I’ve been away for a little while. Not only away from this blog, but away from myself. I took a little trip back to what other people think about me actually matters land. While there, I spent lots of time listening to the expectations other people placed on me rather than focusing to my own expectations—or really, my own needs. It even turned out that in many cases, I got what I thought I wanted, but didn’t get what I needed at all.
I’m the kind of person who takes others at their word, so I’ve been assuming what others have thought about me was the truth, rather than just their own opinion. I forgot that other people have their own baggage to deal with, and that their issues are easily transferred on to others. And so, I’ve taken on a great deal of heartache that may not have been necessary at all.
Someone once told me, “To be alive is to be faced with some unpleasantness. We can’t avoid it completely, but we can choose what we want to do about it.” While this stuck with me, and I know it’s essentially true, it’s still difficult to deal with things when they are not going my way. I’m still very much a little girl in this respect. My propensity to want to throw temper tantrums has not disappeared.
But recently, I made a choice to reconnect to myself. I promised myself that I would be there for me, even when no one else was. I promised myself I would lean in to problems, rather than walk around them. I promised myself I would do my best to accept that which is so. This, of course, is easier said then done. Because to be in complete acceptance means you must be completely in reality—in now—not in the past and not in the future. And that’s pretty tough for most people. That’s pretty tough for me.
I’ve recommitted to writing because it’s the thing that helps me best connect to my life and my emotions. It helps me to connect to others. It’s something no one can take away from me—though some have tried. There is a strange safety for me in words …
I also started doing something else.
I have tried to practice Buddisim three times in my life. Once, a year after I moved to Los Angeles, once when I first moved back to New York six years ago, and now. The first two times I admittedly quit. They say when you chant, the flood gates open and you may have to deal with some big, big changes. They say this is because a clearing out of your life is in progress. Each time this happened I couldn’t take it. Everything I thought was making me happy at the time was slowly or sometimes abruptly removed. As I hate loss, this never really worked for me.
And yet, there’s something that makes me want to stick with it this time. There’s something that makes me believe if I can just get past the clearing out of all the crap stage, good things—real things—will come my way.
It’s good to clear out the crap. It’s good to take a look at the things in your life that keep you down, or don’t fit, or just take up space, and make a conscious choice to get rid of them. It makes you feel lighter, and it keeps you from feeling trapped. We just need to make sure we know how to differentiate between useful and crappy—between that which helps us grow, and that which steals our vitality.