I’ve always been a writer. I’ve been writing poems since the third grade. I’ve always wished that speaking came as easily for me as writing.
I was born with a stutter, and –as a result – I was extremely quiet. I don’t stutter anymore, but I’m still extremely quiet. I get nervous when I have to use my voice. Somehow I teach everyday.
I also, kinda sorta, sound like a dude. I have this deep voice that some people think indicates singing talent. I don’t have any. I’m like one of those freakishly tall people who can’t play basketball. The voice is just for decoration. Writing is all I’ve got.
I thought, for some reason, that being a writer made me unlovable. No one would want to be with me because, in my mind, my type of writing was useless. I was raised in a household that values accomplishments over creativity; I’m still a product of that household. My father’s a photographer, which though creative, is only valuable to him insofar as he can see quantifiable results: awards, accolades, revenue. Thus, becoming a writer – an unpublished writer, was, well…worthless. It had no value-added.
Yes, it makes me an intuitive and sensitive soul. Yes, it informs how I see the world. And YES, I’m pretty damn good at it, but I wasn’t published, so writing had no “socio-romantic currency.”
So, I was a writer in secret. My boyfriends all knew that I “liked to write,” but they didn’t care to see the work. They never asked for me to share with them, and they didn’t have strong opinions about my creativity. My writer self was something I kept in a drawer – like period panties. They were only brought out when no one was around.
The last ex changed all that; he proofread my work and recommended books for me to read. I shared my passions with him and he challenged some of my thoughts. He had a lot of flaws (some I’ve been vocal about), but he gave me as much space as I needed to be myself. In my fiction, when he showed up as an abusive, volatile, alcoholic version of himself I asked him how he felt about it?
Fine, he said. It’s weird, but it’s not me.
When I told him I would need to reach out to my ex regarding a book I was writing – he was less than enthused, but he understood.
You’re a writer, he said. I get it.
He LOVED my writing and (whether or not he lied and told people I was published by The New York Times), he supported me. He was the first boyfriend who allowed me to experience myself as a writer in relationship. Prior to that I was a writer in isolation.
I get it. It’s hard to be in love with a writer. They do weird things, they know weird people. Sometimes they don’t bathe, and they get really depressed. They crave adventure and experience, they fight and cry and throw things – all in the name of art. For a writer…any decent one, at least… everything is fodder and nothing is off limits.
Enter…the relationship writer.
Over the past year I’ve developed into something of a relationship writer. This isn’t something I set out to become. I didn’t even realize it was happening. I had this book idea about men God and relationships (this should’ve been my first clue), I started a blog revolving around the same topics. THEN, to promote said blog, I started writing relationship articles for a break up website. These articles found their way to Yahoo.com’s relationship blog. And More recently, I’ve been guest blogging at Single Black Male.org
What, you ask, do I tend to discuss at SBM? You guessed it. Relationships…
So yeah, somehow I’ve become a relationship writer, and I am IN LOVE with the task. I was born a poet, went to school to become a novelist, but here I am writing about relationships, God, and men that cross my path. I LOVE it. Writing about this stuff gives my life meaning. It organizes my existence — when things happen, I look for the lesson to share with you all.
This is my life’s work, I am certain of it. I want to be a writer/life coach who helps people sort out all sorts of relationship mess: relationship to self, relationship to other, relationship to calling, and to lover.
Here’s the thing: The only way I know how to coach/write/teach is from vulnerability. The only way I know how to heal others is to share from my own broken places. And so here I am putting my business on Front Street.
This was fine when I was talking about exes and stuff, but as it turns out, I’m not so single anymore (another post for another day) and asking someone to sign up for this visible life of mine is a challenge. I’m asking for my boo to also be a writing partner…a supporting character in my melodramas, a co-writer who never types a word.
Be a character in my life, I whisper. Let me use our intimate moments to illustrate larger points.
I don’t know if this is fair. My only consolation is that I’m a character in my own damn narrative, and sometimes I’m the villain. I look bad, I offer myself up to be judged, and I truly share (maybe over share) myself; I leave it all on the page…well, a lot of it.
My only consolation is that I would never share anything about my partner…that I’d hide about myself. That might not make anyone feel better, but I have to hope that’s enough. Please let it be enough…
Because there’s no alternative. This is who I am.
