Friday, May 19, 2006

Deepak Chopra quote

"When you find a genuinely loving person, as you have, you will see that you are in his heart not because you look a certain way or act a certain way, but because he is following his own nature. Loving others is just the easiest way he knows how to be. When you realize this, the whole problem of not deserving is exposed for the illusion it really is. "

-Deepak Chopra

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

Well, I've been feeling sad for the last couple hours - even crying at one point. I realize that for perhaps the first time this year I am listening to a Billy Joel cd and I realize, also, that it is mother's day. This is my second mother's day without a mother. But I can still remember her - and maybe that's what I need to do now right now.

I don't really believe in coincidences. I didn't know it was mother's day (I'm not sure the French really celebrate it) but yet I put Billy Joel on - Billy Joel was my mother's favorite. I'm listening to Billy Joel's last, or one of his last, cds - the River of Dreams CD. I always liked it, but my mother always liked it much more. Now, as I get older I realize why.

In this CD he talks about losing faith, about depression, religion, soul, death, life, not knowing about life. And each song reminds me so dearly and clearly of my mother.

I'm so glad that I had my mother for the nineteen years I had her. I would rather have had her for those nineteen years than someone else for longer. But it still makes me sad that my boyfriend is going to buy a necklace for his mother (last minute of course :) ) and I have no one to buy a necklace for, or talk to. And, as I wrote in an earlier post today, F and I have been fighting a lot - yet, I feel like I have no one to talk to because everyone has such different values than I do - they don't approve of him as it is; they can't see past the arrogant, and yet rather unproven, macho exterior which I must admit is there. But anyway, my mother would know. The saddest part of my mother dying is she will never meet F and she will never know the children that I want to have with him. That is the saddest part.

And I miss her wisdom, I miss her faith, I miss her understanding, I miss her love, I miss her encouragement, I miss her validation. I miss my mother tremendously. Until I met F I felt afloat at sea, awash in the currents, with only dying people trying to hang on to me for their life, floating around. No one really held me up for two years - and they were the hardest years of my life. But anyway, it wasn't so terrible, people see much worse, and people care about me very much who I shouldn't discount - but they did not know what my mother knew.

And without those two years I would have no way to understand the fear and the loneliness my mother must've felt in her last years. She was dying of cancer after a 14 year valiant and brilliant fight - and only took her final breath when she and I let her go. She left when she was ready - not entirely ready - but when she had accepted it. But, regardless, she was an intelligent, sensitive, and accomplished woman. I know, though, that especially after her mother died when I was around eight (something like ten years before her death), and then even more so when her father died a few years ago, she felt very very alone. I probably understood her better than most people in this world. She did not receive validation from the people closest to her who she needed it from - she got a lot of anger from them because they did not understand her. Sure, some of that might have been her fault, but I was there - she tried, and she cried. And she loved anyway.

My mother related a lot to Billy Joel. I do now as well. We had a beachhouse in southern jersey and Billy Joel sings a song about Avalon and closing up for the season. I can remember so many seasons with my mother closing up the beach house. I remember driving in her minivan being a captive audience to Billy Joel playing over and over and over - and singing to him - and relating myself - and in my teenage years rebelling against the uncoolness of listening to him ALL the time when I was with my mother. But now I understand - he gets it. What it is I don't know, but he gets it.

Now I'm listening to The Great Wall of China - Billy Joel's manager I believe, or someone who worked with him and who he respected, betrayed him and took most of his money. His response is this song. It's great. You can tell that he is more jaded than in his earlier albums, but he is striving to work it out, still to have faith "You only beat me if you get me to hate." "We could've been standing on the Great Wall of China if you'd only had a little more faith in me." My mother felt betrayed by her job where the chairperson was trying to get her fired from her tenured position while she was very sick because, I think, he was jealous of her. She was very successful and yet very kind. She understood that feeling - you could've worked with me, had faith in me, but instead you just took.

A Minor Variation - dealing with depression "I just define it as a minor variation" he says - my mother didn't really like this song - she like'd to be more optimistic and was not really depressed - but, she expected to work in cycles. The motivation would hit her - she'd work like crazy and then it would leave and she'd not do much of anything. "Don't even hurt it's all a part of the pattern."

But I relate - I've had some very tough minor variations, "But I'm ready for the next time it hits me again, because I've gotten tough it doesn't phase me."

It's just
"Sometimes I gotta give right into the mood, despite how i try it's a sure shot i'm going to lose."

Shades of Grey - she loved this song - i think she was really confused more and more as she got older. i actually feel like i have always lived with the shades of grey. i think there's also a generational aspect of this song. at one point we were sure - world war II for example - that we were on the side of right and God. We haven't known that since Vietnam and now we're all stuck a little in shades of grey grasping desperately at our own individual blacks and whites or trying to reinvent the black and white in a more socially acceptable form for our new era.

