I sit here in a small village in Cuba where it has been raining for the past few days. My mind wanders to my home in the states and to my family and friends. My mind also wanders to my own insecurities and fears and to those of many friends and acquaintances. Many of us have been so indoctrinated to believe our insecurities and doubts are real. They often become the things that paralyze us. Some of us have been surrounded or have been involved with others who not only do not have our best interest at heart but feel threatened by our very existence.
Sadly, in life there is hurt. We will unintentionally hurt others and they will hurt us. What we do with the hurt determines whether or not we survive and become whole or fall to our insecurities and fears. It is the strength and the courage in us to forgive and meet others with compassion. It is for us to become the people we truly can be and be an example of what love and acceptance can look like. Often times others come at us from a place of hurt with all of the fury and pain they can mete out. This is the time we must stand in our power and allow them to have their pain and hurt but we no longer are a target. We place our boundaries, draw our line in the sand and reach to love them with a long arm but they no longer get to hurt us. Those we love can hurt us in ways that are unimaginable and can be the ones to cause our hearts to split but with the courage we have we can keep right on marching towards wholeness
This morning I thought about love. I thought about the feelings we identify as love and how we sometimes give these feelings so easily to another but fail to give them to ourselves. I wondered how and why we get love so confused and why it causes so much ecstacy or agony. I also think of the feelings of anguish when we feel love is taken away or manipulated in some form or fashion. We are told someone is supposed to love us til death we do part and nothing is supposed to change. We are not expected to grow. We are expected to see another as the one to make us happy and whole. Many of us begin to feel in order to love we must own. The object of our love should belong to us and we should belong to them. We forget to give some love to the one who needs it most, ourselves.
Self care is self love. Unfortunately in the arena of love there are those willing to take without the desire or the ability to give. In our need to feel love, we often give away our power to those more than willing to take. It often leaves us feeling depleted knowing something is wrong but lacking the ability to see the problem. We lose track of us while living a life that truly is not ours. We become emeshed feeling that if we truly love we must give our selves completely to another. We see us through another’s eyes. Self care and self love is the ability to recognize when it is time to take care of our mental, physical and spiritual needs. It is the ability to recognize when we need a break, a rest, a vacation or just to say no. It is the ability to see ourselves as whole and complete individuals.
Authentic love is not one sided. In order to love we must be vulnerable and willing to let the other see our wounds and we are witness to theirs . Often in the early stages of lust or infatuation, we convince ourselves that this is love. We are high on the aphrodisiac of lust. To love deeply and truly is to want the best for another without the need for retribution or hurt when we feel we have been wronged. Love can bring confusion and sometimes can get ugly. It is a difficult thing to mix the human ego with what is supposed to be “unconditional love.” We use the term of “unconditional love but do we truly possess the ability as humans to love another without condition or do we snatch our love away when one does not conform to our standards? To love another without condition is to love them as they are even if we are unable to live together within the confines of a home or relationship. We are able to offer our love, comfort and care and acceptance all along maintaining our own personal boundaries. We offer a hand, an ear or a shoulder. To love another without condition or judgement is a difficult task for most of us. We often seek revenge and hold our grudges until we feel justice has been served. We become the judge, jury and executioner all in an effort to coddle our hurt egos. We must understand that only through loving and putting our best self forward are we able to meet others on the path towards understanding and genuine full love.
When we hurt the ones we love, there may be a heavy price to pay. We may lose them forever. We also may make it possible for them to walk a path towards self knowledge that would not have been possible another way. The unfortunate part of being human is that we are not perfect and that we will make mistakes, we will cause pain and we will experience pain. It is with this knowledge that we must have compassion for ourselves and others. We cannot walk a true path towards our real selves if we are walking on egg shells of avoidance or in efforts to make others happy.
Many of us live in fear of rocking the status quo. We do not want the challenge and prefer to live in our silent desperation of comfort. We know deep in us there is more but we are content to live in our world of avoidance. We feel if we dull these feelings of discontent whether with excessive drink, material consumption, technology, etc. eventually we will ride out the boredom that we feel. We look at those around us fixated on their phones or strutting along with bluetooth devices attatched to their heads and wonder about human connection. It is a sad sight to see those so engrossed in their outside world they fail to connect with the person sitting in front of them. There used to be a time when only physicians were on call in case of emergencies. Now it seems we are all on call and need to be reached no matter where we are. Couples now reach for the computer first thing instead of reaching for the one lying beside them. It has become more important to know what is outside of ourselves than what is inside. We have ceased to connect. To connect with what is inside scares us as we may have to look at the truth of our lives and come to terms with who we truly are. Looking inward may cause us to question our reality, might shake us to our core and cause a host of problems we feel we are not ready to confront.
