Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mae'n Dyrys (It's Puzzling)

Two people whose eyes meet across a room, and they feel a connection that can't be explained; Through life we are slowly finding pieces of our puzzle to put into place. Sometimes the cat steals a corner piece, or we think we found a perfect fit and a few rows later we realize that the piece was jammed in the wrong hole (sometimes the square pegs look like they fit in the round holes). Even though we try to reach nirvana (heaven) and fill in the entire puzzle, that isn't always what will happen in the this life. It might take a few. It might take the puzzle falling apart a few times before we figure it out. Finding someone who makes us feel like we are home, someone to help us with our puzzle while we help them with theirs, that can be the most satisfying feeling in the world.

Maybe we are meant to have more in this life, or maybe less. Life is definitely not fair, but maybe through this puzzle we find pieces that make sense and we can fit them in. And maybe sometimes the only pieces that make sense are the ones in the middle, the ones that make up the face of a sloth, and the jungle is a tangle that we can't seem to sort through. It can be frustrating to see what makes sense, to feel it so close, yet not be able to connect it just yet.

When we meet our "puzzle sloths" (insert whichever favorite animal you prefer), it can become easy to fixate on them. When you've built up your border, and year after year through resilience and fighting you have found and pieced together corners of the jungle, maybe a tree here and a canopy there, but you feel lost and stuck after that...and then you stumble upon a complete, familiar face, how do you not focus on it? It gives you a center, a familiarity that you finally feel like you can see what the whole picture will look like. You are filled with a sense of strength that you forgot you had, and you are reinvigorated to continue piecing the puzzle together, to find where the sloth will be.

Sometimes there are days when I want to flip the table, everything feels upside down, the puzzle might as well be too, right? But then I see that sloth, and it reminds me, even its distance, that it's ok. Today might suck, hell this whole year might, but it will be ok.

It's hard to find where you want to be and what you want, but to be unable to get there makes it even harder. All through life we take steps towards a state of nirvana (or heaven, whichever you believe). Sometimes knowing what you want in life is a blessing and other times it feels like a curse. In some lives we may not ever know what we want, so to be sure of it and to know that we are on the right path can be reassuring, and perhaps this life we are meant to learn patience as we travel to where we are meant to be.

I do cherish the moments in my life where I was wrong. If I had not been so bigoted in my younger years, I couldn't have had such a strong "come to Jesus" awakening in high school of how much more to life there was. And I don't mean that in a "being an adult" sort of knowledge, it's much more existential than that. One lesson I am grateful to have learned is how to live and be non judgmental. (Ok I will admit I am not perfect and I do judge....but only stupidity and ego.)

Happiness...what is it? Talking and having an honest conversation with an old friend who is genuinely there and cares about you enough to actually respect you? A quiet walk by the creek with a trusted companion? Or a cup of tea and a pile of blankets with a warm cat in your lap? Happiness can look like a lot of different things and at different times mean either more or less. To be in a position where you know what happiness looks like for you can sometimes be the hardest part.

Along with that is being comfortable and confident in yourself. Finding happiness within yourself, knowing who you are and what you're feeling, that's vital in life. It's one thing to be told that you're beautiful, it's another to feel it. And when you are raised in an environment that was real and honest, but maybe never told you these words, does it make it harder to believe as an adult? Perhaps. To hear the words "you are so incredible, and so wonderful...Such an amazing woman and so beautiful.", how can these words mean so little?

I've learned that you can't simply tell someone with low self esteem or poor body image something and make them believe it. No more than you can tell someone with anxiety to calm down or someone with cancer to not be sick. If someone feels unattractive (even if they shine like the sun on a summers morn over the Atlantic Ocean), the last thing they need to hear is "you're so beautiful!", because I can guarantee that they will feel hollow and empty inside if they don't believe it. To go back to the puzzle metaphor, if they have a few staggered pieces here and there with no foundation, it will slip through the cracks and drain them of their energy.

What can you do say to someone in that position instead? It's hard to write a script for that moment. You have to truly care enough about them to understand how they feel loved, how they feel heard, and how they are feeling even when they are lying. Reading the signs, riding the waves, it's a constant change. Building them up, finding ways to give them indirect compliments that help build their self esteem...that's the tricky part but can be easy if you know them well.

Trying to figure out where to go in life, having bad days and good moments. Some good days with bad moments. Knowing that happiness is a state of mind, a choice, and shouldn't be found in a person.

That's enough cliches for this chapter (maybe), but the truth of it is that while I am happy with who I am, I'm not perfect. I do still derive some measure of happiness from those around me, perhaps that is the empath in me, perhaps its' simply the human part of my emotions.

Hearing from someone who means a lot to me can sometimes be enough to make me smile and cheer me up. Even if they are telling me "F*** you, ;-)" in jest, in a way that makes it feel like even more of a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And likewise, telling someone that I didn't have a great day and simply having that 'ignored' and only followed up with a "good night, love ya" can be enough to bring me down a little. In a hollow and empty way; because it seems that I have discovered where my heart truly lies and that in itself has been an interesting discovery.

Every once in awhile we take our puzzle apart a little before a bigger piece falls into place. Sometimes we have to take a chunk somewhere else and get fresh eyes on it to see how it fits in. And then sometimes we look away from building ours to help a friend build theirs, and occasionally we discover that both are interconnected in someway, or that they had the missing piece that we had been searching for.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Giraffes & Training: Together?

What do you do when you find yourself cross eyed for a cupcake and so blind to the sugar that your loyalty is on yourself, and the sugar, more than on the supplier?

