Who Am I?

I turn inside with words
Asking
"Who am I?"

I hear ricocheting replies
Proclamations of strength
Tearful helpless hurting
Screams of rage spiraling destroying
Whispers of my fears confirmed
A panicky flow of words
A loud mocking laugh
A meek voice promising a flinching kindness
A gentle confident voice reassuring love

I am all of these
I am none of these
Besides the one asking 
"Who am I?"

And the reply is - 
Choose! 

Fred Rogers – “Sometimes People Are Good”

Lyrics:

“Sometimes people are good
And they do just what they should.
But the very same people who are good sometimes
Are the very same people who are bad sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me and…

Sometimes people get wet.
And their parents get upset.
But the very same people who get wet sometimes
Are the very same people who are dry sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me and…

Sometimes people make noise
And they break another’s toys.
But the very same people who are noisy sometimes
Are the very same people who are quiet sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me and…

Sometimes people are good
And they do just what they should.
But the very same people who are good sometimes
Are the very same people who are bad sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me…
Isn’t it the same for you?”

The loving, gentle, true, and beautiful, perspective Fred Rogers shares in this song couldn’t be simpler, but it’s been so easily missed or forgotten by me . I find it is a perspective that encourages kindness, mercy and loyal love towards others and myself.

Where I Am This Week (4-26-21)

Stepping Into My Own Reality

I am starting to step into my own reality. I am starting to trust my instincts and my feelings. I am starting to show up for myself with understanding, kindness, and support. I am feeling an increased sense of freedom and joy in life.

I believe all the steps before brought me to this place, but most recently what helped lift me to this more peaceful perspective was the support of my therapist and the kindness of my friends here on WordPress. With such support I feel I was able to take a huge step forward in my journey, and that was to consciously, within my mind, say goodbye to and stop chasing after closeness with my parents. I say within my mind because I didn’t actually say anything to my parents. It was more a process of letting my dreams for our relationship go in my mind, accepting and grieving what has been and is our relationship, and turning to focus on finding a closeness with my own self instead.

I Have Everything I Need

I found myself reflecting this week on my life and thinking, “I have everything I need, now I just have to figure out how to enjoy it”. I feel incredibly blessed and excited for the future. I feel a growing sense of being capable of handling whatever comes next. I feel a self confidence I have never felt before. A general feeling of “I am fine”.

This new found feeling of being “okay” strikes me as so odd. I have spent so much time trying to convince my parents that “I am not fine” or that our relationship is “not fine”. Yet by withdrawing from that battle for their validation, I am actually starting to finally feel I am “fine”. I feel I am starting to accept our relationship for what it is, lacking the honesty, affection, and closeness I’d like, but accepting I have done my part and now it is up to them. I am good as I am, I can have a beautiful life as things are, even if they never validate or believe my perspective and where I am. Their trying to listen and understand my perspective is crucial for our relationship to grow and deepen, but it is not crucial for me to be a good mother, or wife, or person, or for me to have a good life. I am starting to not only believe, but also to truly feel this. What a relief! And what excitement!

Easing Of Sadness and Anger

And with this growing feeling I feel hints of an easing of my anger and sadness. Could those emotions have been yearning to be witnessed and accepted by me. Picked up by me, and cared for. Were they fighting to get me to see my truth, I used to think that I needed others/my parents to see my truth. But maybe me seeing my truth and believing my truth was all I needed. Now that I am starting to listen closer to and understand my emotions better, it feels like they can ease. There is less need for my sadness and anger to rise to extremes just to be acknowledged by me, I am starting to get better at perceiving my emotions gentle nudges. They are my guides to alert me to ways I do not enjoy being treated and may need to establish boundaries, and also are my guides to alert me to ways I do not wish to treat those I love. I do not want them to feel what I have felt.

Being More Present

I found myself more present this week with my children. More natural. I let my instincts guide me, I didn’t overthink each word and each action, I didn’t judge myself against all the perfect other things I could have done, merely noting different opportunities in the future. And through these more calm and gentle eyes I noticed my kids seem to love me dearly. And in the atmosphere of lightness and presence I found myself having more silly fun with the kids, really joining their world where the moment is all that exists. That moment of making a big dino pile with dino music blaring or checking out the new buds and flowers in our yard or them hanging onto my back and pretending to be baby monkeys. I laughed more freely. I loved it and they loved it too.

