Saturday, July 30, 2011


I am in transition these days. It’s a familiar state, but I find that this time I don’t know what to do. I have known for a while that I have some unfinished business, but I have not really been able to identify much of it, and what I have been able to identify I have been unable to process. As a result, the baggage is getting heavy. Emotions used to come and go; their ebb and flow imbuing me with life, but it seems that in the last little while some things have come and not gone making me heavier and less alive. I decided to look for a therapist. I have known that I should for quite a while but, in the past it has not been an easy process to find someone who knows how to get past talking ‘about’ things to get to the heart of the issue. I don’t know why after 10 years I can no longer do this on my own, but whatever. Maybe there’s something I am just not supposed to do on my own.

So, here I am, lacking a sense of my future self and wondering if that’s why I am stalled. I am also not really sure that I know who I am right now - another good reason to stall out. Have I not been paying attention? Has enough changed to totally disorient me? Is it just my way of telling myself to sort things out before moving ahead in the wrong direction?

Although the state of transition is familiar, I don’t really feel familiar. As much as there are things that I know about myself and I have confidence in my ability to figure things out, I feel as though I don’t really know who I am. My tendency used to be to look for familiar, but that is not only extremely difficult, it means stagnating. In my quest to feel more alive it didn’t really work. In the absence of the familiar, it is easier to reinvent myself. However, in order to do that, things need to change; which things are still to be determined, but there will be change, and with that comes pain. I don’t like it but it doesn’t scare me anymore. I used to think pain was destructive, but once I started paying more attention to the bigger picture, I realized that it was actually transformative. What worries me now is doing it wrong, making bad decisions. Whatever I change about myself will affect all of my relationships. It is not my desire to affect them badly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I have been in multiple situations of late where I have expressed gratitude for things that friends have done for me. The general reaction is that it is not necessary to say ‘thank you’ to a friend - that some how it is understood. Perhaps the reaction is a way of saying that what was offered was offered was offered unconditionally. 

Apart from not wanting to express or appear to express a sort of taking advantage of someone, it seems to me that expressions of gratitude define relationships. It’s not just about saying ’thank you’, it’s about finding creative and meaningful ways to do it. There are things that people do and ways that people are that affect us deeply and sometimes even change us. That these people exist and that these events occur is one thing, but recognizing them is a whole other level of experience.  Expressions of gratitude are a way of honouring them. It seems to me that an expression gratitude is in part for the receiver, but that mostly it is for the giver; it changes us on a fundamental level. It is an expression of respect and love that makes us better for having done it. I also think that it is impossible for us to achieve our potential as human beings without it. I understand that among my best friends there are things that sometimes go unsaid that are understood, but words have power. What we say and what we don’t say defines our relationships.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I am not the composite of the impressions I give other people because I listen to them, because of how I relate to them, how I interact socially, because of the job I have or where I live or who my partner is. It is interesting to hear what impression others have of me, but it is not who I am.

My identity comes from somewhere else.  I am not sure where, but it's not from an external source. A series of identity crises has stripped away all of the things that seemed to make up who I was - school, work, friends etc. and as I lost each of them them, I had to redefine myself. If I am not a student, who am I? If I am not doing something I like to do - if I work only for money, who am I? If I am not a social person with a lot of friends, who am I? If I am wrongly perceived to be a person who (fill in the blank)... Is that who I am? It is who I am to that person, but should I do anything about it? Should I care? How much energy do I tie up in what other people think about me?

A friend told me a while ago that she tries to talk to people about what she is going through - about how unhappy she is about work - for instance - and the response is a general lack of comprehension because she has done some great things or that she has been an inspiration to someone. Not surprisingly, she was so frustrated by these responses. When you try to express to someone what you are going through, the last thing you want to hear is that you are not person the 'listener' thinks you are - perhaps the person they need you to be. The people who listen because they want to know who are are real gems.

It takes a lot of courage to figure out who you are and to do the things that are in harmony with your self. Those outward expressions, as they change, throw people off, upset people...sometimes enough to make them leave. Not everyone accepts change. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Is it all illusion?

The material world does not exist. How many times have I read that? How many times have I heard that? How many times have I not understood that? Of course it exists! Didn’t I slip on last two stairs of my apartment and hit the door? The stairs seem pretty real, as does the door! Did I just take an non-existent elevator to a non-existent job? No, of course not!

