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Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Ship Has Come In

About five days ago, last Wednesday to be precise, I found the solution to a nagging problem that I simply have not been able to over come. What I heard almost instantly resolved the last roadblock in my emotional health. It started with an unconscious belief that I carry...

It was an indoctrination to be sure. In fact, I don't know of anyone that hasn't received the same indoctrination. But what I heard last Wednesday, stopped me dead in my tracks. I was forced to instantly re-evaluate. It was a game changer. I won't soon forget it.

Somewhere, somehow, I acquired a very faulty belief. I acquired a belief system that said anytime I am feeling bad- someone else is to blame for that. You will hear that same theme repeated perhaps hundreds of times every month of your life. By virtually everyone you know. This idea that someone else is to blame anytime you feel bad. It is so common that virtually nobody stops to question it. Anytime someone is feeling bad, they will find someone, something, or God to blame. They adamantly believe that someone else is responsible for the way that they feel. Whether they verbalize it or not. Whether that is conscious or unconscious thinking does not matter. We all do it. I have not met anyone that doesn't.

I cannot remember what was said verbatim. But the following paragraph catches the essence of what was said.

"As I grow older, my experience is- that life has become harder and not easier. Family members have died and my own body is breaking down. There is nothing to blame for these things. It is life. It is no longer necessary for me to find someone or something to blame for those things, things that I have known all along would happen. If I choose to feel bad about anything, I make the choice whether to simply accept life or blame someone or some thing. I am ultimately responsible for those choices. If I choose life and if I steadfastly refuse to believe that anyone or anything other than myself is responsible for how I perceive things- my life is calm and serene. I am no longer bound by the indoctrination of the planet. It is not necessary to find something to blame. It is not always easy to examine some indoctrinated and unconscious belief system- but if you choose to and you practice rigorous honesty, I think you will find that it is your perceptions and not life, that cause all of your emotional disturbances."

He used the word all.

And there it was. I am to blame for all of my emotional disturbances, conscious or unconscious. Nobody else is to blame ever- in any situation. No exceptions. There will be people who read this who will never understand this. In fact, they might try to rationalize why this is wrong and assert some exception. That is the same tar pit I wallowed in until five days ago. The vast emotional freedom that comes when you achieve the awareness of recognizing and examining a belief system that everyone of us holds and somehow we all accepted it as true. It was never true. In fact it was the polar opposite of the actual truth. A truth that does not care whether you believe it or not.

I have had a fabulous emotional journey over the past four years. It has only been five days since I found this missing piece. So far, I have never been this emotionally calm or serene given the circumstances I find myself in. It's as though all of the heavy lifting in my life is over with. So it seems like a good place to end this blog. I want to thank all of my friends who have found this place over the past couple of years. If you ever want to bounce something off of me- please feel free to write. I'll check back every now and then...


Saturday, January 1, 2011

To Thine Ownself Be True Part II

Any fool can try to defend his mistakes - and most fools do - but it gives one a feeling of nobility to admit one's mistakes. By fighting, you never get enough, but by yielding, you get more than you expected.
-- Lawrence G. Lovasik

I never felt nobility in admitting mistakes- feeling noble isn't the point. Identifying and accepting mistakes is about learning something and refusing to repeat it. I yield, therefore I learn. A great man once said, "stupidity is the inability to accept your mistakes and learn anything from them."


I found myself in an odd predicament. A predicament that I had never confronted before. As long as I continued to be a nice guy, the problem lingered. It was not getting better nor could it. The relationship remained status quo.

In this situation, I can honestly say that continuing to be a nice guy meant that I would keep achieving the same diminishing results. Any soft exit strategy would not resolve the problem because in effect and to the degree I don't like the label- I had become a doormat. I would have to tweak the volume knob just a bit-

Thus a few days ago, I accepted that the only exit strategy that could be effective in this situation would be a hard one. Nothing else would work.

That's not to say that I was looking forward to the ordeal. I cannot claim any high ground, I cannot say that I did it anger free. I was not looking for any win. I had identified the problem but it was not mine to fix. I had been on a long losing streak within that relationship and so one more mark in the L column would not make much difference. It didn't matter who won the daily battle, the war could get over. So it was that the end justified the means. Maybe we turned the volume up a little too much. I suppose it was more honest than just shutting my phone off and getting a new one. At the end of the day we both knew where we stood.

I learned a lot of things in that relationship. I learned tremendous patience and tolerance. I became reacquainted with loneliness and to some degree, isolation. I learned that unconditional love can work until such point that it comes in conflict with the love you should have for yourself. I learned that despite the best intentions of what people might say or do, it is their actions that speak the loudest. That power within a relationship is not always used responsibly. Or that love has some universally agreed upon definition. I also learned that sometimes we really do have insurmountable problems that can't be resolved. No amount of intellectualizing or wizardry can save things. Relationships are not about winning or losing. They are about trying hard to make them work. It is an immature mind indeed that searches for the relationship of greatest convenience. The easiest and softest one. When you are satisfied that you have done your best and failed, you should prepare yourself for acceptance.

In some tangible way, nothing changed at the end of the day. Nothing was lost that had not already been lost. Odd.

So tonight I get to practice acceptance. Tomorrow I will practice more acceptance. In a few days or weeks, it will be a chapter of my life that I have closed. I know that the only constant on this planet is change and I know that it was the best thing to do for the two of us.

I wished it could have gone better- but that in fact was what kept it going. You know it is a curious fact that the only man that might have showed us how to behave in a relationship- never had one. That is a shame because today I could have used some pointers.

At the end of the day, it is only just a day. I wish you all, every last one of you, the best possible New Year!