Tag Archives: relationships

There Are No Absolutes In Real Life

I saw the quote below on social media. I see many quotes like this. I believe these kinds of quotes somewhat miss the mark about life.

Surround Yourself With…

We don’t and can’t always choose who surrounds us. The reality is, we wake up every day and some people just surround us.

We may have our families, friends, people who don’t understand or like us, people who do like us, coworkers, and passerbys. Everyday. The whole mix.

We can certainly cherrypick in who we invest most of our time. For those who live in small towns or villages, at some point we may run out of cherries. We’d still be surrounded by people – whether or not we choose to interact with them. We can also choose to be alone, but are we ever really alone?

Certainly, we can cut off dysfunctional relationships that drain us. However, we can also ask ourselves how we can relate to a wider group of people, without having to get personal or intimate. What if we just related to people without talking about our needs, expectations, and wants? What if relating to others became more about being open to differences and being ourselves?

Asking for people who push you to be better – or do anything else for you – is having an agenda. “If you don’t push me to be better, you are not worthy of being in my life.” Please. We’re all here together to work things out, and what we deem important changes often. Some people change faster, and others change more slowly. But, we all change.

It takes quiet attention, reflection, and the willingness to surrender our biases to relate to different people. We don’t have to sign contracts to see who can get what for their trouble. How can we learn to love if we can’t even see each other for who we are?

No Drama or Negativity

In which universe is that even possible? Not in this one…Not at this time…

What we call drama and negativity is really all of us working stuff out. When people are working out their understanding of life, there is likely to be friction, confusion, and the need to broaden our perspectives.

Reality is messy – the opposite of a clutter-free home with trifolded towels. We are not taught how to handle a mess. Do we walk away? Do we clean it up? Certainly, watching and learning from a mess is also an option. We often react to a mess with lots of emotion, but we can also reach a point when emotions are quiet in any situation. What do we do when we know we can neither walk away nor clean things up?

When a scientist, engineer, or mathematician is working on a problem, there’s writing everywhere – even on napkins. It takes multiple approaches to see our struggles more clearly, and to understand what it is within ourselves that is creating drama.

I think it would be good if people stopped judging drama and negativity because no one can ever say that they have themselves and life completely figured out.

We can practice handling and coping with tense situations in healthier ways. We can learn how to listen even when we don’t like what we hear. We can learn how to ask others to talk about their feedback, whatever it may be.

Over time, there is less and less confusion about oneself. That helps. There is less reaction to people’s viewpoints, and more interest and curiosity. Until then, we can study how to engage with life – beyond just fight or flight.

Higher Goals, Good Times, and No Hate

The highest “goals” I ever found was to learn to see others as they see themselves, and also to see others as if they were already awake. Why would these goals be “high” goals? In my case, I wanted to see beyond my own perspective (which I knew was biased), and I wanted to understand others and life better.

Until we learn more about who each other is, there will be hate.

I understand hate as a kind of intense disgust, rejection, and turning away from another life.

Often people hate what they don’t understand or what threatens them. Since we don’t really understand each other or ourselves, we won’t feel safe. Thus, hatred is not going away any time soon.

It’s better to come clean when we hate, rather than pretending to be beyond it. It’s better to see our anger and fear than to project a saintly glow, which is likely to be fake.

But, we don’t have to act on everything we feel. Just studying our life and what turns us off is interesting in itself. Our reactions reveal something to us about who we are in relation to our lives. Often, such revelations cause us to let go more into the truth that lies hidden beyond who we want to be.

Simply Bringing Out the Best

We’ll be kinder and gentler around some people more than others. We’ll drive some people crazy and put others at ease. People will trigger each other unconsciously toward whatever they already believe about themselves. Often, certain self views are easier to stomach than others.

There is nothing simple about seperlatives. We have no clue what is best or worst. All we can see is that some stimuli make us uncomfortable and others put us at ease. Are we here to just make each other comfortable? Well, that contradicts challenging each other to be our best. Even what is best is subject to interpretation. Best for whom or what? For how long? Do we aim to be mostly comfortable with just a smidge of discomfort? Or mostly uncomfortable with a smidge of comfort? Does it matter?

It’s Appropriate That the Meme Was in B&W

It’s our nature to look for patterns and draw well-bounded conclusions. However, it is not yet second-nature for the human race to be deliberate and slow in how we listen, observe, and study our view of reality.

There really isn’t a best way to live. We are different and we can only live our lives to see what we are made of. If we change, the change will be a natural progression for us.

During a vulnerable moment, I considered changing for someone to make them more comfortable around me. Soon, I saw that it was both impossible and undesirable.

