Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cheerfulness Does Not Equal Growth

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“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.” ~ Pema Chodron

The last few days, my mind has circled around a question: Is there darkness in light?

Most searches produced everything from scriptures to some in-depth physics analysis regarding whether or not there is light in darkness.

I went back to the basics.  What is light?” I Googled it.

Light is made up of waves and particle packets.  Ok.

Wait.

Waves.  Packets. Part of what makes up a wave form is the space between the peaks.  There is space between the inner workings of a photon. It’s not just one solid mass.

Part of what makes up anything is the space between the parts.  The space around and in is what gives something definition; shape.

So, then, is darkness not only a part of light….is it a key element of light’s ability to exist?

I wonder if it’s the same with people.  I wonder if our unique kind of darkness shapes our own unique kind of light.  I wonder if it’s the darkness in a star that makes it twinkle.

I wonder if our own darkness – our fears, our vulnerability, our humanity – is the very birthplace of all that is good (creativity, love, light). When love can grow there in us there, maybe it can grow everywhere.

When our soul longs for something …..more….

it seems like it always dips it’s paintbrush in these colors first to show us the way.

 

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Breaking Through Emotional Unavailability

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This is Part 4 of a four part series on Expectations:

Part 1: Expectations vs Contentment

Part 2: Where Do You End, and Where Do I Begin?

Part 3: Never Get Hurt Again. Ever.

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Last, week, my best friend and I were eating fried chicken and minding our own business when… WHAP!

Our “whaps” are like Oprah’s aha moments, but with much less grace and a whole lot less zeroes on the check.

Here’s what happened.

We were talking about boys, ourselves, and relationships in general.   And, of course, the subject of emotional unavailability came up. Because we are experts. We are experts at dating these types of guys and we are also experts at being emotionally unavailable.

What is this mysterious condition? You might ask. Well, I’m glad you did – because it’s a whopper.

Emotional Unavailability (EU) is basically when the lights are on in someone, but no one’s home. In other words, the person may be physically present, but their heart and mind are a million miles away. They are disconnected from you emotionally and, despite your efforts, you cannot reach them to connect.

EU can happen for a short period of time due to a traumatic situation (recovering from the shock of a death or car accident) or it might last for a long period of time because there are complex, unhealed wounds a person feels the need to protect.

There are some great articles online about emotional unavailability and one of my favorite is here: Understanding an Emotionally Unavailable Relationship.

We typically think of EU as a person is either emotionally available, or they are not. We say things like “oh, well, he’s just emotionally unavailable.”

What we mean is “I am trying really hard to connect with this person and it feels like they are shut down and closed off.”

Here was the “aha” moment:

Maybe a person isn’t just emotionally available or unavailable. Maybe a person can be both.

Here’s why.

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We all bring our past experiences to the table. In every relationship, including romantic ones. We build boundaries (framework) to protect ourselves from pain. That’s all ok, healthy, and good!

Do you have a friend or partner who you trust who you can tell absolutely anything to and know they would never intentionally hurt you?

Are you that kind of person?

I hope you feel like both of the answers to those are yes. If not, no sweat.. we can chat about that later and unravel that knot, ok?

Now, do you also know people who you would not tell your deepest, darkest secrets? People whom you do not trust?

Sure! We all know folks who we feel that way about.  Here’s the math:

  • When we feel safe, our guard comes down.
  • When we feel unsafe, our guard goes up.

In this sense, we all have the ability to hold space for being emotionally available when we want to be (when we feel safe), and emotionally UNavailable when we don’t (when we feel UNsafe).

#mind.  #blown.

So, dear one, the next time we think to ourselves “she/he must be emotionally unavailable” please consider adding the words “to me” at the end of that sentence.

Then, we can begin to ask really interesting questions.  Clarifying questions.   Truth telling questions.

And we may choose to find our way to intimacy. Or, not.

Onward….

Expectations vs Contentment

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Something happened today and it caused me to think about expectations.

In total fairness, my first reaction was surprise.  Then hurt.  Then blame.  Then shame.  Then, as the pain passed I was able to think about what I want.  Not about what someone else has to offer me…. but about what I do and don’t want in my life.

It occurred to me that people we know & love are just going about, living their own lives.  They have hopes, dreams, fears, and hang ups all their own.  Enter, us and our agenda.  Our expectations.  Our assumptions.  Our hopes, dreams, fears, and hang ups.

it.  gets.  messy.

Like, really messy.

I was really thinking about blame.  It’s my go-to deflector for discomfort.  “Well, I wouldn’t be hurting/embarrassed/upset if YOU had done… what I expected you to do.”

Who died and made us the boss?

I mean, really?

Who are we to have any expectation of another person?

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People make promises, and sometimes they don’t keep them.  That’s totally their stuff over there.  This is my stuff over here.

We assume that if someone says they love us, that means the same thing to them as those words to do us.

But it might not.

Expectations feel like control. It feels like they might be an excellent bridge to carry all our emotional baggage straight to someone else’s front lawn and dump it.

“Here”, we say. “You love me? You wanna be friends? Great. Now, you are responsible to please me and fill my pre-formed idea of what love and relationship should look like. Here is all my stuff. Please sort through the debris, drop your own issues like a hot rock, and present yourself to me confident, whole, and ready to make me happy.”

Are we serious with this shit?

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What if….
◾We expect things to be kinda messy.
◾We have compassion for someone else’s journey.
◾We take time to calm down and get some perspective when our own stuff gets triggered.
◾We get clear about what we want for our life.
◾We stay open, warm, and loving – especially when we are saying no thank you.

In moments where we feel our most loving, whole self, we are able to let relationships, opportunities, and life events ebb and flow in and out of our lives.

In a grace full, grateful way, we can sit in the green field of our own life and appreciate the simple goodness of breeze in our hair, the sun on our warm skin, and watch in love as time weaves its unique tapestry through our life.

It’s beauty takes my breath away sometimes – the joy, the pain, the peace, and always… always… the love.

Onward…

PS – I am quite sure there will be a follow up to this about what expectations are ok.  If there are any.  Research, here we come.