“No life is a waste,” the Blue Man said. “The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we’re alone.”
― Mitch Albom
One of the most interesting paradoxes of life in the twenty-first century for me is that thanks to the internet we are all so connected and yet many of us feel more alone than ever. It is all too easy to feel misunderstood and alienated. We can reach out to so many and yet actually feel so few. We feel cut off but in reality we are so busy trying to commune with the heart of another that we miss an inner connection to our own hearts.
If we are truly inwardly connected then it is unlikely that we will feel lonely. It makes it so much easier to have authentic connection to others as well. Yet more and more we wall ourselves off afraid to face the shadows that block us from ourselves. We search externally for someone to fill this internal gap. Indeed we quite often find the person who reflects most our own brokenness. This can either result in greater self-understanding or a cycle of attraction-repulsion-dismissal-lonliness and then attraction to another broken reflection of ourselves convince that now we have found the one who will free us and fill that void.
I long ago told myself that I wouldn’t find the person who was right for me until I was right for myself. I finally got to know myself well enough that that became possible and the better I come to know myself and fill my own gaps the better the relationship becomes. When we are truly with ourselves than we can never be lonely.
“How can I accept a limited definable self, when I feel, in me, all possibilities?”
— Anaïs Nin
Open the byways and alleys of me
Show me the infinite
Unblock the paths
that I have yet to tread
and bring me awareness
not to be someone else
but to be me in fullness
For how can I know anything
more than I know myself?
If I truly am more than I have known
let me see it
let me be it.
O scribe who stands at the crossroads
show me the way through
— G A Rosenberg
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh
The simplest questions are the most profound.
Where were you born?
Where is your home?
Where are you going?
What are you doing?
Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change.
— Richard Bach
I feel lost in a web of introspection tonight. I look at and question my motivations. Why am I so obsessed with making art of late? What in me needs to be expressed? Is it an addiction to the comments and feedback or is it something deeper? Where is my spiritual centre these days? Where am I going with what I am doing? The endless stream of questions continue. If this is who I am right now I can embrace it until something else calls to me. I shall remain open to whatever comes but I will continue questioning. Perhaps in the journey to find the answers and my openness along the way I will learn more than if I had a specific goal in sight. That is a goal beyond gaining ever greater understanding. Tho sometimes it feels as if paradoxically the plot thickens and I’ve lost the plot at the same time. Time will tell of course. It always does. What is time tho than another word for change?
“We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.”
― Terence McKenna
Why do we do the things we do? What are our processes? What in us is a product of cultural, family and media conditioning and what is our authentic selves? Are we our views and our reasoning on any given viewpoint? All too often we accept our conditioning and viewpoints as our reality and we defend any challenge to them as if they were a personal attack. Why? If our viewpoints cannot withstand challenge doesn’t that mean it may be time to change them? If we are looking to gain more understanding of ourselves, doesn’t that make it a good idea to welcome challenge? Can we learn to accept that something we believe in may be wrong and change it even if we believe it passionately?
I have been working on these questions for awhile now and I have finally come to the point where I welcome my ideas being challenged. If I find myself getting personally offended when a statement I make has been challenged, I see it as an opportunity to look at what part of me feels wounded by the challenge? I can change a viewpoint knowing that it does not mean changing my real authentic self just part of the barnacles that have grown on the surface.