Beaching It

Today I did my morning run along the bay.  I am down the shore, and it is glorious.  After my three miles, I decided to just sit by the side of the bay.  The sun at 6:00 am is barely in the sky here, but it was on the rise all the same.  It reminded my of a story I read about Benjamin Franklin.  Ole Ben was a real drinker and carouser.  During one of his trips to Paris, he was stumbling home from the bar early in the morning.  Looking up at the rising sun, he was shocked to see the closed Parisian shutters.  He truly felt that people were missing out on the awe inspiring view of the light coming through the clouds at such an early hour merely because it was such an early hour.  When he returned to America, he supposedly brought the idea of Daylight Saving Time.  Now I am not sure how I feel about Daylight Saving Time, but I do know that there were a lot of drawn curtains this morning.  Part of me enjoyed the isolation, and part of me wanted to wake people from their beds to tell them that they were missing an amazing part of the day for a little bit of shut-eye.  As I sat on the beach with my feet in the sand and the warmth of the sun mixing with the still coolness of the morning, I was regenerated.  The quiet solitude felt like such a blessing.  The view to my left and right was devoid of even one person, and I was in Heaven.

“As You Wish” and Other Such Musings

My favorite movie growing up was The Princess Bride, and I think it completely ruined my ability to have a healthy view of relationships.  I watched it so many times that I still have almost every line of it memorized.  I also loved it so much that I read the novel by William Goldman.  I will save you any time and trouble.  The novel is not that great, and I am not the kind of person who EVER says that she likes the movie better than the book.  

The story goes like this.  Beautiful Buttercup berates the shy and quiet Wesley as she orders him around her farm.  She only refers to him as “farm boy.”  All he ever responds is “as you wish.”  His constant compliance surprises her and as time goes on she grows to love him.  Finally, she orders him to pull the pitcher of water from just above her head and the realization is actualized.  But every great love story has to have a conflict.  The conflict here is that Wesley is poor and must leave Buttercup to find his fortune so he can “earn” her hand in marriage.  His boat is lost at sea; Wesley is rumored dead; Buttercup marries Prince Humperdinck.

So what do we learn?  As a young girl, I fell helplessly in love with Wesley with his “eyes like the sea after a storm.”  It was not the Wesley that starts the story (the silent steward willing to do anything the young maid wishes), but the swashbuckling pirate who returns to save Buttercup from her ruthless soon-to-be husband.  The man who would go to any lengths to save the woman he loves even though he believes she married another as soon as he was gone.  As far as Wesley knows, his truelove betrayed him, yet he climbs up jagged rocks to sword fight a foe, wrestles a giant, and engages in a battle of wits that could cost him his life.  It is not until she reveals her love for beloved Wesley does he reveal himself as he tumbles down the symbolic hill and yells “as you wish.”  When they get to the bottom he asks, “Why didn’t you wait for me?”  To which she responds, “Well, you were dead.” The next words he spoke have resonated through my entire life: “Death cannot stop true love.  All it can do is delay it awhile.” 

This is what I want and this is why I am completely ruined because this is not reality.  Where does this type of love reside?  Which one of this pair is responsible for the depths of this love?  Are woman responsible for being lovable?  If so, Buttercup never seems very lovable to me.  She is bossy and self-centered.  Are men responsible for creating a love like this?  If so, Wesley is amazing, but where does a woman find him?  I must admit that I still want him.  When I married my ex, I was not under any delusion that he was ever a “Wesley” because as much as I wanted one, I did not really believe that he existed.  If I hold out now, am I just waiting for a deluded dream?  Perhaps.  Perhaps.  

Saturday Morning and Soul Mates

I woke up early again this morning and went for my run sans musical accompaniment. Without this influx of music, my mind was filled with its own ideas and awareness.  Today my musings centered on the classic idea of a soul mate.   This idea of soul mates has always astounded me, and today I was pondering as my feet hit the pavement.  Why have I always assumed that my soul mate needs to be a romantic attachment?  It seems everywhere I look now the Universe is telling me that this is not true.  It has taken me a long time to realize this.  In my defense, my parents were not very good teachers.

Last night my family went out for dinner. I have three brothers.  I have an older brother and two younger brothers.  My two younger brothers are from my dad’s second marriage.  My father recently left his second wife, and he has again started a new “family” with his current girlfriend.  My stepmom is still very much in my life.  I am not entirely sure how I feel about that, but she’s a part of it.  My youngest brother is thirteen years younger than I am. Despite this massive age difference, we think alike and have this unbelievable connection.  We have spent most of our lives laughing at the same stuff and watching bad b-rated horror movies.  When I told him so many years ago that I could feel other people’s feelings, he was supportive and understanding.  He did not think I was crazy, but he listened and said that it all made perfect sense.  Not just sense, but perfect sense.  As I sat next to him in the restaurant last night, I could feel our connection again.  It does not matter how long it has been since we have seen each other or talked. I can stop what I am saying mid-sentence and pick it back up with minutes, hours, or days later and he will know exactly what I am talking about.  I know I can tell him anything, and he loves me and does not judge me, and I do the same for him.  I realized with sudden clarity that my constant search for my perfect “soul mate” has ended.  I am instead looking at the “soul mates” I have already been given.  They seem to be all around me.  I am blessed.  Stop and look around at the people in your life.  Who are the soul mates you’ve been given?

