How I Want to Feel

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Freedom.
Connection.
Peace.
Vitality.
Abundance.
Joy.
Compassion.
Service.
Inspiration.
Confidence.
Generosity.
Gratitude.
Love.
It turns out that the more attention
I give to these positive feeling states
the more my brain creates circuitry
to support the experience of those states
in my body, mind, and life.
My mind has been focused on suffering
and now it is time for a new habit.
God, give me the strength
to focus on how I really want to feel.

Back to Wholeness

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How safe is it to share, to be vulnerable?
How safe is it to be honest
about what I’m really feeling?
I know that what I’m feeling is nothing new.
I know that there are countless humans
feeling the exact same thing I’m feeling
in this very moment.
If I had a friend feeling what I’m feeling,
I’d tell them
You are not alone.
I’m here with you.
What do you need?

In the absence of a friend to offer it to me,
can I offer myself this same kindness?
I know I can’t rely on someone else
to bring me the happiness I seek.
I know that the happiness is within me,
concealed by stories of unhappiness.
Now my job is to identify those obstacles to my happiness,
be willing to let them go,
and allow the happiness to emerge naturally.
God give me the strength
to love myself back to wholeness.

A Deeper Hunger

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There is a deeper hunger I’m noticing.
In the absence of what I thought I wanted
(marriage, stable home, busy social life, material wealth)
I’ve run through scenarios in my mind…
So what if I met someone else?
So what if I made enough money to live in a mansion?
So what if I were stunningly successful at business?
So what if I were to become famous?

I’ve pictured each of these coming true,
and I realized that none of these would satisfy me.
This is nothing new.
Anyone can go back into the ancient texts
and find exactly the same insight
shared by men and women of long ago.
So this led me to the question
What WOULD satisfy me?
And a feeling emerges…
something about connection, meaning and purpose.
Something about knowing that the world
is a better place for my having passed through it,
something about leaving this wonderful legacy
of humor, generosity and love
for my children’s children’s children.
I recognize that out of all the appetites I have,
this deeper hunger is the one I should
pay attention to the most.

What I Yearn For

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I’m discovering that I need people to be happy.
I’m noticing that when I’m around people
I feel good.
I eat.
I laugh.
I feel happy.
But when I’m by myself,
I become depressed.
I don’t eat.
I feel worthless.
I’m trying to bring more
meaningful connection
into my life,
but connection takes time and energy.
And motivation.
How do I find the energy and motivation
to connect
when I’ve been alone for so long
that I’m feeling heavy and depressed?
What came first…the loneliness or the depression?
I sense that I’ve had this feeling for a long, long time.
Even as a child some part of me knew
I needed deep, meaningful connection,
and when I was made to be in groups
where only superficial connection was taking place,
I felt drained, listless.
I decided that I was better off by myself.
I labeled myself as an introvert,
and I’ve spent a lot of my life just wanting to be away from people.
But now I see a distinction to be made.
Connection is so much more
than being with someone for the sake of not being alone…
It’s being together with a sense of purpose,
engaging in co-evolution, exploration, sharing, growth.
Relating heart to heart, mind to mind, soul to soul—
this is what I yearn for.

This Life

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This life.
This tender, fragile, vulnerable life.
This perplexing, demanding, chaotic life.
This fulfilling
this disappointing
this crazy, ever-changing, remarkable,
normal, exceptional, precious life.
How my heart breaks for this life.
How my heart swells, bursts open,
bleeds for this life.
How I’ve had to be strong for this life.
How I am grateful, so grateful,
ever so grateful for this life.

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My heart is heavy tonight as I think of a dear friend’s partner who just last night succumbed to the story of his suffering and chose to bring an end to his time on this planet. I’ve been forthcoming about my own depression on this blog, imagining the peace that non-existence would bring. I feel so humbled and so shocked to hear that this brother took action on those same kinds of thoughts. In my darkest moments I’d always see my children’s faces and feel a deep conviction that I could not do that to them.

But this man had no children.

Recently my dear friend had wanted to reevaluate their relationship and had stepped back in order to redefine herself, her goals, values and priorities. I’m guessing that in the face of this change, he felt deeply lonely and believed it would always be this way. My heart breaks for him.

