I don’t know how to start this blog. Which is unusual for me. Usually, I just dive in without a second thought, letting the blog write itself.
This afternoon I want to write a personal blog. A filled-with-feeling blog. A blog which doesn’t just skim the surface of our experiences. You know how it is.
People say, “How are you doing?” and you answer “Fine!” with a little lilt in your voice when really you’re sad or confused or challenged or trying to figure things out. Because, it seems, most of the times people don’t really want to hear about our sorrows and suffering because they just don’t want to go there.
If you asked me how I was doing yesterday, the only answer to surface might have been, “Not so good.” “Sad.” “Awful.”
Not a good Summer Solstice type cheeriness. Outside it has been raining and raining and raining some more. Inside me it has been raining and raining and raining some more.
Why? you ask. There is a simple answer and a complicated answer. The simple answer is that I attended a township meeting on Monday night and voted against the desires of almost all the local attendees. I don’t want to go into the specifics behind this decision, but you know that I had consulted my deepest heart of hearts and voted in a conscientious way, even though that way wasn’t the will of the majority of the people.
My vote was the tie-breaker which implemented the unpopular action. I felt good about it, deep inside. When you’ve consulted your deepest self, and know you’re acting with personal integrity, you feel good. Even though you may be wrong in the long run. Even though you can understand exactly why everyone else feels the way they do. You act on your deepest understanding–and it feels right.
However, the next day (yesterday) I awoke feeling like someone punched me with a truckload of cement blocks. Perhaps it was the energy of people not understanding. Who knows?
OK, here comes the complicated explanation. I have been working through the book The Presence Process by Michael Brown for the past couple of months. This book aims at getting us to feel our emotions unconditionally, without masking, sedating, or controlling them.
As we work through the ten week exercises, we’re gently warned that things might get a little–how do we say it?–emotional. We even welcome the emotions arising because they are often emotional charges which are rising to the surface to be integrated.
I didn’t expect to find myself mired in such sadness and confusion and emotion yesterday.
But, through it, I discovered this deep-seated emotional challenge. Ever since I was in seventh grade and my best friend fell in love with her future husband–and rejected me–or so it seemed–I have a pattern of feeling so hurt when other people seemingly reject or leave me, that I proceed to reject them in return.
You know. If you don’t love me, then I don’t love you.
Not everybody. But many times.
A vicious painful cycle of feeling rejected and withholding love because I feel so hurt.
Today, feeling still rather tentative, I wandered by my blogging friend Marianne’s blog. It’s called Miracle Mama and she calls it a collection of “miracle stories and magical moments”. I read her story about Lester Levenson and his discovery of “love in its highest and purest form” and something clicked.
You know how it clicks inside of us? Click. And you get it. Down to your tippy toes.
Lester suffered a severe coronary attack at age 42 and was given less than a couple of years to live…or he could be gone tomorrow. He realized his problems were within, and he needed to figure out what is happiness. He struggled to look deep within and eventually discovered that he was happy when he was loving. (Read more of Marianne’s story to discover more–or especially click on his story at the end of her post.)
Upon reading Lester’s story, sitting awash in lingering emotions from childhood, I suddenly “got it”. I could continue to choose to reject those who rejected me…or I could simply continue to love them, no matter whether they liked or approved of me or not.
It’s our CHOICE.
I delved back through imagination into several painful past rejections and truly, totally, released my suffering, my sadness, my regret, my shame that I couldn’t be who they wanted me to be.
I would continue to love them anyway, as unconditionally as possible, whether they were present or absent. Because that’s what I can do. I can see people in light, in love, in beauty. Who cares if they are in my life today? Who cares what they think?
I can continue to love them.
And that makes me happy.
Thank you for listening.