At the kitchen table In the setting sun My son sits Hand slowly Carefully Drawing pictures Of the monster trucks and motorcycles He dreams of Interrupted only by My devoted eyes and smiles
There are stars in the sky of my bedroom I've reached I've jumped But I can't get them down When I lay in bed at night Eyes heavy and drifting In the moonlight A giant lifts me up And one arm clings to him As I place the stars Over our heads
A Difficult Week
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.
Being There For Myself/Being There For Others
I feel myself stepping more and more into living as myself. I more often have such a peace within and such a peace with my actions and words. However living more as my real self is a change for me, and with changes come challenges.
One of these challenges for me is learning how to interact as my real self with other people and relatedly learning to see those around me for who they truly are. I try to be in touch with my real self, and when I feel I am, I trust that her instincts and intentions are best for myself and those around me. I try to live more freely now.
This past week I attempted to express this idea to my husband, this idea that I am trying to build up a trust in myself and step into living fully as myself. I expressed my confusion and fears about how this could effect our relationship. It was honest, but unsurprisingly seemed to make him feel attacked or threatened and that seemed to send me into a more fearful and negative mental space.
This dynamic confuses me. I feel the urge to reach out, discuss, and share, so I do. But often I share my fears, and my fears often involve me “hurting someone more than I am helping” or someone “holding me back from happiness/living as me” in some way. They are my fears of what reality is or will be. But it seems, as happened during this conversation with my husband, the person I’m speaking to takes it personally. My fears seem to hurt them. If I had thought about this conversation with my husband more before sharing, I would have guessed he would react negatively just as he did. Does that mean I shouldn’t bring these types of fears up with him? Does it mean the way in which I bring them up is not graceful enough?
What Would My Inner Parent Say?
When learning how to better interact with others, I can find it helpful to reflect on how my inner parent interacts with me or would interact with me in a given situation. When I do this exercise, I see how deeply hurtful it would be for my inner child to hear anything that sounds remotely like my inner parent saying they “might have to leave me“. However I do feel slight resistance to this notion that the level of “eternal thereness” for myself should be extended to my husband. I do love my husband though, isn’t that level of “eternal thereness” just what love looks like? I do not know, being there for myself and others is new to me. I am learning.
There is a relationship where this quest for “eternal thereness” feels more smooth and natural to me and that is towards my children. I feel determined to always be there for them, just as my inner parent is for me. I will never leave them. No matter how old they are, or how lost they are, no matter where they are emotionally I will be there for them and if I am not there for them I will be trying with all my strength to get there and let them know I am desperately trying. Would I ever say anything they might hear as “I might have to leave you”? Maybe, but always I would try to make it clear I feel I might have to leave because my strength, and therefore ability to be there for them, is faltering. Always it would be clear the “leaving” is temporary, is in tune with where they are too, and I will return.
Is it true I do not feel this desire for “eternal thereness” for my husband? If it is true, is that something I should strive to change? Is it a lack of extension and expression of my love? It’s a maze to my mind.
What Are My Expectations And Hopes From My Husband?
Maybe I can find some clarity about how I want to/should feel towards him by switching the roles -What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself? I want him to be truly happy. I want him to flourish from within. I want him to find and step right up to the line that is the limit to his freedom to improve the world. But also I want him to have the wisdom to recognize, accept, and make peace with that line that is the true limit of his power. I want him to look back and be able to see the ups and downs, that are life, as his beautiful story. I want him, who he is inside, to be living in every moment.
Though I didn’t clearly answer the question of “What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself?”, maybe I did discover a clarity from not answering the question. I suspect the resistance I have to being “eternally there” for my husband, does not indicate a lack of love for him. It indicates a lack of willingness to self destruct for him. A growing recognition that I am worthy and want to step into my life. The real me is no danger. I will step into my life. I will live my life. I feel this is healthy, and I want the same for him. I want my husband to live, not live for me.
Well, Where Do We Fit Into Each Other’s Lives Then?
