It can be terrifying and difficult to find ourselves in a place we don’t want to be. We can feel like somehow we deserve to be where we are. That we will ever fail because somehow we’re unworthy of those things we want.
But where we are now is just a place we are passing by along the journey that is our life. It is not our destination and these stops and bypasses are the things that lead us to where we want to be. Where we will be.
Continue the journey with hope. Find gratitude where you can. Because no matter where you are, the path you are on will always lead you home.
Recently, I was introduced to the term “imposter syndrome” which is defined as “a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.”
Since I don’t feel like I’ve actually accomplished anything yet I argued that it really doesn’t apply to me (“that’s the point” she replied in silence). I am, however, quite intimate with the “fraud” part.
There’s so much I want to say. So many things I want to write about. I have a passion in me that has been ignited in a way that is impossible to extinguish. Nor would I want to extinguish it.
But the words won’t come.
Instead all I hear is:
How can I write about those things I feel and the lessons I have to share if I am unable to create and maintain them in my own life? Why should anyone listen to me? Why do the people I know continue to come to me for advice? I have had no success in love (or in life, really) to point at as an example and what I have learned I have learned painfully.
Rather than expose myself as that fraud I have written nothing but in doing so I prove that sense of failure because what I write about most often is hope and gratitude.
Some time back I read an article in the Buddhist review “Tricycle” by the Zen monk, Shozan Jack Haubner, who says:
“The only thing worse than trying to look younger than you are is trying to look wiser than you are.”
So I remind myself that my only failure is in thinking I’d be wiser by now and forgetting that I am only as wise as I allow my experiences to make me.
It is the suffering that has taught me the things I write about and though I don’t write about them in a “woe is me” manner does not mean I am pretending, it simply means I am learning.
Today I recommit myself to sharing what I have learned and to expressing the fire that burns in my soul because to hide it, or to hide from it, would truly make me a fraud.
As Shozan says, “…we all must commit wholeheartedly, moment after moment, to the life we have…”
This is my life. I will live it to the fullest. Even if that means pretending a little.
There’s a full moon tonight. It is a moon of introspection. A time when impulse gives way to doubt. Doubt gives way to resistance. Resistance gives way to rebellion.
If, however, we are able to separate our feelings of rebellion from a need for change we open ourselves to new ways of communicating because it is also a time of inspiration, security, steadfastness, and loyalty.
If you find yourself ready to bolt today, from whatever it is that feeds that resistance, whether it be work or a relationship or yourself, then stand back. Take a breath. View the situation in its entirety. And be grateful.
I spent a couple hours at the beach earlier. I felt alone. Truly alone. I wanted to run. To hide. I was balled up tight and wondering why I would feel that way in the presence of such shear power and beauty.
I straightened up. Put myself in a meditative position; back straight, palms upwards in my lap, shoulders relaxed, jaw loose. I breathed in that amazing energy. Connected to those feelings of insecurity. Embraced them. Listened to them. Loved them.
In loving myself I released those feelings and found that sense of security that lay just under the surface.
I wish I could share this with you. The feeling that everything will be okay because I feel those same doubts coming from you.
Relax. Breathe deep. Feel yourself connect to the earth through your feet and the base of your spine. Breathe deep and long, filling your lungs from the bottom up. Then release the air, squeeszing it out from the bottom up.
Focus on a point in front of you. Just in front of your eyes whether slightly open or loosely closed. Imagine a white dot of light there. The light moves and when it moves it makes the slightest sound. Listen to it. Feel it. Let it expand. Allow it to envelop you. When your thoughts stray listen to them, release them, then return to that point of light.
That light is surety. Stability. It is the strength of the Universe that lives within you. It is your divine spark. It is you and it is telling you everything is going to be okay.
Tonight the moon is full and so are you. There’s nothing to run from.
To hide the pain
No secrets to contain
Nothing left to hide
I give to you
All I’ve kept inside
With neither sadness
Nor even pride
I give you truth
Let you decide
I am bare in your eyes
For you I wear
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.“
I love someone. Deeply. With all that I am and all that I will ever be.
I do not know this person. I have never met her. I have no idea what she looks like or how she speaks or walks or where she works or what her favorite color is, but I love her. Deeply.
I sometimes write her letters to express the love and passion and desire that I have for her.
I do this for several reasons;
It helps me to learn how to love her better:
Writing allows me the opportunity to “review” my intentions. I can look over what I’ve written and see both my strengths and weaknesses.
It helps clarify those things I need to do for myself:
In reviewing them I see, in black and white, not only those things that I need to do for her, but, since our partners serve as mirrors for ourselves, those things that I should be doing for myself in order to be more prepared to love her unconditionally by loving myself first.
Because the desire to “be loved” is as important as the desire “to love”:
Desire, though detrimental to living, is a requirement of love. It is only through embracing my desire “for love” that I learn “to love” completely and unconditionally.
Because passion requires an outlet or it will whither and die: Passion like any other emotion, is not just something we feel, it is something we express. In writing these letters I learn how to more fully express my passion and that passion, one of intimate love, carries into everything I do.
How I love the person I am with, love being an action and not a feeling, affects all of my relationships from friends to family to the cashier at the coffee shop.
We have all been around people who exude that glow of fresh love. We have all basked in the heat of their passion. Been lifted by the energy of their desire. We have all basked in it.
I love that feeling and I want others to feel it. To benefit from it. I want people to smile without knowing why they are smiling when I am near.
Does it make me a little insane that I want to feel this way even though I am alone? Maybe.
One thing we can all agree on is that love, at least according to my interpretation of mental illness as defined by the Canadian Mental Health Association as those things “…that affect the way we think about ourselves, relate to others, and interact with the world around us”, is madness.
I accept said madness because it is my hope that in writing these letters, like messages in bottles, to my unknown beloved that she will hear my call, and that in preparing myself I will be ready when she arrives.
Note: I decided against submitting this article for publication several months ago because, honestly, I don’t believe I’m qualified to write self-help articles, especially when they focus on the unusual sort of help I offer myself, but mostly because I lost faith that “she” would ever hear my call. I post it now because it turns out she may have been listening for me all along.
I spent the last twenty five years of my life waiting. Waiting for something or someone to give my life meaning.
I wait and wait and someone comes along and I rejoice in their appearance in my life. I have meaning and purpose! Joy!
Then they leave and I am left with questions and doubts and the waiting begins again.
I wait for the time to be right to do those things I want to do. I get close and then something happens that puts those plans on the back burner again. Maybe next week. Next year.
I even wait for myself to achieve the level of awakening that I believe will allow me the right, that qualifies me, to pass what little knowledge I have to others but each step I make on this path only reveals what little I actually know and the sheer impossibility of the task.
Still I wait.
In the end all I am waiting for is death.
I’m done waiting.
I will not be left behind by my own apprehension. I will embrace my impatience because at fifty three I have much less time to waste waiting for something or someone or anything or anyone than I ever had and as each day passes I have even less.
I will not wait to die
Or raise myself
To touch the sky
I will go on
Though the path has no end
If I must
I will travel alone
I will not wait to love
I have been gifted
I will not wait to express it
To share it
Even if only with strangers
I will not wait until it clears like a mist
I will make a storm of it
And all who are caught in that storm
I did not wait
I think I’ll go camping this weekend… or maybe next…
by fear and myth and legend
by paths of my own invention
to the ends of my contention
nor with disguised intention
and found the soil lacking
those still same toxic words I heard
“fell this limb
it will grow no more” they say
no longer part of the tree
will wither and die