“It always boils down to the same thing – not only receiving love but desperately needing to give it.” – Audrey Hepburn
There is a moment, or three, before the completion of a project or a period of growth, where I am super quiet and reflect. Throughout, I normally will speak most of my “Aha!” moments to friends, contemplate lessons learned, internalize these lessons, finesse any positive change that came about, assess areas where I may need to go deeper in and fight off anxious desires to reach the end goal. This was no different and with one week left, it’s time for some checks; a fear check and a reality check.
Patia wrote a post recently that I swore she wrote from the depths of my heart. The need to love is strong within me. It has been there since I can remember. Instead of shrinking, that need has grown and I am fine tuning where it lands. When I am in a relationship I want to give love and receive it. While I don’t have an exhausted list, I like to give love by giving affection, saying and writing loving words, making love, taking trips together, spending time together, doing small, sweet things for my love and more. How I give love really depends on the tools that I have available to me. If I have nothing to work with then a massage it is; if I have the world to work with, watch out and prepare to be romanced. Knowing this about myself means that I really have to ensure that I choose the best person to give my love to. I am committed to this goal. It’s part of the “new” me.
I have shifted a lot over these past six weeks. I have faced fears, acknowledged and let go of the past, and prepped for my future with “The One”, but I realized this week that there is still one thing stopping me. Me.
What am I afraid of right now? Falling back into old patterns. Not living my dreams. Not trying. Not continuing. Not persisting. And not caring.
Can I deal with or handle this fear coming true? Yes. I can handle my fears if they were to come true, although deep down inside I know all these fears are of my imagination.
Can I avoid this fear coming true? If so how? Yes. I can avoid any of these fears coming true. By staying true to me, choosing me first, honoring my desires and stating them upfront, and taking full ownership of my love-life, none of my fears will even be fears anymore, let alone become a part of my reality.
Is my fear, founded in reality? No. My fear is of my imagination and used to self-limit me.
My fear is a perverse way of me protecting myself from what it is that I want. I want to be happy. I want to be happy in love. My fear protects me from all the frogs and even the princes too. So that while I can still be generally happy, fear makes it quite hard for me to be happy in love. Somehow, love is supposed to break through my barrier, but as love is a verb and not a noun, it is quite impossible for that to happen of its own accord.
Katherine Woodward-Thomas states this clearly when she writes:
‘If we look at what we do, instead of what we say, we will see that, ultimately, most of us are more interested in protecting ourselves from the risks of love than in the actual experience of it. We go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the possibility of being hurt, regardless of the hunger in our hearts. We rarely own outright how often we sabotage love by admitting, “I am more interested in being safe than I am in being loved.”’
As I move forward and make myself available to available men, state what I want at the beginning, choose me first, receive and allow myself to be vulnerable; as I strengthen these new ways I have to remember what John, my seventh-grade teacher, would say as we handed in our homework assignments “Take your time and hurry up.” I feel like I am prepping too much, over-thinking, overanalyzing, over-searching. I am hurrying up and not taking my time in parallel. I am “choking the baby”. Reality check, through fear, I am squeezing the life out of something before I give it the chance to blossom. Now, I need to let things be. I need to let love in and be open to love, but not beat it over the head and make it come away with me. And that is exactly what I will do. I am committed to giving my love and receiving love and being happy in it.
Have you given yourself a fear check and/or a reality check lately? What are you committed to but stopping yourself from experiencing?
HINT: the answer is yes.
One of my amazing lady friends turned to me one day and said, “Patia, you are already who you want to be.”
I smiled the way I smile when I don’t quite understand, and she explained that becoming the people we want to be requires only a process of unlearning: unlearning fears and untethering ourselves from other’s expectations. We are already who we want to be, but we must first become who we were before we got all mixed up.
The more I align myself with my ambitions — life coaching, writing and teaching — the more I realize that the seeds of these things already exist in my life. Everything I need to create my life already exists within me.
Now, I have to say, I am lucky: I am (quite literally) a writer, I am (quite literally) a writing teacher. I get to work with many students in ways that mimic the coaching dynamic. Though I want to transition into a different kind of coaching/teaching, I have to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that, right now, I am very closely aligned with my purpose. That wasn’t, however, always the case.
