Hey look! I was right. Some days are better than others and today is a better day then yesterday. For example, today my boss brought me a fruit tart. Yesterday: no tart. See how that works?
You may want to skip this post and all the others for the last year, especially if you don’t like it when I talk about my feelings and, let’s be honest, no one likes it when anyone else bitches and moans about their feelings. OH, MY FEELINGS! BLAH BLAH BLAH FEELINGS BLAH BLAH BLAH CRY CRY CRY FEELINGS FEEEEELINGS! I think that’s all anyone who knows me has heard in the last 9 months and if you’re tired of my feelings (who isn’t? I know I certainly am.) then you’re gonna want to skip this and probably not come back here for a year or two or never because I HAVE THE FEELINGS, motherfuckers! And since today is a better day on account of the fruit tart, I’m going to write myself a little note to remind the sad sack of yesterday and probably tomorrow about how shit really is, so that when I forget, I can come here and remember some important things.
Dear stupid asshole –
I know it’s hard to make it through days like yesterday, especially now that you’re more alone and isolated than you have been in a quite some time. Of course it’s hard, because losing things that are precious and massive should and could never be easy. It’s okay to have bad days. You know, now, that there have to be bad days because they will show you that which is important. It hurts so much because it matters and there is great beauty in that – you can lose yourself in that, in the memories of how brilliant things were for a while. That’s, ultimately, what matters – that there were, for any amount of time, things that were so incredibly special to you that they changed your life in some extraordinary ways.
The events of our lives and the people we walk our path with come to us because we call for them, because they are what we need in order to flourish as human beings. We need experiences to grow and people to show us what it is to truly love; what it means to look beyond ourselves in order to share the most special gift we have to give – ourselves. There is no greater beauty than the connections we have with other people and that loss will always be one of the hardest we experience. When you love another human being you give up a piece of yourself, never to be taken back. When we lose someone – to death, divorce, time, distance or any number of ways that people leave our lives – we suffer because we lose a piece of ourselves along with them. But we gave that piece gladly, willingly, because there is great joy and magic in loving another human being. We give of ourselves when we want to share a profound connection with another and we should ask for nothing in return, we should give without expectation to keep it pure and good. To love is the purest essence of humanity.
You’ve always been a person with a profound ability to experience and express emotion. It is, in fact, one of the very best things about you. You have empathy, you can feel what other people feel and it affects you deeply. You will always be like this – there is no getting around it as much as you may want to at times. It can be overwhelming. Some days you will feel sad or upset and it will feel like it’s for no reason at all – you won’t be able to explain it – because you’ll look to yourself for answers. The answers aren’t always going to be there. Sometimes those feelings aren’t yours at all – they belong to other people, to the world at large – and you have a unique ability to tune into that. It is a part of who you are. Those deep feelings you have connect you with other people – they are filled with a life-force and give you the ability to see beyond the surface to something deeper and more meaningful. This ability will allow you, if you let it, to see the very basic goodness in other people. It allows you to believe in humanity, to find beauty in places others may not find it. Do not lose sight of this because it gets hard, because it sometimes feels overwhelming. You’re strong enough to feel it, you’re strong enough to work through it and in the end, it is this very thing that gives you the strength you need and cherish. It is this ability to see profound beauty in the smallest places that will bring you the greatest joys. This is where you will find and feel the purest and most unconditional sort of love. Remember what that love feels like – as if your heart is bursting open and light shines from within you – it is filled with hope, with possibility, with the belief in all things. This is life in all its glory and one day you will remember how to find that space again. You will get back to that and it will fill you and your life with purpose. You are here to do one thing – the one thing you do better than any other – to love. Do not let that go.
You have discovered lately that the worst in you comes out when you feel hurt and it’s been easy to run from it, to blame others, to look anywhere but at yourself for the answers you need. Everything you need to face the truth is inside of you. You will not find answers in anyone else. Your wisdom comes from what you have inside you – from all the good and also from the negativity. Get to know this whole human being well. Running away from the ugliest parts of yourself and pushing them away will only serve to harm you further. Be honest with yourself. See everything there is to see, get some clarity on who you are and how you are so you can develop an unconditional friendship with yourself. Be gentle, patient and kind – to yourself and others. It’s like Pema Chodron says “When we feel resentful or judgmental, it hurts us and it hurts others. But if we look into it we might see that behind the resentment there is fear and behind the fear there is a tremendous softness. There is a very big heart and a huge mind—a very awake, basic state of being. To experience this we begin to make a journey, the journey of unconditional friendliness toward the self that we already are.” I know you’ve reached that softness again, however briefly. It certainly hurts sometimes and it’s easy to fall back on that old resentment, but keep striving to get past that, to the soft core of the person you are because it serves you better to be that than the kind of person you have been for some time now. Remember: we’re all human – every last one of us – including you. I know you often expect more from yourself than everyone else around you. There are exceedingly high standards to live up to and you will fall short of those often. You will fall on your face time and time again – and that’s okay. Have patience enough to keep getting up and try again. Have faith in yourself, in your ability to stand up, dust off and have another go. This is one place your stubbornness will pay off – in your desire to grow and be good to other people in the world. Never give up on yourself. You have thought about that a lot lately and it only serves to make the journey so much harder and it’s already hard enough. Be a human being – allow yourself the mistakes you allow other people. Find comfort somewhere between the good and the bad and know that on any given day you are right where you need to be – not static, ever growing.