Humans are hardwired to believe there can be only one way. We watch the path of others before us and feel this is the tried and true so we march on the road of others. It is easy to walk the trodden path. It takes great courage to carve the one that is only meant for us. Others will shun, ridicule, ignore, or express anger and righteous indignation and make it known that we are the ones with the problem. A midlife crisis is what it will be called with words such as sophmoric, irresponsible, and selfish.
When we are called to shake up the status quo or challenge the current paradigm, we may doubt our own sanity and the comfort of reverting back to the known will be great but we must continue the journey. We must love and care for ourselves with compassion and trust that we are being led and cared for. Those who truly love and care for our wellbeing will have our back. Just trust.
Posted in bravery, Fear, grief loss, Kindness, technology, Uncategorized
Tagged anger, Friends, friendship, Kindness, love, opinions, society
Today the Washington Post had an article “The Trauma for a man:Male fury and fear rises in GOP in defense of Kavanaugh.” I am not much for political commentary but find it necessary in light of changing climate in the good ole US of A. Personally, I find the concept of male fury, well infuriating. The notion that men after so many years of having cake and eating it to are feeling fury in an age of changing demographic where more women are demanding to be heard is ludicrous. This is about sexual assault. The condescending talk and accusations of lying towards women courageous enough to come forth is beyond appalling. Once again we are in a terrain where it is best for women to be seen and not heard ie . chattel, property. Male priviledge and patriarchal mores have thrived and succeeded on keeping women mired in a quagmire of inferiority and dependance.
Sexual assault is no laughing matter. Everyday in a court room somewhere in this world rape victims are being asked questions regarding type of clothing worn and other questions designed to make them perpetrators instead of victims. Women are not being taken seriously and now as more come forward, the good ole boys club is claiming “fury” and once again attempting to paint women as destroyers of careers and families. What these boys fail to realize is that what is done in the past can always come back to bite .
I give applause to these women brave enough to speak their truth as it takes tremendous courage to stand amidst the sharks of patriarchy. Men and women alike must stand in support of these women and hold those hell bent on forcing them back into obscurity accountable every step of the way.
There is no doubt we live in a patriarchal society. There was a time when women were seen as belongings, mere chattel. It was the expectation for a woman to be seen and not heard. That was then but unfortunately the sentiment albeit subconcious and often covert exists this day. Mysogyny the hatred of women is not as obsolete as we would like to think. There is no doubt women have come a long way but a much longer way in needed to go before we can claim equal status and respect. No one denies the differences between women and men and that is a good thing. We expect men to be the protectors, to be stronger but many of the expectations are changing faster than the speed of light. There was a time when men provided for the family but the need and the desire for women to enter the work force has swiftly changed this dynamic. Many a man continue to feel the expectations of a society that is rapidly changing. We as women can be our own worst enemy. We want our independance yet many refuse to be the masters of our fate.
Many years ago, I took the bait and knew it was time for me to marry. Why not? I had been dating my partner for 4 years and according to society, the next step was to marry. I was the one to put on the pressure. According to society, I was expected to wait until he got the notion or the inclination to determine when it was time. We give that power away. Instead of stating my needs and asking to marry, I played the game that so many women continue to play. We sit wringing our hands, perusing bridal magazines and dreaming of that magical moment when the one we love will drop to his knee with ring in hand. I had asked my perspective husband when he was going to propose. His response was when the “maui maui” mates. Needless to say, I had no idea what a maui maui was or when it mated. However, I found myself on the floor of my home with stacks of encyclopedia’s researching when that date would be. I waited and hoped. I was giving him the power to control my destiny and my fate.
Every day we as women give away our power. We allow others to exert control. We forget about our uniqueness and how we deserve to be loved and respected. We forget that we are sexual vibrant beings. We need to claim our sexuality and our love of life as the wonderful creations we are. We often allow our partners desires to take front and center all the while disappearing into the background. The time is now for all of us, women and men to learn to allow others to be as they need to be and appreciate what we all bring to the table. Everyone deserves to live a life of freedom, passion and love. So many of us feel if we are truly happy something must be wrong. Our puritanical ways have taught us that it is better to suffer for the good of all. We all know deep in our selves that this is a lie. Live and enjoy life.
Anger is a wound that festers. Sometimes it will lie there dormant ready to wreak havoc wherever its tentacles will stretch. We march around with grins on our faces pretending it is not there, but the body knows. For every piece of anger that we hold onto we lose a part of ourselves. There is no denying that anger is a healthy emotion when we learn to harness its power instead of allowing it to cause us torment and angst.
The unfortunate aspect of being human is that we all make mistakes and we will cause others pain for that is a part of the journey we call life. Life is neither black or white and it is often messy and chaotic. We can inadvertently cause pain as we search to discover who we are or who we are to become. When we go against others preconceived ideas of who we are or what they want us to be, voila, we have trouble. The problem with anger is that many of us allow it to blind and to close off a part of our hearts. We give away our compassion and the care we feel for another allowing our anger and ego to take full front and center. We stop seeing the other as an individual with their own dreams, thoughts and desires. We cannot have things the way we want, so we lash out. We want others to feel our pain. We want to make them hurt the way we hurt. The ego and the limbic brain wants payback. It does not want to learn from hurt or pain. It does not want to care for another who unintentionally has hurt us. Some of us find joy and pleasure in our self centeredness and feel that anyone who has hurt us deserves our wrath.
As we mature and walk through life, we come to understand that hurt and pain are unavoidable if we are to be true to ourselves. When we love and care for another in an unconditional way we want that one to be happy. We want them to reach their full potential and live the life they were put here to live. When it is all about us, we want them to be all about us as well. Wrath and anger stings and causes hurt and chaos but when we hold on or lash out, it only eats us from the inside. For some admitting our vulnerability and our need for another is akin to torture. We may feel it makes us weak and we want to be invincible. Through the illusion of strength and self assuredness we can say to others we are islands. However, no man is an island. When we stand in the path of another’s anger, compassion helps us to understand. Empathy allows us to feel but we must also protect our own space and health. We must refuse to accept the continual barbs of slings and arrows and passive aggressive behavior. We can comfort, support and love but we must take care of our health and space.
One of the hardest things we will face as humans is the aging and eventual loss of our parents. I have been blessed with two wonderful parents and consider them on the short list of friends. The same ghost that haunts many of us also haunts me, that one day I will be an orphan. Sometimes in the still of night I can let grief have its way with me as I contemplate that day. I can allow myself to go in that deep hole of despair feeling as if i will never come out. I watch now as my father confined to a wheel chair learns a new way to navigate through his life. 4 months out from a major back surgery we still hold onto hope for more improvement. However, there will come that day when I will have to face the inevitable. Morning comes and my mind tells me to be grateful for the time I have had and still continue to have. I want to count my blessings and not wallow in my grief. I see my daddy’s frustration as he can no longer do what he has always been so accustomed to doing. His landscape has changed. I now help my daddy as my daddy has always helped me. I am no longer the little girl crying and pleading holding his leg trying to keep him home with me. I am the one who realizes we have no control over life and with life comes loss of all kinds.
At 5, loss came early for me as I watched my grandmother take her last breath on a sunny day. That day i learned about death and knew that grandma was not coming back at least in the form I knew her. Having lost my only brother at the age of 17 as a result of an automobile accident I also learned deathcomes for us all and age is no guarantee. All loss is not death and all death is not loss. There is another land over the bridge of loss and grief If we allow our grief to wash over us we can heal, we can grow.
I sometimes find myself feeling irritable and sad with my father but realize it is me wanting him back like I knew him. I want him to walk, to not be impatient with his condition. I want him to live forever. I want him to protect me. Watching my dad continue to navigate his challenges gives me a sense of pride in his ability and determination to learn a new way. Loss can help us see through a different pair of eyes and give us strength to face challenges we thought were insurmountable.
Lately I have been privy to conversations amongst friends and acquaintances regarding the state of the nation. I listen as they express their fear and their feeling that all is lost and we are doomed. With the resignation of supreme court justice Kennedy, many feel the next selected justice will be of such a conservative ilk, that it will set us back to a previous century. Many with compassion watch what they fear is our new way of being, a time of intolerance and hatred. Recently even the most hard hearted among us watched in anguish as thousands of children were torn from their parents and placed in camps in so called efforts to stem illegal immigration. The statue of liberty has to be having a genuine conniption. Was she not the one saying “give me your tired your poor?”
From the outside, it looks as if all is lost. It is enough to make us shudder in our boots and crawl back under the covers. It makes us angry and we are feeling it. The daily barrage of negative news and the feeling that our political system and way of life are doomed are causing many to see no way out. Increasing physical and mental symptoms such as anxiety, aggression, insomnia, increased addiction are becoming part of our landscape. I sometimes wonder have we lost our way? There are days I wake up and cannot recognize what we have become. It is almost akin to walk-ins from another planet have come and taken residence inside human bodies hell bent on destruction of mankind. This scenario would no doubt make a great movie but not so much a great life.