A few years back, I worked in daytime television (think Maury but much much classier), and we brought on a guest who was demonized and exploited in front of a live studio audience. This wasn’t our intention at all. We weren’t “that kind” of daytime talk show, but — even if it was an unforeseen error — we couldn’t admit our mistake. The guest had been reluctant to appear on the show for this very reason, and we didn’t protect him. We failed him, but, for legal reasons, we couldn’t admit fault. And so, as they say, the show must go on. After the producers convinced our guest that he did a great and the horror was all in his head, it was my job to walk him back to his hotel. I was instructed to tell him that everything went as planned and reassure him.
I’ve never been a good liar, so I couldn’t do it. I did, however, want to keep my job (which I eventually lost), so I pretty much avoided the topic. I’m not sure what I said, but I know my ass didn’t tell him it went well.
When we got to his hotel, I have him a hug and told him it was a pleasure to meet him. I meant it. Despite his checkered past, he was a pretty decent guy. He looked me in the eye and said, “Thanks for everything. You’re not like the rest of them. I can tell.”
At the time, I wasn’t sure what he meant. I so badly wanted to fit in with my coworkers and colleagues, but I just couldn’t connect. Though I wanted to reject his claim the way the nerdy girl desperately wants to be one of the cool kids but, I knew it was meant to be a compliment. Instinctively, I understood that he felt comfortable with me, and that was a good thing. I was a person who made broken people feel comfortable. I wish I’d known that was something to be proud of.
Even in that moment, before I could say I was a teacher or writer, when my life consisted of long production hours, makeover segments, and what often felt like pointless work, my inability to fit in was an indication that I was already everything wanted/needed to be, I just didn’t own it. In my most awkward isolated moments, I was already who I wanted to be: an empathetic, intuitive, compassionate soul. I was someone who was uncomfortable in the presence of suffering; I was already someone who strives to make people feel comfortable and validated. I was already someone truly believes that everyone deserves respect.
I was already a supportive and attentive person — which is probably the most important component to teaching.
I wasn’t “like them” because I was “like me”…I just didn’t yet know it was safe to be myself.
I tell this story because, no matter what your professional situation, relationship status or position in life, my wise wise friend was absolutely right: you are already who you want to be. If you want to be a rock star, you’re already that person. If you want to be a wife, all of the components are already inside of you. You already have everything you need to burst forth and break free.
So what are you waiting for?
Here’s my advice: Look at the sore points — the places you keep trying to force into a box — let them shine (even if you let them shine in private at first), and begin to own them. Shed the same around your desires, your truest nature, around the self you are when no one is looking, and I promise, those attributes twill lead you to the life of your dreams.
Are you already who you want to be? (remember, the answer is yes, but tell me how!)
During thanksgiving dinner last year, my family and went around the dinner table and share one thing we were thankful for. I was sad — my boyfriend at the time wasn’t able to sit at my table — and I felt alone.
When it was my turn to share my gratitude I said:
I am thankful for everything I have and everything I don’t.
At the time, I don’t think I realized how true that statement was. I was trying to fight the feelings of lack that existed inside of me, but clearly I couldn’t see anything else. I was trying to look on the bright side without actually acknowledging my blessings.
This Thanksgiving, I finally feel the truth of that sentiment: I am thankful for everything I have, and everything I don’t.
Often, we believe we are ready for blessings that haven’t arrived yet. We find ourselves looking forward to what will come, or impatient about what is missing. We don’t often realize the blessings that exist in the absence of what we think we want.
Shortly after that thanksgiving dinner, my boyfriend came to stay with me for two months — two of the most stressful, claustrophobic months of my life. If I’d know then, way I’d known now, I would’ve savored the empty dining room chair, and the intimate thanksgiving without people I could truly trust and rely on. As my mother says, hindsight is 20/20.
As I am working toward my dreams and manifesting my deepest desires, I am deeply deeply grateful for the moments in between — the time to cherish what I do have, and the time to feel excited and enthusiastic about what’s to come. I can also, authentically say that I am deeply and profoundly grateful for the moments where I fallen short, gotten it wrong or felt disappointed. I am grateful for the ability to both receive and release people and experiences that weren’t right for me. I am grateful for all of this life….every drop.
