This past week was difficult. It felt as if another floor had fallen out from under me, and many painful feelings arose. I am coming to understand this falling into difficult emotions is part of the process of healing/returning back to my true self. But still the emotions, though freeing me and healing me, are painful. Exactly what floor fell out from under me this week? I’m not sure. But these were some of the thoughts and feelings I observed within me this week.
A realization that what I believe saved me/woke me up to live life (which was my love for my children and more generally other people) does not seem to have saved my mother. And not only did it not save her in my childhood, but to this day I feel shut off from her. I feel deeply unwanted for who I am. Something about this relationship pulls me away from the present, pulls me away from my husband and children. I do not want this to happen anymore, I want to live.
As I reflected on this all, this numbed out but I suspect deep hurt I carry around my mother, a metaphor came to my mind. I imagined a heaven, a life after this one where we are all healed. All living our dreams. I saw my father there, my brother, it brought tears to my eyes. The togetherness, the joy.
But I realized I do not see her there. Why not? My heart seems to believe she does not want to be there with us. If I try to include her in this heaven with us the closest I can bring her is to the other side of our heaven’s gate. She stands behind the gate yelling over to us how she “can’t join us”, but the gate door to our side is large and wide open. I try to get her to see the gate is wide open, she needs only to walk in if she wants to join us. But she gets angry and dismissive of me. I am left feeling concerned for her, which morphs into anger within me, and also an uneasy feeling at her bizarre claims. I am confused, and afraid. Do my eyes deceive me? Heaven is ruined.
The World of My Dreams or The World of My Fears
The day after reflecting on this heaven metaphor and letting the hurt of feeling like my mother doesn’t want to be around the real me sink in, another thought arose. This was the realization that I suspect I have lived most of my life behind a haze of my own projections. I was not aware that what I was seeing, what felt so real, was being put there by me. I feel as if I sometimes now catch glimpses of the real world, the world with less projections, the world I assume I was born into and saw briefly as a child.
So what world have I been seeing most of my life? I suspect it was a version of the world I feared to be the case. But to me it looked like “the truth”/”reality”. I feel heartbroken to reflect I have played a part in helping bring more to life and perpetuate that world that is not the world from my dream but the world from my fears. I see how I have so often preemptively pushed others away because I feel they do not want to be around me, they do not care for me. When the truth is the person (my mother) who probably created this belief in me, does care, but fears me. But how many other people have feared me? Yet, it seems clear to me I have been so quick to fear others. It seems the distorted image of my mother (I was not even aware of) was the lens through which I saw and responded to many people. My heart fell into moments of hopelessness and pain as these realizations sunk in and were accepted this week.
I was left feeling like I do not understand anything anymore. So much regret and lack of faith in myself and my vision of reality. Many moments of hopelessness and a general sense of deep confusion. But in this disoriented and hopeless state, there was one thing I realized I remained confident in – and that was my dream. The image of my dream seems to keep me tied tight to this life, keeps me happily striving even through pain, regret, and uncertain odds. I will share what I dream of and what I am beginning to believe I will strive to bring about or maybe just recognize already exists and start to actually feel. I believe my peace rests in knowing that I have done what I can do for the creation of my dream. But it all becomes so complex because others are involved. What are their dreams? But I will share what I dream of.
“I Love You. I Would Rather Die Than To Hate You”
As I found and shared these images, Martin Luther King Jr.’s words came to my mind “I love you. I would rather die than to hate you”. It is a beautiful motto of life to me. To a life, far from easy, but a life approaching my truth. I am love. Where I step outside of love, I step outside of myself, a part of me dies/loses contact with living life. I want to live as whole, I want to live in harmony. I can try to live as my heart wants to live, I can live as if my dream is already true, and maybe in time I will start to feel it is and experience it.
What I am beginning to see is that I can not live in peace with these feelings of fear and resentment in me, they destroy even the hope of the dream I love. I have so often lived some warped and fearful motto of “I love you. BUT I would rather hate you than to die”. This fearful state told me I must flee others and push others away. It morphed the world before my eyes into the very world I fear, a world where I must be cut off from others and alone. A scary, unsafe world, empty of being lovable and loving. And it did all this in the name of “protecting me”.
No, this warped motto destroys my beautiful dream. I will not willingly play a part in harming this dream of unity and love with others any longer. I fear some people in my life look at my actions and words and feel I do not want the real them around me. But that is the opposite of my dream. There is another side to this too which is I fear others do not want the real me around them. There is a part of me that feels the truth is that I should be left alone to protect others from me. That my real self is a danger to everyone I love and my dream. I seem to fear myself. But I say “Look, look, at my dream. If it is not a dream you want, that is fine. But if you fear it, why? What is the danger in my dream?”
But there is a part of me I am trying to nurture. A peaceful, happy part of me. A hopeful part of me, seeking to harmonize. A dreamer. What that part of me cares about most, longs for, is the dream I shared in those images. If I can have faith, I believe I can be a part of creating/waking up to that beautiful dream. Without faith I have seen fear will reign in me, and I will likely play a part in continuing to create/wake up to the very world I fear.
These quotes are from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov written in 1880. I first read The Brothers Karamazov for a school assignment. I absolutely loved the book. Though I could not clearly see the book’s message, I knew I found it beautiful. It always remained close to my heart; and I believe it was a large part of the light which helped me start this journey back to myself. I will be forever grateful Dostoevsky helped spread and keep alive these beautiful ideas.
“Strive to love your neighbor actively and indefatigably. In as far as you advance in love you will grow surer of the reality of God and of the immortality of your soul. If you attain to perfect self-forgetfulness in the love of your neighbor, then you will believe without doubt, and no doubt can possibly enter your soul. This has been tried. This is certain.”
“Active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with the love in dreams. Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching. Indeed, it will go as far as the giving even of one’s life, provided it does not take long but is soon over, as on stage, and everyone is looking on and praising. Whereas active love is labor and persistence, and for some people, perhaps, a whole science.”
“I believe that you are sincere and good at heart. If you do not attain happiness, always remember that you are on the right road, and try not to leave it. Above all, avoid falsehood, every kind of falsehood, especially falseness to yourself. Watch over your own deceitfulness and look into it every hour, every minute. Avoid being scornful, both to others and to yourself. What seems to you bad within you will grow purer from the very fact of your observing it in yourself. Avoid fear, too, though fear is only the consequence of every sort of falsehood. Never be frightened at your own faint-heartedness in attaining love…..But I predict that just when you see with horror that in spite of all your efforts you are getting farther from your goal instead of nearer to it – at that very moment I predict that you will reach it and behold clearly the miraculous power of the Lord who has been all the time loving and mysteriously guiding you.”
“At some thoughts one stands perplexed – especially at the sight of men’s sin – and wonders whether one should use force or humble love. Always decide to use humble love. If you resolve on that once and for all, you may subdue the whole world. Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like it.”
“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”
“Life is paradise, and we are all in paradise, but we won’t see it, if we would, we should have heaven on earth the next day”
“Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.”