A Blessing from Day Past

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Life is an amazing journey, one filled with surprising twists and turns.  I have always thought if you can pay attention opportunities present themselves, if you can quiet the noise of the world your inner voice will tell you what to do, and every experience no matter how painful is an opportunity to grow and learn. There have been times when life was dreadful that I needed to hold tightly to those beliefs. Other times my faith was shaken but I clung firmly. I felt like I floundered a bit this past year or so, taking the time to dig all those skeletons from my closet. What is it George Bernard Shaw said, “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”  Being aware of the impact of my past  I had decided to dance with my skeletons, to truly understand the impact the may have on my life; past, present, and future.

Funny how life surprises you at certain points of your journey. At the end of all this dancing I have reconnected with an amazing person from my past. Someone who I so fondly remember conversing, analyzing life, and sharing laughs. While I have kept up with a few friends from that portion of my life, we had only crossed paths now and again but never quite had a chance to catch up. This is someone who knows me, the me from days past, the person I have worked so hard to protect and preserve.

To spend time with someone who know you at your core, to see you even though there are now rough jagged edges from your battles in life but still embraces you, values you, and understand you is a wonderful gift; a blessing. It is such an experience to be with someone who allows me to be as  authentic as he is, who not only embraces my analysis of life but meets it with the same depth of perspective, who not only tolerates my need to look at all sides of a situation but returns my “wisdom” when my perspective becomes short sided. Someone who encourages me to be my authentic self with my flaws and imperfections, someone who wants to know all of me, even the dark parts and seems to stand steady when I share. This blessing from days pasts has reminded me of some of my foundational beliefs that had been lost in the murkiness of life as of late.  I only hope I can offer him the same in return, to be enough even though I know I have lost parts of myself along the way; I hope those missing pieces have not been replaced with a darkness that fills too much of life. I hope to be able to always meet his openness, honesty, and vulnerability with the same as well as the encouragement and reassurance that I will be a good steward of all he shares, of the love and care he offers, of the kindness and encouragement I am met with. I pray that I can be enough.

 

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”  ― Thomas Merton

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The Blessing of Disappointment and Pain

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I have spent the past fifteen days floundering, reacting to life out of fear. Grasping to any reason to run from the existence I made for myself toward a painful self-imposed isolation similar to how I used to live at the same time fighting to remain present all the while being overwhelmed with dismay and anxiety. The sudden change in financial stability triggered old memories from a time where I had nothing and had started the long hard fight to a sense of security, all of which I now know is an illusion. That coupled with the fear of the unknown led me to spiral into this anxiety ridden way of thought that used to rule my days.  Of course some of those are valid fears which can easily become amplified in the anxious mind. I assessed my financial security; I am fine for quite some time so how shall I proceed.

I was running around without intention or purpose. A week ago a friend saw it, reminding me that under fire, a calm mind will Captureachieve what I never thought it could with the adage slow is smooth and smooth is fast; they observed my distress and behavior well before I could identify what I was doing. In the week since I have managed to upset them for which I feel guilty; I hope to formulate an apology which may offer them solace.

Now I begin the search for my intention. I have stepped back from life, from friendships, and am focusing solely on me; something I have never done. I took today to say my goodbye for now to those who are still around; I have one left to do which may be the hardest but I need to do that out of respect irrelevant of how painful it will be to me. I am trying to identify my purpose from which I have wandered so far. I am striving to identify a way to do what I am passionate about and still be financially viable. One thing I am sure of is as I navigate this portion of my life alone, I will ensure I do no other harm even if it was unintentional. This part of my journey must be navigated alone and I believe I will be all the stronger for it. This part of my journey allows me to find myself, to make my new life just as it should be. Although all of this was originally delivered as a painful blow it may become quite the blessing.

“The cure for pain is in the pain”-Rumi

 

The Next Act

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I noticed it beginning a few weeks ago and it is proceeding with a fury. I even wrote a spot about it and thought I should begin my retreat to protect myself, my heart and spirit. But I made the decision to fight my survival instinct and stay open, to be present in the world.  Having spent decades being reminded of my shortcomings, having my faults slung at me as if they were ammunition in some war, even being held accountable for things that were not mine to bear, I was adept at shutting off, at accepting the barrage of painful assault and continual condemnation. The decision to stay present went against all I have known for so long.

So now I am unsure how to proceed. Last night a close friend was enraged with her husband and began ranting, as she proceeded through this I grew increasingly uncomfortable; she clearly was struggling and in pain and I felt for her but once the name calling and belittling began, I could not remain silent. I know how detrimental that can be, the pain words can inflict can result in scars that remain forever. In her anger she said she was finished, ended the friendship in haste, deleting my from all social media and blocking my number so I cannot even check to see if she is doing alright.  A few days before another friend, someone who taught me the importance of being open, someone with whom we had each shared so very much  told me they were uncomfortable with me sharing what was upsetting and painful for me; having spent a lifetime filtering my needs and minimizing myself I am still unsure how to respond from me heart.  So that leaves two in my circle, one of which is moving for love very soon and the other which I have not heard from in days.