Why? Because all moments lead to this person, this breath, this smile in my heart on this beautiful beautiful day. And for that…I can be nothing else but thankful.
Happy thanksgiving, y’all.
It’s Week Five, and at this point in my journey I feel great. I’m happy with the changes that I am making. As situations or old habits come up, I am navigating through them. I’m feeling comfortable in understanding how I have played a big role in being where I am, and how I will play an even bigger and active role in being where I want to be.
I am also feeling slightly impatient. I want my husband to be revealed to me soon, so that we may continue on with life together. While I am still focused on my journey, it’s been a long journey. I am patiently eager (winkface) for Week 7 to come.
What was alarmingly clear this week, is something that a good friend called me out on in the past. I am a commitment-phobe. How is this even possible? Easy! I did a test and jotted down my first answers (without thinking) to the following questions, “What am I committed to?” The most notable answer missing was me. If I am not committed to myself then it will be that much harder for me to enter into a committed relationship with someone else and vice versa. If I don’t commit to myself, how will he commit to me?
What does committing to myself mean? Well, for one thing it means being true to myself and my desires. It means putting me first. As I started to freak out about how to address my phobia, I slowed down. I took some long deep breaths and realized that by going through this journey to call in “my one,” I was actually committing to myself and putting myself first.
The first responses to my question of “What do I commit myself to?” were:
At first I felt sad that these were the only things that I listed. The interests that I have (like writing and making jewelry), the projects that I am involved with, none of them made it to my list. I wanted to cry, but didn’t because in full truth they all comprise and make up me “living a happy life.” I just bubbled them all up to a high level category, my list would be too long otherwise. I am fulfilled when I make jewelry and write. Those two activities alone add immensely to the happy life that I live. This overreaction was just an old bad habit that needed to be checked; just another case of me being hard on myself.
I remember some time ago telling a good friend of mine that I wanted the type of love that I experienced in my late teen years, minus the drama and inevitable teenage feelings of insecurity. The love that I experienced during that time was passionate and intense. It had the unspoken feeling of infinity attached to it. We behaved as if we were a new family unit. It was fun, free and thrilling. It rivaled the famous love stories you learn about growing up. There was such a connection to my partner and I want that and more with my husband-to-be. Katherine Woodward-Thomas nails it when she writes:
“In the context of lifelong partnership, love is not an emotion. Love is a course, an utterly steadfast, stable path that deviates not in the face of hardship or challenge. It is an undeniably fixed and invariable promise that does not waver, even in the face of death.”
In Lesson 8 of Week Three, we consider that in order gain something, we must give up or lose something. In this spirit I had the following dialogue with myself:
What do I have to lose to get the love that I want? My Fear
What am I afraid of? Making the wrong decision and thinking that it was all in vain.
This conversation was followed by a reality check. I design my life and my happiness. I steer my path, and so it will all be worth it because I will marry the man in my dreams. It will all be worth it because I will not waver from my course. As such, I will maintain my happiness.
To get to happily ever after, I will actively face my fear – based in the special place that houses my imagination- and move through it so that it is no longer a part of me. I will actively communicate my desires to potential partners and listen to their’s. This will ensure that we are both headed in the same direction. Finally together with my husband, we can be committed to and perpetuate, living a happy life.
How are you actively playing a role in the life that you are committed to?
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
- Author Unknown
Today, while on the subway, I was contemplating what I want in a partner. I was trying to decide how important spirituality is for me – does my partner need to meditate? Must he believe in God? My mind wandered around these thoughts for a moment and settled on the idea that my future partner must be committed to his own evolution. Yeah, I thought as the R train headed towards Jay Street, he must be committed to his own evolution even if that commitment doesn’t look exactly like my own.
Though my mind seemed ready to move onto other things, something about this statement seemed incomplete – it felt as if I were missing the point, and on cue, AT LEAST 25 six year old children (and their chaperons) boarded the train in a sugar-induced burst of energy. They literally crowed around me, jumping and yelling and screaming with delight. I tried to move my legs but three little girls in oversized jackets were literally jumping and screaming in my face. Their chaperons tried to wrangle them but couldn’t. They were energy that could not be contained. They’re vibe was infectious and I found myself smiling at all the life swirling around me. Children are crazy, I thought.