 

A Man’s Transgression and the Wandering Empath

I always feel things that I cannot say.  It’s one of the most frustrating parts of my gift, but my spiritual adviser was just telling me yesterday that I cannot and should not say everything I feel.  It is a waste of my talents and gifts and some people are just not ready for it.  

Today my boys and I were at the Kid’s Kut.  As my youngest son was getting his hair cut, a young couple walked in with their toddler son.  The wife was overwhelmed. As always, my heart feels for women who are overwhelmed with the weight of motherhood.  It is a feeling that I completely relate with.  Her husband looked like a nice enough guy, but I could feel his “other woman.”  She texted him and she was in his pocket as he stood there with his wife and child.  No judgment, but within minutes I saw the outline of his emotional affair with a woman he met on the Internet.  He was so lonely.  This woman was so willing.  I wanted to pull the wife aside and warn her.  It was not that I wanted to get the man in trouble.  He felt like a good guy who was quickly getting wrapped up in a situation that was becoming larger than him.  I just wanted to hug her and tell her to really look at her husband.  It is amazing how alone two married people can feel in the same relationship.  If they could just turn and look at the other, perhaps things could be averted.

After the haircut, I took my boys to the Five and Below store.  As we were walking back to the car to head home, I saw the woman walking again with her young son.  Her husband was nowhere to be found.  It took every bone in my body to keep walking.  I didn’t say anything. It was right to not say anything.  Right? 

Love and the Empath Cont…

Last night I had a great conversation with one of my friends.  It was about love.  This seems to be a topic that comes up in my life often.  I think that it is my soul’s mission in this life.  Everyone comes into this life with a plan, a purpose.  Perhaps I should preface this entry with “based on my belief system,” but I wonder if that is already understood.  Anyway, I believe that everyone enters this life with an agenda.  I think my agenda is to research love.  Through my various karmic journeys, I think I have worked out being able to love my children, love my friends, and even others I barely know.  I have no one I call an enemy.  I dislike much of what people do, but I can honestly say that I don’t really “hate” anyone.  Sorry, “hate” is not allowed to be used in my home, and I try to keep it out of my vocabulary.  “Hate” is such a powerful and icky emotion.  If people could just feel how blackening it is, they would avoid it too.  “Hate” is a black, spiky tar that snags you and needs to be cleaned away with intent.  It is truly not the opposite of love.  I’ve felt people love and hate someone all at the same time.  It’s an entity all on its own.

So back to my conversation about love.  Love is so much more powerful.  It is the brightest, most beautiful light in the world.  It radiates from people.  You know that is true.  Even people who are not Empaths can feel when two people are in the early stages of love.  Also, the ability to see the bonds that love forms when given time to grow and mature can bring tears to someone’s eyes.  When we celebrate a marriage that has stood the test of time, we are not really celebrating that piece of paper and the ceremony that took place many years ago.  No, we are acknowledging the strength of a love that could stand the tests and the trials of life.  Marriages do not stay together because of a priest’s, judge’s, or pastor’s words.  Marriages can only stay together when love remains strong.  Divorce does not happen because we ever really stop loving the person we are married to.  Love is still there.  It is the other stuff that builds and clouds that diminishes the strength of love.  When we allow the other emotions to overcome our love, then love fades.  I told my friend that I still love my ex.  She was shocked to hear this.  People are always shocked to hear this.  If I still love him, then why in God’s name would I divorce him?  The reason is because the resentment, anger, distrust all built up and downgraded my love for him.  I no longer wanted to be his wife.  It was a title and position that no longer fit me or served me. I could not see myself continuing to build a relationship with him.  I no longer wanted to foster my love for him.  What is there, is there, but there is no part of me that wants it to grow.  

Even as I am writing this, I can see that I have some bugs to work out, but these realizations have taken many years and many mistakes to get to, so I will continue to observe.  For now, the biggest realization I’ve had is that I think my road has taken me to a path of being single.  This is the first time in my life, so I guess we will just see where this goes.   

Love and the Empath Cont…

Well, I am falling in love.  It’s with two different guys.  I know. It’s crazy, but it gets even crazier.  They are only six and three.  They are my two sons,and they are amazing.  