As silly as I’ve been I also noticed a silence from me I am not used to. A comfortableness with silent presence. I feel as if I tend to chatter a lot, out of a sort of nervous energy. I feel I need to be doing something or my mind is running fast. In the newer moments of quiet this week I took in a lot of peace and contentment in the simple things I don’t tend to notice. Such as the quiet togetherness of helping my kids pick out their clothes and get dressed in the morning. There is so much already in that moment without words.

I also found grounding myself helpful. Literally saying in my mind, “I am at the park with the kids. It’s the afternoon.” My mind tends to wander and worry and I catch it planning everything in advance. It tends to have a lot of nervous energy. I found this week, even though I tried to keep my mind in the present moment, the “future moments” worked out to. I just figured them out when I got there. I didn’t need to plan every hour out in the morning. With focusing on where I am, I can notice beauty in my surroundings or even just the peace I feel in the present. The feeling of safety.

Points On A Journey

I know this journey has ups and downs. I am probably currently at some peak after a big realization, and I will crash again before the next step forward. But more and more I feel I am carrying forward with an understanding and new strength in this journey. I am starting to feel I am okay. I am starting to see how many loving people there are in this world and rest in feeling that kindness and goodness can be found in simple ways all around me. I am starting to feel embraced by the eternal hands of God, which have been with me all along and which always will be.

I am starting to place my sense of peace through His eyes as opposed to every individual I may encounter. For I well know, from my own past feelings, thoughts and actions, how trapped in a delusion an individual can become. How fearful of truth, how distant from the truth, how cut off from their own nature, how judgemental and fragily prideful one can become. We all benefit when those confused and hurting voices are seen for what they are – lost, confused, and hurting – as opposed to voices of intentional evil or harm. As I practice finding my peace through His eyes as opposed to every individual I meet, I hope to find the stability, faith, love, inner peace, and strength to remain in my own perspective no matter how I am seen by someone else in the moment.

Quote – Dostoevsky (“The Brothers Karamazov”)

“Paradise” he said, “is hidden in each one of us, it is concealed within me, too, right now, and if I wish, it will come for me in reality, tomorrow even, and for the rest of my life. ”

I looked at him: he was speaking with tenderness and looking at me mysteriously, as if questioning me.

“And”, he went on, “as for each man being guilty before all and for all, besides his own sins, your reasoning about this is quite correct, and it is surprising that you could suddenly embrace it so fully. And indeed it is true that when people understand this thought, the Kingdom of Heaven will come to them, no longer in a dream but in reality.”

“But when will this come true?” I exclaimed to him ruefully. “And will it ever come true? Is it not just a dream?”

“Ah” he said, “now you do not believe it, you preach it and do not believe it yourself. Know, then, that this dream, as you call it, will undoubtedly come true, believe it, though not now, for every action had its law. This is a matter of the soul, a psychological matter. In order to make the world over anew, people themselves must turn onto a different path psychically. Until one has indeed become the brother of all, there will be no brotherhood. No science or self-interest will ever enable people to share their property and their rights among themselves without offense. Each will always think his share too small, and they will keep murmuring, they will envy and destroy one another. You ask when it will come true. It will come true, but first the period of human isolation must conclude.”

“What isolation?” I asked him.

“That which is now reigning everywhere, especially in our age, but it is not all concluded yet, its term has not come. For everyone now strives most of all to separate his person, wishing to experience the fullness of life within himself, and yet what comes of all his efforts is not the fullness of life but full suicide, for instead of the fullness of self-definition, they fall into complete isolation. For all men in our age are separated into units, each seeks seclusion in his own hole, each withdraws from the others, hides himself, and hides what he has, and ends by pushing himself away from people and pushing people way from himself. He accumulates wealth in solitude, thinking : how strong, how secure I am now; and does not see, madman that he is, that the more he accumulates, the more he sinks into suicidal impotence. For he is accustomed to relying only on himself, he has separated his unit from the whole, he has accustomed his soul to not believing in people’s help, in people or in mankind, and now only trembles lest his money and his acquired privileges perish. Everywhere now the human mind has begun laughably not to understand that a man’s true security lies not in his own solitary effort, but in the general wholeness of humanity. But there must needs come a term to this horrible isolation, and everyone will all at once realize how unnaturally they have separated themselves one from another. Such will be the spirit of the time, and they will be astonished that they sat in darkness for so long, and did not see the light. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens…But until then we must keep hold of the banner, and every once in a while, if only individually, a man must suddenly set an example, and draw the soul from its isolation for an act of brotherly communion, though it be with the rank of holy fool. So that the great thought does not die…”

