Completing Ourselves

completemeI used to see no truth in “You complete me.”

Of course, I’ve had many moments of completion with people. Moments where I felt no fear, no pain, where my anxiety ceased, where the presence of something internal or external seemed to make everything all right and even have me experience myself as perfect how I am and how I may not be. In the movie, I read the phrase as final. As if now, in this moment, all is right now and will be right forever because of you.

Fairy tale. Just thinking about that movie and that scene used to make me abdominally uncomfortable. And maybe that’s because I got it wrong.

Perhaps in the light of recent events, of instance after instance of violence, of unimaginable pain inflicted on each other, the cost of incompletion has struck me so starkly and had me see the value of being complete, whether it is for a moment or a lifetime as a powerful message for us instead of just stopping at what I saw as the fallacy of the moment in the film.

It’s hard for me to look at school shootings, terrorism, premeditated violence, fundamentalism or beliefs of any sort that marginalize other human beings – as coming from someplace other than incompletion. A sense of disconnection, of being unreachable and temporarily or terminally less than whole. That they and/or we seem ungettable, distant, lost, worthless, sources of pain and ultimately expendable.

This isn’t meant to excuse anything anyone does from suffering in an incomplete state. I just mean to share how profound, how essential and how extraordinary completion has begun to occur to me. Perhaps it really saves lives.

We do have the power to draw completion from each other, to feel heard, known and to have the energy drawn to us that calms us, that relaxes the fear and has us return to ourselves again. It can happen through stories, symbols, songs, touch, substances, short-term sexual relationships, the sharing of ideas, a familiar meal and some things I care not to mention. Some of these solutions are extraordinarily temporary and even harmful, others can be expansive and healing. Conscious completion is an experiment in sustainability, but we crave completion so much that we take on all kinds of things to try to get there.

Whatever we utilize, it needs to be surrendered to for it to work or be so powerful that we are defenseless against it. We need to get ourselves past our own protection to allow completion. We wind up waiting to validate these entry points until they overwhelm us with their beauty, intoxicating qualities, convincing logic, whatever it is that helps us raise the bar of the tollbooth and allow it in, that force that we let come inside our fragile selves, before completion can occur.

Of course a kind, lovely, impressive, ever-expanding and new relationship can complete us for a moment or a stretch of time. It can make a fantastic case, but if we knew how valuable completion was, we’d lower the bar to entry and prioritize how essential it is to return to being ourselves again and again and again.

I also think we’d wind up being less susceptible to the empty promises of our fellow disaffected human beings and their invitations to the more unhealthy solutions they promote i.e. anything that looks like more separation and the villainization of other human beings. We might even get clear on what it takes to stay there and teach it to each other from an early age. That sounds like real empowerment to me and a source for greater peace, acceptance, love, happiness and cooperation amongst us.

What gets you complete? What might it mean to you if you prioritized getting complete and were successful at it?

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Resolve

ResolveRESOLVE is so valuable. Resolve means that when you know, you just know. Resolve means you do, because not doing is impossible.

Partnering with anyone who is not resolved is a crapshoot. Settling for less than your own resolve and saying yes to things you think or hope will be good is a recipe for patterns of breakdown and preoccupation with distraction, indecision, fear…

Resolve is formidable. Resolve creates the love of the journey. Resolve quiets the mind. Resolve is beyond the judgment of others. Resolve turns down the fear. Resolve makes you bring your best game. Resolve brings admiration, but is never for admiration.

It’s not that you should have resolve, it’s that if you don’t, you can find where it is, what it really wants. I’m talking about the noun, resolve as a thing, not something you do, which can be spiritually unreliable. Resolve is already within you. Helping each other find our resolve can be the most rewarding way to be with each other. Finding our resolve is finding ourselves. Keeping it, remembering it and honoring its voice is a remarkable way to live.

I’m practicing cultivating my resolve, feeding it, connecting ever more deeply with it, surrendering to it. Want to join me?

My 5 Year Old Has it Right

After my son Marcus told me I hated him when I told him he needed to stop playing video games this morning, I asked him if I loved him, what would I be doing differently.

He said I would be racing him and playing soccer and games with him.

I get it.

Love lives in a world of full agreement, or a lack of dwelling on the disconnect of disagreement.