I have and am already changing. I’ve moved away from being able to have 1-1 intimate relationships. So what? There isn’t one right way to live, and I have no reason to force myself to be someone I am not. I’m grateful this is clear to me now, and I am also grateful that my life lets me meet many different people where I practice being who I am. I am happy that life set me up to learn that I am never alone and that it is OK for all people to try and learn who they are.

When People Talk, Who Are They Talking To?

If we consider that our view of the world is shaped by how our brains interpret reality, it’s amazing that we believe that we agree on so much. We have been able to create languages that capture some of our ideas, but there is so much that is absolutely unique to each of us and is never shared with anyone else. Thus, each of us is largely unknown to anyone else.

Our experiences do much more than imprint memories – they actually shape our nervous systems to select what is important, label what we perceive, and respond. It took me a long time to understand that people share much less than they think they do. When people listen, what they hear is passed through their filters. What people see and feel emotionally is also colored by their unique configurations. We all literally live in different worlds, and it is pretty amazing that we coexist despite such a great and invisible divide.

Social norms for behavior turn out to be critical for the human race. No matter how we work on the inside, we make a pact to – at least – present a predictable exterior to others and behave and talk in a certain way. Our norms help us to achieve basic interactions, and we end up hiding the rest of ourselves because there are literally no words. In fact, people pay no attention to the possibility that none of us perceive the same reality – same in ways that truly matter.

Often, when people talk, they are talking to their perceptions of a person in front of them – and not to the actual being. When the other person listens, they are not likely to hear the true intentions behind what is said because they are dealing with their own projection. We look each other in the eye, but fail to see anyone objectively. Why else would we spend so much of our time arguing, mincing words, studying nonverbal communication, and refining social norms?

Why do we marry people who most resemble our parents, or befriend those who are most like our best or worst beliefs about ourselves? Often, we are re-enacting our past. We see old dramas and traumas replaying, and we respond to them as if they are current and real – mostly unconsciously. Others are doing the same. We trigger one another’s fears and doubts, but very little of what we exchange is about the here and now.

We don’t see or hear the present – we are not wired to do so. During our formative years, we mould our perceiving pathways, and these stick into adulthood. Most of what we sense are impressions in a hall of mirrors.

Healing our old traumas helps us to move into the present. However, only enlightenment can break the mould we have constructed for ourselves, which prevents us from truly seeing and hearing others. Perhaps the most disconcerting realization is watching others interact with you while not really perceiving you at all. Then, you feel like a ghost.

The others – a part of them knows that something is amiss – that they too feel like ghosts. Just like in the movie The Others, both the dead and the living sense each other as ghosts. Everyone’s core loneliness is all too evident, and no one can put their finger on the reason why they feel alone among so many people.

There’s no quick fix to this dilemma of nearly every person living within a perception bubble of their own unconscious construction. There’s no clear-cut solution to attaining the much-sought-after trust.

People feel so happy when they make a new friend or fall in love – those initial days and months are all about playing into each other’s illusions. Eventually we all realize that we still feel alone and give way to the ingrained cycles of battling old enemies and reliving old crises. Most people are iTunes on single-repeat.

I’ve taken extreme measures to free myself from the prison of old wiring. I’ve been letting go of every crutch and prop I find, and I’m still not done. It’s incredible to see how much of my life was stuck in grooves. I was sleepwalking. And I sought out and found others who could readily trigger and reflect to me what I wanted to see.

My body has been purifying and aligning to seeing the world without a constructed self. It is not enough to awaken – the body must also rip apart old wiring, let go of everything that is not real, and create new pathways for relating to life.

I have been deconstructing my life piece by piece to eliminate what has nothing to do with who I am now. I no longer care if anyone sees me for who I am or understands me – the need for that is gone. Ironically, I do see clearly how they see me and why. There is acceptance that most people will not get me at all. However, I am the happiest I’ve ever been and dragging around less dead weight in my body. I’ve even lost weight after letting go of some people and situations.

The only reality is what lives me, and This is not locked into a repetitive pattern. I am more than OK that others find my methods strange and unwelcome. I feel the difference as my life becomes lighter, clearer, and uncluttered.

How do I know I am not still simply reliving the past in a blind stupor? Because I am dreaming new dreams and seeing the past as a projection on the present moment – I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I’ve stopped crafting tomorrow.

Relationships That Teach

Have you ever had a relationship where you were compelled to be and to act a certain way? You may have felt like you were living somewhere between awake and asleep. You made choices. You felt the pain you caused. And you also felt pain from others. Perhaps you had moments of peace, laughter, joy, and that magical feeling of sharing something.

