There are some days when tears rest easy on the eyes.  Days when I can’t seem to grab my emotional equilibrium.  Sometimes that emotional tenderness lasts for many days.  It all started when I breezed into my therapist’s office all cocksure as if I had the world figured out.  Well, of course, you know how this ends.  His probing and probative questions did their job well.  They opened me up.  But, by doing so, they also landed me squarely on uncertain ground.  I have yet to regain my emotional footing.  And so, tears rest easy on my eyes, neither spilling forward nor retreating.

“When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something.  We might realize that this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way.  We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality. ”    ―  Pema Chödrön

But, the particulars of this shifting sand aren’t really the point of me telling you this story.  It is about how intensely alone I feel at these moments.  And, the reality that it is somewhat self-inflicted.  You see, this shaky tenderness is where I feel most frightened, vulnerable. A spot where I have an excess of feeling and few answers.  It is a place where my analytical, problem solving mind has no facts from which to derive an appropriate solution.  It is even a struggle to describe the nature of the problem itself.  Words fail me.  In essence, my IQ is of little use and my EQ is unprepared, a weak muscle unaccustomed to exercise.  And so, I’m left in a battle with myself mostly unarmed. (more…)

On Staying Friends: Valuing People Over Relationships

Yeah…  ummmm…. what?

Romantic relationships are hard. Long-term compatibility is difficult and hard to predict.  Relationships end.  When they do, it seems that it is almost required for the former partners to nearly disavow the others’ existence.  Does it really make sense for us to discard people when those romantic relationships end?   What once was close connection becomes cold, distant.  Does my interest in you only extend as far as my romantic connection? Or, to put it more crassly, am I only interested in you if you’re sharing my bed?

No, emphatically no!  (well, maybe that occasional hottie who seduces me before I get my senses, which doesn’t happen very frequently).

I only choose to date people with whom I feel a broader connection. I keep my heart open – I don’t preciously guard connection, caring and even love.  They tumble forth when I connect.  I choose to love with abandon.  This does open up the possibility of getting my heart-broken.  I see no other way to live this life fully, passionately.  A broken heart is not my biggest fear. (more…)

I Am Enough, The World Is Enough

I was telling a friend of mine recently that I seem to always walk around with a favorite song.  A song that’s acting like the soundtrack that describes my life or, perhaps, describes a dominant thought or concern…  So, here’s my current soundtrack that’s currently describing both a feeling and an aspiration… As I’m not completely there yet…
I think I’m trying to teach or remind myself of two things with this song:
  • I’m enough
  • The world is enough

I really started down the road that “I’m enough” when I started down the path of banishing the shame and guilt that I have built up since childhood.  This overriding since of inadequacy has been with me too long.  I’m not handsome enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not rich enough, I’m not ambitious enough…  I’m not…. this or that.

But, you see I AM ENOUGH.  Or, more precisely, my striving to be better at things is different from my worth as a person.  The pernicious thing about this is that feeling unworthy made it more likely for me to do things that increased the sense that I’m not.  Reversing that trend has been a full two years or so worth of work…

The idea that the world is enough is more recent.  It hit me most clearly while meditating.  But, it’s also very much connects back to other strains of life’s philosophy that I’m exploring. Getting out of the deficit thinking (I’m not enough) is related to getting out of the scarcity thinking (the world is not enough). I couldn’t have grasped the second without the first.

Is there a limit to the joy I can accept?  Are there limits to the happiness I can share?  What about love?  I can love me.  I can love you.  I can love others too.  One love, does not diminish the love I feel for others.

This is an absolute REVOLUTION of my heart.  And, I don’t just mean in the polyamory sense.  I haven’t been able to love fully, in the way that I am meant to, because I have felt unworthy of love.  Even the love I feel for friends and family has been warped by this scarcity thinking.  I felt unworthy of love.  Because how I needed to love and be loved in the traditional sense didn’t fit neatly into the societal notions of romantic love, I didn’t feel I could be loved in any sense.  And so, to quote Marc Broussard, “you know love don’t find this sort of man.”

But, it does.  And, it thrives.  And, it is joyful.

Shifting from the false notion that there’s a scarcity of love that has to be metered out, to the notion that love exists in abundance and I simply need to open my heart to it to experience it, has started an absolute revolution in thinking and feeling.

I had glimmers of this notion before, but I could not fully shake off my cultural baggage.  The best example of this is my relationship with my friend Renee.   I love Renee in every way that a man can love a woman.  I’m unashamed of that.  In the end, however, it was much less important for us to be romantically linked (and all that entails) than it was for us to be linked, connected, or interconnected.  The friendship thrives because we decided to not limit our feeling, even if we limited our action.

Although my orientation to love and the abundance of joy are perhaps the most profound aspects to my simple realization that “the world is enough. “  But, it’s also changing the way I approach work.  I’m much less combative and competitive in the rawest since.  I’ve been able to separate my ambitious goals for the business from my ambition as an individual.  If I can help make everyone around me more successful, my success is most definitely assured.

So, I guess the short of it is that I’m still growing and learning.  Of course, not in a straight line by any means.  But, the trend is up and I’m enjoying it, for the most part.