a choice whether to leave her shambled marriage or to stay in it, middle-aged and with a young four year old child, she chose to stay, while I, faced with a similar choice, chose to leave. I saw possibility; potential. She saw hardship; strife.

I’ve often reproached myself, over the course of my life, for always being the one to cut out, though in truth I honestly do feel that I gave my marriage all I could with whatever I had at my disposal.

Many other choices preceded that last monumental one. Over the course of my life I had always opted for safety and comfort because I was afraid that I didn’t have what it took to withstand difficulty, but in so choosing it proved to me that I could. The choice of not making the right one created difficulties that were probably just as challenging and certainly more corrosive than the ones which would have resulted had I made the choices I ought to have made in the first place – had I had more courage to embrace what my heart truly wanted.

Each choice, however minute, however beneficial or detrimental, builds who you become. It shapes you, pebble by pebble, breath by breath.

In the end one hopes what the monument of self that we have built over the course of our lives is one we are pleased with when it comes to its end.

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The above sketch came to me during Jennifer Louden’s freebie introductory session for her Life Organizer Navigation Course. If you are so moved and are able to take it, DO it. I can’t at this time and hope to continue respectfully engaging in dialog with my shadow comforts and time monsters to reach an equitable working arrangement. Peace. xo

(and below is the sketch from above translated into colour in my art journal)

photo