Unless we know how to be alone on purpose, not in a runaway alone, but an intentional pilgrimage, we’ll never learn how to be with people.
That’s why I wrote yesterday’s post. Not everyone knows how to be alone. I thought I did. I used to look forward to my days at the lake – until they spread out to over 200 of them. That’s when I discovered that I have a limit for alone.
That’s okay. We are created for relationship. We aren’t created to stand alone. One aides the other, but one should never exclude the other.
I admitted something yesterday that is really taboo in my circles. I admitted that I don’t always like myself. Everyone goes through seasons like that, but not everyone admits it really. We’d rather hide behind an all’s well mask.
I’m not much for hiding really.
Unless I want to, and then I’m killer at it.
I’ve shared many things over the years with you guys. We’ve talked about fear, about courage, about death, about being tired. I’ve even shared stories about things I’d just as soon forget, like the *real reason I hate being called “darlin'” (see bottom of post) and about my past experience with depression.
I do want to clarify, I am not using soul-tired and depressed interchangeably. They mean two different things to me.
I’ve been depressed, I know that black night of the soul. It sucks.
Thankfully, I’m not there today. But if I’m not careful, soul-tired can become soul-sick very easily. It’s a slippery slope really.
What I honestly didn’t realize, before heading on this adventure is how tired I really was last fall. I slept the first three weeks I was here and blamed it on the surgery.
That wasn’t the problem.
I had some big emotional items on my plate. Things I don’t share here because it would harm others. But trust me, just because I don’t share them does not mean they aren’t real. They are very real and they weighed on me because I confused myself with Atlas and thought it was my job to carry it all on my shoulders.
I’m kind of egotistical like that.
I had pushed myself beyond my limits and did not do the things I know to do to stay above water.
Now it’s true, life is not without it’s problems and we can’t always escape them. We do however have choices and can take right action to help ourselves.
The first thing we need to do is not be victim of this guy:
They didn’t even know they had trouble until he came along. And the truth is they didn’t have trouble – he just wanted to sell some musical instruments. He had a motive, and an agenda to create a FEAR BASED need. The town bought it, hook line sinker and tackle box.
That happens today – just look at Facebook or Twitter, MSNBC or Fox News — Town Criers everyone proclaiming trouble. Turn it off once in a while. Use discernment.
If you’ll recall, I posted a bit of an emancipation proclamation a few days ago – the whole Best Friend or worst enemy thing. I’ve had to consciously remove myself from manipulative circumstances for my own sanity — that’s a sign of health. I’m no longer willing to blindly follow fear based leaders.
Charisma is a turn off to me today.
As are threats of abandonment — do this or I’ll leave. Okay. Leave.
Cold? Maybe, but not really. It’s the most loving thing I can do for both of us today. Took me years to learn that.
I have HUGE attachment/abandonment issues. I’ve spent the past 200 or so days facing them. You know what I learned? They aren’t that hairy after all.
Other things I didn’t do during my Let’s go out and conquer 2013:
1. I didn’t exercise. Oh sure, I planned for it, wrote about it, bought things and signed up for clubs, but I never pulled the trigger. Exercise is important. It released endorphins and gives oxygen to the brain. Yes, I got injured, but I spent so much time staring at closed doors (Cycling) that I didn’t look for new doors.
2. I didn’t face my problems head on. That’s not like me. I’m a deal with it now and get over it kind of woman. I value my relationships. The trouble is, fear kicked in. I’d done such a great job (tongue in cheek) cleaning house in 2012, I found myself not wanting to rock the boat in 2013. That made me dishonest. I hate dishonesty. That hurt some very important, to me, relationships. Rather than honestly deal with issues, I internalized them and created a wedge with more than one person.
3. I cut off my spiritual arm to spite my face. I had my mentoring group and we studied scripture and whatnot, but that is not the same as being in fellowship with other Christians. I wasn’t even reading my bible if it didn’t pertain to my classes. I let my well run dry. That made me thirsty.