I want to be a person my husband wants to be around. A person who emotionally supports him and he wants to support, a person who is interested in him and who he is interested in, who believes in him and he believes in, who brings joy to him and he wants to bring joy to too, etc. and I assume he wants to be that person to me. I believe we both share the fear that we are not that person to the other. I believe this was the fear I communicated this week to him, and me discussing it brought up that shared fear in him too.
And there is truth to that in our past. We have relived and are reliving many aspects of the dynamics from our childhoods with each other. (I suspect my fear that my real self is a danger to his real self and happiness or that he is a danger to my real self and happiness are both strongly rooted from my childhood not our relationship). But how beautiful if somehow we each can bring ourselves to the surface of life, and fully stand before each other in the present. Fearfully at first, but then receive what we have longed for all our lives. To feel seen by someone who wants us, the real us.
I sense a growing of that difficult journey to the surface of life within both of us. There is a part of me, not the fearful part of me, that has faith. That part of me believes my husband and I both lost touch with our real selves in childhood. Yet somehow it was our real selves which chose each other, and which have carried us through our dating and marriage years together. An emotion within me seems to say, “You already see him, and he already sees you. Look to see this truth, and live this truth boldly. Then you will begin to experience it, to feel it!”.
A new relationship has been forming between me and the internal things (thoughts and feelings) within me. I see them more clearly as distinct things which exist outside of my real center of self/consciousness. They are all around me within my internal world, but they are not within ME. In this more detached state, there is less fear of what I see and with less fear more freedom. Freedom to observe these mental things (thoughts and feelings) with more curiosity and to study them more deeply.
Sometimes as I sit with and study a familiar thought or feeling around me internally a completely unfamiliar thoughts or feeling, seemingly connected to the familiar one, arises. I often feel the urge to leave these unfamiliar thoughts unstudied. I’ll think “How could they be relevant to my life if I have never used them consciously in decision making?”. Even more, not only are these thoughts totally unfamiliar, they often appear inaccurate and illogical to me (ex. “If someone isn’t being loving to me, then it must be the case I do not deserve their love. Therefore I should change my behavior until I can be lovable to them.). My thinking mind considers these thoughts to be ridiculous. It would never use them in any decision making process. Therefore my thinking mind forcefully declares these thoughts are irrelevant to me and my life.
Yet if I stick with my study of these unfamiliar and illogical thoughts, and especially if I try to speak to someone else about them, sometimes strong and uncontrollable emotions will instantly pour out of me. I breakdown in tears. The tears surprise me. They often embarrass me. I believe I am simply trying to study or discuss untrue and illogical thoughts I do not hold. If I try to introspect and determine what within me is causing the tears, I don’t recognize any emotion or thought within me that could explain the tears. I feel fine.
But this contrast between how I feel and how I am acting confuses and frustrates me. I do not have that uniquely personal ability to introspect/to see what is within this mind who is crying. It is as if someone else’s mind has gained control over my external emotional expressions. Though I know this is not true. Rather it must be that I have completely lost introspective touch with a part of my emotional brain. Though clearly that part has not lost touch/control over my body. I suspect this lost part of my emotional mind is part of my unconscious mind. I have always believed in the unconscious mind, but never before have I experienced a mindful awareness that I am witnessing it’s effects acting through me.
In order to know what is within this part of my unconscious, I must use my reasoning abilities. I first collect information by observing how my body is acting (crying). Then I reason that within my internal but unconscious world there must be some feeling of sadness, emotional pain, or hurt.
It appears that my calmer and freer introspection/observation of my familiar internal world is allowing me to see for the first time some of the unconscious (“unfamiliar and illogical”) thoughts and feelings which are fueling these more familiar thoughts and feelings. That would explain why these unfamiliar thoughts are suddenly appearing internally around me now that I am more deeply studying my familiar thoughts and feelings. It may also help explain why they often appear to me to be illogical or inaccurate thoughts. They were learned/formed by a much younger me’s knowledge, perspective, and freedom. A me in a different world.
