Complete Love

Being before complete love
We have no fear
For to love completely
Is to know we are completely loved 
Safe
Secure 
Eternally

And we will turn
And reveal 
All
Before all
And find only...

We have no fear 
For to love completely 
Is to know you are completely loved
Safe 
Secure
Eternally 
You 

(May 2021)

Inspiration:

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19)

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.

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.

“It’s You I Like”

Lyrics:
“It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys
They’re just beside you.
Cause it’s you I like
Every part of you.
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
Hope you will remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself
It’s you.
It’s you I like.”

I discovered this cover of Fred Rogers’ It’s You I Like while making a playlist for a loved one. I was searching for a song which expressed how I feel towards them. And this song captured that to me in a deep way. In a vulnerable way. It expresses something my heart knows and feels, but I struggle to express and live in life. Expressing this feeling to someone else is important to me, and true to me, but very difficult for me (even if simply doing it through someone else’s song like this). It is an emotion that is hard for me to grasp and express at all. And I suspect, in real life situations, hard for me to grasp and accept from another when expressed towards me. But that is the magic of this song, it reaches me. It brings tears to my eyes. I accept it, I feel it for a moment. And I remember that moment.

When I reflect on my experience of this song it is complex. Is the song being sung to me? Or am I the one singing the song? Is the song a parent singing to their child? Or a child singing to their parent? I hear it as first being sung to me, but somehow it has a magic that frees me to be more fully myself for a moment, and what I find is I am somehow the voice who was singing the song in the first place. Singing that song to myself, everyone else, and everything. Somehow I have lost and forgotten part of who I am.

My heart finds so much comfort and peace in the unconditional love expressed in this song. And I believe through hearing it, my heart builds up a sense of trust and safety. Which allows my heart to feel increasingly empowered and free to sing it.

Where I Am This Week (11/23)

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!”.

Where I Am This Week

Self-Care

I find almost everything to do with self care confusing and challenging. It feels like weakness to take an hour or 2 for myself, and leave the kids with my husband. It feels like strength to never step away. But I am starting to realize no one benefits from this attitude of mine. Inevitably I burn out and break down. In that burnt out state it is almost impossible for me to be there for anyone in a positive supportive way. How many times will this cycle of work until I burnout repeat itself before it sinks in to me that it is BEST for everyone if I take breaks to recharge. It doesn’t feel like I need breaks, but I know I do. So often it seems to me that what I feel and what I know are out of step. I am going to try to be more deliberate about scheduling breaks for myself and follow through and actually take them.

Living As Myself

I struggle to know how to be around those closest to me. I have a huge amount of confusion and fear about other people. Something within me seems to want to avoid other people completely. Well maybe not other people, maybe it’s more accurate to say my family of origin. However I do not want to avoid them, I love them. What is it within me that wants to avoid them and why? I know my self care and compassion skills are poor. Is this part of me pleading for me to flee trying to protect me? If so is it wise and loving? Or is it only a fearful and confused part of me? I do not know, but I suspect the answer to all these questions is somehow yes.

I visit my parents at least once a week with my children. This is what I have observed. I look forward to going to see them. I do not have much social interaction outside of them, especially in these Covid times. It also brings a little variety to the kids and my routine. However pretty quickly after I get there I feel a heaviness. I am uncomfortable. It’s hard for me to describe, but I almost feel like I am being erased or numbed out. There is so much I can not share there. It’s as if I am on a script that is not my own, but even more on a script where I have been written by someone else to act in the way they perceive they need me to act like. I have learned, with my mother especially, it is best I do not talk about any of my feelings which are negative, any of my opinions which do not match hers, anything positive in my life which she may perceive as competing with her and therefore threatening, any sort of personal story past a sentence or 2 because that tends to remind her of her own stories which she will then interrupt me to share. I guess I feel unwelcome as who I am, and I am trying so hard to step into my true self now a days so it’s very challenging at this time to feel unwelcome. I often leave very thrown off from my center of peace and sometimes deeply sad.

But as always it seems my main emotion is confusion. Am I being unfair to her? Is she being unfair to me? I suspect it is an issue of boundaries. She has often in the past over stepped mine, and continues too. I have rarely stood up for my boundaries, and fail to do so now. Maybe that is why I feel negative emotions when I visit and after. It is a call for me to protect myself. But not with my old and harmful techniques of fleeing myself (that’s how I lost touch of myself originally I fled myself – I buried myself) or a new fleeing of her (I love her) but rather with establishing and enforcing boundaries for myself. I am learning to stay present and love myself. In order for me to stay present I must hear and respect my needs, that is how we treat someone we love. In terms of how my mother will respond to me establishing and enforcing my boundaries I do not know. But I have faith she loves me, and therefore I believe she will try her best to respect my boundaries.

