FROM A DISTANCE
I go here everyday to see what my friend is up to. He's a most excellent writer and he also has fabulous taste in music. He just sent me a bunch of mp3s, including The Grey Album by DJ Dangermouse that I was totally pining for. My friend rules.
Lately he has been in "clean sweep" mode - cutting out the caffeine and cigarettes - AT THE SAME TIME! I am impressed that he is able to write coherent sentences, much less function. I've heard that nicotine is more addictive than heroin. So today, since he's on a roll, he is taking the purge to yet another level by putting those relationships in his life that are dead weight on skates.
I was talking to a friend last night at dinner about this very thing. That those people, who in the course of being who they are tend to create drag in one's life, are better loved from a distance. I used to cut people off altogether, but that doesn't allow for the possibility of growth or change. And I know from experience that sometimes we need to move away from each other in order grow and change so we can come back together and have an even better experience!
A friend, a man I had been involved with, recently came back into my life - and the time apart gave me a new appreciation of all of his wonderful qualities. In many ways it felt like a homecoming. But over the last couple months I've also become aware of the fact that all of his complaints about his employees, his clients, his relationships in general are the same complaints that he had when I first met him in '98! And the only thing that is the same in any of these situations is him. Now it could just be that his rap is to complain, but I do believe that relationships in any arena of our lives are only mirrors. And if you notice a theme developing perhaps the only way to change the outcome is to check yourself and see what you can change about your perception or behavior so you can create different outcomes. This guy has had so much therapy he could practically hang out a shingle and he knows this, but it's like what he knows in his head hasn't integrated into his behavior so he's all talk and no walk. In a word - he's stuck.
Having spent many, many years in that class of "I know, I know, but I don't want to change how I perceive/behave because that will make me uncomfortable," I understand how you can get it intellectually, but not actually achieve shift. To change behavior/perception requires a level of conscious living that is exhausting and just plain scary. Why do you think monks sit around in a monastery? It's really hard to live a fully conscious life and acheive transcendence every minute of the day when you have to drive in traffic and deal with people/personalities and your need for immediate gratification and filter all the information that comes at us on so many levels everyday and everywhere we go. In our culture and society fully conscious is not a popular choice!
I hate being uncomfortable and scared and that is why I often lapse into old reactive behaviors. And you know I can easily identify those same behaviors in other people, like my friend, because that shit just bugs me!
And we're back to the concept of mirroring.
I know, I know!
Life's a process and I believe that compassion, for myself and others, will get me through. The Dalai Lama is a super compassionate dude and I think that's why he has a good sense of humor about life in general. I mean have you ever seen anyone who grins like he does - it's like he's always having a blast no matter what he's doing. I think that if you can see the world compassionately, instead of with judgement it stands to reason that you're going to have a better time overall.
I'm getting better at knowing my boundaries and choosing compassion and loving from a distance. I'm getting better at recognizing that fine line between tenacity and masochism and letting go - even when it's scary.
I'm getting better because I've got so many opportunities to practice.