Then, when the relationship was done, you stepped back and saw it from all angles. You saw yourself through the eyes of the other person, and you saw yourself through your awakened eyes. You felt grief for being the person that you were, you felt remorse, and then… you forgave yourself and let go.

Some relationships are just compressed springs in a mattress – they hold energy that must eventually be released to free us. We enter a relationship because we are trapped in a half-conscious slumber – acting out old habits and perpetuating fears. And yet, we click with that specific person to go through it all. If we don’t learn, we just rinse and repeat the same situations again and again. Each time, there is an opportunity to wake up and make different choices.

It is incredibly hard to forgive yourself. It is much easier to live with a feeling of self-hatred. If you knew better, you would have done different. If you let yourself see you through the eyes of others and allow all those feelings of disgust and shame to rise up, you can eventually let go. You must survive this storm of feeling separation from yourself and come out on the other side. Then, there is healing. You feel like you no longer need karmic relationships. You feel done with acting out life dramas. You let go of needing pain to wake you up.

We are certain when a relationship begins and are just as certain when it ends. There is no ambiguity and no wavering. When all the springs unwind, there is no longer any need to be right. There is only compassion for the actors on the stage who served each other through the growing pains, including yourself.

If you remain bitter after a relationship, then you are sure to repeat the experience again. If you hold on to who was right and who was wrong, then you miss the bigger picture that both were enslaved by illusion. If you forgive – a gentle and surrendered tone of existence – you open your eyes and the chains break.

After freedom, you no longer feel passion as an uncontrollable compulsion. Those movie scenes where people are munching on each other’s faces and ripping clothes off? That’s craziness. That’s hunger. However, you must experience this hunger until you see the emptiness of such a brute-force approach to living. Eventually, the craving for that kind of passion dissolves and there is peace.

All of us were hungry for something at one point or another. We all will or have gone through this. The pain wakes us up and we see its futility. Tragedy. Drama. Thrillers. Horror. All genres of life blend into a single controversy of what happens when you don’t know who you are. We all have to go through it to find out, and then we let go.

After you are purified by the fire of teaching relationships, you no longer have such relationships. Then, you have a different way of interacting with people. You are still learning, but as an awakened presence being Itself – not as a Shakesperian actor. You are no longer baited into fear or hunger.

If you are in crisis, ask yourself – what are you holding on to? It’s rarely something outside of yourself, and is typically a belief you are terrified of having about yourself.

You cannot hold on to people or things – there is nothing to own here. The harder you try, the faster everything slips your grasp. While people and things can be a part of your life one day, they can just as easily disappear the next day. The disposition of holding on and trying to freeze the moment must eventually unwind because it only generates that dreaded feeling of loss.

We are raised to covet wealth, couplehood, endless fun, and exotic experiences. But underneath all that, we just want to feel like we are OK. When we make peace with ourselves, a new vista opens before us. An unexplored dimension that assumes we have learned everything that emotion and passion have to offer.

I am neither the first nor the last to cross over into this dimension of life that rests on unconditional love of oneself – and therefore everyone else. I stopped grasping at branches along the shore, allowed the rapids to take me downstream, and became indistinguishable from the water flow.

Solitude

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much I enjoy solitude.

What a stark contrast to the time when I was a child and into most of my adult life, when I still felt that I could not be alone. It was an old habit to feel like I needed company. The belief that I could not be alone sat there, in the body, untested and unchallenged.

Now when I am alone, I enjoy being alone. I daily interact with a few good friends, colleagues, and many students, but I recharge and come alive when all is quiet around me. I relax. I do not feel lonely or lacking. I can create, be aware, feel, perceive – in solitude I can listen to life uninterrupted.

Sometimes the past is sticky and people become entangled in odd ways – even when they are ready to part ways. Such entanglements are much like illness, which sits in the body and must run its course.

One could say that illness is bad, sad, or painful. But if it is there – even after everything has been tried to heal it, then it is there. It is part of life. Another lens to see through or past.

Lingering relationships are not unlike an unavoidable illness, and it is easy to view these ties as irritants. But whatever cannot be controlled must be lived through. Even though I feel ready to be free of such relationships, a couple remain tethered. So, they must run their course and must be embraced.

I used to think that it was important for me to be understood. Today I learned that I no longer care about that. If someone caused me pain, it turned out not to matter to me if they get it. It is liberating to not want or wait for sincere apologies or accountability.