That’s when I understood why my statement was inaccurate – as humans we are all committed to our evolution. There is nothing else we can do, whether we sit in a corner or scream at the top of our lungs – we are always changing and evolving. To live and breathe is a representation of limitless and abundant energy. When we get older me hide and suppress this force, this overwhelmingly powerful life force, but at our best we a hyperactive children – moving through life quickly with no sense of boundary.
Those kids helped me understand that we’re all moving through life with speed and agility that seems both graceful and haphazard. We are kicking and screaming our way toward enlightenment – whether it’s through satsang or addiction. No one gets to avoid evolving.
So yes, of course my partner will be committed to his evolution because there is absolutely nothing else to be committed to in live. Everyone, in one way or another, is evolving.
I guess my true desire is that my partner and I evolve mindfully and consciously.
A few months ago, I had attended a seminar about realizing my life’s dream. During that time something registered within me that I would call a baby epiphany. For some time I had been trying to cultivate my practice of visualization and had been “struggling” with how I thought it was to occur versus what I was doing. I had started going down the off-road (for me) that it should have been a concentrated effort versus being effortless. Leading up to that evening at the seminar I had begun feeling good about visualizing the life that I am living and will continue to live, but the way I was doing it didn’t seem truly authentic. I was missing a physical connection to my vision or a sense of being one with it. It felt too contrived.
I have been meditating for a number of years now and when I truly go deep I feel a sense of immersion into everything that is, my surroundings, my thoughts, my breath, etc. When I come out of my meditation I only then realize where and how I was during the meditation. I always felt like visualization should be like that; like a deep meditation.
During the seminar we were asked to speak aloud our reason for attending. Immediately what came to my mind was that I had been visualizing my whole life in the form of daydreams. I always daydreamed about the life I wanted and would live. I always became one with my dreams and felt them throughout me. It dawned on me then that I had been visualizing I just never called it that.
I use my daydreams all the time as I feel the strongest connection to what I visualize in an awake state. My daydreams always give me a sense of direction in regard to my deepest desires and even my fears.
Visualization helps me to set my intention for my life.
Setting an intention is quite different then setting a goal. I have a daily goal in life, which is to be happy. I normally reach that goal. I have a life goal, which is also to be happy. Currently, I am happy in life and it shows. How I am able to reach my goal is because of the intention that I have set.
Katherine Woodward-Thomas, gives us four steps to setting an intention but first I think it important to discuss what intention means. Oxford Dictionary says that an intention is, “an aim or a plan.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary adds, “resolve” and “significance” to the definition. What I think best describes intention comes from Sextrology: The Astrology of Sex and Sexes by Starsky & Cox. There’s a passage where they are describing the Leo man.
…“I will,” desire and determination being conjoined in that creed.
And that to me is intention. Having and stating my desire layered with determination allows me to sit firmly in that which I intend to do. I will. It allows me to take the necessary action towards my aim and live out my plan. I will.
My husband is with me in all of my daydreams and Calling in “The One” is part of the intention that I set over one month ago to prepare myself for him. My daydreams incorporate the life that I want to live: a full life where I am with my husband and we are surrounded by our loving family and our great friends. I live a life of leisure; where I have a fulfilling creative business that affords me my time to travel and be with the amazing people in my life. Setting an intention allows me to live my daydreams.
Katherine starts off Week Four with the beautiful word ‘Congratulations,’ and rightfully so. If you have been following my journey thus far, I would like to say thank you for being with me as I call in my “One”. I have passed what I hope will be the hardest part, which is completing the past and so I celebrated entering Week 4 as ‘Congratulations’ were in order.
There was a marked shift for me in Week Three, that I was still processing as I started this week’s course. Initially I did not fully appreciate and revel in the expression of joy of progress and completion offered. I actually only celebrated both internally and externally when I maintained being in integrity. That was a tangible yet intangible experience, which helped me to see the progress that I had made and the positive internal shifts that had settled. That was the point in which I thought, “Go me!”