It all sounds so simple, but the idea of building boundaries feels so impossible to me. I do not know my own needs. I worry asserting my needs will make me selfish and inconsiderate. My needs will hurt those I love. Ironically and sadly, I suspect it’s actually the case that because I am not aware of and respectful of my needs I often am not aware of and respectful of others needs. This topic is such a challenge for me. In trying to become aware of my own needs I find it helpful to listen and understand the needs of those around me. It seems likely many of my needs are similar to others and likely I have learning to do in terms of interacting in a way that makes others feel understood and loved.

Contentment Amidst Confusion

I often notice such peace and contentment with my actions and words now a days. I spend less time fretting about what I did or didn’t say or do. It’s not that I am perfect, but I feel I am seeing and noting my flaws more clearly now a days. I have a goal me in mind so to say and I am learning how to get closer to her. And that is me, a person with a dream of an harmonious life with others. Where I can see them for who they are and they can see me for who I am. Nobody and everything. And all we feel is love and joy together, that sometimes hides yes, but holding faith it will always rise again.

How Much Have I Changed? Looking Through My Old Quote Collection.

In my late teens and into my early 20’s I collected quotes I liked in a small brown journal. A few weeks ago, after a decade in my closet, I picked the journal back up and flipped through it. I have changed so much over the years, especially this past year. I think of myself as a different person than who I was at 19. Yet this little collection of quotes had a surprise for me. It showed me that my younger self was very much “me”. Maybe me in confusion, in fear, in darkness, in doubt, but still me.

I will share some of the quotes from this book. I will organize them into themes (in the journal they were written down as I found them – in no order). These quotes opened my eyes to how much younger me already “knew” about myself and life, in a sort of non-experiential and even non-understanding way.

Younger me “knew”:

1. The Importance of the Heart and Love

“The only way I can live is according to my heart, and you lived by rules. I loved you just so, but you probably loved me in order to save me, to instruct me.” (Tolstoy)

“Ah, one thing is sure: the heart alone is the source of our happiness.” (Goethe)

“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections.” (Keats)

“Dreamer though you are. It is you who’s been my signpost so far” (Belle and Sebastian)

“All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.” (Tolstoy)

“She told him she loved him because she understood him completely, because she knew that he had a loving heart and that everything he loved was good.” (Tolstoy)

“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” (Sasha Sagan)

2. My Mind Causes My Suffering

“At that time, having understood clearly for the first time that for every human being and for himself nothing lay ahead but suffering, death, and eternal oblivion, he decided that it was impossible to live that way, that he either had to interpret his life in a way that did not seem to be an evil mockery on the part of some devil, or else shoot himself…..But he did neither one thing nor the other he went on living, thinking, and feeling; he even married at just this time, had many joys, and was happy whenever he wasn’t thinking about the meaning of his life…..what did it mean? It meant he was living well but thinking badly.”(Tolstoy)

“My heart’s not dead; it’s just really bad weather in my temporary head.” (Of Montreal)

“This identity I’ve composed out of terror, has become oppressive now. I must deny, defy, defeat this dark assignment. I’m over it now; I’m so over it now.” (Of Montreal)

“Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts or happenings. It consist mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever flowing through one’s head.” (Mark Twain)

“And yesterday I saw you kissing tiny flowers

But all that lives is born to die.

And so I say to you that nothing really matters,

And all you do is stand and cry.” (Led Zeppelin)

3. My Vision of Reality Wasn’t Clear, Yet I “Knew” What Reality Was

“I’ve discovered nothing. I’ve simple learned what I knew already.” (Tolstoy)

“Without going out of your door
You can know all things on earth
Without looking out of your window
You could know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows. Arrive without traveling
See all without looking
Do all without doing” (Beatles/Tao Te Ching)

“If the doors of perception where cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite” (William Blake)

“I found myself all at once on the brink of panic. This, I suddenly felt, was going too far. Too far even though the going was into intenser beauty, deeper significance. The fear, as I analyze it in retrospect, was of being overwhelmed, or disintegrating under the pressure of reality greater than a mind, accustomed to living most of the time in a cozy world of symbols, could possibly bear. (Huxley)

“God is neither the see-er or the seen, but the “seeing” (?)

