Serve The Separation (between us)

Our heads and stomachs hurt from so much talking at.
Not with, barely even to.
We’re doing the talking and we’re on the other end, feeling dunned, bludgeoned.
So are “they”.

In the end, there is always a separation, whether it is your parent, friend, child, peer, boss, “opponent” or with the divine. We can’t be inside each other’s experience. We can’t fully empathize without some self-protection being present. At least most of us, most of the time. Being truly connected really is the promise, the great opportunity of being alive, whether that’s with a mountain range, a blue sky, a song or with each other.

And if someone doesn’t serve that separation, if someone doesn’t own it as their territory and address it with either their words, their listening, their surrender of protection or defense, in a way that really connects us to each other, the separation remains or grows. This may be one definition of love. We really need to receive someone fully, as they are, to cross that divide between us. It breaks the spell. We stop fearing each other, overtly and in that way that’s always there, at least for a moment and that magic is present.

The greater concern than who wins is this gulf growing between us, whether that’s your wife or husband, or your fellow citizens. If we really touch it, we sense that the distance is heartbreaking.

I hope we turn towards healing, listening and serving that separation. It’s there in all our relationships, at least some separation exists. Be the one who owns it as your loving responsibility. We may truly hear each other and care for one another if we can do it. We may come back together, closer than ever.

I remember the extraordinary family members of the people lost at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, who forgave Dylann Roof and shook us all. They know how to serve that separation. They listened as deeply as they could to who Dylann Roof might be and how he might have wound up there and wished him all of god’s grace, the most precious thing they value, which flowed through those they lost. They gave him that love for any pain he may face. They gave him their wish for his pain to subside in the light of Christ. And just to say it, no religion or faith is required, but it can certainly be employed.

Our fellow Americans face pain, we sense great separation, don’t we? If that gulf is not crossed, how do you think this will go?

I promise you that serving separation, before making our point, before needing anything to change, is a worthy practice. It plants seeds. It can bring any two (or more) people together. It can open up everything.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/06/19/i-forgive-you-relatives-of-charleston-church-victims-address-dylann-roof/

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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?

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?

Do you Really want to Connect?

To hold and raise others comes from heart, from our true being.

To stop and change others comes from fear.

Every time we hold and raise, it makes a mark of love. It connects the essence of both beings, whether that be one on one, with an audience or with an entire people. It gets behind their protection, at least a little and grows with consistency.

Every time we stop and change, there’s a cutting, a bruising, even if we can point to a good intention, that intention is coming from fear and the fear leaves a mark, it fully engages the fear of the other, creating more protection and separation. You know that reaction from another that you truly can’t understand, where you mean to give someone something they should care about for their own good and can’t believe that it seems they are not listening to you, they just don’t seem to get it and maybe never will. It’s because you’re coming from fear or because you’re afraid of the fear you are reacting to in the other. You’ll probably retain those who already agree with you and that’s about it. Is that why you’re speaking?

Stopping and changing people has us where we are, whether it’s as parents and children, as two political parties, bosses and teams, as people in different income strata, looking at each other as abusers, protecting ourselves from each other, refuting each other, not listening for value.

If you want to talk about something you care about, global warming, peace on earth, the gift of your faith, the value of personal responsibility, the predictable path from the continuation of the behavior you see around you, hold and raise your audience. The person you’re speaking to is as beautiful, eternal, loving and caring as you. The rest you sense or see in them is falsehood, created by fear in the first place. The same falsehood others have mistaken for the real you.