The battle to maintain my integrity forced a face-off between my old ways that were no longer serving me and immediately putting into practice the life that I was designing and truly wanting to live. That battle reminded me of my internal strength. That battle reminded me that it could be hard now or even harder later to deal with actively making these decisions that will shape my world.
Me claiming my integrity, in concert with my daydreams and the intentions that I set, helped me to move from Week Four fortified, open, aware and calm.
What do you will? What intentions have you set? How do you day dream? Join in on the conversation by leaving a comment.
When I was in high school, overwhelmed with the pressures of being awesome, I’d throw my hands up and loudly declare that I’d quit life.
I’d proclaim it in the cafeteria of my all-girls school and on AOL Instant messenger. When I’d say it, it’d be an indication that I was embarrassed, overwhelmed and angsty over the state of my (love) life. It was my dramatic way of surrendering, and it was also a ploy to get my friends to ask me what was wrong. Lol
It’s odd, but lately I’ve felt the need to “quit life” again. This time, it’s not as much because I’m overwhelmed or embarrassed or seeking attention (though some of those emotions exist as well), it’s more because I’m realizing that my life has been about hiding from those familiar feelings. I think it’s time to slow down a bit…
…I’m not going to quit. But I’m taking a break.
Let me elaborate: A few weeks ago I declared OPERATION Fall in Love, and I did. I fell in love. It didn’t work out for me, and rightfully so — the person I fell for isn’t my person. This initially felt (and still does feel) like failure, but it’s not. Somewhere along the line I became a person who is afraid of being single. When I am single, I devise a plan: run a marathon, read a book, WRITE a book, stand on my head, journal, take up yoga, go to counseling, go back to school, work through the 12 steps, knit…. Anything to keep from actually “feeling” alone.
Consequently, it’s hard for me to be alone without “improving myself.” Somewhere, I learned that the only way to tolerate being alone was to come up with a plan to change myself. The underlying implication: maybe THEN someone will love me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely proud of all the inner work I’ve done, of my level of self-awareness and my ability to understand how I move in the world. I’m proud that I am a person who knows who she is, who can articulate how she feels and I know the work I’ve done has put me in line with my calling — to help and guide others thru their own inner work. I swear there is a big part of me that is really into myself, but — I’m gonna keep it real — at some point, self-help can be self-hatred with a smile. Self-help can cover up dealing with loss, failure, and fear that I’m not enough.
This is especially true when I’m in between boos, and with that aggressive/oppressive energy, I “make use of” my single time, and then get into a relationships with the expectation that someone will see me and keep me and validate my worthiness. Someone (who can barely see themselves) will pat me on the head, kiss me on the shoulder, and tell me how great I am…
That’s never going to happen — not in the way that I’m craving it, at least.
No one can heal us. No one can help us own our enoughness. Plus: You know what they say, “men are idiots.” If anyone is going to realize my worth, it’s gotta be me…
And so, right now, my dharma is to know that if I never read another self-help book, never comb (cut or perm) my hair, shave my legs, learn a trade, write a sentence…I am utterly and completely worthy of love. Right now without a workbook, a law of attraction, a fly apartment, or hot car — love is my inheritance just as I am.
So I’m going on a hiatus: no self-help books. I’ve taken a break from calling in “the one” and even put down my Sufi and Zen books. I’m still journaling and sitting every day, but I’m compulsively finding with new ways to “self-improve.”
Operation FALL in love is still underway, but I’ve just gotta shift the focus. I need to be more deeply in love with myself. So I’m going to calm down and stop trying so hard. I’m going to relax and understand my own enoughness…
I’m on week two of this journey, and I’ve found that this energy of “not enough,” when not applied toward personal-development, pushes me toward buying new clothes, changing my hair (in laughable ways) and poking at my love-handles. Reading books was a bit cheaper, but I get it: there are millions of ways we run from the fear that we’re not enough. We all have millions of different ways we hiding from ourselves.
I’m certain that awareness is the antidote…
How are you learning to understand your own enoughness?
This week’s lesson was a balancing act of understanding the historical and external influences that aided in creating my existing foundation in concert with my current and internal core beliefs about myself. When speaking to Patia about Week Three I referred to it as “Six Flags without the amusement.”
If I have not stated this before, then I will state it now, Katherine Woodward-Thomas is taking me there.