The more you try to protect yourself, the less you allow that part of you that connects with others to shine through. People will hurt you. It’s a fact as real as the idea that you, too, will hurt other people Do not live your life in fear of that pain – it is a guarantee. You will disappoint and be disappointed because we are all human and humans are fallible. Give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt – hold on to the belief that we are good and we do not act out of malice. We are all afraid of the same things, we are all struggling to make it in a world filled with so many trials and tribulations; so many incomprehensible feelings. The stories may be different but the basics are all there in each of us – we doubt, we fear, we struggle, we suffer and we all are deserving of compassion. Compassion is what will save us all. When you let go of the self-protection you make room to feel and hear as the world around you speaks. You will see the beauty and you will reclaim the compassion that humanity needs so badly. Spend every day putting more of that into the world than you do anger and resentment. Follow your path and the lessons will come as they need to, they will appear as you call for them one by one. Open your heart and put out all the love you have to give and in doing so you will receive it back. The act of loving will not only allow you to discover yourself, but also to discover the rest of humanity.
There are tough times ahead. You knew this big fight was coming a long, long time ago. You felt it because you were open to it, because you called for it and you were ready. You were prepared to make a long and difficult journey – a fight for your life – for your soul. It was on the horizon and you set out, one foot in front of the other, to discover pieces of yourself that you had not yet been ready to face. This is life. It’s DH Lawrence’s great forest and you are standing in the clearing of your known self as the gods come and go – and you have the courage to let them, to face those new and difficult truths. Certain periods in your life will be tougher struggles than others. Things will always come together and then fall apart. There will be both brilliance and misery and they will work together. The brilliance will build us up and fill us with motivation and hunger but it will eventually get out of control and the misery will set in and humble us. It will poke at our soft spot and remind us of our need to be compassionate; it will steer us back to the brilliance once again. There will be great mountains to climb but you will make it to the peak and look back at all that you’ve conquered, and ahead toward all that awaits. There is great beauty in this journey – in the failures as well as the triumphs. You will grow stronger every day, with every step. Put one foot in front of the other and follow your path.
Look back to see what you have survived so far – and you have done it so much on your own. Now imagine how much better things might feel if you let other people help you. I know that’s never been an easy thing for you to do. Asking for help is the one thing you never allow yourself because you feel a responsibility for acting on your own, for being independent, for not burdening other people, for being someone who is strong so that other people know they can count on you. The trouble with that is when you fall apart, when you can’t be strong, and everything is ten times harder than it has to be. It’s okay. It’s okay to be who you are, but it’s also okay to say you can’t always do it by yourself. You just can’t – you know how out of control things have gotten and maybe this is when you realize that you just can’t do it on your own all the time. There are consequences for not reaching out in your times of great need. Things will only get worse. It’s time to wake up. It’s time to admit when you’re having a profoundly difficult time. It’s time to admit that you hurt so much and so deeply. Don’t run away from it. Don’t fear it. It will only stay longer. There are people out there who will listen and help you – but they won’t know unless you ask. Don’t be stubborn, because you know how slippery that slope is. As easily as you love know that it is okay to be loved in return.
You have always had a lot of feelings and they allow you to see some pretty incredible things. Do not deny your feelings because to do that is to deny who you are. Face them, feel them, touch and hold them until you can let them go and move on. Be your authentic self as often as you can remember to. Do not let anyone tell you who you are or should be. You know, better than anyone, what the best and the worst parts of yourself are. When you’re thinking clearly, when you’re open to the truth, you’ll remember that the good and the bad, the positive and the negative, go together, working in unison. There will always be a push and a pull and one day you may be more of one than the other but, most days, you’ll be in between. Wherever you are is exactly where you need to be. Find the lessons, grow and prepare for the next one. They are ever coming, in this life and then the next. Just remember who you are and love her so that you can look outward again and share that love, share yourself, with the people all around you. Look into the eyes of the people you give pieces of yourself to and never let them forget that you care so very much. Compassion and love. It’s the very best in you and it’s never gone. The most powerful force in the world is love and you are filled with it. Find it, feel it and never be afraid to give it away.