“And our greatest illusion is to believe that we are what we think ourselves to be.” (Amiel)

“the end result is the “burn out”, who although still fully in contact with reality, refuses to acknowledge its intrinsic meaning” (Amiel)

“I’m happy just because I found out I am really no one.” (Bright Eyes)

“The intense feeling of unknowingly knowing that there is something which cannot be seen” (?)

“All things are full of gods” (Thales)

“The finest words in the world are only vain sounds if you cannot understand them” (Anatole France)

“I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.” (Sylvia Plath)

4.Life Has Goodness, Beauty, and Meaning – But Those Paths Are Challenging

“It (life) has the incontestable meaning of the goodness I have the power to put into it.” (Tolstoy)

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

“Winston watched with a vague sense of reverence. For whom, for what, was that bird sining? No mate, no rival, was watching it. What made it sit at the edge of the lonely wood and pour its music into nothingness?” (George Orwell)

“There is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory from childhood or home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us. Perhaps we may even grow wicked later on, may be unable to refrain from a bad action, may laugh at men’s tears…but however bad we may become – which God forbid – yet……..perhaps that one memory may keep him from great evil and he will reflect and say “Yes, I was good and brave and honest then!” Let him laugh to himself, that’s no matter, a man often laughs at what’s good and kind. That’s only from thoughtlessness. But I assure you, that as he laughs he will say at once in his heart “No I do wrong to laugh, for that’s not a thing to laugh at”. (Dostoevsky)

“It’s so easy to laugh
It’s so easy to hate
It takes strength to be gentle and kind” (The Smiths)

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man” (Shakespeare)

“I somehow see what’s beautiful in things that are ephemeral” (She&Him)

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy . Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” (Dalai Lama)

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” (Kurt Vonnegut)

5. I Fear Other People And Myself

“So this is what hell is. I would never have believed it. You remember: the fire and brimstone, the torture. Ah! the farce. There is no need for torture: hell is other people.” (Sartre)

“I am disturbed to find he values my mind and abilities more highly than my heart, which is my only source of pride, and indeed of everything, all my strength and happiness and misery. The things I know, anyone can know – but my heart is mine and mine alone.” (Goethe)

“The fear of what I love is my fatality.” (?)

“How I should long to know others as I know myself.” (Tolstoy)

“What uniform can I wear to hide my heavy heart? – It is too heavy. It will always show. Jacques felt himself growing gloomy again. He was well aware that to live on earth a man must follow its fashions, and hearts were no longer worn.” (Jean Cocteau)

“It’s not my fault if I have feelings. You don’t have to humiliate me.” (Science of Sleep Movie)

“I am often filled with longings and think :ah, if only you could breathe onto the paper in all its fullness and warmth what is so alive in you, so that it would mirror your soul as your soul is the mirror of God in His infinity! – My friend – But it will be the end of me. The glory of these visions, their power and magnificence, will be my undoing” (Goethe)

“In the act of loving you arm another person against you” (?)

“As strange as it seems, I’d rather dissolve than have you ignore me” (MGMT)

“Could I create myself anew, I would not fail in pleasing you.” (Joseph Merrick)

6. I Doubted Everything

“My principal sin is doubt. I doubt everything, and am in doubt most of the time.” (Tolstoy)

“This sadness will last forever” (Van Gogh)

“I know, I know that I shall never again meet anything or anybody who will inspire me with passion. You know, it’s quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. there is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice : If you think about it you don’t do it. I know I’ll never jump again.” (Sartre)

 “Romeo: Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
Thou talk’st of nothing.

Mercutio: True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind.” (Shakespeare)

“Something or someplace that you miss deeply, wish you could be there or have it again. A nostalgic yearning for something which may no longer exist, melancholic, fatalist overtone that the object of longing may never return.” (Saudade Definition)

“I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.” (Edna Millay)

“Are they nothing but shadows and apparitions if we are happy?” (Goethe)

“Ah, love, let us be true.

To one another! for the world, which seems.

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new,

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain.

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night.” (Matthew Arnold)

It seems I’m not so much “changing” through time as rediscovering long buried parts of myself. Parts that even though they were buried seemed able to express themselves through my recognition and love of the good and beauty I saw in these quotes. By rediscovering and bringing long buried parts of myself to the surface, I can heal what needs healing and live a more full version of life and myself. With more of my real self at the surface I am better able to see that the good and the beautiful I have always loved is real and true. It is alive and living within me, others, and in the world…..and it always has been.