"Your posts used to be so heart-centered. Now you seem stuck in the thought zone."
I also received a comment from Livin about his own emotionally abusive situation on this post about abuse in relationships. He asked if it was possible to find peace in a toxic, unhappy marriage.
Because I like to think of my blog as a conversation, a sort of supportive group therapy where we can help each other, both of those comments inspired this post.
We live in a seemingly dualistic world where we have the opportunity to live in either heart or mind. Living completely in mind is hell, honestly. This is how I lived my life for so long.
Now that I am aware, now that I am free to tell myself, "Do not believe everything you think", I must inquiry.
With every fearful imagining that causes a physiological response in my body, I must ask myself, "Is this true?"
This is the entire premise of this blog.
I realize I don't HAVE to go through all of this to know the truth. The truth is already there, if I could only carry this awareness with me at all times. Unfortunately, I don't. None of us do. Even the greatest spiritual presences recognized their human weaknesses, questioned them and pushed through to the other side.
With every release of fear, with every wrong thought that I realize isn't true, I am removing the obstacles that keep me from this awareness. These questions are good. These thought processes and analysis allow me to step back, observe and move even further ahead.
This is MY path. We are each free to choose our own.
I find that it's easier to be spiritual when I'm single. Relationships remind us of our humanness. But they can also break us down and bring about even more awareness, if we allow them.
Mark wrote about a particular line in Eat Pray Love that also stuck with me:
"I don’t need to love you to prove that I love myself!"
His post also reminded me what I tend to forget: the primary relationship should be with myself, i.e. my Highest Self, i.e. God.
This relationship is easy to nurture when we have moments of alone time, to reflect, to meditate, to pray, to spend in silence. When we don't spend this time to nurture ourselves, well, we tend to go into the fearful imaginings I mentioned above. The overthinking takes over. We lose our silence.
To me, it's easy to build a strong house of centered awareness when you're single. That house can stand strong and still until a tornado comes along. What if that tornado is a relationship, a chance that your peace could be disturbed? What if it means trying again, allowing someone inside the door, even though there is potential for pain?
Can you remember to honor you? Can you nurture yourself and still be a loving partner? Can you find peace in the chaos, love in the fear, silence in the noise?
This was/is my fear. This was the fear that was expressed in the line from the movie. These are the questions I ask myself when I lose my center.
Our partners become our mirrors, our challenges, our greatest teachers. It takes more summoning of my will to keep my peace while in a relationship with a partner who challenges me but it MUST happen. I am a better partner when I love myself.
Those relationship challenges have also brought up fears that I've questioned (as I mentioned above) and pushed aside. The challenges have, subsequently, allowed me to find even more peace.
Perhaps we DO need to love others in order to love ourselves.
Gentleman Jack, in effect, is my gift to myself. Allowing him to love me is allowing myself to be loved. With each moment that I stop and realize the goodness reflected in our relationship or in the things he offers me or the support he gives or the words he says... I am loving myself. I simply wouldn't recognize his love if I didn't love myself.
Often, what I've found in the centered, light-filled place that I return to after my darkest moments of thoughtful questioning, is the recognition that I've "fallen even more in love" with Gentleman Jack.
What's really happening, beautifully, is I am allowing more love. I am loving MYSELF more.