Gratitude, Joy, Oneness and Service (Day 714 – Day 724)
Recently I had a wonderful but all too short lunch meeting with a close friend. I talked up a storm – more than I normally do – because time was so short and there was so much I wanted to share. As we were dining and talking, the background music seemed to break in and become a part of the conversation, on a number of occasions. He asked me a question and it touched on something emotional for me. Just then, Adele began to sing a very sad song and for a brief moment, I lost my words.
I believe that when something catches our attention like that, we are either selectively creating our own reality or we are being called by Spirit to pay attention, because this is important. In that moment, both were a part of the experience.
I spent many years in a relationship with a man, the second love of my live, P-. After we broke up, we remained friends. He cried on my shoulder when his childhood sweetheart later broke up with him and it was that very song, by Adele, that made him cry for her. It was as though he had lost his soulmate but was trying to deny it, by forcing himself to remember that there will be someone else in his life who will replace her.
P- is a big fan of Tim Minchin and he is a scientist. He does not believe in God, or Spirit or any ‘signs from the universe.’ Tim has a song “If I Didn’t Have You” that debunks the idea of soulmates and someone being “the one.” P- loves that song; I always found that to be rather unflattering, as his girlfriend. I don’t believe we can replace anyone with another person, but I also never really believed that there is only one person we can love in our lifetime. Had I believed that, I never would have dated again, after the breakup with the first love of my life. But then again, I did choose someone very much like him, when I fell in love a second time.
So there I was, sitting with my friend, who is around the same age these men were, when I met them, and the ghosts of these other men were interjecting themselves into the conversation. Why was my attention being called to these men? Certainly, SP- is super intelligent like both of these men, but I don’t think I was being called to pay attention to the similarities between these men. Since that meeting, I have become aware of the way I have, in the past, created a reality that both projected and rejected the reality of “me.” And so it was, with both the first and second loves of my life. My friend SP- is the first remarkable man with whom I can be present and feel confident in being more myself than I ever have been.
Authenticity is a catchword these days but there are very few truly authentic people. I don’t believe we try to deceive others about who we are. I think we play that game on ourselves. We are all afraid of failure, of being seen as weird, of not being loved, and many of us are afraid of being found fundamentally unloveable if we are really seen for who we really are. Our soul would be annihilated if that were to happen. So we become someone we are not, and we often don’t even know the difference. We become someone ‘like’ ourselves, but not ourselves at all.
There is a concept in psychology that we project the disowned parts of ourselves onto others. When we hate something in someone it is probably because we hate it in ourselves, but we can’t bear to believe it is part of our personality. And similarly, when we love something about someone – it is because we cannot love that part of ourselves.
By loving and losing the first and second loves of my life, I learned to own my intelligence and to walk away from a relationship when it was causing me emotional and psychological harm. I learned that it was okay that I not save someone who is damaged and unwilling to walk through the hell that would lead to their healing. I learned to begin to put my wellbeing at the centre of my life. What I didn’t learn was to accept myself as I am and to accept my destiny as my own.
Someone Like You. What an odd song to act as the vehicle to deliver a message. Yes, SP- is someone like them. Yet what strikes me are the ways he is like ME – he mirrors so many of my own dreams and values. He may not know it because I tend to skate past it when he talks about the dreams and values we share. It freaks me out a little to hear someone speak the things I only aspire to be. It forces me to confront myself.
I was looking at a home today and oddly, the real estate agent started talking about living one’s dreams. This has been on my mind very much for the last few months. It is so easy to settle and let things go and to use the excuse of duty or practicality to let fear push aside our dreams. I did this for most of my life. Life is but an instant and I feel its preciousness now, more than ever. I don’t want to compromise my dreams again. We talked about London and about friends that travel. I told the agent about SP- and how we share many of the same values and dreams and how he is really only beginning the journey of adulthood.
‘I can’t help but think…’ I started.
‘Where was he, when you were 25…?’ she offered.
No, actually. That wasn’t what I was thinking. In fact, I wasn’t ready to pursue my dreams at 25 and I think we would not have been friends, had we met then. I am so grateful we have become friends now, but I feel sad for that woman – so like me – yet unable to give herself permission to be.
I can’t help but think of what she might have achieved.
I hope SP- achieves his potential and fulfills all his dreams. With all my heart, I want the best for him. I want to see him have a life of laughter, love, health and success – as he defines it. And at the same time, I selfishly do feel grief, for myself, for all those years I wasted.
“Who would know how bittersweet this would taste?”
I am grateful for my friendship with SP-. He is so solid and steadfast and without guile or pretense. We work our whole lives to shed all that armour and be who we are. And there he is, simply being. As they say, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
I am grateful for O- and P- , the first and second loves of my life. They acted as signposts on my journey as I travelled back to the same spot over and over and found someone like that someone I had loved and lost. They were simply holding up the mirror so that I could see that someone was “me.”
I am grateful for the place I am in my life. I feel vulnerable as hell and in a tumult half of the time. Many days I return to that feeling of despair that pervaded my twenties. But something good is possible out of all of this, and as SP- unwittingly holds up the mirror of my un-lived dreams, I find joy in being able – if only for a millisecond – to give myself permission to imagine REALLY leaving the world of expectations, stepping outside of fear, and living the life I was born to live. Why it should be this hard to do, I don’t know…but I was meant to travel this journey this lifetime. I hope I can master the lesson this time around.
With each of these men, I have experienced a different kind of connection and Oneness. With O- and with P-, I really wanted and felt I needed them to be the life partner that would live out our dreams together. But, we had different dreams and so, I was too scared to make a go of mine, alone. Now, I have met a friend who returns me again to that crossroads of opportunity and compromise. Through his fresh perspective, I glimpse again my own dreams, and he inspires me to move beyond my perceived need for a partner, to grow beyond my limits of fear, to consider living my dream on my own terms…and then to invite others to join me, where and when our journeys coincide.
I am being called to pay attention to myself, in the most fundamental of ways, and to create the reality of my choosing.
My service in all of this is perhaps to recognize and to own my projections and see them for what they are. At the same time, I have been given the gift of being able to see my friend for the glorious, wondrous, gifted and beautiful person that he is, and the opportunity to do for my friend what was not done for me: to do my best to hold space for him and his dreams, and to delight in watching him blossom, without imposing my ideas (I fail sometimes at that, but I can be a bit opinionated). I hope we will be friends for a long long time, and I have even allowed myself to consider what it might be like for him to see me blossom. As my mirror, I am aware that this is also my way of trying out how it would feel for me to see myself living my own dreams.
I can start to see that woman in that picture. She’s not quite there yet, but when that woman finds her way, she will find that she is someone talented, inspiring, beautiful, loving and infinitely loveable. She will find a woman that is someone like me.