October 23, 2008

I meant to post this last night, but I guess I didn’t hit publish. It still stands though, so up it goes.

I hung my coat on the peg inside my front door after an angry ride home and felt utterly alone. Sun was nearly set. Apartment was empty. Nothing was on the schedule except dishes, eating and working out. Alone.

Anger is a good first sign that sadness is lurking beneath the surface. Sadness and confusion. I can’t say that I know what I’m doing these day because I just don’t. I don’t know that is. I think I talk a lot like I do, but inside I’m confused and sometimes, like right now, I am sad and lonely. I keep telling myself it’s good work to just try and stay with the sadness. I’m resisting turning on the radio or calling a friend or thumbing through a catalog. I’m resisting distracting myself too much so I can experience the fear and the sadness and the yearning for something to change those unwanted feelings into ones that are more pleasurable.

This is me today. Still sad and I think fighting off some sickness. This is the first time I’ve called in sick to work since I started this job more than two years ago. I need to sleep. I went to bed at 8:30 last night and got up today at 10 and will probably go back to bed pretty soon.

There are moments in experiencing all the unwanted feelings when I’m able to summon the courage to let the experience open me up to other folks’ pain. Last night I thought about my mom and dad and my girl in western Mass and RU and my friend with breast cancer and some of the people I saw on the street in SF. I thought of all of them and I felt such tenderness. I felt a little in awe of the human condition too.  The capacity for suffering. It made me think about my own capacity for suffering. Made me think about how I cause my suffering. What a silly human I can be. Seriously. I say that with mild judgment, because mostly it’s a curious and humorous endeavor.

I’ve been struggling a lot this year with trying to figure out how to connect with people–people I love, people I like, people I work with, people I just know–understanding that connection is not an all or nothing endeavor. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to manage what makes that hard for me, which means not shutting down to fear and fear is at my core, not that it’s the only thing there, but it’s in the mix. RU left a comment about fear that was right on target about how it prevents connection. In my experience fear shuts my ass right down, makes me smaller and meaner and tougher and more apart. But as I’ve worked with fear, sometimes I can loosen the grip and not take all those attendant feelings so seriously. Fear doesn’t exactly soften me, but it doesn’t rule me either, not every time. I say that and immediately get superstitious that now fear is gonna get me back and show me about how I should take it seriously. Ah, this is a perfect example of my monkey mind.

But it’s not just fear that get’s in the way of connection for me, it’s what’s at the bottom of it, and I’ve not been ready to get to the bottom of it until now. So what is it? It is this fundamental mistrust. This core belief that no one will look out for my best interests. No one has and no one will. Not because everyone’s mean or cold or so fucked up. I’m not a misanthrope. Folks just get broken in such a away they don’t have it in them, don’t have it to give. By the way this is not a personal reflection on anybody I’m close to or his or her capacity to be close. This is just me putting out there why it’s hard for me to be close in return.


4 responses to “being”

  1. pep says:


  2. proteanme says:

    ah pep, you are the such a good reader. thanks for staying with me in one of my longer ramblings about externalizing the internal.

  3. RU says:

    I’m re-reading Pema Chodron. Contemplating yet again the idea that these horrible consuming mindstates are the perfect opportunity to open up…. At first I again thought “fuck, I can’t, don’t want to do this.” I rented the Wire, and started watching. But more and more I find it doesn’t even work any more. (The Wire! not working!?) The fear, the fuck you, fuck this, fuck myself feels more and more hollow. But it still comes out of my mouth and is in my brain like a habit unwilling to surrender, fighting to the death. I have nothing with which to replace it, and that’s supposed to be good. Hope isn’t an option. What remains? It’s a shitty fucking koan.

  4. proteanme says:

    an you give me a hard time when i say i fucking hate doing dishes. yes, no hope, no fear is a shitty koan and god, if he has tragedies in mind, is a bastard. but i can’t believe the wire isn’t working.

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