Tag Archives: acceptance

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

http://www.poetrybycharlescfinn.com/pleasehear.html

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
masks that I’m afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.

Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me,
but don’t be fooled,
for God’s sake don’t be fooled.
I give you the impression that I’m secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me,
within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water’s calm and I’m in command
and that I need no one,
but don’t believe me.
My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,
ever-varying and ever-concealing.
Beneath lies no complacence.
Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope,
and I know it.
That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,
if it’s followed by love.
It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself,
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.
It’s the only thing that will assure me
of what I can’t assure myself,
that I’m really worth something.
But I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare to, I’m afraid to.
I’m afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,
will not be followed by love.
I’m afraid you’ll think less of me,
that you’ll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing
and that you will see this and reject me.

So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without
and a trembling child within.
So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that’s really nothing,
and nothing of what’s everything,
of what’s crying within me.
So when I’m going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I’m saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying,
what I’d like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say,
but what I can’t say.

I don’t like hiding.
I don’t like playing superficial phony games.
I want to stop playing them.
I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me
but you’ve got to help me.
You’ve got to hold out your hand
even when that’s the last thing I seem to want.
Only you can wipe away from my eyes
the blank stare of the breathing dead.
Only you can call me into aliveness.
Each time you’re kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
each time you try to understand because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings–
very small wings,
very feeble wings,
but wings!

With your power to touch me into feeling
you can breathe life into me.
I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
how you can be a creator–an honest-to-God creator–
of the person that is me
if you choose to.
You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
you alone can remove my mask,
you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic,
from my lonely prison,
if you choose to.
Please choose to.

Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me
the blinder I may strike back.
It’s irrational, but despite what the books say about man
often I am irrational.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls
and in this lies my hope.
Please try to beat down those walls
with firm hands but with gentle hands
for a child is very sensitive.

Who am I, you may wonder?
I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man you meet
and I am every woman you meet.

Charles C. Finn
September 1966

Advertisements

I Don’t Know What I Mean to You

I have been feeling guilty about wanting to stop seeing my therapist, mainly on her account. In this context, she asked me if I am very concerned with how I affect other people. Strangely, this innocuous little question knocked me for a loop.

My first reaction was “that doesn’t resonate with me at all.” We both paused, waiting for me to continue.

Magically, in the best way therapy can, this opened up a new avenue into my psyche, one I would not have discovered on my own. I proceeded slowly at first. I related that I am more concerned with how others affect me…but that didn’t sound right. Did that mean I am obviously self-absorbed? Goddess forbid! I wanted to find a shred of evidence that I did care how I affect others.

When I couldn’t immediately, I defensively explored out loud that it seems useless to be concerned about that because it is just guessing then. If someone doesn’t tell me how I have affected him, how can I know? Why be concerned about that? I felt better, almost smugly proud, after making this arguement. Then I backtracked.

Memories of worrying about my negative effect on people started trickling into my awareness. Once I admitted that I do care about my negative impact, I realized that I rarely or never consider how I positively affect people.

Friends, mostly women, have told me how wonderful I am, how happy they are to know me, but oftentimes I barely believe them. I don’t accept the compliment which means I don’t take it personally. My inner self never receives the message. In my philosophy class, my teacher explained that we are active participants in being offended; someone says words but we have to accept them to be truly affected by them…we stab ourselves with those words and feel offended. If I don’t want to do that, why would I want to refuse the positive words, preferring to stab myself with negative words of my own choosing?

I continued to talk out loud in general, even though I was thinking in specifics, namely, my ex-boyfriends. I was getting choked up, realizing I have no clue if any of them were positively affected by me. How do they even remember me, if they do at all?! Something close to panic began to grow inside me. I kept talking to keep it at bay.

My therapist and I are both Scorpios, so it was easy and natural to seque into the following point. In all the love horoscopes I have read for fun, Scorpio women are highly praised. I have read countless times that you will never forget a Scorpio woman, you should hold onto her if you are lucky enough to find one, she is passionate, loyal and worth the ride! This used to bring me pride and confidence, but after a few “failed” relationships, I cannot help but wonder why no one has thought that about me.

I am not proud of that thought, and I am still exploring who I would actually be compatible with. It is becoming clear that I might be falling for the “wrong” kind of man (subject for a future essay). However, this journey had helped me to see that I hope I did positively affect the men I loved, but I doubt I did without any proof. Only one of my exes is someone I talk to, and I don’t think I affected him much if at all.

