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Its Really All About Relationships

I have been up since 2 am thanks to my dog who thinks that going out to see "what’s up” in the backyard is a thing. Usually I go back to sleep. This morning, my head joined her in being curious about what the hell WAS going on in the backyard...and other places.

I have a mind like that. One where I think a lot. I know all minds do is kind of what minds are supposed to do. But mine turns on often without my consent and it just goes. Like this morning at 2 am. I wasn’t worrying, I was just thinking...

I laid in bed and stared out my door into the meditation garden, thinking about all kinds of things. Mostly about the people in my life. How defining they have been. And also how insignificant some have been. I mean at 51, there have been a lot of friendships, a lot of relationships, a lot of loves and a lot of loss. Living all these years has caused me to have a lot to reflect upon. And this is what my mind comes up with at 2 am when I get up only to let the barking dog out...

After letting the damn dog back in, I came back to bed and tried very hard to go back to sleep. But sleep evaded me and instead I was left thinking about the people in my life. And also some people who still seem to hold a place in my life even though their physical presence is my life no longer exists. All those who have come and gone and all those that remain. What struck me most this morning is how very little I appreciated how important all of them, no matter how brief, they were.

What came to me this morning was that life is just an endless streams of opportunities to grow and change and stretch in the direction of a better version of yourself. And the relationships we have with others is how that happens. Relationships are the vehicles that cause us to change, to grow, to capitulate, to remain stuck, to stubbornly refuse to change. To do the same thing over and over again and be completely devastated that we seem to never, ever get what we need. What if that completely misses the point? What if the whole point of life is to introduce the people who are supposed to keep you stuck, propel you forward, knock you off your game and give you grace? What if the people you encounter are the messengers?

I have playlists of music for every man I have ever loved. Songs that remind me of him and me and us. I can revisit the relationship any time I want simply by listening to the playlist. Some I never listen to and others I have almost worn out from the wear. Needing to hear and feel and be connected to that person, that relationship, that place in time where I was a version of myself that was more to my liking or at least more palatable than my current form. Why do I do this? In part because I am not done with the lessons of that person, even though they are long gone from being an active participant in my life.

Relationships feel like they are our human field of study, our laboratory. Our schooling on life, love and mostly importantly ourselves. I have learned who I am and who I am not within the confines of my relationships...and I have also learned a great deal from having those relationships removed from my life. Often without my consent or approval. Often at a time when I felt I really still needed that person’s presence in my life. But the world, the universe, God, whatever, decided it was time, and they were removed, cut short, moved on, gone from my life...

It would be lovely if I could develop the skill of just allowing whatever is occurring to be what it is...this has started, ok. That has ended, ok. But that is not how it feels. Relationships beginning sometimes feels amazing and other times it feels like a lot of work, even a hardship. Sometimes they end and all I can feel is relief. Then there are other times when I grieve the loss so deeply that I am forever altered and changed not so much by their love for me that is now gone but the love I feel for them that I now do not know what to do with...where do you put the love when the container (the relationship) is now gone?

And perhaps that is the purpose of a relationship chain, each new one latching onto the one just prior, some enduring and some ending but all of them on a continuum of discovery in this life about me, about you, about who I am, about who I am not, about how to love and about how to not.

Today I feel the chain, not in a morose way like I am chained to my relationships in some sort of prison gang kind of way. No I feel like I not fixed onto the chain, instead perhaps I walk the chain with my mind, traveling up and back, like a wharf rat onto a ship, I crawl the chain of my relationships to review and revise their importance, my own integrity and my own life.

Today I feel like I have somehow missed how important all of this relating I have done, is and will be. The quality of my ability to participate the defining link to it all. Each one current, and the ones past showing me the places that I need work, the places I am still damaged, the nooks and crannies where I need healing. Perhaps life is really just all about our relationships and how we navigate them...or don’t. I know I have stayed when I should have gone and gone when I should have stayed but despite getting it wrong more than I have gotten it right, I am still here with this heart willing to love and relate and that has to count for something in this life. Perhaps it is really all about my relationships, those are the things that matter most. And perhaps the rest of my life will be about tending to them as if they are as important as they are. Because I believe that I cannot learn much without you. I need you to love me, break my heart, be mean to me, heal me, like me, hate me, be frustrated with me and give me grace so that I can do the work needed in this life to become whatever version of myself the world needs me to be. And perhaps the best school, the only real school, for that is in my relationships with others. I can never come to know me, without you...

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