Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Space and the Long Distance Relationship

In continuing from my last post, I've learned that finding space allows for appreciation and clarity.

I know this first hand, you see, from being in a long distance relationship. I have space of all sorts when I'm not with my Gentleman. The problem with space, however, is that it makes us feel very uncomfortable.

While listening to Pema Chodron's Getting Unstuck audio book on the drive home Sunday, I noticed the main message was to learn to sit with the discomfort. She noted that we're constantly seeking comfort or distracting ourselves - even when those distractions and comfort are temporary. She referred to her daughter-in-law who is practically killing herself with alcohol and liver problems. The quiet mind, stillness, space... makes us so uncomfortable that we die for our next fix, our next thought, something to fill up the "empty". We either numb ourselves, crave like crazy or act out in aggression towards others.

Interesting, no? I found I could relate to this. I've been guilty of filling up a bigger house with more stuff that I didn't really need. Or filling up a bigger purse with more junk to carry. I've even written about my restlessness in many of meditate or masturbate posts. If there's space, dammit, something's wrong! Even my man noted that I intentionally distract myself when we're not together. It's true that I do. There is a lot to be done. There is also something to be said for just sitting with the empty feeling or even the discomfort, without judgment.

***

Gentleman Jack hosted an annual party at his house over the weekend. This weekend was my 3rd year in attendance. The first year, I flirted my ass off, we both drank too much and had a pretty big fight at the end of the night. Ironically, that fight made us even more honest and closer than we'd been previously. Blessing in disguise.

Last year, I was more subdued but didn't feel very comfortable. I found that I was touchy and irritated most of the day. I think I wanted more attention from him than I was getting but I never said anything. Instead I was pouty and passive-aggressive. He enjoyed himself anyway. As well he should at his own party.

This year, I began the day with a meditation (as I wrote yesterday), and enjoyed myself as more of an observer. I know more of his friends now and found that those that didn't know me wanted to know me.

They WANTED to know me because HE LOVES ME.

Being an observer meant I had to get out of my own head. Being an observer meant I had to let go of the anxiety of previous year parties. Being an observer meant releasing judgment, staying present and allowing things to unfold without the noise of an added layer of history. Being an observer meant giving space for the love to show through.

That night, I heard countless stories from friends who noted how he talks about me, the things he says, how he lights up that I'm in his life. At one point, he was across the yard laughing with his buddies about the night one of them met his new wife. Apparently they'd all been flirting with her but her choice was clear. Now GJ's buddy and the object of their flirtations are happily married and expecting their first child.

I was in conversation with someone else and didn't hear much of his conversation except, as clear as day, I heard my man say, "It worked out perfectly... because if that night was different than it was, I wouldn't have THAT." I looked over to see him pointing at me and all his buds smiling at me.

OK, that was swoonworthy.

He constantly tells me that he loves me because I allow him to. I give him space to be who he is and he offers the same to me. I never knew that, in that space, he carries me with him and shares me with all whom he knows.

As a girlfriend said to me last week, "You know when a man talks about you when you're not around? That's love."

***

Filling up the space with distractions, history and noise doesn't make us feel any better. It's like scratching an itch only makes it worse. Eating a cookie after every meal doesn't fill a "need"... it creates a craving for a cookie... after... every.. meal.

There is beauty in the space and the empty. There is surprise and joy and... LOVE like you've never known.

I think I'll sit with that for a while.

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