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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

No man is an island

That's me. Yelling at my ego. My ego is my favorite ball that I've named and told to "protect me from all the bad things in life." Well folks, the "bad things" aren't that bad and that ball has taken over my mind. It won't change. The ball is just a ball. It's just whether or not I believe the ball or not that has to change. 

Instead, I'm just going to sit here and yell at it for a while...

We all know that we're interconnected. We all create our own realities. I am a man on an island all alone. But, my toes are in the sand, the sand is in the ocean, the ocean touches other shores, there are others on those shores and that shore is connected to land where even more people are. We all breathe the same air. We are all connected in spirit. We are never alone. Me, the sand, the air, the tree, the bird in the tree, the air, time, space... one thing. One creation. But inside me like some mad schizophrenic are two separate things: Me and my Ego. I know things. My ego tells me other things and convinces me of them. 

Right now my Ego is telling me that I am alone. Wholly alone. Rejected. Unworthy. Angry. All my efforts, all my time, all my energy towards trying to achieve happiness have led me once again to failure and being left wholly alone. I don't know where to go from here so I'm sitting here on my new island yelling at my Ego to stop lying to me. 

It's actually not too bad down here. There is a comforting feeling knowing that you can only go up from here. I can only feel better about this situation. I can only feel better about my self. There is no worse than this. Can't be. What sucks is I can't seem to get my Ego's foot off my throat long enough to breathe. What sucks is I can't seem to find an answer to the question of which direction to go. My island is surround by water. I'm trapped here with this Ego ball that keeps telling me I suck. 

Well if we're all interconnected and I can create my own reality, then the answer to the question of which way to go is: Anywhere. How? Anyway. I can walk on water. I can build a bridge. I can build a boat. I can swim. I can leave this island. Now... can I leave the Ego behind? Am I willing to stay off this island or will I want to let my Ego call me back here? 

When you're in a relationship you tend to eventually draw a sense of 'Self' from that relationship. I am a guy who ___. I ____. I like to _____ with my partner and she likes ____. She loves me, trusts me, she feels safe with me, she is comforted by me, wants me around because I am _____. Well what happens if she doesn't trust you? She doesn't want you around? Doesn't feel safe? Isn't comforted by you? Not necessarily because of something you've done but because of where she is or what she's going through. What if she feels trapped in your relationship? What does that mean? Does that change your definition of yourself? Are you not a guy who ____? Who is ____? And who likes to?____? Enter the Ego!!! You now have to look at your sense of Self! Who are YOU?

But long before the Ego will let you get to those questions you're going to have to deal with the fear that it wants you to choke on. Fear of rejection. Fear of separation. Fear of loneliness. Fear of being back on the island.

There are other options though. You can try seeing things differently. You can use forgiveness. You can go within. You can go to God. You can shift your perception. You can create a different narrative. It is a hard thing to admit that your yesterday's reality no longer exists. The people closest to you don't see you as you thought they did. You don't see you as you thought you did. None of that matters anymore. Today matters. Tomorrow can't matter yet because you haven't gotten there yet. Now. Only now. Work on now. Make a choice. Choose to source your reality in Love. Not fear. Not anger. Not rejection. Love. Your main problem is going to come only from this moment; this choice: Are you going to make a different choice than what you have in the past? Are you ready for that? If not, this island is going to stay lonely and there's going to be a long wait to get off of it. 

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Walking 0.01 Miles

"Don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes."

We've all heard this. We've all said it to someone at some point. It's a cliche. It's also true. That's how sayings become cliche is they keep hitting you over the head with some truth until you lose the trees in the forest. You see there are really two parts to this phrase...

One, don't judge. That's "easy" enough. Good luck on your daily journey through your life without judging. Really, try that. Go a day without judging. I think the longest I made it was about 10 minutes. Now, I kept correcting and kept seeing other people and myself in different ways, but not judging; really hard. 

The second part here is walking a mile in his shoes. This is the part that I struggle with even more sometimes. This refers to something we call empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Whoa! Hold on. I have my shoes, you have yours right? My feet stink, your feet stink, let's not go around putting our feet in each others shoes OK? But what this is saying is simply, in order for you to share your thoughts, feelings, emotions, struggles, successes, and failures with me, you have to honestly believe that I am willing and able to understand those feelings with you. Willing. Easy enough. Love your neighbor, partner, brother, or whoever and you're more than likely willing to share in their feelings with them. That's part of love. Able. Weeeeeell this is where practice is required. 

Being able to empathize with someone means you have to have to ability to not only acknowledge your own emotions but relate those emotions to the experiences of others. What? You mean you hurt too? I feel sad. You feel sad too? You're confused about your emotions and your feelings? Me too! If only it were that simple. You see dear reader, the problem for me here comes in the first part of this equation. First, I must recognize and acknowledge those emotions within myself. Yes, I feel sad. Yes, I feel angry. Yes, I feel guilty. No, these things do not make me a terrible person. 

I can listen to CC all day long. Our foster dog can listen to her all day long. There isn't much of a difference there. The only thing that separates me from the dog (aside from my thumbs) is my ability to have a shared experience and to empathize with her. What I have to be able to do is to not only hear the words shes saying but to have the ability to feel the emotions shes saying them with. I have to feel what shes saying. 

Intimacy: Close familiarity, closeness. What is more familiar than seeing, hearing, and experiencing your own emotions in others? Empathy as a path to intimacy.

Don't judge yourself too harshly for the inverse or lack of empathy that you're used to. This will take practice. This will take self-examination and forgiveness. I am not cold. I am not unempathetic. I am a man who has yet to fully realize and acknowledge his own emotions so therefore I am unable to understand and share the feelings of others. Willingness here will come in the form of practice. Ability will come as a result of that practice. 

I am empathetic. I am willing to listen, to hear, to share, to understand. We are all here together. We are all having an experience. Today is the only part of that experience that matters. Don't throw on my shoes and go walk a mile. Just try them on and take a step. Start with that.