I remember that when my marriage ended I was flooded with feelings of worthlessness and shame. I kept wondering what I had done wrong, what was wrong with me. I kept asking what I could’ve done to avoid my husband leaving. I remember that feeling of loneliness and brokenheartedness, crying until I had no more tears, so much anger, the belief that the suffering would always be this intense. I remember the lonelieness and the pain of isolation.

But I was so fortunate. I had a therapist that I had been seeing for a while. I found my way into CoDependents Anonymous (CoDA) meetings. I had friends and family, and even though they didn’t always show up in the way that I wanted them to, they nonetheless provided support to get me through. And then there were countless beings out in my community, here on this blog, on FaceBook, on Instagram, on Insight Timer, in the yoga studio, teachers far and wide, mentors, guides and wise ones who provided words of encouragement, prayers, well-wishes to get me through the darkest moments.

I reached out so many times for help, and I got help, and still there were times that I just wanted it to be over. There were times that the pain was so intense that I didn’t want to have to live through any more of it.

So in a way I completely understand the reasoning behind this brother’s decision to just be done with it once and for all. I understand in a way that perhaps most people cannot possibly understand. And so I feel so shocked, so sobered, so humbled by this event. I want to be there for my friend. But there are no words that can make this better. Only breathing, one moment to the next, just taking care of basic things like eating a meal, taking a shower, trying to sleep, just one thing at a time.

Friends, hug your loved ones close. This life is so fleeting, so precious, and you may never know who is struggling on the edge of oblivion, trying to decide if they can keep going…

For Their Sake

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After thinking about it for quite some time,
I think I’ve gotten it all wrong again,
and I’m willing to admit this,
and apologize, and own my part,
and ask for your forgiveness.
I write this in the spirit of a truce,
and I hope you can read this in kind.
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
I love you.
*
I never meant for there to be animosity.
I was just hurting deeply.
My hurt became a habit, an identity.
I’m working to change that,
to identify with what is healthy and good.
I really want you to be well, to do well,
to be happy, to do good in this world.
I want to leave the past behind,
and start off somewhere fresh.
This isn’t about us anymore, afterall—
it’s about those two beautiful beings
that look up to us for guidance and instruction.
They are watching us, counting on us,
noticing our every move,
our every word.
We’re teaching them about life every day
whether we know it or not,
and we need to step up to the plate.
For them.
New game. New day.
I’m willing to play fair, for their sake.
I’m willing to get along for their sake.

*It might be shocking for you to know that I do still love you. Let me explain. When it’s really and truly love, it doesn’t go away just because the other person changes and goes away. When it’s love, it’s always there, regardless of what transpires. Of course the dynamic has changed so profoundly that the love got buried under conditions and the shifting sands of time…but just as before all this happened, I still want you to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. I still want you to be safe; I still want you to know love, even if it isn’t with me. You have your freedom; you always did with me, even though my pain has been too immense to accept and embody this freedom in the moments you’ve seen me. The expression of love has changed as our relationship has changed. I don’t feel it in the same way or in the same places. But it isn’t all gone. It’s just different. I want you to live a good life.

You’ve Got Some Digging To Do

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Really, dude? Trolling my blog? Really?
Why didn’t you care to read my words before?
Like when you said you loved me,
like when we shared a bed
and shared meals
and days and years together?
Why now?
All those years of putting my writing down,
minimizing my need for self-expression,
and NOW you are interested?
Go ahead then. I’m flattered.
You cannot shame me anymore.
Your tactics will not work.
When you left
I was devastated…
and I fell down, down, down.
I fell all the way down to the bottom,
and now I’m building up.
Breath by breath,
step by step,
day by day,
I’m getting stronger
and closer to discovering the real me.
Your blustery words cannot harm me.
Your storms and threats,
all that hot air cannot shake me—
my foundation built on rock
holds firm.
At some point,
the sands you’ve built on will shift.
The slights of hand,
the illusions,
everything you’ve used
to portray yourself
as something you are not
will fall away
and the truth will be revealed.
At that point I’ll lend you
my pick and my shovel,
’cause son, if you want a firm foundation like mine,
you’ve got some digging to do.