Reconnecting

I had a very hard time getting to sleep last night. I was up at midnight, writing. I have heard wakefulness is a curse of many writers. It seems to be mine lately, for sure. I wrote, some things that I won’t ever publish, just trying to express whatever it was that was stuck inside and trying to get out.  Leaning in, as Brene Brown advises, to the discomfort. Often that helps, just to write out whatever comes to mind, without a whole lot of worry about the mechanics. But still, as I sat on the couch, I was wide awake.

Saved on my computer is a short meditation, “The Great Bell Chant (The End to Suffering)”. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1ZwaEzMtJw ) . It has always given me some peace to watch this video, or simply to listen to it. I put it on, and after the first minute, closed my eyes. It isn’t too long, about 7 or 8 minutes. It is the first thing that helped me to begin to relax, and center myself.

When it ended I clicked on another suggestion on Youtube, for an Om Chant. It said it was 3 hours, but I thought, just let me listen for a few minutes, maybe it will clear my mind, remembering years ago a meditation group in which we listened to chanting for at least an hour, in the dark, and how I was always able to somehow shut down the monkey mind in my head. This video was simply a recording of Buddhist monks chanting OM, over and over again. Deep resonant voices. Listening to them, focusing in on them, my eyes finally began to close, and restfulness finally came to me. I found the same video on my phone, went to bed, and put it on. It was supposed to play for 3 hours. I don’t know if it did, lol, because finally I fell asleep, and slept until about 6:30. Only about 5 hours of sleep, but enough, especially for someone who’s retired, lol.

A few times in the last couple of days I’ve seen the term “metta” associated with Buddhism. Not because I was in particular reading or looking for information on Buddhism. The word just showed up, on FB, in my email newsletters. So this morning I googled it, and found a fascinating (to me) article on what it is, and how it’s practiced. ( http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/facets_of_metta.php ) It’s one of the 4 sublime states of Buddhism that leads to enlightenment. It kind of goes along with my post about unconditional love, but extends that love to oneself equally with extending it to others. You have to make yourself happy first, basically. And in serving others, you will find you make yourself happy. But, you can’t defer to others wishes if doing so makes you unhappy.

I slept well at my sisters, because I was helping her, and her friends, and it made me very happy to be there. I came home, to my little house that I love, but it was empty, devoid of that human connection, or so I thought. But connections remain, there is no space or time in regards to a connection. In focusing in on the OM meditation, I reconnected to myself, which reconnected me to all in a loving way. And I went to sleep.

And so the journey continues. Love and light.

Thoughts on Unconditional Love

I drove out to my sisters yesterday, to do laundry and to spend the night, but also because she was having  a small dinner party, and she asked me to help.  One of her best friends just had a mass found in a lung.  He had prostate cancer just about a year ago, and now this.  So, my sister brought together a few couples that were best friends with this man and his wife to try to cheer him up.

I don’t know that it cheered him, but it distracted him from impending gloom.  He hasn’t had a biopsy yet, so there’s a chance it won’t be as bad as a “mass in the lung” sounds.

I would call what my sister did, unconditional love, of her friends.  She tried to be there for all of them.  So they could support each other.  She gave them the venue.

We sat around and talked.  Her friends are becoming my friends.  As we talked, we opened up.  Told our stories.  Stood by them.  Laughed at them at times, laughed at ourselves, commiserated at times.  It is what happens.  Unconditional love doesn’t require perfection, it just requires acceptance.

It is the same with any friendship, right?  For the friendship to develop, people have to share their stories, to relate, to let you in behind their wall.  Intimacy only grows this way.  I have had someone in my life who claims to be a friend, but will only share so much with me. Enough to concern me, not enough to either confirm or allay my fears.  I would guess many of us have known people like that.

So what happens in that case?  You back off, when you realize they don’t really want to be close. When the two-way communication, and sharing, and trust stops, the friendship often dies, or goes dormant. This backing off is often perceived as a condition for love.  One friend is constantly trying to prove that I don’t love unconditionally.  Why?  To what end?  To justify, after the fact, that they chose to put a wall up?

Does your backing off mean you don’t love them, unconditionally?  Of course not.  Unconditional love is just that.  Unconditional.  Do I accept someone who chooses to leave me out as they are?  Yes. And I will let them be.  Do I love them still?  Of course.

It has nothing to do with whether or not I love anyone.  I once told my son’s therapist (court ordered, when his father and I were getting divorced) that there was nothing my son could do to make me stop loving him.  The therapist said, “Oh I am sure there are some things…”  I said, “No.  There are behaviors I would not support, or accept, but I would always love him.”  The therapist looked at me and said, “You’re right.  Unconditional love and unconditional acceptance are two different things.”

