I Love Humans

I love humans
But how could that be
For not all humans love me

But look at them 
One foot an animal's 
One foot God's dream

Their words, their actions
There's no plot
One voice speaking over itself

But observe deeper
And I believe you'll see
Something crying out 
from invisibility

Look in their eyes
Listen to their voices 
Feel and recognize
It's you that's hiding

May 2021

To the Girl Who Wrote Poetry

To the girl who wrote poetry
Preserving me
Through the static
Thank you.

It is time

She appears
The strength
The vividness
Of a million colors
Before me
And within me
Floating, touching
dancing
As one 
Arising
And gliding over nothingness
As I collapse before her feet

Into our nothingness
So she can speak

This poem was inspired by finding my old poetry journals from when I was 13-20 years old. After 20 I largely stopped writing poetry. Until I picked the habit back up within the last year. My emotions seem to compel me to write poems. As I write them it often feels I am both communicating and listening. I am expressing and keeping in touch with myself. I believe writing poetry harmonizes and integrates the emotional and thinking parts into “Me”.

Where I Am This Week (5-20-21)

(This post was written early May)

* I struggle a bit in this post to take how my feeling side of the mind envisions things and write it in simple terms. Emotionally everything I share in this post is true. I am only able to express this truth, right now, in a more poetic form. I hope it still has clarity.*

A Heartbreaking and Heartmending Realization

“The nuns taught us there are two ways through life, the way of Nature and the way of Grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow. Grace doesn’t try to please itself, accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have it’s own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things. They taught us that no one who loves the way of Grace ever comes to a bad end. I will be true to you. Whatever comes.”

When I first saw The Tree Of Life I found the movie incredibly beautiful. It’s message struck close to my heart, I knew that, but I couldn’t understand it. Though beautiful and good, I couldn’t see how the movie’s message connected to real life.

Near the start of this journey, my mind pulled me back to things I found beautiful, and I searched for clips from this beautiful movie. When I found this clip, I understood it more clearly than I had before. A link to this clip was one of the first things I shared here on my blog. And last week this clip found it’s way back to me. I guess there was another message in it I was finally ready to hear. And it shattered me. It opened my eyes, to my deep failure.

A few days after this realization I wrote this poem. I feel it captures the experience.

Before mortality,
full of faith
in my love 
and strength.
I made a promise.
I remember that now
and my heart breaks.
I have failed you
forgotten you
at the first cutting word
or cold touch 

This shattering humbles me
and somehow
weeping and ashamed
I find a final victory
I find your arms again 

and hear your promise 
"I will be true to you. Whatever comes."

It’s hazy to me, but I do have a sense that there is a truth in this poem. I believe those final words in the Tree of Life scene hit me as a promise I made to God. A promise that I would remember Him and His love and follow His way of Grace and love in this life. A promise I quickly failed, when the “whatever comes” arrived.

After the “Whatever Comes” Arrived

I became distracted by how other’s treated me, judged me, loved me, and I lost touch with God’s love of me. I began trying to assert my will to get other’s to give me the love I believed I deserved. I didn’t consider where they were in life. I blamed them for corrupting me, for making it so I “couldn’t love”.

I walked in the world completely of my own will, seeking to be seen and loved, and hurt and outraged when I felt I didn’t receive it. In that hurt and outrage I would lash out, judge others harshly, give the cold shoulder, or criticize. I didn’t spend much time actively showing love to others, I was too busy trying to figure out whether others were being loving to me or not. And then, when I determined they weren’t being loving (which was the final verdict on pretty much everyone since I struggled to receive love), I spent the rest of my time trying to figure out what to do or say to get them to love me better.

Remembering Him

I believe this realization came crashing down because I was ready for it. And I believe I was ready for it because I have been starting to remember and have faith in God. In His love. And in knowing Him, my mind and heart finally felt safe enough to let me shatter. Deep down, though I didn’t consciously know it, I finally felt safe enough to fall into that complete guilt and shame. He would not leave me. He was the only love I ever needed.

He Knows I’m Imperfect

I imagine He knew all along, that though my heart was fully in my words when I promised “I will be true to you. Whatever comes”, that imperfect me would fail. Those words when spoken by me, are merely me expressing my hopes and dreams. To believe I could ever live up to them is delusion.