When we’re young, before the disappointment of human beings disagreeing with our idea of Eden, our hearts don’t even fathom the possibility of disagreement with our own consciousness. It comes as a shock and HURTS. It feels like love is gone when we encounter disagreement. I still remember feeling like that when I was his age.

The thing is that this is a grave and understandable error and the correction of this error, that disagreement threatens love, is our life’s opportunity. Not just to get it intellectually, but to transcend through it. To really get it. This is our cross to bear, to do the work to return to love, as Marianne Williamson puts it.

Marcus is at the beginning. The unfortunate period where the disagreement rocks us, where it informs our personalities and unconscious beliefs about life. I empathize with him deeply.

And he’s getting the return, too. When he asked me to pick him up in my arms at drop off and gave me 17 kisses and told me he knows I love him, he took courageous action. He inspired me.

The idea that disagreement threatens love (threatens us, really, as we are made of love) – from loved ones dying too soon to not getting the job to not feeling heard to being rejected romantically or even abused – is false, but it hurts.

Love is always here, waiting for you. Getting back to it is the work of our lives. Be courageous.

The Outrage Cycle

outrageOutrage is a byproduct of being diseased with fear, anger and pain. It permeates our minds and bodies and looks to infect others, exacting the same cost to them that we are suffering with. This disease creates delusions, judgments, gross generalizations and a rabid hunt for evidence that proves the outrage right. No matter what, whether we are offending others or recruiting others with our outrage, we are serving the disease more than the cause we are championing. We are spreading outrage. We are infecting with fear. Sadly, we are creating more sadness, pain and violence. It is a terrible cycle. Look and you will see this. It is likely how we became outraged in the first place, being infected by the outrage of others.

I hope I’ve been through enough outrages in my life and paid enough of a price to not be fooled by them any longer. All of my outrage did little but put me in the middle of more outrage, often much more than I could handle.

To all those outraged, I send love and understanding for the pain you are going through. It’s terrible to be as upset as you are. I trust you that your outrage is for a good reason and I understand that sometimes it seems like there is no other way.

I promise, outrage is optional and it’s just not very effective for anything other than creating more outrage. It couldn’t be more effective at doing that.

The only thing we can do with outrage that is in line with our hearts and intentions for a world of peace and understanding is to feel it. To feel the pain of tragedy, of injustice, of unfair dealing. You are exquisitely human. Love, however difficult it seems, that you are sensitive to the pain of knowing something that you see happening is not in line with our better selves, that we function in this miraculous way. Then, if you are still called to a cause, go do something, take committed action for your cause and leave the against and the outrage behind.

Think, for a second, what if those we were “against” could do this too?

Be the first one. Spread that.

Small, But Not Too Small

blackholeI was watching Cosmos last Sunday. At a certain point, we were traveling towards the center of a black hole (called a dark star today), where gravity is so great that nothing, not even light can escape it’s pull, it was suggested that entire universes could possibly be found within the center of a black hole, that our universe could conceivably be within a black hole. At that moment I felt so small I got scared. It was a jolt.

I looked over at Demetrius and found myself relieved that he was asleep. I wanted to protect him from feeling as small as I felt.

Interesting instinct, right? Let’s look deeper.

Feeling small is part of the human experience. Our fear mechanism, that something can threaten us, helps keep our fleshy, vulnerable bodies alive. In some ways it creates an arrogance, that we are important enough to keep living. And then when you think of it, this mechanism going wild is the root of why we don’t get along very well, too. This self-importance. The idea that what I want, see, think, feel is most important right now, the source of conflict.

So, overall, it seems like we need to feel small, that it’s integral on an unconscious level. But not too small. Too small creates a whole other set of problems. Existential fear. We desperately need order to our lives if we become aware of how insignificant we are and how being subject to forces indifferent to us create our whole existence. This is what creates the desperate need for god and the drive to create science, the need to congregate in groups for security, to create our parents as omniscient, to focus on the threat of the “other” (it makes us feel more secure to have good and bad, right and wrong). If we had no order to things, nothing that makes sense controlling how things go, it becomes impossible to keep the illusion of our importance going.

This importance thing isn’t seeming all that important anymore, just a fear-based construct. I’m going to peek inside this insignificance more, allow it. It seems way closer to truth than the order I’ve been assuming that I live under. This is not to say that I’m just going to drop everything and forget order, but it seems valuable to see the strings that keep this thing held together, so we don’t need to limit ourselves to their constraints.

Does this bring up anything for you?