Looking at my last relationship, I wondered if there was any evidence I even affected him while we were together. Did he change at all to accomodate me? Was our relationship a dialogue or two one-sided monologues? I haven’t looked hard enough yet, but there is one memorable thing which he did differently after he got to know me better. I was pleasantly shocked when he first did it. After we showered, he would wait for me to wipe all the water from my body before handing me a towel. That made me ridiculously happy. This was a sign that he noticed a preference of mine and was willing to do something differently for me! It seems silly even as I write it. I am having trouble thinking of anything further…something that was for me and not just any woman.

After we broke up, for good, I wanted to complete our relationship (along the lines of: http://www.interchangecounseling.com/blog/6-steps-to-completing-relationships/). I doubted he could do it, but I still asked. When he didn’t respond, I accepted it wouldn’t happen. Then when he did ultimately refuse, I pretended to be ok with that. It is just now I can acknowledge how painful it was. By not needing that for himself, he was demonstrating he didn’t care what I needed. So I will never know how I affected him, for good or ill. His lack of communication on this is, in effect, a denial that I did affect him at all. I feel written out of his story, and that is more hurtful than anything.

I want to believe the best relationships are those between people who are mutually affected by each other in positive ways. Perhaps the men I have loved did not want to be impacted by me and we broke up because of this. Maybe this is a red flag I have never looked for…maybe my lesson here is look for people who know how to be affected, who know how to love in dialogue.

(Although I don’t believe this next statement yet…I want to:) I deserve to be in a relationship in which my partner is happy to be changed by me, through me…and so he must truly see me. I am more than a woman; I am my Self, unique and myriad. I am also fluid, willing to be changed, to be affected…I am not rigid and attached to one “right” shape. And while I have no idea what it feels like to be in a love dialogue, I do know it is what I want for my Self, and choose to deserve.


I Don’t Act My Age: A pep talk

Biologically, I am 29, and I do not act like it! I get paid to play like a 2-year-old and I party like a very-active grandma. Part of my journey towards self-love is accepting that I am unconventional and should not expect to find a conventional love. But first let me learn to fall in love with myself. In being true to myself, living according to my own inner authority, I will be present and authentic so that I can do just that.

I learned a lot about love and pain at a very young age, and I felt jaded and different. At first, I could only believe that I had grown up too fast, always acting too mature for my own good. With this loss of innocence, I found it difficult to connect to my peers, so I stopped trying. I was a weird kid, and I had found my weird friends, but then my friendship needs changed. We had grown together possibly because we were different than everyone else, we were the eccentrics.

That may sound vague, or even cryptic, so let me elaborate…my peer group felt like it was morphing into a multi-headed blob, instead of being a happy group of individuals. The thing we had in common, our weirdness, came to define us and became heightened. We became stereotypes and we stereotyped ourselves. But there was so much more of me that was not being acknowledged in any way.

So I choose to go off in search of a different kind of connection. I followed the beat of my own drum, and I began to base my friendships on true interests or values we had in common. This journey has been hard from the beginning. My parents had a new baby at home, so without friends, I had plenty of alone time. In some ways this was a huge boost of self-love, but I didn’t see it that way.

Soon, I got sucked up into a friendship that still persists today, with my cousin, older by eleven years, but his mind worked just like mine. An odd friendship for a 15-year-old, but our conversations were more educational than anything I learned in school. We truly had a connection; it was palpable. Even I, young as I was, knew this was the kind of friendship people want to have, so even while people (mainly our family) questioned our “motives” I stayed dedicated.

Ever since, I let my friendships happen, no matter who they are with. I can make friends with a four-year-old stranger at a wedding, or a 60-year-old stranger. I have never lost my ability to play and enjoy life, which some could perceive as flirting with the world! I own my interests, and they are by no means “cool.” I love picture puzzles, cribbage, intellectual discussions (where I seem to find many people who have retired awhile ago for some reason), but I am having a ball!

I may not meet a cute age-appropriate co-worker at work (since I am a nanny), nor may I find love discussing the Tao Te Ching with people twice my age (but maybe I will), but it doesn’t matter. But, I am sure to find friends, as I play with toy trains and poetically recite Lao Tzu…and I will nurture my love for my Self, and my own personal journey.