I imagine the words themselves actually first came from God, and when spoken by Him, they are said with certainty, a declaration of fact ” I will be true to you. Whatever comes”. This dynamic brings to mind the bible verse “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). It was His love and His promise I first heard, and my dream is to love like Him. But of course I never will be able too.

Yet I will never give up striving to love like Him. And I feel a huge part of that striving is remembering and experiencing God’s unconditional love for me even through all my continuous falls from showing others grace and love. If I pretend I’m mostly perfect, then it blocks that learning of unconditional love. I feel I cannot show others grace and love if I myself have not experienced that grace and love being shown to my failing self by God.

Mended – Healing And Learning

So though I felt shattered by the realization of my failure, I felt mended by it too. Humbled. More ready to receive and learn from Him instead of thinking I already had things taken care of. More ready to hand Him the reigns of my life. And mended in trusting the security of His love enough to stand before it and admit deep failure, shame, and weakness. And in admitting, allowing myself to experience His true love and grace. And in experiencing His love and grace, healing and learning.

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! 

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

Interacting With Myself (My Inner Child)

For as long as I can remember I ignored, criticized, judged, or rejected my feelings. That was just how I interacted internally with myself. I vaguely recognized it wasn’t healthy, but I didn’t know a different way of being. I assumed everyone else’s inner worlds looked like mine. To me that was just the reality of internal life.

Through this journey of change I am learning to feel my emotions more freely. It can be overwhelming. I feel so much. It also seems as I have been accepting and hearing my emotions more freely my emotional landscape appears different. Anger and frustration have always been common and familiar emotions within me. Maybe shortly before my journey back to self or at the start of it (it’s not clear to me when this whole process started) my anger began morphing into a type of internal chaotic rage. That period of rage was brief but scared me. But anger and frustration seemed to be my constant companions.

I noticed over the last few months however that my familiar emotion of anger has largely faded and a new emotion seems to have taken it’s place – sadness. It feels like progress to feel this sadness, because I suspect it was sadness that was the hidden fuel of the anger. Sadness is the true face behind the mask of anger I wore and saw for so long. Even though sadness has been with me all along, I find it difficult and painful to feel and manage. I am not familiar with accepting and feeling sadness. I notice it tends to make me flee inwards. I have been practicing the habit of sitting with, listening to, comforting, and offering guidance to my sadness.

A New Voice?

When I had moments to myself this week I naturally glided into the habits I have formed to give my sadness time to express itself and be heard and understood by me. I would pick up a self help book or start working on a playlist of music to capture my journey, but something inside of me seemed uninterested. There was a push back within me towards the activity. At first I interpreted this push back to be an attempt by me to resist painful but needed action. It is common for me to fearfully flee what I truly want to approach. But as this new feeling of push back continued to arise over the week, it captured my interest. I started listening more deeply to the feeling and observed it appeared to be saying “Play, let’s have fun!”.

This is a message I have almost never heard from within. It confused me. I have spent the last couple months practicing getting in touch with my heart, my inner self. Hadn’t I found my heart, and inner self to be deeply hurt and sad? I imagined it would be disrespectful to my inner self to listen to and live this playful feeling. I feared it was a compassionless abandoning command to “stop being sad and be happy please”. I worried it would re-inflect on my inner self exactly what wounded me so much as a child. But these were my fears speaking, when I observed past them I saw the situation more clearly.

This new push back feeling wasn’t a new but familiar insensitive and dismissing voice commanding me to just be happy, it was my inner self speaking in a way I had never heard before. It was my inner self feeling and sharing a less familiar emotion – joy and playfulness. It seems by letting myself feel my sadness, by sitting with it, and looking on it with compassion it freed me to start feeling more joy. My inner self now sometimes wants to listen to happy music, be silly with the kids, dance, sit and watching a TV show just for fun. It isn’t insensitive, numbing, or disrespectful to me to feel and live these joyful and playfulness moments, it would be insensitive to me to judge, criticize, or reject them and needlessly push a serious activity on myself.

Joy and Play

I am accepting these joyful and playful feelings when they arise, I am enjoying them. When I get free time now I try to listen to what I want to do right in that moment. Maybe I do want to put in hard work for a long term project, maybe I do want to do some difficult inner work, maybe I am hurting and want to work on expressing and understanding it, maybe there is a chore I want to get done, maybe I just want to have fun. This tuning into how I feel and building up a trust with myself that I will know and respect how I feel in the moment, makes even difficult and boring task more peaceful to me. I notice I have been getting more chores around the house done this week through this listening to when I am ready to do them and not forcing myself. In some ways this all doesn’t make sense to me, but I guess I am learning to respect myself and that alone makes me happier and more efficient.

