I have a friend really going through some shit right now. We have talked a lot more often lately. His life is a mess and that is definitely an outward manifestation of his internal condition...for sure.
We have talked a lot since things hit the fan and it has provided me a great deal of comfort that no matter how different our lives appear to be on the surface, we are all far more similar inside.
My friend had a lot of loss over the past seven years. A lot. More than his share. And he dealt with it by not dealing with it. He showed up where he was supposed to, did what he was supposed to do, worked, labored, paid lip service to grief and then blew up his life in a magnificent dumpster fire and almost threw away 25 years of sobriety in the process.
Where did it all begin? Lying. First to himself and then to everyone else. Then the lying became the drug that his addicted mind needed to keep the party going. Sound far fetched to you? Doesn’t to me at all. I know that it is straight up fact that I can and will become addicted to anything that feels good...even if the high is only momentary and the trouble that high produces life lasting. I am that person. I will cut that deal every fucking single time. Still.
The only reprieve for me, and others, is a feeble and somewhat loose attempt to live by spiritual principles. I say feeble because I fail more than I succeed and I say somewhat loose because I promised to be authentic here and to say anything else would be a fucking lie. I take the cafeteria approach far too often on the whole spiritual living front: take what I like and leave the rest. I am getting better but the forward progress is s l o w. But it is there.
Ok back to my friend.
He is in therapy and his therapist asked him a while ago, “when was the last time YOU were hurt?” My friend owned that he was hurting from all the fallout from his fucked up conduct, but the therapist said, “No, when was the last time you were just hurt, living life and for no good or real reason, someone else hurt you?”
My friend couldn’t remember the last time that happened...despite the fact that over the last seven years that his father got diagnosed with cancer, beat the cancer and then died anyway. That his mom got Alzheimer ’s and was gone beyond all recognition years before she finally passed. But there my friend sat in a nice therapy room, without any inkling that these events, these significant and life altering events hurt him. Why? Because he wasn't really there in the first place.
Boy could I relate to that. Life sometimes just seems like something to get through. Something to move through. Something to get over, or under, or around...life’s tasks: losing, gaining, living and dying appear to almost get in the way of our idea and sincere beliefs that life should be other than how it is. Grief - “no time for that, got to do all this other stuff. “ Sadness - “nope, I can walk through anything and it barely hurts me.” Loss - “what loss, I am already replacing that person, place or thing as we speak!”
But we can’t. None of us. You cannot out run grief. You cannot dodge it like a taxi cab on a busy New York City street...you maybe can for a little while, but in the end, one of those fast moving cabs will take your ass out. Call my friend if you don’t believe me.
I think the therapist’s question is a very important one. It is probably one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves or others. It is a question that I am going to begin asking myself more often and others likely also.
When was the last time I was hurt?
It really holds very important information. Because if I am not being hurt, then I am not really living my life.
I will use my own life as an example. I recently ended the relationship I was in. He is a great guy but not the right one for me. Was I hurt by this ending? No. Why? Because I was not all that invested. I was playing it safe, I was holding back, I was not all in...again. Now, I don’t think that I should have made a different decision about this particular man, but I do think that I should have been able to own the fact that I was holding back and not fully engaging to myself a lot earlier than I did in this case. At the same time, it is huge leaps forward for me that I can do it at all! So I am calling the whole thing progress while also taking note of some rather glaring issues that I avoided along the way.
When was the last time I was hurt? Lane. Of course, the motherfucking motherload of hurt. He might be the only one in the entirety of my life...which speaks volumes about me and the way I have lived my life. But I am working on it so not all is lost. What I have come to know is that there are two kinds of hurt that matter: heart hurt and mind hurt. Heart hurt is what we are talking about here. Mind hurt happens to all of us all the time. It is just our ego. There is almost no “us” involved. We don’t get the job we want, the person we like doesn’t like us back, we think our article is the shit and no one is interested in reading it. These kinds of things happen all the time but they do not really hurt us because the hurt exists in the mind only. Our egos are bruised. But our hearts remain firmly locked away, safe from any engagement and possible hurt that could happen. Heart hurt is a blog for tomorrow and so I guess ego or mind hurt will be as well.
Today’s blog is dedicated to putting it out there to even begin to ask the question - when was the last time you were hurt, devastated, floored, fucked up beyond all recognition? When was the last time you were so present in your life that life’s circumstances clobbered the fuck out of you?
This is the place where I think we want to live from...or at least try. To stop only partially engaging, to stop ego loving and mind hurting. To live your life so fully that things, people are able to reach you, to touch you, to love you, to hold you and sometimes to hurt you. Hurting is part of life. It is the places that we grow in a direction that we didn’t know we needed to. Being hurt has been the best thing that ever happened to me while it was also the most gut wrenching and painful thing that I have ever walked through. And you what, it was worth every tear, cryke, hard conversation, desperate moment and all of the heart that I poured into it. Because now, I am a person who can be hurt. I am actually involved in my life. I am not just passing through, an apparition in my own living. I am here, present, living, hurting, loving and fucking it up on the regular. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
My friend takes off today for a little R&R and to get some help. I am super proud of him. It takes guts to burn your life to the ground, but guess what, in the charred remnants of the life that you were living that wasn’t really yours to begin with, you can find the seed for a new life that is so yours, so much so that you come to wonder how you ever called what you were doing before living. Fuck, it is magnificent, and painful. But life hurts. And if it doesn’t, then for me it isn’t really living at all. Because when I am hurt, or hurting, I know that I am there, present, living, and that is the whole idea, I am pretty fucking sure.