"Some things were perfectly clear seen with the vision of youth
no doubts and nothing to fear i claimed the corner on truth
these days it's harder to say i know what i'm fighting for
i'm not that sure anymore"

Lullaby for Alexa (I think that's the name) - I think my mother liked this because for most of my life (since I was five) she was very aware of her own mortality due to the cancer. He's singing this song to his daughter, I believe, because he and her mother were divorcing. He wanted her to know he would always be there, even though he must leave now, even though he will die someday, even though she must sleep that night - and that he is there even if just in that she sings this lullaby to her child one day to put her child to sleep. I'm sure my mother felt all these ways for me. I miss her. Oh, mother, are you still somewhere?

River of Dreams - she loved this one too, related to it a lot - my mother was always searching and walking down to the river of dreams in the middle of the night...

in the middle of the night
i go walking in my sleep
from the mountains of faith (valley of fear) (jungle of doubt)
to the river so deep
i must be looking for something (searching for something)
but the river is wide (something taken out of my soul) (something so undefined)
and it's too hard to cross (something I'd never lose) (it can only be seen)
(Something somebody stole) (by the eyes of the blind)

my mother was searching - for faith, truth, for something to carry us past and through doubt and fear - for our dreams - i'm searching too...

2000 years - she loved this song too - we've come so far and yet not gotten anywhere - and yet, we hope we have gotten somewhere anyway

anyway, i have to go to sleep and get up for work tomorrow. but i love you mom, and i miss you. and you were a wonderful mother - i am very lucky to have had you.

Much love

Thoughts on Christianity

I have had some trouble with a lot of Christian orthodoxy. I know that there is a lot of good in the Christian dogma - because there is a lot of love - but I wonder if people don't get lost in the rules, and the structure - even though it's really just there, it seems to me, to direct people to love. But I've had some new thoughts recently.

What if God was always loving, not angry, even during Old Testament times - but He just couldn't get us to believe it? Perhaps, we were so angry, fickle, and fearful (as always) that we couldn't even conceive of a God who was not. I believe we have to create the world we want to live in with our own actions. If we, ourselves, cannot be loving (each one of us individually), how can we accept the idea that there is strong love in this world? Perhaps we may even feel the most timid stirrings of love at times even in difficult situations, but if we choose not to act on them, how can we expect that others will. However, if we act out of love, there MUST be someone else who does as well. We've proven it is possible - thus it must exist.

Therefore, what if God always loved us, and was never angry, and didn't send down punishments - but merely let us learn from the reality of the world? What if he sent down Jesus to give us a living symbol of the fact that we are good enough, we are blessed, we are loved, we don't need to prove ourselves and that had always been true we just couldn't see it? What if all that is required of us is to have faith so that we allow love to grow with us and don't turn it off with our doubts and fears about getting hurt and not being good enough to be loved?

Agh, but I still don't understand...why are we here? I feel very strongly that I have a purpose here - to comfort, to gently guide, to encourage, to love. But why? Maybe we all just need to learn we are good enough, we are loveable, we are loved. Maybe if we could all figure that out - earth would be heaven.

It confuses me. But I'm starting to get a little farther along in my thinking.

Thoughts, disagreements, comments?


A beautiful internal world...

My wonderful, intuitive, intelligent boyfriend and I are fighting a lot recently; perhaps, primarily, because I'm coming home after eight months of being abroad and this understandably causes some anxiety.

One thing I do not like that my boyfriend, F., does is that when he is frustrated at me, he is rather nasty, yells, and basically just goes into attack mode. He did this the other night, over a small upset that I was feeling, because he became defensive. Granted, in many ways I'm hard to deal with because I am very emotional and sensitive. The slightest insult becomes huge in my mind and sometimes seems to foretell the doom of our relationship. I am hard emotionally to deal with. The joy of this relationship though is that F is too - so we have to work equally hard for each other and grow a lot in the process.

Overall, we have an amazing, almost ideal (for me), relationship. It's very much based on a mutual understanding and respect for each other and each other's postion. We connect beautifully and we grow through the validation and love we find in each other. We both want to love each other unconditionally - quite a feat, perhaps impossible to attain, and yet I think even the pursuit is worth a lot.

In many ways, F., though, has had a very hard time. He is so loving, intelligent, and sensitive that he was often misunderstood, pushed back, unrecognized, invalidated. When I met him he was very angry at the world. I think that some of that anger has gone away from meeting me. It's amazing what a little validation can do - but, of course, I can't change the world, just make little differences - the anger is still there.

I did believe before I met F that I needed to protect myself from the men in this world that would tear me down and pull me apart. One thing he has taught me is the importance of faith and the importance of letting go the control. I worry a lot. But, I'm starting to let that go, and the need to be in control. I keep trying to control the situation by thinking it to death, and trying to handle the issues immediately so they won't haunt me later. It's not the most terrible thing I could be doing - but it's overkill - and it makes me anxious and fearful.