Competitive Grieving

Note to Self:

A little over a week ago, I emailed my ex to see if he would meet me to have a happy closing to our relationship, see my previous reblogged post. With no reponse and some acquired inner peace, I decided to retract my request.

Last night, I sent him a somewhat wine-induced email that I hope read as beautifully poetic, but who knows. I wrote it for me, thanking him and speaking my one last piece/peace, then it was goodbye. I felt good when I hit send! My heartbeat was regular, my thoughts on good realities. Sleep came easy.

As I was scribbling notes for my book in Bryant Park, I got a reply from him. Instantly, my heart stampeded and my thoughts began to howl. I steadfastly returned to finish my thoughts on book, claiming my present once more.

Before I let myself read the response, I demanded an examination of my reaction from Mind. Dutifully, We identified thoughts and their effect, We agreed to eat some food to counter the caffeine jitters (which only aggravate anxiety!) and We came to see there was a competition afoot!

Without contact, I have been free to make up many stories about my ex which all basically assume he is worse off without me than I am without him. This has regrettably brought me satisfaction. So I want to think I am doing better than he is.

His response basically confirmed what I had thought he would say: he doesn’t need any closure from me like I was asking for from him. I was furious! And why? 

I have become competitive about grieving! I want to be better, faster…etc.

That is silly. I am so glad I took the time to write out my thoughts. Now I can remind myself to cease with this comparison and be happy for him and happy for myself. I have been moving on, and as my ex said, in my own way…but it is more important to focus on what I have gained now. I am good, my life is good and I have no regrets for how I have treated my ex. I forgive him and I forgive myself for all that needs forgiveness.

May we both be free from harm,
May we both be happy,
May we both be healthy and
May we both live with ease.

Self


The Behavioral Economic Position on Whether You Can Get Your Ex Back

To the Irrationality which is is in all of us,

In my wonderful Coursera.org class taught by Dan Ariely, we learned about the “endowment effect,” which describes how ownership automatically ups the value of something. An example was given that if there was an extremely popular but sold-out event, the ticket holders are likely to set an extremely high monetary value for their tickets, whereas other people who wanted to attend just as much would normally set a much lower monetary value as the maximum they would spend to get a ticket from a current ticket holder.

Both groups would explain their reasons in terms of what they do have. The ticket holders would emphasize how amazing and important attending this game will be for them, helping reinforce its value to them. The would-be ticket buyers would rationalize in terms of saving their money, so maybe they could watch the event on television and pay less for refreshments, thus solidifying this as the the best option.

When I proposed breaking-up to my ex-boyfriend, he was at first extremely agitated and passionate that we try to work things out. He was focused on losing me; I was something he had, or had “a girlfriend.” I was on the fence at this point, so we tried to work it out. We couldn’t keep it going like we wanted it, so we broke up; it was mutual. We both suffered the loss of something we had during this time. I had loved having “a boyfriend” and thought he was an amazing person…yet here we were.

After a bit, I missed him too much and told him I wanted to get back together. He also missed me, but thought he shouldn’t be in a relationship for reasons I do not know. We tried to be friends. I wanted him still, or maybe I was still feeling “loss aversion,” another economics term that refers to how we are more affected by loss than we are by gain (in respective directions). I think we both were feeling averse to loss. 

However, when I brought up this issue again about getting back together, my ex had been having lots of free time which he could spend without worrying about me. He now would have to give up something to get back together with me. So feeling the endowment effect, he decided to not rekindle our relationship once and for all.

Perhaps, there is a window of opportunity, or perhaps there is a strategy of being so awesome and wonderful that he only feels the loss of you and not the gain of anything else, but I do not advise scheming when you have asked and received a clear answer. Just go deal with your loss aversion, and start to think about what you have been endowed with now that HE is gone!

A Mind full of connections


Letting Go with Compassion is Hard!

Dear troubled Mind,

I have been once again watching you think yourself into knots and traps of your own making. You are trying to learn to be more aware of what you think, but there is no rush to get it right. You have always striven to be the best student, but you are too hard on yourself. It is ok to do things in the order and at the pace at which they need to be done. You have committed yourself to improve your powers of attention as We increase our awareness of Our Self and Our loving nature.