So, this is still true.  I will always love my son, I will always love the friend who now chooses not to talk to me.  I will be there for them, if they change their mind.  I don’t hold a grudge.  (Sometimes I wish I could, but I’ve never been able.)

I say a lot, “Love always and all ways”.  That comes from Byron Katie, one of the greatest teachers I know.  She teaches unconditional love, and acceptance of what is.  So yes, I still love that way, even if someone shuts me out, or behaves in a way that is hurtful to me, or to themselves.

Love and light, to all.

 

 

The Benefits of Detachment

Sometimes the love just comes back around.
The passion rises high
And spins my head
And my heart.
Puts a smile on my face,
To remember how it was
How it felt.

Happiness for what was
In my life.
And for what is, now.
Embracing the moment
With my whole heart.

Detachment
At first a scary idea.
Now, a peaceful one.
Life is happier
With no attachment
To outcomes
No expectations.
Joy in each moment.

Let people,
Relationships
Fly on their own.
No need to force anything
Anymore.
No need to pull to me
What resists.
No need to hunt down
That which I don’t have.
If it’s meant to be
It will be.

Everything that happens to us
Brings us to where we are.
Do you like where you are?
It’s yours to keep,
Or change.

No expectations
No attachment.
Only love for myself
And those in my life.
Love always, and all ways.

By Deborah E. Dayen

It’s Good to Know

She sat on her high bed

Cross-legged,

Thumbing through pictures

Re-reading old messages

Remembering

Days gone by

Love that couldn’t grow

In soil full of promise

Roots pulled out

Over and over.

Still….She smiled,

At the memories

As they crept up her back,

Brushed the hair from her eyes,

And remembered the love.

Just the love.

It’s good to know,

That you can love.

Always and all ways.

Free to Love, or Not

I’ve been doing the Deepak Chopra/ Oprah Free 21 Day Meditation “Creating Peace from the inside out, The Power of Connection.” I think I have done all of the free 21 day meditations that they have put out over the last 5 years. I always get something out of them, always.

Today’s email with the link had this quote at the bottom by Thich Nhat Hanh.

“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”

Really, that says it all. That’s the ideal, to try to achieve, isn’t it?

We all crave connection.  It’s part of the human condition, we are hard-wired to want connection with other people.  How do we connect on a deep level, yet still allow that person to feel free?

Is it hard to do? Hmmmmm. Depends on if you hold onto petty jealousies, possessiveness, if you are a control freak, if you come from a place of fear, and lack. Then, yes…..it’s hard to wade through all that, and just let someone you love be free to live their life out as best they can.

If you come from a place of unconditional love, then, you want the people you love to be happy, right? Whether or not that includes you in their life. Whether their journey takes them far from you, or brings them to you.

Don’t we all want to be in a relationship with others that allows us to be our best selves? To encourage and empower our loved ones to find their own way? We throw so many complicated issues into the mix, and it’s really just simple. Love….real unconditional love, allows freedom.

In my life, my best example is that of my son. When I wanted to move to Florida, he chose to move 2000 miles away, to Colorado. Did I like that? No. Of course not. What normal mother wants her kids that far away? But did I try to lay the guilt on him, and make him feel responsible for my happiness? No. I encouraged him, and helped him to organize the move, and helped him to settle in, and have been there with him every step of the way, as he found his own way.

Do I miss him? Every damn day. Every minute. We are as close as ever, if not moreso. I’m proud of him and the way he is making his own way in the world, independent of me.

So it goes for other people I love. I want them to find their own happiness. I want them to choose to do the right thing. I don’t want someone with me out of obligation, or overwhelming guilt over something they did in the past, or fear of some kind. I want people in my life that freely chose to be there, and that I have freely chosen to have in my life.

Thich Nhat Hanh is such a wise man. I keep one of his books, maybe two, beside my bed. So that if my thinking begins to get small, and selfish, I can open to any page, and read, and regain my center.

Love. Unconditional love. It’s a goal. Not saying I achieve it all the time. But it is where I aim.

Love and light, all.

Just Wondering, WTF Was I Thinking?

wtf

I guess that phantom phone call got me thinking, about WTF I was thinking for so long….

It seems long ago now, suddenly. How much I loved a man, and how much I was betrayed. What strikes me this morning is I am trying to fathom what I was thinking, then. To love someone so much who will never love anyone but themselves. And that, only superficially.

I say superficially because this man doesn’t love himself enough to behave in ways that make him proud. He doesn’t love himself enough to take care of himself. He doesn’t do the things in a relationship that take care of it. He only makes sure he is getting his needs met, which translates to getting his ego fed. If he meets the needs of the other person, it is as part of trying to get his needs met, it’s not out of genuine care and concern. And I think that’s true across the board for him. I think he may use different ploys for different people, but it remains the truth. I’ve watched him.  I’ve also watched him pursue behaviors that result in reinforcing his low self esteem, setting himself up so he can say, “see, it’s all I deserve.  I’m a bad person.”