But before I go more into the origin of these beliefs, I find it important to add I have tried to study how frequently unconscious/invisible thoughts may be influencing my actual choices and behavior. I took one of these newly conscious/visible “unfamiliar and illogical thoughts” and looked back to see if there was any evidence of its influence in my past choices, actions, understanding of other people and myself, etc. I found evidence of its influence EVERYWHERE. It was a missing variable. It helped explain some of my most puzzling habitual choices and behaviors. Even more I realized other people had seen my actions and suggested maybe I had this thought/feeling. I couldn’t introspect it within me, so I had never believed that I did hold such a thought/feeling. But now I infer it was unconsciously fueling many of my past choices and behaviors.
Returning back to why the beliefs I become conscious of from the unconscious would appear to me as illogical and untrue, I assume this is because the unconscious largely learned what it knows during my childhood. Therefore within a child’s knowledge, perspective and freedom it solidified the code of best action for thriving in “the world” including what is dangerous for me. I left childhood – I acquired more knowledge, more perspectives, more power, and more freedom. But what happened to everything I had learned, my code of life? What is the relationship between the child’s old and deeply practiced knowledge of the world and how best to thrive in it and all the adult’s new and ever growing knowledge, perspectives, and freedoms. How did/do they interact?
I am not sure. But I suspect I have long lived as a feeling and thinking learning machine struggling in perpetual confusion. A feeling and thinking learning machine that can only be and live in the present, but through my memory code can get lost in “the past”. I can fiercely battle to defend myself and life from long gone but now unconsciously self-empowered demons. A feeling and thinking learning machine that can only be and live in the present, but through my imagination code can get lost in “the future”. I can imagine “what is” could be better (more beautiful, happier, etc, ) and this imagining of possibilities clouds my vision of the real “what is” before me. “What is” becomes seen as not enough. It could be more good therefore is is not yet good (it is bad), it could be more beautiful therefore is is not yet beautiful( it is ugly), it could be more happy therefore is not yet happy (it is sad).
I am a feeling and thinking learning machines who knows that I have the power and am free to update my code, and therefore expects to look out and see my true self in how I show up in the world. Yet so often I look out and see I act drastically out of step with how I code/will myself to act. This can lead me to doubt my very nature, doubt whether I am beautiful and good on the inside. If I am, wouldn’t I see that beautiful and good self in my actions? Or it leads me to doubt my power and freedom to truly update my code. Who or what controls my actions then? There can be no peace for a learning machine made for living life (action), but in a state of perpetual confusion about the internal world and external one.
Yet, there is hope! Clarity. For maybe it is true that I have the power and freedom to update/modernize my code, maybe that’s never been lacking. Maybe what has been lacking is the ability to see/access the old code, and even more the acceptance that such an unconscious/invisible code exists. How can one change what one can not see? But now I know through experience such an unconscious mind/code is within me and can (without my awareness) be the fuel of my thoughts and feelings and therefore actions. Even more I have experienced that if I can study my conscious thoughts and feelings in a detached state, once unconscious thoughts and feelings sometimes arise before my consciousness. I can see code that was once invisible to me, so maybe now I can start to change/update it.
And it does seem that once my thinking mind reasons an unfamiliar thought or feeling explains some of my past actions and makes sense as being learned from my childhood, it becomes understood and accepted as existing within an unconscious part of my mind. This understanding and acceptance integrates the unconscious part back into my conscious mind- back into the internal world around me I can see/introspect.
With this ability to see/introspect the once unconscious thought in real time as it is triggered in my day to day life, I have the freedom to reason whether the thought is accurately capturing the truth within me or in the world. I have the freedom to gather more information to determine it’s accuracy or test out a different thought. When I cultivate more accurate/true thoughts than I see myself and the external world more accurately/true. This changes my thoughts and actions. I look within and without into the external world and more often see the beautiful, good, and true world and the beautiful, good, and true me actually showing up in it.