Remember, Mind, We are in this together and you do not have to do it alone. Trust in us, and relinquish your belief that you are more right, relinquish your pride. If I may suggest, try to stop and listen before shouting out an answer. You are just a beginner at this kind of mindfulness, so there is no need to pretend to be an expert. No one is fooled by you here. You have read about this and you have studied this quite a lot, but you have not practiced it yet, in truth. So be humble, and listen, observe.

Both Heart and you, Mind, have many tendencies towards egoism. You want your issue to be the center of attention, and you can be quite demanding and petulant about getting quick results. This just reminds me of how much you need to learn, but I am still new at practicing compassion to you. I apologize for trying harder to cultivate compassion for people outside of me, rather than for all of Me. [Side note: I used “me” to show that when I experience separation of self and others in a very concrete way, I have not acknowledged the unifying “Me” to which all of us belong.]

We have all agreed we want to be free of attachment, but we have not fully defined what this means. Heart wants to be free of the pain that accompanies believing We need to be in a defined love relationship to this other person; Mind wants to be free of the negative (i.e. untrue) stories that spring up so easily from speculation and expectation; Body wants to be free of the worry that no one will love it if it does not conform to societal standards of beauty; and, as for My Self, I would like to practice being free from My attachment to Heart, Mind and Body more and more, so as to connect with the stillness.

Sitting here now, calm and peaceful, isn’t it easy to observe how much progress We all have made? How wonderful! 

We can celebrate this moment and when another moment arises in which suffering again returns, which it inevitable will do, we can remember that we are not fighting suffering, but letting go of suffering. We can read texts that remind all of Us that there will still be suffering, but we do not need to fear it. Let’s recommend to Our Self, this passage from Lovingkindness, by Sharon Salzberg.

“[We] are brought up with the feeling that suffering is somehow wrong, or to be avoided. We get the idea that suffering is unbearable and should not even be faced.”

She tells us that the first step to develop true compassion is to accept that suffering exists. If we are are unable to face this fact, we will never be able to let go of our pain. Our beliefs limit us; they too are thoughts to which we get easily attached. If we have hold to our belief that pain is bad, than we inevitable cause ourselves to feel more pain, in the form of self-directed negativity in the face of our pain. We have become attached to our pain

No wonder then, my darling Mind, that you have been struggling to let go. As you started to let go of certain thoughts, did you believe yourself to have gotten free? …only to struggle more and more, finding yet another belief holding you back. Perhaps you even thought you were going in the wrong direction because there just seemed to be getting more entangled? Did you even realize that you were getting frustrated with yourself and making up stories about doing something wrong?

This struggle is to be celebrated and commended because it shows how aware you are becoming! You have been confined by many, many thoughts, beliefs and opinions, unknowingly! So as you begin to truly know yourself, you are discovering more and more restraints which you will now be able to let go. You have witnessed how easy it is to be tricked into this almost invisible cage. I cannot help but be amazed at how easily we have been lulled into captivity where we feel safe and comfortable. We are living in the Matrix or on the set of the Truman Show.

So Mind, be easy, calm down, accept what happens, and keep up the good work! I know you are on your way to being compassionate with yourself as you keep letting go…the process is the end in itself.

Compassionately,

Self


Building your Tribe/Finding your People

Building your Tribe/Finding your People

Last reblog for the night, I promise…but this is this is a primary goal for me right now, so I am so excited to find other people writing about this topic!


High Quality Crying

High Quality Crying

Wow, I needed to read this!

Excerpts from the reblog itself:

It’s hard being a person, and the stresses and pressures periodically just become too much for us. Crying is a helpful release mechanism, bypassing our beliefs that we have to hold it all together and giving us a chance to break down and get help.”

It’s not hard to support someone when they’re crying. All you need to do is offer comfort and safety at the same time as you encourage them to feel whatever they need to feel.”


One of the Most Valuable Lessons I Ever Learned

One of the Most Valuable Lessons I Ever Learned.

“Everyone is dancing the best dance that he or she can.”

A beautiful reblog about changing perspectives on people in your lives. Check it out!


Life-Cycle of Relationships

Life-Cycle of Relationships

More help on why relationships end and how it is natural for all relationships. We look at the stages that relationships go through and why they either continue or end…wow! Amazing perspective.


%d bloggers like this: