Sunday, September 8, 2013

Learning to See What We Have in Common

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I suppose you could say I am up to my eyeballs in my exploration of different means to restore my health.  I am most definitely "out of the woods" now.  My physical therapy appointments have concluded.  Even my acupuncture appointments are now set for only once a week.  Unlike other times in my life, however, I will not slack off now.  My situation has now finally begun to stabilize.  To cease my rigorous discipline of deep self-care now would be a virtual invitation to a relapse of my previous persistent feelings of overwhelm.

Last month I enrolled in some classes through an organization called Pathways Health Crisis Resource Center.  One of the classes I enrolled in is a seven week course focused on the theme of forgiveness.  I realize I have some work to do in regards to this topic.  I feel the need to forgive myself.  And I also feel the need to continue to breathe deeply whenever I feel frustration arise regarding my disappointment in my father and our most recent interaction.  I am standing firm in my decision regarding my relationship with him.  But that does not mean it is an easy choice.  I have felt the weight of grief and sadness these last several days.

Our first assignment in my forgiveness class is to find compassion for ourselves and others by heightening awareness of that which all human beings have in common.  I am repeating some of the instructions contained below.  If you are interested to learn more about the course the name of the instructor is Laura Davida Preves.

With your attention focused on the other person, tell yourself:

  • This person is seeking happiness in life just as I am.
  • This person is trying to avoid suffering in life just as I am.
  • This person has known sadness, loneliness and despair just as I have.
  • This person is seeking to fulfill needs just as I am.
  • This person is learning about life just as I am.

I find this activity to be especially timely to do right now.  I recognize that a primary issue I have with my father involves the different approaches we take to suffering.  Whereas my father's tendency is to avoid suffering to such an extent that it strikes me as pathologically unhealthy my tendency (and I know sometimes it becomes unhealthy) is to focus on the negative a bit too much.  Health requires balance.  Wallowing in pain is not healthy.  Avoiding all pain is also not healthy.  The middle road in which we acknowledge the darkness and unavoidable suffering in life yet enjoy, celebrate and focus first and foremost on all that is good is the ideal path to take.  And we are all on a journey of seeking to find such harmony.

I attended the Metropolitan Community Church again this morning.  I enjoyed the service.  And yet I see that one of my primary reservations about becoming an active member of the congregation is my own lack of certainty about what I believe about the figure of Jesus Christ.  I do not know that I believe he actually ever existed.  I would like to believe he did.  I grew up being taught that he once lived and walked the Earth.  Given the issues I am currently wrestling with in my life it seems relatively unimportant whether I believe in the historical existence of Jesus or not.  What I believe is more critical is to focus on the fundamental spark of beauty, goodness and inherent dignity that each human being possesses and reflects.  I believe we are all capable of amazing generosity, kindness and compassion.  Within the human heart is an immense power for love.  I would rather focus on that than our simultaneous capacity for self-destruction.

I am excited by my upcoming time away at the 29th Annual Minnesota Men's Conference.  The gift of this experience could not come at a better time.  I believe it will be a great way to celebrate turning forty years old.  I hope it will provide me a much needed "shot in the arm" to help me address the deficit of healthy masculine energy in my life.  (Though I plan to write each day while there I might not be able to post my writings to my blog until I return on Sunday, September 15th)

I occasionally have the impression that I have deluded myself (to some degree) for a long time regarding the depth of the hunger I have for healthy male energy in my life.  When I sit still, close my eyes, breathe and allow myself to feel into that space within me where the hunger rumbles it feels a bit overwhelming.  The feeling I have is not unlike what you might feel upon walking into a room full of dust, debris and chaos that is so dark you can barely make out the forms of anything sitting within the space.  Then, as light slowly fills the room, the contours of what could not be seen become increasingly visible.  And as my surroundings become more visible my own sadness grows in equal measure.  It's as if I am now awakening to the depth of that hunger I have been carrying for so long.

Despite the somberness of spirit I am conveying in my writing today I nonetheless do feel increasingly confident that I am moving in a good direction.  It's simply going to be a process that requires an intensive amount of time and commitment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!