Recently, I had a conversation with my boss/mentor/friend that made a huge difference for me. I was talking through with her around my attitude towards and participation in a primary relationship in my life … about the ways in which I continually have to balance being authentic and honoring my own experience with being responsible for how I feel impacts that relationship and other relationships in my life. … In my mind, yes, it’s true that I am allowed to have and express my feelings, AND I can’t be emotionally-vomiting on people.
She asked me a good question: How do I want to use my air time?
Do I want to use my precious time in the relationship unconscious and simply reacting to the circumstances of the relationship? Or do I want to use that valuable time to be fully present and awake to and in the relationship?
Making it count doesn’t only mean honoring our own feelings and experience as human beings, which ebbs and flows like the tide. It also means diving deeper to that place of consciousness that is unchanging in the face of Life so that we can choose to bring 100% of ourselves to every moment of the relationship.
This morning, I woke up uber-cranky, if not slightly resentful. My immediate reaction, as tends to be the case with many difficult emotions, was to want to step over the feeling and start thinking happy thoughts. Yet, because I am doing more work around being more mindful, I decided to just be with the feeling.
I realized that, even if I could somehow generate a semblance of happiness, it wouldn’t last very long, because it wouldn’t be authentic.
What came to me in being with the emotion was the following question:
For what can I be happy in my life today?
Even though the residue of this morning’s funk hasn’t completely dispelled, my mind is now trained on finding happiness throughout the day. And in that search, I am actually creating authentic happiness.
The theme that came up consistently today was my fear of embarrassment. I am almost hyper-aware now of the ways in which I expend energy to maintain my appearance of being all put together, all in control. Yet, like the dam that is holding back the flood waters, eventually the pressure causes me to break, and it all comes pouring out at one time.
I have reflected before about the value of being vulnerable, especially about what I perceive to be my shortcomings. Yet, practicing vulnerability is a whole other level of challenge. The challenge has a huge return, though: To be vulnerable is to be more authentic, to show more of my true self to the world. And in showing more of my true self, I build trust with others. And in so doing, I recreate the conversation of who I am for myself and for those around me.
This morning, I woke up early, and I noticed that I had started thinking about all the tasks I needed to get done. Then, I noticed that there was a voice that was commenting on all these activities: “I’m never going to get that done.” “What will she say?” “Is that going to get handled properly?” “I’m never gonna…” “It’s never gonna…” and on and on. Not only was I stressing myself out about my to-do list, but I also was placing a lot of judgment on myself about my reactions to this mental rundown.
As I walked to the BART station, I listened to Eckhardt Tolle’s audiobook, Practicing the Power of Now. He spoke of that space just on the other side of that critical voice that is where the authentic Self resides. He pointed out that the challenge is that we oftentimes confuse that voice with ourselves. The self we call “I” is equated to that voice inside of our head. And I thought to myself, “Would I really say those things?” Of course not. I wouldn’t. But my ego would, and it does all the time.
So I got that I need to just be quiet and just listen. Let it talk, because it’s going to talk anyway. And when it’s done, then I can listen for the silence,… listen for my true self.
And I started singing in my head, “Getting to know me, … getting to know all about me…”
Things in my life seem to be all coming to a head at the same time: transitions with my relationship and work, and issues within my family have all built up into a seemingly overwhelming Problem (with a capital “P”). I realized, though, that one of the reasons that it all feels so big is that I haven’t been telling the “truth” about what’s going on for me. Or more precisely, I haven’t been honest and clear with myself about how I’m experiencing “the facts” of my life.
What are “the facts”? It’s what others would see from outside of my life looking in. It’s what’s going on for me, stripped of all the craziness and chatter in my head. It’s saying, “My boyfriend will be leaving for the UK in five months, and it scares me sh*tless!” and having that be all there is.
More importantly, telling the truth gets me out of my head and in my heart. It makes me stop thinking so much about my life and has me just be with all the transition going on. When I do that, a new space of compassion opens up for myself, because I’m able to open my heart to the one person with whom I have the most difficulty expressing Love: my Self….
My last post was wrong. I said that I was being authentic about how I’m feeling, but really I was just being righteous. I had to ask myself, “What’s really going on here that I’m not saying?” What I wrote was completely inauthentic, because I was using how I was “feeling” to cover up a hidden fear: that things in my relationship with Aaron are about to change.
For the past 1.5 years that Aaron and I have been together, what I’ve been up to – my work, my creative projects, my coaching – have been the focus of most of the conversations in our relationship. I have to admit that I’ve derived a lot from having the spotlight be on me.
And now my partner has real opportunities in front of him that will take him to the next level in his life. He’s going to be entering into an industrial design program that will give him what he needs to move forward. I’m afraid that his moving forward will leave me behind…. How selfish! This is SO not the commitment I have for him or for us.
I want nothing more than to support Aaron in having him have the best life possible. I want the passion and love that he brings to his design creations to be shared with the rest of the world. I want our love to inspire his work. I want to be at his side as the future unfolds before him.
My past has me afraid…. Yet, it’s our future that gives me strength….