Just as with humans, animal relationships are the same. It's all a philosophy of looking at souls. It's
not about black skin or white skin, it's not about a dog or a giraffe. Building a relationship to a point of loyalty and trust takes a long time, it takes a lot of deposits into a trust account. Only once you have that history can your relationship handle withdrawals and a few dips in the market. Anything, over time, can fade away, and sometimes it will break without a warning. At least not a warning that is immediately identifiable, but there is no reaction without an action.

Whether you are training an animal to allow you to stick a needle in them, or you are creating a foundation of trust and love with a close friend, if you don't allow them choice and control, or options to participate willingly, there is an inevitable end where the behavior or the relationship will break. With time you can bring it back, until you can't anymore. You never know when that point is until you've reached it, but hopefully with an enlightened point of view, and a willingness to admit fault and grow, with conscious effort to be better, the chances of that are dramatically decreased. Pez-feeding a relationship with cupcakes, crackers, words, or gestures can only sustain it for so long. Allow them the option to choose to be with you; help them fall in "love" and genuinely enjoy your company, so that when the inevitable down slopes of life occur, they know that spending that time with you will make it better.

It's natural to crave a level of intimacy in our relationships that fills our desire to be needed and wanted. Whether we are moving onto a new career, or starting a life with a new family, or even just starting a new relationship with a new soul, we all want to feel "helpful". Sometimes that helpful is to bring an animal comfort and joy when they are around us or see us. Sometimes it's to help a close friend through a tough time, or even an easy time, but simply being there to curse, or listen, or have a tissue or a beer fulfills our sense of duty and obligation.  When someone leaves you unexpectedly, it makes you want to crawl into the hole they left behind and stop trying.

But you can't. Well, you can, and your soul simply won't grow, and for some people that's ok. After enough cycles, we build resilience and a little voice inside drives us to keep going, it feeds us keep going signals even when we have no faith in hope, because we know, that it's ok. We know that it's for a reason and on levels we don't even consciously recognize, there is a comfort in that. It isn't hope that drives us at that point, it's a resilience built from lifetimes of fighting and pushing and growing to where we are now. And for those around us 'old souls' that struggle and fall down and need a hand, we feel obligated to be there for them, sometimes even when all we want is to leave the world behind, because it's the right thing to do.

It may not be the end of the world, but pain is perceived differently by everyone. Who knows why one cryptorchid moose will allow a hand in places that cause grown men to blush, but another won't approach a human they've known for years? One heartbreak might bring a grown man to his knees, whereas a thousand broken hearts leaves a woman standing stronger and unflinching. Until the soul she never thought she'd lose, the one she felt more akin with than her own even, becomes like a will-o-wisp and leaves a tangibly empty hole that brings a pain into her life that infiltrates everything. No matter the pain or anger caused by other fairly substantial events, the repeated phrase is "I think you're more upset about 'her'. Someone who has nothing to do with this event directly." And each time, there is zero denial and 100% acceptance of this statement.
Ultimately we are all stronger than we think. It takes a strong crash to awaken us to it sometimes, or a needle poke to realize where our loyalty is. Is it with the supplier of the cupcake, or have we been cross eyed this entire time? Where do we stand now?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Satiation and hormones vs romantic (or Oceanography)

With frustrations in life we tend to vent about them, yell at the object of our frustration, write down what we are feeling, yell about them, hit things, meditate and let the feelings go...there are many different ways.

And then once the satiation is met, the tide recedes and emotions are temporarily at ease. Life is a
constant roller coaster; an ebb and flow through time of ups and downs. Through it all we have a few constants, just like how the same wave doesn't surface exactly the same, but the ocean is always there below it...there are people in our lives that are either waves or the depths. And then there are tidal waves. Let's call satiation the tidal waves, hormones the waves, and romantic the depths.

Sometimes romantic can also simply be the close friendships that we create and have in our lives; not always romantic involvement but they are people in our lives that know us better than we know ourselves sometimes. One of those people that I am so incredibly grateful for in my life is Eekhoorn. Not because she makes me say "eek" at some of the messages I get from her, but because is a perfect combination of strength, steadfastness, inappropriate humor, sass, empathy, and understanding all rolled into one beautifully quirky woman! I will be forever grateful that she started a conversation and invited me out to a beer, that was one of the best decisions of the year that I made. She, along with a select few others, have kept me sane this year, and in the same breath has not only encouraged my craziness but embraces it and matches me step for step.

The waves are only natural, and some days are definitely better than others. It's when the tidal waves rush in; the calm before the storm is eerily silent and the next thing you know an overwhelming sense of emotion washes over you; leaving nothing in its' wake unblemished. At the end of the recession however, the depths are still there, understanding and accepting that sometimes, things happen. Usually a tidal wave is a cause of a resonating earthquake or other massive natural disaster; the tidal wave doesn't always follow immediately.

As frustrated as it is to find yourself caught in a tidal wave, and hating every single uncomfortable toss and turn, it's inevitable in life and eventually the rushes will stop and the deep sea will settle once again. Knowing where the rushing tides are gathering and trying to keep your senses about you can be tough, and it's okay to not resist the every time. Taoists will teach to go with the natural flow of life and not fight against nature; I think that sometimes these tidal waves are a natural effect from a cause that we can't always control.

Even if we find ourselves wanting nothing to do with certain souls (and we know deep down that we have taken precautions to protect our hearts and created walls), they find ways to interject themselves into our lives and test our barriers, even with hot wire and sharp bite, they'll still jump in and try to pet the warthogs. An earthquake will rumble down the mountain and with a smile to cover the canines we feel deep in our bones that trusting what felt like nothing may very well create a tidal wave in the future.

What do you do when your gut tells you one thing, and every fact points to other logics? Sometimes all you can do is ride out the storms, fall back to the depths for stability, and prepare yourself for the next wave. Thank goodness for the ocean, because without it we would all be lost.