Monday, December 3, 2012

PASSION


Seething beneath the surface I am experiencing a force of emotion that I have spent my entire life attempting to contain.  At times, I have failed miserably, and it has escaped in a fit of rage.  I have lashed out at the world, and those around me, sometimes over the most trivial things.  However, in this moment I am clear that those explosions have had nothing to do with what was really going on. 

I feel deeply.  I have a passion inside that I have never felt free to truly express for fear I would be viewed as utterly insane.  I am frightened of how big the feelings are, and I wonder if I will ever feel safe enough to express them.  I look around me and it seems I live in a world of barely contained passion.  How much illness, depression, and rage are the result of misdirected or tightly held passion?  I wonder what would happen to passionate feelings if it were more acceptable to be real, rather than nice.  The interesting thing is, I sense that my passion is more about love, rather than anger.  It only turns into anger when I have thwarted its expression.

Let me back up.  Tonight I have been listening to one of those PBS Telethons featuring the amazing voice of a talented tenor.  As he began to sing Nessun Dorma my entire body clenched as I felt overwhelmed with passion . . . passion for the music.  But more than that, I felt as though I would explode from the depth of feeling that I was experiencing.  I don’t believe it was simply a reaction to a beautifully performed piece of music.  I have a similar experience when I travel through a tree-lined canyon, look at a colorful bouquet of tulips, or gaze in awe at an exquisitely crafted piece of architecture.  Something deep inside of me erupts, and I want to stretch out my arms and embrace the beauty I see with all of the passion I feel inside.

But I stop myself because I have been told to quiet down, settle down, and tone it down from the time I was very young.  I wonder what would happen if I did not hold my feelings in, but instead allowed them full expression?

I often think I am the only one who feels this way.  Sometimes I want to scream at someone just so they will scream back and I will know that they feel as strongly as I do.  In fact, I spent most of my married life holding it in until I could no longer contain it, then unleashing the feelings in a fit of rage, and repeating the process all over again.  Every time I was told that I needed to calm down.  Instead, what if I had someone to just grab onto me and hold me tight, or someone who was able to match my passion and help me channel it in a different direction?  But I am clear that is not someone else’s job.  So I write. 

I pour my passion onto the page and it eases a bit.  It’s still there.  In fact, I hope it never goes away, or diminishes in the least little bit.  I just want to find ways to express it so that I feel seen and heard.  This world is an endlessly amazing place, full of the most passion inspiring people, places, and things.  And I want to “Come and rejoice . . . and [I] don’t even have to make a sound” (Rejoice, Il Divo).



Sunday, July 1, 2012

BEAUTY . . .


What is Beauty?  This has long been a topic of discussion with my friends throughout most of my life.  The opinions vary.  To one, beauty looks like “this” and to another “that” . . .  there never seems to be a consensus.

Even the well-known sayings about beauty leave room for disagreement.  Sayings such as: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” or “Beauty is as beauty does,” and finally “Beauty is only skin deep.”  No clarification here.

Now, I can appreciate a beautiful man or woman.  I see the chiseled jaw, perfect smile with gleaming white teeth, and the powerful physique on the male model, and call it beautiful.  I notice the flawless complexion, wide clear eyes, full lips, and slender silhouette of the woman in a movie or in the latest issue of Vogue, and envy her perfection.  Because of thoughts like these, it is easy to understand that my own idea of beauty has prevented me from ever seeing myself as beautiful.

Throughout my life I have spent an inordinate amount of time mentally comparing myself to those around me to see where I fit in on the scale of 1-10 perfection.  My thoughts ran on and on as to whether I was more or less attractive than I viewed others to be.  Yet in spite of such limiting thoughts, there have been many times that I have been surprised at what I saw as beautiful.  I would see someone and be astounded at how beautiful they appeared, even if that beauty did not match my previously held ideas, or the predominant view promoted by current experts.  It is because of such experiences that my ideas have been changed.

Several years ago I ran into an old friend from high school.  He was someone I dated for a short period of time, and I remember he was considered to be one of the best looking boys in my school.  I also remember that when he would walk by, many of my girlfriends would stare at him with teenage longing. 

What I noticed when I saw him again, after nearly 30 years, was that he was still very handsome, in spite of a few wrinkles and some gray hair.  In fact, he appeared to be even more handsome than I remembered.  As I pondered this I realized that though he was beautiful to behold as a young man, his beauty was like that of a newly mined rock.  The rock may contain various veins of color, with hints of gleaming metal, but only after it has been put into the grinder and had all of its jagged edges worn off can the true beauty of the “stone” shine through.  It appeared as though life’s experiences had polished him, worn away all of his rough edges.  Thus I saw, that with age and experience often come wisdom and extraordinary beauty.

So now I wonder, is beauty as simple as physical perfection as all of the glossy ads would lead me to believe?  Or, is it more?  I still don’t know why one person might think that someone or something is beautiful and another might not.  It is obviously a case of preference, and that is as varied as people on this planet.