For the entirety of their lives, I have worked full-time.  After each of them was born, I enjoyed an eight week respite from my job, and then I went back to work.  My ex-husband quit his job one week after the birth of our first son, and he played the role of stay-at-home dad.  I am a teacher, so I always had summers off with them.  During the year, I would leave for work at 6:00 and I would not get home until about 5:00 pm.  The hour long commute each way did not seem like a big deal when I first started working.  After I had my children, it felt like a lifetime.  

Though I always valued my summers, my ex was home, too.  I never seemed to have a place.  My husband was the primary care giver.  He was the one they ran to when they fell.  He was the one they went to when they wanted apple juice.  I had to figure a way to shimmy my way into the threesome, and I was always successful, but then the calendar would show that it was August.  I would once again be forced into the role of bread winner, and every morning I would drive away before the sun and my boys were even awake.  

It was difficult to experience this gain and loss every year.  I think I built barriers to protect myself from it.  I loved when my ex would send me pictures of the boys, but each photo saddened me a bit.  One image of my son’s backpack as he walked into his kindergarten class for the first time, another of my younger son sitting on the potty, the three of them in a park on a beautiful fall day.  I was always happy that they had their father.  I was glad that it was not a stranger we hired, but selfishly, I wanted to be with them.

My ex was forced to get a job.  He did not want to go back to work.  He was quite content to live out the remainder of his days unemployed.  It was the divorce that forced the reality.  Now the proverbial shoe is on the other foot.  He gets up early in the morning, drinks his coffee, and drives off to work while the boys are still in bed.  I am the one sitting in my pj’s, waiting for them.  Now I get to dress them in the morning and kiss their soft little heads while they eat their breakfast.  It is helping me to heal.

The other day we were at the pool.  One of my six-year-old’s friends (a girl) was being treated meanly by another little girl.  She was crying next to me as she retold me the cruel words.  My six-year-old stood next to her, too, in a protective way.

“Are you all right?”  He asked her as he gently placed a hand on her shoulder.  She looked at him and nodded.  “She was really mean to you. What did she say?”  His voice sounded so adult, so mature.

“She said she didn’t want to play with me,  She told me to go away,” she said.  He looked at her and he crinkled his nose to his forehead.  This is the look he gets when he is thinking and still confused.

“Well, it’s ok, Becca.  We’ll play together.  Come on,” and he started to run off in the direction of the big pool.  He looked back once to make sure she was following.  When he saw that she was, he smiled and ran a bit faster.  As I turned back, my three year old was standing by my legs.  He had a water-filled bucket.

“Momma, can I pour this on your legs?”  I nodded.  “It’s cold, Momma,” he said just to make sure I understood.

“It’s okay, baby.  Go ahead.”  Giggling he poured the water on me and filled the bucket again for another go.  My eyes welled with tears as love filled my heart.  It sounds so cliche, but is exactly how it felt. These feelings of love for my boys were not new, but the depth and fullness of this love really is.  This pause in my life that is allowing me to have this unadulterated time with my sons is a blessing that cannot really be defined by words, but it is the most amazing time in my life.

Love and the Empath Cont…

There are so many different types of love, and for much of my life, I have focused mostly on romantic love, but I am beginning to find that the one of the most rewarding types of love is shown through friendship.  My parental situation was less than stellar, and I found acceptance with a core group of friends who were also struggling with their own emotional stability.  

I have always had a lot of friends, and my friends are all different.  In high school, I could hangout with the captain of the football team one day and my goth friend the next.  Each one always seemed to have characteristics that I found intriguing.  My friends also tend to be the types of people who do not have many friends at all.  This is not because they are difficult people to be around, but it is more because the tend to be introverts.  My empathic ability allows me connect with almost everyone, and I must admit that I find the majority of people in this world fascinating.  One of my coworkers has a favorite catch phrase: “I hate people.”  I find this so amusing.  Part of the reason I find this amusing is because it is not true.  She is one of my most caring and giving friends. She is just easily frustrated when other people act very human. The other reason is that I have not met a person who deserves to be hated.  You may be sitting there thinking, “Well, you haven’t met so-and-so.  She is really awful.”  The reality is that I have met people who may seem to deserve the moniker “most awful,” but with a little bit of digging, there is always a love inside that person.  It is really easy to go inside ourselves and hide behind our egos and dismiss people as difficult, but the reality is that we all have moments of being difficult.  We all have moments that need to be forgiven.  Eckhart Tolle has this great line in his novel Stillness Speaks.  Tolle writes the following in response to the idea of difficulty of acceptance, “Acceptance of the acceptable is the greatest source of grace in this world.”  This is not to say that if someone is abusing you or taking advantage, you should continue to let that happen and “accept” this behavior.  It’s actually empowering to “accept” the knowledge that you are being abused or taken advantage of and now is the time for you to act.  So often abuse continues because of the victim’s denial of reality.  I am discussing acceptance here in terms of allowing people to be who they are while you allow yourself to be who you truly are.  It is not until you accept “what is” that your life will begin to change.