July 16, 2013 § 20 Comments
I have often disappeared from this writing, only to resurface a week, or even a month, later with a story about my unsteadiness, or my trance-like existence, my failure to live the truths I know. I accept the kind words of those who stuck with me. And I resume my writing.
But I now understand that those stories have a mythological quality. It just isn’t true that all that time when I wasn’t here I was adrift and emotionally absent. I spent a good portion of those times with family and friends, reading, swimming, traveling, just sitting and being. Times of struggle, times of absence from those I love, sure, but also times of presence and joy.
So why do I create these mythologies? Why do I feel the need to distort the past in this way?
These stories, I now understand, serve a purpose. They become a way of expressing a lacerating self-judgment, the vehicle for a profession of my unworthiness. A way of expiating some pointless guilt I have about not writing.
I need to be here when it feels right and to be elsewhere when that feels right. I need to be as consistently present for others as I can be. But as I move from here to there and back, and as I falter inevitably in my effort to be present consistently in the lives of those I care about, I must lose the idea that this movement and this faltering are somehow a badge of my unworthiness.
This bad history- and its judgmental baggage- have got to go.
November 13, 2012 § 46 Comments
I used to believe that love was a form of relationship. I love you; you love me. That’s our deal.
I would diligently monitor my love relationships. Feeling hurt or wronged, I would ask- was that an act of someone who loves me? If she loves me, how can she not see my needs?
Or I would turn this judgment on myself. Why have I been filled with anger towards her? Why have I been so cold and distant?
When the ledger got out of balance- and it always did- I called the deal into question. Does she really love me? Enough? Or, looking inward, I’d ask whether my conduct suggested the absence of love? And in either case, I doubted my commitment. Perhaps time to back out of the deal, I’d think.
All, all, wrong.
Love, as I now seek to live it, is not a relationship or a deal. There is no ledger. Love is not earned or maintained. Love exists in my simple, full, and caring acceptance of the other person. It resides within me. It doesn’t depend on what you do, or fail to do.
If she is angry, I love her in her anger. If she is depressed, I love her in her depression. If she hurts me, I love her in her very assault.
This is the love that I seek to embody. I often, maybe most always, fall short. Sometimes hideously short. But now I know.
Seeking to love others in this way, I also know that I must begin with myself. Suspend self-judgment. Never wish to have done this or that. Cherish who I am. Only from that foundation can this sacred and abiding love for others come.
Just love. Only love.
Not Stepping Away
October 10, 2012 § 32 Comments
Away, away, away.
When I felt the closeness growing, I pulled away from her.
When the big book opportunity came, I slowly drifted off.
When this work- right here- began to feel big and meaningful, I retreated into my busy schedule- stopped writing. Not enough time, I said. I’ll get back to it- later- when I have the time.
What is this? Why do I step away from what feels good and right?
I know the pattern. Always asking myself- what’s the point? Be with her, write the book, stay with this blog- or not- what’s the difference? Nothing will really change.
But I never ask this of the less important pieces of my life. Only when I’m standing at the threshold of something real and authentic and true, do I trigger this cascading, self-crushing analysis. And the answer is always the same. No point. No difference.
What lies beneath this terrible and self-destructive way of living? I sense fear and doubt, feel the weariness. But when I really sit with this, I know the source- my oldest and most constant demon. He whispers- who are you to aspire to an authentic life? You lack the heart for it. You’ll always back away because you know it’s not for you. Not you. Unworthy.
But no more.
This is my life. Each moment a chance to live- truly and forcibly. With great heart and presence.
So I’m throwing myself into what I know is good and right for me. Embracing what comes. And saying this here and now- to myself and to you- this is who I am.
Not stepping away. Not ever again.