Recently, I've just let go of a lot of that. I've decided to believe in a wonderful future. Yes, I may be disappointed - but, as F pointed out, I don't regret anything I've done this far - why would I start just because I'd decided to believe?

But that fear and anxiety is just a product, I believe, of our society. I often wonder if we aren't too quick today to say that we must take care of ourselves first. I wonder if we aren't too quick to say we should leave at the first sign of wrongdoing, leave when 'love' dies, leave when we are 'not happy,' leave when we do not feel some sort of satisfaction that we've been searching for our whole lives. Essentially we are choosing not to love. Maybe some people need to learn to love themselves first and that's part of the move - maybe it IS necessary - I don't know. But it seems to me we are losing something huge in this lack of faith, commitment, trust - in this mass movement to protect ourselves.

This quickness to choose to not love, I believe, comes from our lack of faith. But if there is another place, if there is another world, then the fact that someone is treating us badly doesn't matter. Or, even if there is no other place, still here, what matters is our internal world. What happens in this world to us, which we can't control, doesn't matter. What matters is how we respond to it - what matters is our internal world - which we have the power to create.

F is wonderful. I am so lucky. I've been thanking God everyday since I met him, and it's because of him, in many ways, that my faith in goodness, meaning, and love has been renewed. If someone, even just one person, can love so well then it must mean that whoever created him loves even better. I've remembered my desire to have a beautiful internal world regardless of what has happened in this world.

So, I've decided I believe in unconditional love. I've decided I believe in trust, faith, God. F may yell at me when he is frustrated, for the rest of our lives. He may never do exactly what I want (in fact, I can count on that). He may not succeed according to society's standards. He may not always treat me perfectly (although he does a really good job). But I think what's important is that I give him as much love as I am able through it all - and through that he will become, and has already become, a better person.

I believe he is sort of my charge in life, and I am his, and we may hurt each other terribly - but if we do not leave, if we make the active choice to love no matter what, we are doing something amazing. We are proving that unconditional love still exists in a world like this. That no one needs to feel they are not good enough, that they need to be better looking, that they need to be better educated, etc. in order to be loved. We will be proving that everyone is good enough as they are.

I can feel the cynicism and the mocking already, but I choose to believe in faith. And, I've had some pretty hard knocks in my life, although in many ways it's been a very nice life. I am not simply naive. I am naive - but choose to be so. I believe in love.

It's either that or add to the pain in this world, which I never want to do.

I decide how I feel, what I think, who I am, how I will act regardless of what life throws at me. I pray for the strength and the faith to carry me through. But I will not blame the world if I make unloving choices - the responsibility for my choices lies with me alone.

Much love to everyone who would like some love. Always feel free to write, post up, comment, disagree. This place is safe.


The Importance of Faith

Religion supplies those lacking in their own sense of faith in the good in the world with a reason, a structure, to believe. It is a discipline, a way, to believe that there is a reason, a path, meaning, truth in the chaos and Hell that our life can seem to be.

Because loving is hard. It's easy to say we should feed the homeless. It's hard to turn to your best friend who betrayed you and say, "It's okay. I understand why you did it. You are a good person. I love you." It's hard to let go of our own idea of right and wrong and say that love is the most important idea.

But it's easier if we have faith. I do not believe it matters exactly what faith - but faith that the world makes sense. If we believe we will be loved, recognized, seen, validated, and understood by someone, somewhere, it's much easier to allow the person in front of us to feel their disapproval or anger of us, and accept it and them.

I believe faith is the only thing that subdues fear. I believe fear is what leads us to unloving acts. Perhaps fear, as the precursor to hate, is truly just the opposite of faith, the precursor to love.

But I don't think we need to have faith in any one set of beliefs: maybe just faith in love; faith in God (or something that controls the universe) that He is good, that He loves us, that He would not allow harm to come to us without reason; maybe just faith that our lives have meaning.

I've seen so many miraculous acts of love, it makes me believe. It makes me believe there's a reason why we suffer, why some suffer more than I can possibly imagine, why we fail, why we are left alone. Somehow, we must learn to love despite all that - and I think it's through faith in love, the world, truth, goodness, me, and you. I think it's through an understanding that this world, and our time on this earth, is a trasitionary part of our souls' wandering. I believe there is more. And again that faith allows me to say to the person who feels the need to be on the top of the ladder, "go ahead, you do deserve the top rung," and put myself aside.

It's taken me years to get here, but I finally see why it's important to take leaps of faith, and jump into trust even blind into seeming darkness - because if we jump out of love and out of faith, we are adding to the good in this world - and a little more love, a little more faith, is the most important thing we can bring to our universe.