Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lessons from falling in love...

(The Heart Chakra)

The last 9 months of my life can really be described as a turning point for me. I have at once, hit rock bottom, hit it again, hit it one more time and then turned around and looked at my pieces, maybe, more completely than I ever have. I went to my fathers home country and discovered that I loved him and understood him enough to forgive him for the role he has played in my story. I fell in love with a man (for the first time - not that I've ceased to count Eric, but it was a very different love), only to find out that he wasn't ready to love me back, only to find out that I had at the same time totally fell in love with myself. And now, as Nia pointed out to me, I am the star of my own story for the first time in my life and I am both relishing and getting used to that.

Even when its yourself, loving someone isn't always easy, its a commitment, one you have to renew every day. The temptation to prioritize other things, people, situations is always there. Falling in love means partnership, and being your own partner is the business, but it is the most challenging partnership you enter into. ;c)

For some reason, I always thought that when you fell in love that it meant all of your issues with love went away or it meant that you had gotten past them enough to really be in it. I had this impression that it became easy to roll around in and a particular person became enough of a reason to drop your bs. That's cute isn't it? Wholly untrue, but really sweet on some level. Love is this altered state where you not only see your partners shit but your own and you just have forgiveness for it. Love involves this whole other level of empathy for yours and your partners pieces. I love everything about you and everything that made you what you are. I see you. I'm willing to give my fear over because I think you're that amazing. This comes with its share of high and low.

There is this scene in "Love Actually" where a little boy is telling his stepfather that he's miserable because he's in love and the stepfather says "That's all?" and the little boy replies "What could be worse than the total agony of being in love?" Word.

And its agony because you see with so much clarity, all the things the world doesn't pause to point out about this empathy, about this beauty, about this miracle of a person and yourself that on some level, ready or not as you may be for it, its fantastic and horrendous.

So to fall in love with myself, I basically had to learn a skill that I never had. And the beauty of the skill is that you can't unlearn it, you can only block it or refuse to allow it. That's a little cowardly. And though numbing out has always been a problem for me, its not because I wanted to do it, its because I didn't know I was doing it and I didn't know how to stop it. But I do now. Suffice to say, I've spent the last three weeks crying, laughing and adjusting to the idea of being in love with me and the need to let go of loving this other person. Now I'm totally unfamiliar with this process. So feel free to input on what's next, but here's where I'm at. unLoving someone else is a gradual process, and it doesn't mean that you think they are sheisty and you kick everything away (necessarily), it just means that you love both of you enough to let go of the role they played in your life and finding ways to show yourself extra love through that. I woke up last Monday and was like, alright, I'm done with the wallowing now. I've got a priority to attend to and thats the courage to love myself as deeply as I would love someone else.

The level of forgiveness and love that I have discovered for the people in my life helps me see for the first time my stories with a greater clarity. There are so many stories that I have living inside of me that no one has heard. That really I've hesitated to look at because of the amount of blame and sorrow they contained. Before, each of them was this indicator on how unloved I was. A measuring cup of what my parents/friends/self/life couldn't give me and/or each other. A barometer on how I should have known better. It was full of so much judgment. And that's just not how it works. Parents, siblings, people, you are fallible. And before you know and are aware of your issues, you don't know and aren't aware of your issues, so why do you insist on punishing yourself for that ignorance. On some level, for me anyway, it was easier to do that then sac up the courage to love myself and the people around me in the way I deserved. And thats just what it is friend.

In any event, with my new found clarity, I have discovered that the sorrow doesn't go away because you can see it. You have to talk about your stories so the iron grip of them doesn't choke away your abilities. I've started to discover that I mangle the stories too, like I anticipate this reaction, that involves so much judgment, but when I finally tell them - judgment isn't there. No one blames me or the people I love for our mistakes either. Converting my stories into a history book and not my bible is a process that takes faith. Faith that God gave me all that I needed to learn the lessons he had predestined. Faith that I am strong enough to weather not only having lived the story itself but coming to peace with it. Faith that I have the strength to love myself enough to open up the spaces for other people to love me too.

So the next few months, I'll be writing down a lot of my stories. I don't need to cage them up anymore. In fact, I want to find peace with them. And that, is love.