Was it all some false existence, some charade? Although I struggle to hold to my empathy and compassion, have I lost all worth to these people I held close?  Years spent living isolated, alone while life proceeded alongside of me, unconnected people wandering through their days with only shallow interactions I grew to believe life was meant to be lived alone until someone convinced me otherwise, taught me that we are not intended to navigate life in isolation. Was I believing in something that is not to be, something founded in hope that cannot come to fruition? How does one continue to bear the blow of disappointment that not everyone, cares as I do, is empathetic or compassionate as I try to be, nor do they value loyalty as I do. Maybe living without something makes you hold it in higher regard.  I have never asked for anything from anyone other than an occasional ear, honesty, and for people to be true and authentic; self-reliance was at my foundation because I never learned to trust in the stability and consistency of others so why ask for more.  I have reached out of the darkness a few times recently, trying to find something, to get my bearings, to hear a kind word, some sense of normalcy, someone to invalidate my lack of hope but have only felt the cold emptiness of nothing. Maybe it is time to draw the curtain to prepare for the next act. Let’s hope I have the courage to face the possibility of some sad monologue.

“Sometimes you have to move on without certain people. If they’re meant to be in your life, they’ll catch up.”  -Mandy Hale

Hope Served

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It has been an incredibly difficult several months filled with some ups and many downs. Yesterday I was in a dark place, feeling quite hopeless, as if I were in the middle of this murky lake just trying to keep my head above water, and my swimming skills are atrocious at best add to that life going on ashore with no regard for my struggle.  The weight of some understandings are difficult to bear; life does knock you around pretty hard sometimes.

While I am very insecure with my instability right now, I have some realities that are quite clear.  The most painful of those is that I have lost one of my best friends, someone who understood so very much, who added a unique perspective, and always shared my skewed sense of humor. I am afraid they are gone from my life forever and that adds a sadness that is beyond words. I am most afraid of being without my job, it is the same career I have had for over two decades and has become somewhat part of my identity, add to that the trigger of financial instability and I have been a bit of an emotional disaster. I think my disappointment in humanity, dealing with my own challenges, and the random acts of discord has pushed my faith beyond its limits; I have felt pretty isolated, somewhat cast aside.

Sometimes those reassurances arrive at the most opportune times, just when you need a smidgen of hope to restore your strength it comes served up on the best china. Last night I had an event at the studio which was very important to me, it was to highlight an organization that supports survivors of domestic abuse and I was saddened by the fact that no one was going to be there for support. It is funny the people who surprise you in those moments, I have a gratitude for them which I am unsure how to express. This morning a friend of many years texted she was running by to drop off something; to which she arrived with hugs, a wonderful dessert, and gift card all bundled beautifully with wonderful note including words of encouragement which although made me cry but gave me a bit more hope and strength to continue. Now as I am sitting here in the afternoon sun writing, my cross-eyed stray cat came wandering out of the woods. He has filtered around in my life for the past few years, at first quite skittish but has grown accustomed to the sound of my voice. Although he still lacks the trust to allow me close enough to pet him, maybe one day. The cat has grown to remind me of many things over the time he has loitered and the lesson was not lost today.  I am grateful for the hope that has been given to me the past day, so I shall focus my gratitude and enjoy the sun in my life today.

“Sometimes the strongest women are the ones who love beyond all faults, cry behind closed doors, and fights battles that nobody knows about!”- D.C. quote in my card today

Broken Bootstraps  

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Do you remember that first time you realized life doesn’t measure up to your expectations? Do you remember that crushing disappointment? What happens when that become a standard? A regular occurrence as if your life is the grand conspirator in the process? How many times are you supposed to pick yourself up and dust yourself off? What does life expect?

Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high.” ― William Goldman

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Dirty Laundry Stained with Blame

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So here I sit in that major conglomo coffee shop trying to do some research. This is the second time this week I have visited and it is becoming quite the adventure. Today I was lucky to position myself against the wall but am between two different groups of people, one a younger coed pair of friends where she clearly is interested in him but he is working through an “awful” end of a relationship and on the other side a pair of friends a bit older than me but also discussing relationship woes. One is clearly playing the blame game while the other seems to be the victim in that same game.

Clearly the lady is experiencing some difficulties in her long term relationship. She is trying to sift through her confusion and pain to find understanding. There are some petty frustrations intermingled with some pretty large problems. A few tears; my heart goes out to her pain, but she is facing her discomfort with dignity and as much rationality as possible.

The young man is attempting to explain why it would never work, creating irrational reason to displace his pain and any accountability to the ruins of his relationship. It is so difficult to stand in your pain, be accountable for your part while remaining respectful with the coconspirator. Don’t get me wrong there are times it is always appropriate to set your boundaries and maintain your self-respect but that is not the situation I am eavesdropping on. He has disengaged from the pain and like a petulant child is slinging accusations at a person who cannot defend herself. Having been on the receiving end of the blame game, I understand the pain belittling and devaluing can inflict.

I may never understand. I think when things go wrong, objective facts are the only appropriate items to share; I believe in discretion. There is a reason you let that person into your life, you cared with all of your heart at one point so why the disparagement now?  Why do people not have enough respect for themselves to maintain privacy of their intimate relationships? Why do they feel the need to air their dirty laundry? Why do we seek validation for their misdirected pain?

“You’ve got to learn although it’s very hard. The way of pocketing your pride, sometimes face humiliation while you were burning up inside. Facing reality is often hard to do when it seems happiness is gone”  – Nina Simone