I believe what I needed as a child, I am learning to give myself now. I am learning to be in touch with and responsive to myself in the moment. I am building the inner strength to love strong enough to go to wherever I am emotionally in the present moment. To sit there, to listen to myself, to comfort myself, to encourage myself, to praise myself, to guide myself. And as this happens more and more a trust and faith builds with myself. A beautiful proclamation arises from the deepest parts of my inner self: “I am never and will never be alone again!”.

Endlessly blessed

I love this poem from the wonderfully insightful emergingfromthedarknight.

Through this poem she expresses a truth that can be so difficult to feel and accept. This beautiful poem helps me feel the truth.

Emerging From The Dark Night

There is nowhere to get to

You are already there

There is no one else you need to be

Because who you are

Is already enough

It is okay for you to rest

You do not have to endlessly try

To do your best

For true wisdom lies

In trusting more

And trying less

If only you

Could see yourself through my eyes

Then you would know

Without a doubt

How precious is your soul to me

And when you stop

To tune in to your breath

For long enough

You will hear the voice of God

Reminding you how special you are

And how endlessly blessed

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The Inner Parent

(I wrote this about 2 weeks ago. I have written a few posts I haven’t shared. I am trying to share more freely. I believe it is good practice for me living as my true self.)

During this process of getting back in touch with myself and living the life I want, I started developing an “inner parent”. This was a figure I could seek out in times of high emotion for support. At first it was challenging for me to make this inner parent real enough in my imagination, it wasn’t natural. In trying to flesh out this inner parent I found filling them in with those who have inspired me helpful (for me this was mainly Jesus and the character Alyosha from Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov who was a character modeled after Jesus).

With time and practice my inner parent figure has become more solid and turning to the inner parent in times of high emotion feels more natural. My inner parent is kind, compassionate, gentle, wise, comforting, calm, strong, motivating, supportive and sees the real me and believes in my potential. They love me unconditionally. They believe I have a good and loving heart and good and loving intentions. They look at me with pride.

When I get in high emotions I know to go before this parent. They comfort me. And recently they seem to have taken on a new role. They guide me. I think the inner parent started guiding me because I started asking for their guidance not simply comfort. It’s not something I intentionally started to do with any expectation. It just naturally arose within the moments of high emotions before the inner parent. They seem to speak to me. And their guidance rings as true so deeply in my heart. They give me clarity and peace.

For example, This week I was feeling hurt, unseen, confused, and “useless” after a conversation with my husband. I often feel I bring my full and vulnerable self before others now, and expect that to be helpful to them in some way. Often however I feel the other person doesn’t see me. I feel they aren’t interested in me, and even worse that I bother them. After this difficult conversation I fled inwards, and once I was in a calmer state this is what my inner parent said:

“The gift you bring to the table is not being seen, it is seeing others”.

These words helped me so much. They helped me see more clearly why I felt so hurt. They helped me realize that though I have good intentions, my habitual path is often not the wisest one. They gently reminded me to refocus my energy into opening my eyes to others as opposed to using my energy to try to get others to open their eyes to me. The only person who needs to see the real me is myself, if I have that I have all I need. But if I can not see others or they do not feel seen by me, I have work to do.

After finding comfort and guidance with my inner parent, I approached my husband again. When I listened with open ears I could hear him better. I found he had a wonderful insight for me. He shared that when trying to see others it can be helpful to listen to more than just their words. He said there are many ways to communicate, though I am a verbal person and often express myself and my love through my words, maybe other people’s love is expressed in different ways. This rung as very true to me! I will practice listening to others with more than just my ears.

I wonder about the nature of this inner relationship. Who is the person that flees to the inner parent and who is the inner parent? Why does their presence with me bring such peace, why are their simple words so true and good? I suspect they speak what I already know but do not see.

It does not feel like the inner parent is a part of myself. It feels like they are a separate person within. Yet this whole dynamic strikes me as interesting because I have noticed that I can sometimes find and see the beauty and goodness in the external world, and in other people, yet I can not find or see the beauty and goodness within me. I do not understand why. I suspect the inner parent figure I can find and my inner goodness and beauty I can not find are connected.