So anyway, I’m just wondering now, with all this time passed, WTF I was thinking? I’m not angry, I don’t dislike him. I have said over and over I will always love him, and, well, I guess I will. But I love everyone, or try to. Him no more or less than anyone else at the moment. But what I was thinking? IDK, do you think when you’re in love? He had lots of lovable qualities, I guess. The first being that he could make me laugh. He was funny, creative, smart. We had a wonderful physical connection. But he was completely self absorbed. When push came to shove it was always him first. He treated me so badly at times, and I just kept coming back for more, believing that he just needed experience unconditional love.

I guess the distance between us now, the physical distance has given me some perspective. I guess that move has enabled me to meet men who are funny, creative, smart, AND kind, gentle, loving, and generous. Men who try to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Men who squeeze your hand when they’re happy, sitting at a table with you. Men who behave in ways that will keep drama out of their lives, and people in.

Since I believe that our purpose in this life is to learn lessons and evolve our souls, I guess he was another life lesson for me. Now, far enough away from it, the complete lesson is coming into focus. At least part of it is, I think, to know that I can love that passionately, that fiercely, that deeply. That’s a good thing to know. He was practice. I’m sure there’s a man here who can match my ability to love, and celebrate it.

I suppose, based on the phantom phone call dream, that the connection we have had will remain, but will probably remain dormant. It originates on a level I can’t really comprehend, and will most likely always be there, but will not take over my life anymore. Life is for living in the present moment. His journey is his now, and mine is mine, and the paths have diverged far apart. That’s the present moment.

Glad to be moved on from all that. Stomach bug and car accident not withstanding, I’m very happy with the move I’ve made. It was 85 yesterday and I was at the beach. Not dressed in multiple layers and still shivering, lamenting the fact that I was burning up a ton of fuel oil. Yep, life is good, and exactly what I’ve dreamed of.

Love and light, all.

On Being Vulnerable

our-deepest-fear-is-not-that-we-are-inadequate-our

A friend who lives close to me came by tonight and dropped off a couple of rakes she offered to loan me, rather than me buy one. I was going to buy one today because I need to rake up the back yard, from stuff that’s fallen from the huge tree, which someone told me is a banyan tree, though I’m still not sure it is, and from the palm tree that is entwined with it. I want to get the yard cleaned up, and put down crushed shells back there. It’s supposed to cool off later this week, so it will be a good time to do it. She offered to loan me her rakes rather than me buy one.

I invited her to eat with me, and watch the Voice. She’s the friend who sings, really sings, so I thought she might enjoy it. She doesn’t have TV. We had about an hour to kill til the show was on, and I’d told her about Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability, so we watched it. She loved it…she already understood it, but loved it anyway. It’s probably the 20th time I’ve watched it. It has almost 27,000,000 (yes 27 million) hits now. Literally.

But I thought about how while I espouse vulnerability all the time, I still don’t make myself completely vulnerable. While I am fully willing to be the first to say “I love you” with no guarantee the feeling will be reciprocated, and while I’m fully willing to invest in a relationship with no guarantee it will work out. I was fully willing to move to a town where I knew 1 person, and willing to do what I had to do to create a new life here. I thought I was fully willing too, to show up, to be seen, and to risk failure, because after all, I write a blog. I pour my heart out here, I have few things that I won’t discuss here.

Then I look at my friend, who sings her heart out. I look at the others who go to open mic and sing because they love it, and aren’t afraid of the failure. Of the people who are willing to sit in front of a crowd and read their poetry, and risk that maybe people will not like it, or worse, criticize it.

Those people are really espousing vulnerability. Their lives are alive, and full of joy, and they get off the stage and they collaborate on playing music together, or putting together other venues, or asking people to come hear them read their poetry.

I’m not that willing. I am terrified to get up in front of people and read my poetry. I am even terrified when my friend gets up and sings it. I can’t, yet. It terrifies me to my soul. I easily allowed myself to fall in love with someone and completely gave my heart to him, with no guarantees. Yet, I cannot get up in front of a crowd and read a poem I’ve written.

What’s up with that?

I think if I’m going to walk that walk, and talk that talk, I have some work to do. Allowing my friend to sing the poems was a start, I suppose.

I think it may align with Marianne Williamson’s famous quote, that our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. Who am I to write a good poem, that people like? What if I can actually write? What if….does that then put expectations on me that I’m afraid I can’t meet and that then I’ll disappoint them? And then disappoint myself?

Brother. This shit gets deep.

Every time I have watched that TED talk, I have learned something else. I always take another step, begin to excavate another level.  As Brene says, “Lean into the discomfort.”

Well, here’s to some productive digging.

Love and light, all.