Something raw was touched a few evenings ago. Something that needed releasing without me being aware of. It’s amazing how we carry on so often, if not always, powering through the moments and our days, doing our best to be in the moment, full of awareness, yet our shields are up and our swords are drawn in self defense. It happens automatically in the form of self defense that we have learned and grown accustomed to over the years. Whether it is from the driver encountered on the roadway that cuts us off and endangers our life, whether we are misunderstood and judged, leaving us feeling defeated in an unjust situation, used or abused, taken for granted or abandoned, or whether it is in some freak incident and someone decides to shoot at us, we often don’t realize how strong we are and have to be each day. It somehow becomes a way of life. After all haven’t we been conditioned to be this way from early on?
It took a long time for me to come to the conclusion that there comes a time when you have to put yourself first. When you have to look after yourself as to not run yourself into the ground. Coming to terms and changing the mindset of guilt and feeling selfish is often the most challenging piece of the journey. And yet when we encounter someone that lacks all compassion and is fully self absorbed, that’s a turnoff as well and we might view them as cold and heartless. So how do we find the balance, the in between, while taking care of ourselves without coming across as selfish. More and more each day I am learning that everything we experience and how we view the world can be tied back to a delicate balance. A balance we must find to feel comfortable in our being so we can eliminate longing, wishing and discontent.
I think balance is a key word. It’s a place where we learn to give and care for others but not at the cost of giving selflessly and not keeping an eye out for yourself. And as I write this, I feel that this is yet much deeper than that. There are numerous branches leading from the main path, numerous experiences, lessons, emotions and feelings that are unique to each one of us. It’s not a matter of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours. Or I only care because of the benefits, of what I can get and reap from you. It’s never been about that, but tonight I was reminded that life beats us down sometimes. For quite a while perhaps, and we don’t even realize it. Day in and day out we do our best, wanting to believe and trick ourselves into thinking that we got it handled. Do we really? Is that the honest truth or did we skidded by, cheating ourself and everybody around us once more? Did we satisfy our conscience, or did we sent it packing? Sometimes these things lie under the surface and we don’t see them until something happens that is out of the ordinary and moves us.
A few days ago a man reached out to me who saw a post I made on a hiking website. He was drawn in by my story and my words and wants to know more while feeling a need to share his own story with me. Why and why he feels called to do so with me…he is unsure. This is not the first time that something like this had happened and people have sought me out many times before. Why, I don’t know and I used to joke about having missed my career goal of becoming a psychiatrist. Others have said it’s because I am rare, that I sincerely care, and that I haven’t grown up with the American culture. I am not sure what that is, but yes I have grown up under a different culture. But why is it that it always takes me by such surprise when somebody reaches out? Like it’s something so unusual, why would someone want to reach out to ME! It’s almost as if at those times I have lost my confidence, my self worth. Perhaps I think there is nothing special, nothing worthwhile to be gained, while other times I feel there is everything to be gained by reaching out to me because I am rare and different. Life has surely beaten me down a few times, gave me false beliefs and understandings, a wrong perception and self worth that struggled at times. Here and there remains a small reminder of a wound that was created and initiated a long, long time ago. But I don’t live in that reality anymore and when it surfaces, I cry or do whatever I need to to heal and reinforce myself with unconditional love and understanding.
To add to that evening, a dear friend contacted me. One that shares a strong bond despite of how little we talk and that we have never met. She stumbled across some seat-covers that would be perfect for my jeep and out of the blue asked what color the jeep was. She said that she wanted me to have them because I am special and that I am the best dog mom ever. It was a combination of the two that send me over the edge and made me cry that evening. It wasn’t because I was sought out, because I was to gain something of material worth, but because my own worth was acknowledged. Somebody thought of me, found me worthy, wanted to do something, a random act of kindness, directed at me. It made me think of how seldom these things happen. How strong we have to be the rest of the time, powering through our days with our shields drawn. It made me feel as if kindness has become something out of the ordinary. That we are so used to defend ourselves, why we withdraw so often and become isolated and sheltered. The risks are simply too high and yet I choose this road off the beaten path.
Here I sat, overcome, experiencing a seldom moment of kindness, being thought of and valued, realizing that my shields have been up, although I fight so hard to lower them. It might become a conquest for the rest of my life, and no matter how many times I get hurt throughout it, I will take that risk because a life with shields drawn is not freedom, nor the life I want to live. Maybe you find this naive, but I am not oblivious to what’s going on. I know things will happen, that some circumstances will be taken advantage off, friendships will be taken for granted or else. In fact you will get hurt many times over, but the only thing that is on me, is the opportunity to heal that hurt. Within myself first and within others. For they don’t know what they are doing.