Why do some people irritate us? Hurt us? Hate us? Blame us? Why do we do the same? I challenge myself to see if I hold grudges. I challenge my beliefs about old ways of relating to people. I’ve found that there is no hatred or bitterness in me anymore. The fact that I choose to not spend time or exchange pleasantries with certain people is not a sign of hatred or bitterness – just a wish to be free of whatever wants to see me as someone other than I am. Such interactions feel needlessly draining.

When we have a talent, it is not always necessary for us to use it. When there are certain people near us, it is not always necessary to let them in.

It may seem cold and heartless – even strange – to cut off certain people. Isn’t all relationship welcome? Of course not. We are not all here to get along – at least, not in the way we imagine getting along. While neediness and insecurity persists, it is impossible to be oneself in the company of certain people. And, it is impossible for me to artificially stroke someone’s need for validation, which is a bottomless sinkhole.

I won’t sacrifice whatever time I have left here to false idols. I realized that I no longer care if I am liked because I know who I am. Perhaps that just comes with age. My understanding about friendship and family is evolving beyond the usual definitions that involve us getting something. I see relationships as being about giving without sacrificing who we are, which is not possible with all or most people at this time.

I feel an unwavering resolve to allow others to live their life as they must. People come here to do very specific things, but they get caught up in experiences and stay past their time in relationships that ended long ago. Then, it takes a lot of force to push them out of complacency and onto their rightful track. They see it as cruelty, but it is a gift that makes it easier for them to move on. If they cannot bring themselves to move forward, then what is left to do but to give them a strong push.

If you are in a dead-end relationship, consider how much of yourself you can pull back. Find out if solitude frightens you. If it does, that is a sign that you are clinging to the world for something that you don’t believe you already have.

Meanwhile, be mindful of your responsibilities. Most tend to feel that they owe people much less than they really do – especially at the end of a relationship.

My children come before everything else. They are the priority because I accepted that responsibility. If you have children, then your divorce is not a complete and final separation until your children have fully grown. You are tied to the situation, until it has run its course. So, buckle in and own as much of what is yours as possible.

I do not know whether I will be alive in a decade or what I will be doing. It surprises me that I do not dwell on it. So much change occurs in my life constantly as I follow Life’s lead. I’ve surrendered my life. This surrender has only made it more clear that I have outgrown most things I thought I needed or wanted. It is OK – whatever comes, I will see it through. Either in solitude or among good friends who can be themselves and allow me to be myself. Often, the price of company, companionship, and so-called love is too steep, as it masks the need to hide or to escape the moment that was meant for us alone.

Peace Amidst Uncertainty

I am resting – in peace. Peace is not just for death, but is here and now – for life. Everything in my life is uncertain right now, and I rest peacefully nonetheless.

I have traveled to the US from another country – from a life that would be considered difficult by most measures. I have my citizenship, but I have never felt what home feels like – not even at my country of origin. I have let go of needing a place or people to feel at home.

I’ve arrived at the end of my marriages. I had wanted marriage and friendship to be certainty, but nothing in life is certain. And yet, I feel peace.

My past is loosening from every fiber of my being – my memories, my dreams – everything is letting go. Perhaps, it is I who am letting go of everything.

On a long drive to and from a graduate class I am taking, I noticed that – despite wanting to feel regret – I do not feel regret. Everything was as it was, and now it is what it is.

Society drills into us certain ways of relating to life – that we must want, need, desire something to feel alive. If these dreams do not come true, then we must claw or cling. It was difficult for me to see through that. Now I see how, just as our brains decode light frequencies into color, we want to decode certain patterns in life. It is we who define the norms and what life should feel like when some need is not met.

Time either heals or makes things unworkable. So we adjust. On the other side, across the adjustment barrier, is something very simple. Something devoid of wanting, and yet something that cares deeply for oneself.

I feel a lack of tolerance for anything that binds me unnecessarily, or drains me. I feel care for myself. I know what I can and cannot do or give. I also know what I cannot take. Thus, it is even easier to feel care and compassion for others. I feel no need to validate my life, nor to be amidst tension and discomfort.

It’s not detachment to rest amidst complete uncertainty. Although I do not have any idea how the situations in my life will play out, I can still feel complete peace. I wait for insight – am I still responsible to someone? And, what are my choices? And, I continue, moment to moment. Of course, I still love.

I see a world filled with dreams and desires – people wanting things from the earth, from life, and from each other. Most of my life felt like a void that needed to be filled and completed. Now the void is free, and I am still here. No safety nets. No assurances. Just life. I could not know how this felt until I was in the situation to feel it. Now I know.

Knowing this is calming, soothing, and quiet. I feel quiet inside and out.

I am wondering how my life will feel day-to-day now that I know I have everything in nothing.