4. I caught myself wanting things that I didn’t have instead of being thankful for the things I did. I started filling up a spiritual void with junk food. Wrong relationships, wrong motives, wrong everything really. Wishful thinking replaced right action mostly,
While it is true that I didn’t necessarily do something permanently stupid just because I was temporarily upset, I did hurt myself with my own unrealistic expectations of how it was supposed to be.
I refused to own my feelings. Or my thoughts. Every time something unpleasant bubbled up in my life – whether a relational conflict, or a fear, or hurt, or anger, I stuffed it and got busy doing more. The conflicts went unresolved.
I was alone long before I came out here because I’d already gone inward and withdrawn into myself.
The one thing I’ve wanted most in this life after kids is to live an authentic life.
Authentic lives are messy. They involve people. And before I can fully introduce myself to that equation, I have to deal with me first. And that is why I’m here.
*There are people in my life today who are allowed to call me Darlin’. They’ve earned that right. They are what Henry Townsend calls Safe People. They know that trust is earned and are gentle in the earning process. They tell the truth in love. (they call me on my bull) While they don’t always like me, they do express a kind of love that is endearing. They have boundaries and they respect mine. They give me a chance to make amends when needed and they own their own side of the sidewalk. Always a good sign.
So, dear readers — have you ever gone into the wilderness of alone, whether on purpose or out of necessity? Would you like to share something you learned?
I’ll never forget getting my first beeper — granted I’m dating myself by admitting that. Do they even still use beepers?
I just remember working at Sprint Communications. I was in charge of the data room in Chicago. I needed a beeper in case something happened and they needed me at the office. I was on call 24/7. I loved it at first and then grew to hate it. I swore I never again wanted to be at the mercy of a little electronic device and the whims of my boss.
Fast forward 20 years.
Instead of beepers we have pocket cell phones – we can access email, text messages, Facebook, twitter, 24/7 and if we aren’t careful – we can become a slave to technology. One little buzz, beep, or vibration can send the most resilient of us scrambling for our phones lest we miss an important message. For some reason, that did not seem to bug me nearly as much as my beeper.
I’m not sure when it happened exactly or which moment pushed me over the edge.
Was it looking up from my iPhone long enough to see my family seated around the table nose deep in their phones?
Was it having my backpack of electronics stolen from my car and realizing I can live without my iPad after all?
Was it the fact that I was beginning to forget that my husband has brown eyes that turn green sometimes? Or was it the long lines at the Apple store for the much coveted iPhone 5?
Maybe it was just the realization that my online “friends” were starting to replace my real friends.
I’m not really sure, and frankly it doesn’t matter. The week everyone else was waiting in line to get their newest phone is the week my husband I went to Best Buy to replace my iPad. It was then that I discovered I can get a tablet for half the price and get an internet hub for the same price as my iPhone data plan.
This would still give me internet access on the road if needed. And it would also give me something else – intention.
I am no longer a slave to my iPhone. I down graded to a simple “dumb phone” if you will. No internet, just voicemail, cell service and texting. And while it took some getting used to, I’m happy with the change.
Now when I’m somewhere, I have to intentionally turn on the hub to access the net.
This makes me more more productive and it has also made me aware of how much time I spent mindlessly searching the net for connection all under the guise of “work.”
I will admit I went through withdrawals. Not having immediate access to Google was rough. Instead of relying on the net to tell me what something meant or where something was I had to think for myself again. I had no idea how reliant I’d actually become to that little gadget in my hand.
Contrary to my initial belief that I would lose my productivity, I find I am more productive online when my activity is intentional. We still have internet at home and my tablet does have WiFi. I’m not totally unplugged. I still find out about upcoming gigs and auditions. I still write and I discovered that I’m less likely to post a knee jerk status update or twitter announcement, which is a good thing really.
Being unplugged in this way helps me see more of life, to notice the trees and remember the color of my children’s eyes. I’m really starting to like not having my iPhone and iPad for that matter. And by the time I went on my cruise with some girlfriends (where you cannot connect without exorbitant fees) I didn’t miss it at all.
I’m curious — if you could unplug from one piece of equipment in order to improve your relationships, what would it be?