“Five for ten, and I’ll spot you something that looks like a soul, but feels more like thinly stretched taffy from Coney Island,” I said to the face in the mirror.
My face in the mirror. Took me long enough to recognize her, but I tend to like the hard way when it comes to lessons. The only way to learn something from the inside out is to throw yourself into it completely, twist crap around, then jump in deeper. Sooner or later the bottom reveals itself in colors of ‘oh hell no’ or ‘bring it on’.
My latest project, No Name Lane, thrust me into the spiritual deep end to take a solid look at completeness. I ripped apart illusions with a fine pointed pen, then strolled through the wisdom of incredible teachers, all of it ending with a very stark realization.
I am complete within myself.
What does that mean exactly? Well, as best as I can figure I don’t need the presence of another human being to make me whole. While I’ll totally conceed it would be nice to have a romantic partner again, the lack of such won’t destroy the foundation of who I am. Whoa. Yeah, made my eyes uber wide with something between shock and glee. Not the kids singing musical numbers in high school. But actual contented happiness.
As writers, 90% of the stuff we write is usually for us. It has nothing to do with narcissism. More like because we’re so prone to living in illusion due to our craft, the universe finds any way it can to get the point across. For us, it’s words on a page. For that guy hiding in the back, it’s his obsessive need to listen to Donna Summer albums. Hey, I don’t judge. We all got our thing.
My thing is to break down everything over and over and over and… you get the point. I like to see events from every angle possible, then I ask three questions.
What did I gain?
What did I lose?
What did I learn?
Those twelve words are the way I evaluate every past and present experience. No judgement for anyone involved, no assigning right or wrong, just a comprehensive walk through the lessons of really good teachers. Yeah, I was that annoying person in college who had a file box full of research for a 20 page paper. Being thorough never killed anybody, unless they got a paper cut, then it turned into an infection and…
I’m getting off track. #ADD
The current wisdom is not to look back into the past because they say depression lives there. But how can you avoid repeating the same cycles if you don’t take the time to learn from the class life has already offered? I’m not saying stay back there forever. That’s just plain insanity because you can’t actually live in the past, but The Lion King had some pretty darn good thoughts on this subject…
Adult Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back means I’ll have to face my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.
[Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick]
Adult Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?
Rafiki: It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.
Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.
[swings his stick again at Simba, who ducks out of the way]
Rafiki: Ha. You see? So what are you going to do?
We can’t run from who we’ve been or the events in our lives. However, we can absolutely learn from them if we’re willing to put aside blame, ego, and the part of us that loves to judge ourselves. If perfection was a human quality, the planet would be empty because there’d be no point to living.
Life is a journey of lessons through our experiences and choices. We need the contrast of lack to understand fullness, of darkness to appreciate light, of no love to embrace the beauty of unconditional love. Without delving completely into the depths of absences we may know fullness, light and love, but will often fail to understand the precious nature of such gifts.
After many years of relationships with no real break, I hadn’t been able to see, in the constant presence of others, what I’ve found in complete aloneness. I am enough all by myself, and contented in that realization. My past, my teachers, and a heck of a lot of contrast taught me that. How fortunate a gift to be given from a universe that conspires for our greatness.
If your path takes you into the arms of another loving soul, then embrace it because love should always be welcome. But know, in the arms of that person, you are complete within yourself with or without them. Completeness only requires we recognize its existence, not the presence of another being, no matter how wonderful they are. When we truly see past the illusion we are broken souls into the truth our wholeness, we can love on a level of unconditional that will make the universe blush.