Today I think I got it.  If I function on a concrete material level, then that's all there is. Life happens, things happen to me. C'est la vie, blah blah blah. I don't do that very much any more.

The material is just a manifestation of our thoughts. I’ve heard it; I’ve read it, but the more time I spend with my own thoughts, the more I understand the reality of that and how it works. The more I clarify my thoughts and think deliberately, the more I see the creative relationship of energy and substance and the more time I spend, and want to spend engaged in that way. I go to work to the job I imagined for myself, the stairs I wiped out on are my stairs because I saw that apartment and decided I would live there long before it was available; I earn the salary I expected to earn. I was aware of the thoughts I had about these things before I obtained them and then suddenly they were mine.

It seems to me that the material world does exist, but not as pre-established forms or events that happen to us. It should not be taken so seriously! It is not what it seems!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Energy and Values

I don’t think it is possible to figure out who we are without addressing our values because it took me a while to get a handle on what the term ‘values’ actually meant. I couldn’t quite get my head around the idea that people have values. However, the idea that people value things made sense. For me this is the difference between determining what I think my values are as compared to what they actually are. I figured out what I valued by taking a look at how I spend my time. It was very easy for me to say that I value my health, but really I didn’t. Other than the basics of physical health, I did nothing to ensure that I would be a sane, balanced and happy person. As a result, I also lost my physical health. I guess sometimes you have to hit bottom before you really wake up. Anyway, once I started looking at what I was actually doing, it became very clear...painfully clear at times. Once I started realizing what I was doing I could make some changes. The approach is not unlike budgeting; you prioritize your spending and make decisions based on what is most important.

Determining what is going on right now is a matter of looking at how I spend my time. Saying that I value, my relationship with a particular person, for example, does not make it so. If I don't spend meaningful time with him/her then in reality, that relationship is not what I value, regardless of how much I say I want it. Desires are not values.

Anyway, these are the sorts of conflicts that seem to drain energy. I found myself exhausted and I didn’t know why (and neither did my doctor). To me, there are only a few things that make up the foundation of health and, once those things are in place, everything else falls into place as well. That is not to say that it is easy; it is not. It is easier now because the process is more a part of who I am, but it is still challenging because when I decide I want something, I start to change how I do things, which disrupts the status quo. Although I generally like that, the people in our lives can expect us to be a certain way...and they can become quite upset when we change how we do the things they expect us to do. It can involve some challenging decisions and always involves letting go of something. The emotional side is....dynamic, but it is part of what makes me feel alive.

It seems that coordinating my actions with my values turned out to be perhaps the highest form of integrity, and the result is energy.  I am not sure if energy is freed up from the lack of internal conflict or if there is something in the process that generates energy. Sometimes it sure seems like both.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Between impossible and rare

I need to talk more. It was actually a good 8 months ago that I realized that, but I guess I thought I could carry on and not really worry about it. The trouble is that when I realize something, I cant NOT deal with it. I can let it go for a while, find the right time etc., but all out ignoring it?no. I need to talk more. There are things I just dont talk about. From day-to-day I feel an incongruity; things are out of sync, and I feel my energy drain like water from a leaky bucket.

As my brain comes back to life for the summer, my emotions are difficult to control. Its not that I am moody, I just feel everything with such intensity that it can be difficult to handle and tiring, partly because I try to hide it. I sometimes feel over stimulated because there is so much going on around me that I notice. I am not sure its the sort of thing that people would really understand, even if I could explain it. 

The sort of misunderstandings that occur can be difficult. Some people listen carefully and apologize for not experiencing things in the same way and not really being able to relate. They are interested and engage on a meaningful level even though they dont really get it. I love these people. Others are harder to deal with. I guess its human nature to try to minimize the incomprehensible to something comprehensible and within our own realm of experience, but it is not helpful for me, and it is hard to tolerate. These are the people who seem to listen for a couple of key words, then they transplant those words into their own context and talk about their experience at length, as if it is the same as yours. Sometimes I just want to talk, but these people are impossible, …while the others are rare. Between impossible and rare, there are few opportunities for a good exploratory conversation.