A while back, a friend and I decided to read a book whose cover is cringe-worthy enough that I felt a little shamey when I handed it over to the gal behind the counter at Barnes & Noble. At the heart of the book, though, you are called upon to explore all the corners of your psyche which, when kept in the dark, keep you from love.
Thumbing through the book (which is aimed directly at romantic love), you start to get the sense that you’re being Jedi-mind-tricked into facing that you sit at the core of the center of the thing that is love. Concepts like forgiveness and body image are addressed — as if those have anything to do with being in a relationship.
I kid, I kid.
But as is the case with
most all things: we forget that we’re the nucleus. We forget that we’re the only thing opening or closing the conduits to what we want — regardless of whether it’s love, a meaningful work life, money, a peaceful mind or a healthy body.
We’re fed — and the message is perpetuated — a story of blame. To regard the human spirit as capable of changing its reality is to take away the power of everyone and everything but the human spirit itself (and the Higher Power to which we attune). Which means 97% of the world is out of business. If we’re no longer convinced that joy and comfort can be bought or given to us, we’re forced into the eerie reality of our responsibility to generate self-esteem from the inside out (which is the only way it really happens, anyway).
That isn’t to say that we can (or should) exist as islands. It just means that the way we interact with one another — especially in terms of “love” — is (sometimes) really misguided. What we call “love” is more like co-dependence at the very least, and harsh, crippling manipulation at the really shitty end of the spectrum.
We (almost) don’t know how to interact with one another if we aren’t perpetuating the myth of brokenness, and other peoples’ ability to fix us. And we (almost) don’t know how to interact with ourselves if that interaction isn’t based on a lifelong investment in our wounding, who wounded us, why, when, for how long, and why they never said they were sorry (enough)….
I mean, Jesus. It’s exhausting. But it takes a lot of willpower and faith in what’s on the other side of wounding to divest from those stories, let go, and simply choose to live in another reality — one of healing.
• • •
So last night, after watching Seeking A Friend For the End of the World, I pulled out the book my friend and I agreed to read together. A couple of months back, I’d stopped just shy of finishing the third lesson (out of forty-nine), because the end of the third lesson entailed writing a letter to yourself, as if from the significant other of your dreeaaammmmmsssss (cue unicorns shitting rainbows)…. And I just couldn’t do it without wanting to puke all over myself.
And also, if I’m honest, it was because I was afraid to put in writing what I most long to hear. When we know what it is we deeply want — and say it out loud — it makes accepting anything less really, really suffocating. And because we almost always accept just a little less than we need (even just a little bit while we’re still getting our footing), we feel like shit. And who wants to feel like shit when we could just forever sit silently not admitting to having needs at all?!
But last night, as I read the directions for the exercise, I began to weep. And as I started writing, I cried harder. Not nine words in, I was full-on sobbing. Because what came flowing from my pen wasn’t the dry-vom-inducing crap that I believed was far too narcissistic to breathe life into, but the sacred simplicity of being seen, known, and allowed to be. The exercise finally ends with the instructions to place a hand over your heart, say your name, and then read the letter to yourself, from yourself.
And that…. was lovely. But for me, what made the experience truly sparkle was knowing that in the wings, the Universe was listening. Angels, Spirit and the rose-tinted light of God were speaking to me, through me, and I felt the kind of mystery I felt as a child when I’d go to church, and in the middle of hymns, standing next to my mother, I could feel the room fill with ethereal light, the distilled sweet essence of love, perfect and whole and wanting for nothing than to be expressed, unaltered, and unimpeded by the fear of human doubt.
And that, as it turned out, was everything.