Day 140 -WHAMMO!
Sometimes when I am in meditation, I am just sitting there allowing my thoughts to come and go and then WHAMMO my head thinks something wonderful, insightful or amazing.
Other times, I am sitting there in lotus and all of a sudden WHAMMO I get a rather nasty surprise, some thought, feeling or idea that I would rather not know, feel or think. I am not in control of any of it...it just comes. My meditation training says for me not to go with either - just let whatever has come to be in the space. It will pass. Everything always passes.
Yesterday, I had this experience while out on the trail...I was hiking down the mountain with my daughter and WHAMMO my head hit me with this:
YOU HAVEN’T HAD A GOOD RELATIONSHIP IN YEARS. EVEN YOUR LAST COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP WAS SHITTY AND IF YOU REVIEW ALL OF THE RELATIONSHIPS YOU HAD HAVE, THEY MOSTLY SUCK. NOT ONLY IS THIS THE IMMUTABLE PAST, IT IS LIKELY NEVER GOING TO CHANGE. YOU ARE GOING TO BE ALONE FOREVER BECAUSE YOU CAN’T BE WITH SOMEONE. IT IS YOU. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.
Now I don’t know about any of you, if your head turns on you like this, but mine does.
Usually I have defenses available to me, I can distract myself with something, pray, talk to someone, take a walk. But yesterday I was already taking a walk, I was already talking to someone, I had been praying the whole hike and I was distracted with the beauty that surrounded me.
I struggled to regain my composure. I didn’t resist the feelings those thoughts generated, I just allowed them to come...I didn’t fight.
For a few minutes, I was in exquisite pain. I mean literally. It was this feeling that what I thought was true. That I didn’t know how to see it differently. My chest heaved and tears came to me.
I walked on, reflecting on my life. I realized that even if this was true, which it likely wasn’t (my head tells me all sorts of crazy ass shit that is loosely based on fact) that I still had a great life. I have purpose, love and meaning. I am useful and of service to others. I am capable of feeling peace and being grateful for all that I have.
So I was able to shelve the negativity for a little while.
Then my daughter...
I apparently made an off hand comment the day before that the next time I came to this beautiful retreat that I wanted to come with a man. This apparently stuck with her...
So we are coming to the end of our hike, she lags behind. I am looking around my head further consumed by my thoughts that are self flagellating...she runs up next to me with her hair pulled in front of her like a beard. She says the following:
Hey little mama (as she throws her arm around my shoulder)
You are pretty hot, can I get your digits?
I was, at first, wondering what the hell was going on...then I just started laughing. She looked so cute and was so in character. It was one of those moments that I will relive for a long time. It was movie worthy...better than movie worthy because it was real.
I asked her what she was doing...she replied:
You said that you wanted to come here on a date...so I figured that I would be your date. You are so beautiful and amazing, I wanted to give you what you wanted.
I started crying.
Here I was in this beautiful place with this amazing kid and I was feeling lonely and sad because of what I lacked. I felt guilty for feeling the lack...then we laughed again. I returned to the moment and was grateful to have this kid and to have the life that I have...
But, try as I might, I could not shake the earlier thought. It plagued me the rest of the day and into the night. On the way to dinner, I heard a song on the radio that was associated with an old boyfriend...the lyrics tapping out this woman’s disappointment in a man’s failed use of potential and her resulting dismay at him letting her down again...
I recalled how much this song applied to so many relationships I have had. Even and including the one that I thought was my last and forever relationship. And I felt defeated. Like the problem was me and I didn’t know how to fix it. That I am doing all that I can to be a good person and worthy partner but I still seem to get it wrong and I can’t see that changing. The past hopeless, the future also.
We had a nice evening despite my ineffable sadness. When we returned to the hotel, she disappeared into her online game and I decided to take a soak in the hot tub. It was still relatively early so I had the place to myself. This might not have been the best idea...
I sat in the tub in this beautiful place that is filled with couples. I thought of all the couples that would soon make this part of their romantic getaway and I felt so alone. Not only now, but forever. I could not see me being able to be with someone again. I wanted to but just can’t see it working out. Life so interesting and rich but not ideal for love and romance, at least not for me. Self pity such a tricky bitch.
I returned to my room, somewhat despondent and terribly tired. I decided to give myself a break and just go to bed. I, in need of a reprieve from me.
