Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how we love.
Maybe this is a ripple from Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s from personal times of disconnection from Kerry or others. How do we show love? We can say it. We can buy gifts. Steal a smooch. We can clean the house and do the laundry. Sometimes, nothing seems to be good enough. Sometimes we are SUPERMAN. Sometimes we just can’t get it right. Kerry and I have a running joke that my theme song is “Just Can’t Get It Right” by Joe Purdy – great song, by the way!
Sometimes we just have floods of emotions or stress that put us off balance. Sometimes we don’t sleep enough. Sometimes the sun doesn’t shine for a month or two and the frigid temps make us feel like we are going to lose it. Sometimes kids’ homework can be the end of the world or like a sledgehammer driving a wedge between us (meaning as a family – I never believed so much in the power of academics until this happened, and then happened again and again and…). Sometimes my son urinates on the toilet seat…a few drips here and there every time. Lift the seat. Not that hard.
Sometimes people are in crisis and need our help and they want it now. Sometimes they need our help and don’t want it now. The kids are listening and then they aren’t, thus the toilet seat issue. We are present and then we aren’t. Sometimes I find kids’ socks EVERYWHERE! The toilet won’t stop running after I fixed it. What is my password for this site (as I have 362 different ones at this point)? When am I going to write this blog? Did that client do their homework yet? When do we have that meeting? I need sleep. Do I have enough clean underwear to get through the week? Do I have time to do laundry this weekend? When did I promise that?
I miss my dad. What city are we going to be in this weekend? The kids have soccer. What am I making for dinner? I miss your dad. Like, a lot. Like it really sucks. I need to cry. When did I say that? When did you say that? I want to say this but feel like I can’t. When did I run last? Should I eat this? I know I shouldn’t eat this. I’m going to eat this…just a little…or the entire thing, I guess. Is there more? Does any of this matter? Am I making a difference? Do you love me? Do I love me?
My wife and I talk about respecting our boundaries by trying to avoid “puking” on one another. This is an emotional release, not actual vomiting on one another. That would be gross. We have learned over time that the thoughts and reactivity noted in streaming consciousness listed above are not intended for others. Mine are mine and for no one else.
These thoughts, feelings, and actions are not my wife’s responsibility. They are not my kids’ responsibility. When I fail to take the time to pay attention to them, things can fall apart as I puke all over everyone like that wonderfully non-PC, disgusting, yet hilarious scene from “Stand By Me.”
A very important flip side to this is in understanding that when other people fail to tend to their thoughts, feelings, and actions, it is not a reflection of you. I have a tendency to perceive that people are blaming me. The secret behind this stems from CONDITIONING. The reality is that no one is blaming me other than me. If I am aware of myself through mindful-living I can challenge my false beliefs. I will remember I am not causing harm to others. I am loving. I am giving. I am forgiving. I want peace and joy with all. But, there are times I may slip from this pattern. There are times when I fall apart. There are times when my loved ones fall apart. When this happens, all we can do is extend love and be there for support of the self and others. To err is human, to forgive is divine.
I think it is easy to take our partners, children, friends or basically anyone for granted. It is easy to get out of balance. It usually is unintentional. I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to. Apologize – only if you mean it. It is easy to think someone is attacking us. Chances are they are more upset about something that has nothing to do with you. This is especially true if you are living a mindful, loving life. Be mindful of your triggers. Remember to forgive yourself. Also, ask for forgiveness through apology. Remember that life does not revolve around you. If you aren’t careful, you will BECOME the problem!
Pay attention to the way in which you are caring for yourself. Pay attention to how you are extending love to yourself AND others. Pay attention to defensiveness and ask yourself why you feel the need to defend. Be supportive of your loved ones. YOU LOVE THEM! HELLO!!! You may feel like things are falling apart but chances are you are safer and more loved than you think.