Yes it is a perilous time but we can not give into the fear. Whenever change is occuring, there is chaos. When a new way is being made there is chaos. There are those who wish to hold onto what they once knew but change comes to us all. We can either ride the wave or drown. Now the planet needs our minds and bodies and we must be ready. We must claim our power and we must understand that we are here because we can handle what is going on. Under the covers is not the place we need to be. It is up to us to take care of ourselves and each other.
Turn off the news, read a book, listen to music, see a friend, get outdoors nature is an amazing antidote for what ails, take your sadness or anger to the mountain or to a tree, Drink plenty of water, take a bath in epsom salts it is good for relaxation. Eat an apple, play with a child, take a technology break for a day, get a massage, or just simply lie in bed and do nothing. That is good too and by all means breathe. We got this.
Posted in bravery, Fear, Kindness, self care, technology, Uncategorized
Tagged anger, culture, Friends, opinions, society, technology
The majority of us want what we want. We want others to understand us, to fit with us, to walk by our sides as we walk the path of life. There is a lie that many still believe and it is the lie of unconditional love. We are expected to gaze starry eyed into the eyes of our beloveds as we pledge our undying love until death do us part. We actually believe from that day we will never change, we will cease to grow and we will commit our lives to another come hell or high water. We will forsake our individual aspirations and ways of being. We will light one candle and become one and dance away the night amidst well wishers of family and friends. Unbeknownst to us many of these well wishers know the game that we eventually learn. There are not many who can accept another warts and all. The characteristics and traits we once found so endearing in our mates can be the ones that eventurally irritate and the ones we hope to change.
A few days ago I watched as a young woman kissed her sweet baby’s head while explaining to a friend her theory of this little bundle of joy giving its love so completely and unconditionally. I wondered where we had gotten this notion that anything is capable of loving unconditionally? The cries, screams and anger of a needy baby is anything but unconditional.
In order to love unconditionally, one has to accept another exactly as is flaws and all. One has to allow the other to be. Loving is not controlling. Of course that does not mean we have to accept the flaws or the natural way of others as we always have the freedom to walk away. A friend recently spoke of the love she had for her husband although she could not live with his addiction to alcohol. She talked about his good nature and character and loved his heart but she could not live with his addiction. She released him to pursue his journey and to claim responsibility for his life. Expressing her love and gratitude she refused to accept his behavior.
We can still love and allow one to be at the same time maintaining healthy boundaries for ourselves. When others fail to live according to our standards we often lash out in anger, isolating and distancing. As right as we may feel in our beliefs, we cannot understand why another cannot see things the way we do. We expect the other to become a version of ourselves. We forget about individuality and dreams. To truly love one without condition, we must want the very best for those we love. We want to encourage and support and we want them to be the very best of themselves they envision. Often when we love someone unconditionally we must release them to pursue that vision for themselves. When we are mired in control or our own insecurities that becomes a difficult task. It is now always about us.
For many of you who follow this blog, you know I am usually giving advice or encouraging a brave approach to life. I have always admired the brave and the adventurous and their zest for life. I stand now needing to hear my own advice. To be brave requires the strength of a herd of a thousand elephants and often it is easy to want to turn back and take the path of the known. We all have those little voices living in our head telling us to “get back in line, stop being foolish and that we will fail.” They rattle our minds and tear at our spirit and ask “who in the hell do you think you are?”
Personally, my fear is based on ending up alone and making mistakes. I put on my brave face, sit at my computer and speak of bravery but my little voice will ask do I have what it takes to walk my walk. Do I have the fortitude to go it alone if need be? I wonder about convictions and the strength it requires to stand true to one’s self in the face of doubt and that little voice that wants us to turn back. I think of those who have risked their very lives to stand in their truth standing tall against any and all onslaught.
The demons come at night and make me cower and want to revert to all that I know. My soul will not let them win. It is the soul that is our companion in strength. It is the soul that urges us on when we are scared or tired. We all are here on this planet for a purpose and we have our unique paths to walk. We may attempt to fit ourselves into a mold where we know we will not fit. We are told that is what we are supposed to do, to be and to desire. We fear the isolation of being the outcast, the oddball.
I understand that I must stand in my convictions and be prepared to accept whatever may come my way. I have chosen the path of self knowing and it can be filled with rocks boulders and thorns. I also understand that I may fail. I may lose all that I know but I will never regret trying. To live a life without risk or passion is to begin to die. To accept what is not ours is the key to misery and to crawl back into the box of comfort is to lose faith in ourselves. I say to you to be brave and I will say it to me as well.
Scared Turtle in Shell — Image by © Sabet Brands/Corbis