Where I Am This Week (4/5)

Rapidly Shifting Moods

The days have been difficult recently. What a mix of beliefs and emotions exist within me. I find myself feeling joyful and grateful some days, and a day later I will feel broken and hopeless. My day to day life is very routine, yet the moods do not follow that day to day stability.

Last week I hit such a low emotionally that I decided I need to reach out for outside help from a therapist. At first I felt a sense of embarrassment and defeat in this I think, the desperation and hopelessness of my mood, I’m suppose to be in a better place now after all my growth right? But with a little reflection I see it as truly a good turn of events. I was able to honestly observe where I was, accept it, and seek out help for myself. I am putting in effort to learn how to take good care of myself. I am treating myself as someone I love.

The Automatic Thoughts (Maybe) Influencing the Mood Shifts

In moments I feel sure my feet have found the path to being a good enough mother for my children. A path of continual effort to learn, listen, grow, and be present with love for my children. I feel that my deepest dream, being a loving mother, is happening in reality. I have faith and hope my kids will feel a secure base with me, and that my presence will be a blessing and comfort to them. But how quickly all belief and faith in my being on a good path fall away. And I fluctuate to a certainty that I am my own mother. That this is all how she felt. That I am recreating the past, and my children will certainly feel how I feel/felt. Confused and hurt. Angry. Alone. Afraid of and distant from other people.

This roller coaster ride of beliefs (and the feelings that go with these beliefs) wears me down. I live days of security and joy, where my day to day struggles have purpose and meaning. And then days of insecurity and heartbreak, where my day to day struggles are only bringing about discomfort and inevitable heartbreak to others. Days where my love feels useless at best and harmful at worst, and I feel hopeless in the power and goodness of my love. On these days I’ll wonder, is my love really love at all?

I feel I have grown so much, yet these fears and doubts plague me. And how can I ever prove these fears untrue? How will I ever know that my ways of parenting feel like the security of love to my children? I know I do not feel loved by my parents, I believe in it like some sort of unseen and unfelt phenomenon, but it is not a lived experience. Why do I feel so unsure in their love? What caused/causes that? Was it something they did or didn’t do? I do not know with certainty. Well how then can I know I am not or will not simply repeat it? What makes love a lived experience? Am I overthinking it? My natural state around my idea of myself as a mother tends to be confusion. I have little clarity on how well I am doing.

The Rational Mind vs. The Emotional Mind

I am hopeful my weekly counseling sessions, where we will be focusing on cognitive behavioral therapy, will bring me some clarity and stability moving forward. I sometimes feel my rational mind is at peace and knows I am doing the work to be the best mother I can be for my kids, and that my effort will be enough for them. I believe I am making progress, and see such clear signs of growth and a comfortableness with closeness and affection with them that I didn’t have at first.

It seems it is my emotional mind that is lagging behind a bit. The emotional mind tends to see me as failing, and is desperate for me to make some sort of big changes that will bring a better reality. After some sort of frantic effort my emotional mind tends to turn against me and label me as the “problem”, me as the reason some sort of “harmful” thing is happening to those I love. Without much conscious thought I tend to believe these harsh labels, and then I will be pulled out of the present trying to figure out what is terribly wrong with me and my parenting and what I immediately must do to make amends. Yet I almost never can find anything disastrously and clearly wrong.

What does seem clear to me is this feeling that “there is a problem” or that “I am a problem to others” is actually pulling me away from being present in life with others. This pulling away from the present moment leads me to miss simple time spent with my kids and husband. That is an issue I do see. But that persistent thought and feeling of “something is wrong” I find hard to shake. There is the fear that maybe something is wrong, and by ignoring it, I am allowing something negative to persist.