I woke this morning, tired. Still feeling off. Fragile.
This is hard for me to admit. I do not like owning these less than positive emotions. In fact, my whole life has been about trying to never own these feelings and do everything that I can to keep them at bay. I do not like feeling vulnerable or fragile or delicate.
But then I thought that this was new. I was able to acknowledge that I felt this feeling. I wasn’t denying them or running away. I wasn’t trying to pretend them away or steep myself in them and sink into the abyss. I was just here with feelings and those feelings were opening me, if I would let them.
I texted a friend as to how I was feeling. That was hard. I am not good with owning feelings that make me feel vulnerable...but I did it because it was honest. It is how I feel.
I knew I had to write it all down. I had to share this even though I really didn’t want to. I would have much preferred to just get on with the day and keep this little gem to myself. But I realized that strong emotions are the way in which we wake up. The manner in which we get messages about ourselves. The place where we can see the work to be done.
I have no forward progress on my future relationshiping. I am still where I was yesterday. Feeling like me ever finding a partner, someone that I can count on and lean into, an impossibility. Then I thought about how my daughter saw my need and showed up for me yesterday - giving me all that she could to “fix” the issue. Seeing more than I realized I communicated. I felt gratitude for her, for her love of me and her willingness to move toward the hard subject matter of her mother’s sadness. I lightened a bit.
I then realized that perhaps I have always gotten what I have from my relationships because what I brought to them, what I expected from them and what I demanded (or didn’t) from them. In truth, I have settled a lot. I have accepted a lot less than I wanted, all because of this deep seated belief that I was not worthy of more. I went back to the beginning and saw each time I wasn’t honest, wasn’t truthful, or forthright in my needs. Hiding, instead of standing up and saying, “thank you for all that you are giving me, but it isn’t what I want or need.” I was so afraid that there would never be anything better. So scared to ask for what I needed in case the answer would be no.
Then I saw it. I saw that this, not the men that I chose, was what kept giving me the lesson repeatedly. My fear of losing what was being offered controlling and dictating the outcome which always resulted in me never getting what I really needed or wanted.
I thought about how many times I have been here. So many times, reviewing the past and seeing that its was their fault. And completely missing my part, my huge, giant part in where I was.
As I drove to dinner last night, pierced with this most awesome truth, I decided nothing, I promised myself nothing. I just let it be. All of it, the shitstorm of emotion that felt overpowering and so exquisitely painful, I would just welcome.
I would feel my own fragility. I would allow the pain to stay. I would not do any number of things to chase it away. I saw that my unwillingness to feel my true feelings, probably, at least one of the lessons, I needed to feel, hear and see.
That sadness remains. But it is cauterized with the knowledge that I have never been here before. This sadness is not anything like what I have felt before. It is new...it is honest, raw and real. It is me, right now, here in this beautiful place with this kid that I love more than anything in this world. She evidence that I am capable of great and deep love. She evincing that I am worthy just by her presence in my life.
So today I feel fragile. I feel somewhat terrified to share this fragility. To let go of my life’s mission of always appearing ok. To allow myself to be a little bit of a mess. To see that I am ok, despite the fear and perceived weakness. This is where I am and it will change.
I feel lucky to have had this epiphany. To see myself, as I am. To be here in this place with strong emotions. Knowledge that my head isn’t really in charge of my life. My heart and gut can take the reigns at any time. I choose my life and my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I give them voice and, while I cannot dispel them as I wish, I can decide how true I let them be.
So today I am going to allow the sadness it’s seat at the table. I am going to serve it whatever it wants, treating it like it is not wasting a space, but instead coming to me in an effort to elevate my higher purpose. It is here and I will honor its presence in my life without granting it power and control over my entire day.
I see my past clearly. All the places I refused this lesson when it was presented before...today I choose something different. Today I choose to be with it. To allow it. To welcome it in while maintaining perspective that this is just sadness’s tale, Just their version of my life’s story. There are other versions that are equally true.
Sadness comes today to open me. To give me a wider perspective. To also allow entrance for strength. Because I know all too well that strength without vulnerability is just bravado. And I am quite sure my life has had quite enough of that. Sometimes, love and meaning comes dressed as a 12 year old bearded girl on a trail on the side of a mountain...