Who are you?

In order to be who you are, you must be willing to let go of who you think you are.

Michael Singer

 
Today I spent 10 minutes in a meditation where I focused on my breathing. I used a free app, Insight Timer, which I highly recommend. With your permission, it turns off the notifications on your phone while you are using it which helps to avoid distractions.

After that, I practiced a focused meditation upon the above quote. I love short quotes like this because there are so many ways you can take something like this. After some contemplation, I decided that for me, in this moment, it means that you must let go of your own pre-conceived notions of self, those established in your childhood, youth, teens, 20s, and however far past that you have gotten. It means disregarding the labels, good and bad. In letting go of the labels, yours for yourself and others for you, you will be able to find your own self of the moment.

Discovery

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.

Gustave Flaubert

Have you found this to be true? If you are one who struggles for words, you may not believe this, but I agree with Gustave. I find that as I write, I discover clarity in my own thoughts, my own beliefs, my own sticking points. I find enlightenment when I write for no one because I do not censor myself. No matter how ‘silly’, ‘ridiculous’, or socially unacceptable it may seem at first.

The key is reflection. You must follow the thought, chase it across the paper, or the screen, until it slows enough for you to embrace it, understand it, acknowledge it, accept it. We often try to edit as we write, but this utterly defeats the process of discovery.

Learning

The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

With each day, with each moment, we are experiencing firsts. I learn something every day. It’s not always something big that I learn. Today I learned that the trees across the street bloom in pink and fuchsia. This may not seem like something earth-shattering, but it is something I did not know yesterday, and it is a beautiful thing to know in my opinion.

Static Love

We accept the love we think we deserve.

Stephen Chbosky

 
Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘when people tell you who they are, believe them?” It took me a very long time to really grasp that concept.

I heard another great new phrase the other day too. It went, “you have to hate yourself in order to hate others.” It just struck me when I heard it. We have all heard the inverse, but this look was so new that it startled.

When I combine these in my head, I get to Chbosky’s quote. When we accept love, and yes, we really do need to accept love, we accept the love from another that we feel for ourselves. If someone loves you more than you love yourself, you end up feeling like you don’t deserve them. If they love you less than you love yourself, you feel that they don’t deserve you.

All of this leaves me wondering; do relationships end because as we grow and mature the love we have for ourselves grows and matures as well, but our exterior love relationship doesn’t change?

Attachment

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

Dr. Seuss

Some truths we know but struggle against. The good Doctor was right. We need to smile because that wonderful thing happened at all, but instead, most of us, end up crying because it’s over. We do our best to keep it alive even as we watch it fade. We are so attached to that wonderful feeling that we just can’t bear to let it go, not even if something even better is on the horizon.

I am working now on appreciating, valuing, and loving, while not being attached to any particular outcome. In order to do this, I am using mindful meditation several times a day, as needed. I am starting to find some peace.

Time

The trouble is, you think you have time.

Jack Kornfield

We get so caught up in believing that once we have completed a few things on our checklist things will miraculously improve. We will have the time for our friends, our kids, our partners. We live for that day.

A wise man once said to me, ‘if it’s important, you’ll make time for it.’ At the time, I got very angry. He just didn’t understand how busy I was. He didn’t understand my life. How could he think that I could find time?

The thought kept coming back to me. I kept hearing the message over and over. Oh my goodness. He was right. I was spending my day spinning my wheels doing the things I didn’t want to do to ‘get them out of the way’ only to find out that they never did get out of the way and I never did do what I actually wanted to do. Once I accepted that, I started to shift my life. I accepted that I would go to work Monday thru Friday into the foreseeable future. I would never get it done. So instead of trying to push that one project out the door, I would leave work on time and enjoy that extra time with my kids. I would make time for the volunteering by cutting out some TV, or social media, or…

I do not have time. I only have now.

#metoo #hope

I am not a young woman. I am approaching mid-life; within 2 years if I live as long as my grandmother did. I have been watching today’s women take a stand against the misogynistic treatment they receive, against the biases and prejudices.

First, let me say that I am proud. I am so very proud of women today for stepping forward and braving the backlash they fully expected in order to tell their truth. The only hope they had was that the next generation of women, or even the next woman, wouldn’t have to face that sort of treatment.

Second, I need to say I am sorry. I am sorry I wasn’t one of those women.

I have said, “boys will be boys.” I have dressed in a gender neutral manner in order to be successful in industries that are dominated by men in order to avoid the derogatory comments, the leers, the ‘easy’ assignments, and the general biases prevalent in the business. I hid my feelings from partners to avoid comments about PMS. I submitted to dominant behavior because I was afraid of physical violence even as I was living with mental and emotional violence. I worked to support ‘my man’ who quit his jobs because they, ‘didn’t respect him enough,’ or ‘violated his morals,’ or ‘didn’t challenge him.’ I have been woken in the night by an erect penis being shoved in my mouth and expected to perform oral sex. I have been reduced to tears in the back corner of a closet while my husband stood over me yelling. I have seen my young daughter step in front of me to protect me when my second husband raised his hand to hit me. I had a boss stick his tongue in my mouth, without consent, after asking me to continue my employment as his mistress rather than his office manager. I have had a sexual partner, who agreed to ground rules for our sexual intercourse, penetrate me anally, without a condom, while chocking me. I was too afraid to do anything but comply. My current husband told me that in order to be a ‘good wife’ I should subsume my needs for his because his health is fragile, yet when my father died, and I asked for support, I was refused due to his long-standing health concerns and his need for self-preservation. When I said I felt betrayed and hurt, I was told that I was being unfair.

Please understand. I do not want your sympathy. I want you to understand that I accepted this behavior as ‘normal’ or ‘okay.’ I wondered what I had done wrong. Why I deserved this. I never once stood up for myself.

None of this is okay. How did I not see that? How did I become so indoctrinated…come to think so little of myself?

Now, nearing mid-life, my children young women in their own right, showing me the way, I vow to myself, no more. I will not allow myself to be disrespected. I will not apologize for my feelings or my thoughts or my opinions. I will report inappropriate behavior. I will support anyone, and I mean anyone, who has been, or is being mistreated. I hold myself accountable to you, my fellows in this journey.