I feel hopeful with a counsellors help I can help shape my mind to see and accept my new reality, my husband and kids love me and feel close to me. They see already that I love them and am trying my best to live that love. Those other eyes and judgements and expectations of me are in the past and irrelevant now. Those all meant little about me and were more about my parents and their own struggles carried over from their childhoods. My husband and kids see ME. And they love ME. Who I am is not an uncomfortable problem to them, they don’t need or want me to hide. Their desire towards me is my desire towards them- they want me, the real me, to be present. And I want to be present. “So why am I hiding?” my rational mind wonders. It makes no sense. Yet my emotional mind already knows the answer doesn’t it. Because I doubt myself. My words, my touch, my authentic presence, my love makes others pull back in discomfort and fear. I have seen it. But am I seeing it now, again, with my husband and children? Or are my eyes stuck staring at some sort of memory instead of seeing the present day before me.

Quote – Martin Luther King Jr.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Quotes On Being Human

“Man is a mystery: if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery, because I want to be a man.”

-Dostoevsky

“Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort”

-Fred Rogers


“Why do you run scattershot

begging for answers

when you are the essence

of all meaning?”

Rumi

“A human being is a spatially and temporally limited piece of the whole, what we call the “Universe”. He experiences himself and his feelings as separate from the rest, an optical illusion of his consciousness. The quest for liberation from this bondage is the only object of true religion. Not nurturing the illusion but only overcoming it gives us the attainable measure of inner peace.”

Einstein

“What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“The Little Prince”, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond”

Rumi

“We are never confronted with a task that denies us our free will.”

Rumi

“In every one of us this morning, there’s a war going on. It’s a civil war. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care where you live, there is a civil war going on in your life. And every time you set out to be good, there’s something pulling on you, telling you to be evil. It’s going on in your life. Every time you set out to love, something keeps pulling on you, trying to get you to hate. Every time you set out to be kind and say nice things about people, something is pulling on you to be jealous and envious and to spread evil gossip about them. There’s a civil war going on. There is a schizophrenia, as the psychologists or the psychiatrists would call it, going on within all of us. And there are times that all of us know somehow that there is a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jekyll in us. And we end up having to cry out with Ovid, the Latin poet, “I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.” We end up having to agree with Plato that the human personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. Or sometimes we even have to end up crying out with Saint Augustine as he said in his Confessions, “Lord, make me pure, but not yet.” We end up crying out with the Apostle Paul, “The good that I would I do not: And the evil that I would not, that I do.” Or we end up having to say with Goethe that “there’s enough stuff in me to make both a gentleman and a rogue.” There’s a tension at the heart of human nature. And whenever we set out to dream our dreams and to build our temples, we must be honest enough to recognize it.”

“Unfulfilled Dreams” Sermon, Martin Luther King Jr.

” The human shape is a ghost

made of distraction and pain.

Sometimes pure light, sometimes cruel,

trying wildly to open,

this image tightly held within itself”

Rumi

“Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know they are loved and capable of loving.”

Fred Rogers

“We are all so much alike… and yet we’re all so different! I find myself rejoicing at the endless variety of human beings, and that’s partly, I know, because your differences from one another tell me that it’s all right for me to be different in many ways, too.”

Fred Rogers

Share in the comments any quotes about being human that speak to you. I’d love to read them.

The Guilty One

Who wronged me
Never harmed me

No one to forgive

Whom I've wronged
Brought myself harm

Never to forget

Inspiration:

  • “Genius of the Ancient World” Socrates Episode.

  • “Socrates (at his trail): I have something more to say, at which you may be inclined to cry out; but I believe that to hear me will be good for you, and therefore I beg that you will not cry out. I would have you know, that if you kill such a one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me.”

-The Apology by Plato

  • “SOCRATES: “That may very well be, inasmuch as doing injustice is the greatest of evils.

POLUS: But is it the greatest? Is not suffering injustice a greater evil?

SOCRATES: Certainly not.

POLUS: Then would you rather suffer than do injustice?

SOCRATES: I should not like either, but if I must choose between them, I would rather suffer than do.”

-Gorgias by Plato

  • “My brother ought not to have treated me thus.” True: but he must see to that. However he may treat me, I must deal rightly by him. This is what lies with me, what none can hinder.”

-Epictetus

Love is…..

Love is listening 
   or trying to listen 

Love is trusting
   or trying to trust 

Love is present
   or trying to be present

Love is understanding
   or trying to understand

Love is accepting 
   or trying to accept 

Love is feeling
   or trying to feel

Love is knowing
   or trying to know

You.