Let’s start with my sense of self. Before this week, had you asked me if I had a solid sense of self, my response would have been ‘Yes.’ After this week I will answer ‘Yes’ even louder. Katherine references psychotherapist James Masterson’s Search for the Real Self and his six premises that one needs to behold, to have a solid sense of self.
1. The capacity to experience a wide variety of feelings, as well as an ability to soothe painful feelings in a positive way;
2. The ability to express your thoughts and feelings authentically to another person without too much fear of either being engulfed or abandoned;
3. The capacity to tolerate your own aloneness;
4. A healthy sense of entitlement that life holds good things for you and that you deserve to have them;
5. The ability to assert your individuality and authenticity in the world; and
6. A stability of self, meaning that you are always aware that you are the same person regardless of who you are with, what you are doing, or the current circumstances (both good and bad) of your life.
I’m happy with my self-assessment. In trying to understand how I reached this solid state, I think back to the first time one of my mom’s lessons clicked. To paraphrase, she would advise us to reflect on our life. Reflection has allowed me to remove toxic people from my life, maintain a consistent and stable character, be in touch with my feelings, and take actions, such as Calling in “The One”, to continually and perpetually make myself happy. And with this solid sense of self I was able to really go deep on the lessons and understand what it is that I felt I truly had been needing for a long time and the connection there was to my behavior with the people that I have dated.
I was shown this week that I must give to myself that which I desire, seek, and need before it can be given to me from another person. And so I now will give myself love and approval. I will choose myself first if that is what I truly want from my partner. I will be available to myself if I want to find a man that is available to me. I learned and immediately began practicing this very valuable lesson. Such simple tenets that seem obvious, but we no longer teach, expose or discuss the obvious. What we consider to be obvious we have summarized and put away with the well known saying “I won’t state the obvious.” Since August of this year, when I felt like I was learning, relearning and internalizing simple obvious truths, I have begun saying “If it is obvious then it should be stated.”Awareness is a beautiful thing and action that comes from awareness is gorgeous.
Going into this I knew there were going to be tough moments. I knew that there were going to be many lessons learned and that there was going to be some internal shifting. Because of this I knew I would need to give myself a lot of love and care. This week made me realize that I would need to step up that self-love and care, a lot!
The real challenge for me this week was the mental challenge on the idea of surrender. The notion of surrender had always resonated negative, submissive feelings within me. Rightfully so; as a verb, Oxford dictionary defines surrender as:
1)…stop resisting to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority:
Give in to (a powerful emotion or influence):
2) Give up or hand over (a person, right, or possession), typically on compulsion or demand…
In Lesson 21, Katherine asks us to surrender those elements of our lives “that do not resemble love,” “those things that frustrate love before we have any evidence that taking that action will produce the results we are after.” Marley and I spent some time on this word because I truly could not get passed it. Embrace versus surrender, seemed like a positive way to approach opening up the path for love. The former sounded better because it meant to me the possibility of being open and willing to whatever would or could come. The latter seemed like it would be a fierce battle ending in defeat or a pathetic resignation to whatever would or could come. Surrender evokes lack of energy, or deprivation while embrace encourages going on, moving forward, progress and acceptance. While processing, I had the general feeling that I was already so open and so willing to the process of self-progression that I felt there was not anything left for me to give up.
Searching for what felt right but also allowing what felt right to come and not being able to finalize this feeling and have a complete thought surrounding it did not sit well with me. After our weekly meeting, I allowed the notion of surrender to float around my mind. Marley and I concluded that I would see and be open to the notion. I settled on exploring this further and nothing more. I played with the different meanings and “tried on” surrendering. I committed to thinking about it in a different way.
And that night it hit me. If I wanted love in my life I had to yield to it. I had to submit to love so that it could capture me. I had to forego the battle and succumb to love and there was not one thing negative about that. I could not control love; it’s a verb for a reason. And so I meditated the following morning, repeating my mantra, “I will surrender. I am love.” CLICK. Something changed within me. I felt quiet, peaceful and full. I was love and it tingled within me.
After Week Three, I am left slightly shaky and pensive as I continue to reinforce my foundation; but I feel good knowing that I will sojourn the full seven weeks stronger and truly ready for love.
Have you surrendered to love?