For me, it now comes down to this one thing.  Can I drop the walls that separate us and find a way to connect with you?  Can I look past our differences and see how you and I are alike?  Will you tell me what you love, hate, think, and feel?  If so, then I will see you as beautiful because I will see that we are one and the same, and that is love.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

MY LIFE . . .


Several years ago, a dear friend told me I had a book inside me.  I have been pondering this thought for a long time.

Recently, several other friends have expressed similar observations, so once again, I am pondering.

I mean, what would I have to write about that others might find interesting?  

My conclusion . . . it doesn't matter if others find it interesting, or if anyone even reads this.  What's important to me is that I just start writing.  If nothing else, it will be cathartic.

So here goes . . .

If I were to tell you the story of my life it would be full of contradictions . . . high and low, good and bad, happy and sad . . . and everything in between.  The only constant would be inconsistency.

I once heard someone say "I was born at a very early age."  I adopted this saying as though it were my own.  I was so very clever as I found ways to fit it into my conversations.  However, now I am not too sure about it since I feel I have been born many times over . . . in this one lifetime!  So how do I start to tell you about me?  The most reasonable place would be to begin with things as they are right now.

As I sit and ponder the events of my life, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for everything I have experienced.  Each moment has been amazing . . . in retrospect.  But, while I was in the midst of living it, when I was immersed in the day-to-day happenings, life sometimes felt unbearable.

I often wanted to run away and not face any of it.  I lived in fear of so much that appeared before me.  At times I felt anxious, and went around frantically trying to keep safe by allowing myself to become distracted by "busy-ness."  But along with the incredible joy in my life, the feelings of never having enough, being enough, or doing enough were always there . . . a constant, nagging presence.

Things are different now.

The thoughts that used to keep me in a state of perpetual motion are still very active in my mind.  However, now I find that I no longer run away, or attempt to busily fill time and space, so they will subside.  In the face of the continuing barrage, I notice that I am experiencing a sense of calm.  I am also aware, and give more consideration to the other parts of me . . . the many other parts . . . that have been regularly sent to the back of the line to await their turn to appear center stage in the theatrical production that has been my life.

I don't know when it changed . . . or how.  I only know it did.  I could sit here all day ruminating over this. My best guess is that the change in my approach to my own thinking is due to my survival.  In spite of the many challenges . . . I am still here.  Those things I thought might kill me, fulfilled the words of the well-known saying by making me stronger.

The result of all of this seems to be that I am more allowing of my own very human self.  And, in doing this I find that I am also more allowing of the faults and foibles of those of you I encounter along the way.  I feel more connected to everyone around me, and I am discovering that no matter what I have done to try and hide my true nature from the world, it is there . . . as it has always been . . . and I suspect, always will be.  It is so simple . . . it is love.


Friday, June 1, 2012

UNCLE . . . and thoughts about the weather!

UNCLE!  A phrase used to indicate that someone has had enough . . . and I have had enough!  Or so I think.  I have lived 58 years, and there have been times when I feel like I am about to break under the pressure of life.  Today is one of those times.  I am weary . . . in fact, I am downright exhausted.  Sometimes I wonder how I keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I want to go home, climb in bed, shut out the world, and catch up on 35 years of too little sleep.  If only I dared.

But that is the problem.  I don't dare.  Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I have a belief that the world will fall apart if I stop doing what I do.  I know this is irrational . . . the world continues in spite of who stays and who goes . . . and in spite of what I do, or do not do.  In fact, it seems a bit vain to believe that I am indispensable!  Though I know there are those who would miss me if I were suddenly gone, I also know that life would go on, and everyone would adapt.  So why can't I give myself a break?

They say stress is not good.  That is saying the obvious in an understated way.  Stress wreaks havoc on a person.  I am a prime example.  My health is deteriorating, my energy is depleted, and my usually sunny disposition is cloudy, with a chance of thunder storms.  Right now, the only thing I know, is that storms pass.  I have lived through enough of them to know that dark clouds dissipate, and the sun shines through once again.  But for now, maybe I should just find a corner to curl up into and allow the rain (tears) to fall.  It can be cleansing.

In the poem Yesterday I Cried, by Iyanla Vanzant, a woman sits on her bed and cries for all of the heartaches and regrets of her life.  Perhaps tonight I will sit on my bed and do just that.  I don't know if I will feel better for having done so, but the persistant Pollyanna inside me is reminding me that I will likely find something to be glad for among my own heartaches and regrets.  That the sun will shine again and that, ultimately, nothing can defeat me except my own negative thinking. 

And though I may cry UNCLE today, and face other UNCLE days in the future, I do trust that the valleys of my life help me appreciate the peaks that much more.  I know from my own experience that storms pass, and the sun shines . . . and that is enough to get me through this UNCLE day!