Politics Screw With Love

Almost everything that pokes at me and sends me out of my comfort zone these days originates from Facebook.  I think this window we’ve created for ourselves into the lives of people we know, but don’t really know forces us pull our heads out of the sand and admit that there are all kinds of other viewpoints out there.  If we can’t embrace each others’ differences, we at least have to learn to accept them because they exist and denying the existence doesn’t change that fact.

For me the button that is most often pressed is the one in charge of my politics.  I know that I am not the only one that could admit this.  Today a friend posted something that was so very true, yet left me feeling a mixture of angry, sad, and fearful.  I’ll try to paraphrase what she said:

Do you ever notice how when you find out someone’s political beliefs your opinion of them instantly changes and you no longer feel the same about them? It’s interesting that that happens.

Reading that made me sad because, after two years of being her Facebook friend, I know her political views and they are not the same as mine.  It was a reminder that the instant I am open about being liberal there are people who will think less of me and perhaps even write me off.  The comment made me angry because it means that all the respect and love that brings us to a relationship in the first place can be torn apart in one moment of categorizing ourselves.  Finally it made me fearful because, like I said before, it was a very true (for probably most people) statement.

I’ve been in both situations before.  I’ve been in the place where you’re hanging out with a new friend, you like them and see the potential for a great relationship and then the subject of politics come up.  They say something that lets you know their on your team and suddenly you feel those warm fuzzies.  In your mind you’re running through a field of daisies with some sweet song playing.  In one instant an alliance has been made, and yes, you like this person more than you did the moment before.  I’ve also been in the moment where the new friend expresses a political opinion opposite yours and the sound of a record scratch resonates in your head.  How could this be?  She/He can’t possibly be one of them!  And just like that, you’re not so sure you could ever find common ground with this right-wing/left-wing crazy (gotta love how our ego exaggerates)!

If there is something I want to transform about myself it is this reaction.  I want to see myself have these snap judgments and be able to take a time-out to pray for God to heal my thoughts and help me see what’s real.  In reality we all just want the same basic things.  We want to feel safe and loved.  It doesn’t matter what your political party affiliation is.  The negative reactions about our differences come from fear and that fear is used so well in politics to divide us, even from those we respect and love.

More and more these days I am finding friends on the other side of the fence whom I have so much in common with.  I am better for having them in my life and hope that in the future my political allegiances never keep me from connecting with people like these smart and loving ones I already know!

*A note to my FB friend if she is reading*

I hope I didn’t offend you by paraphrasing you here.  Thank you for inspiring me to look within at my own reactions.

Living the Questions

Recently someone commented on an old post.  It gave me the opportunity to reread that post and the comments on it.  A friend of mine had left the following quote in her comment.  She’d read it and thought of me.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions”

I remember that when I read it the first time I had thought It sounds very lovely, but I don’t really get it. What does it really mean to live the questions?

So yesterday I had a very emotional day.  I reconnected with two old friends, one in person and one by phone.  I didn’t express everything that was in my heart with either of them.  I knew that if I’d opened my mouth to actually speak what I was feeling I would just turn into a weeping mess.  The gist is that I realized in talking with them that I had unintentionally and unknowingly pushed them both away.  In the past couple of years I have been so busy seeking the answers, that I’ve let important things and people slip away.

At the end of the day I was thinking more about it and this quote popped into my head.  I had lost friendships and connections because I wasn’t “living the questions.”  I don’t need to have the answers and in fact the harder I look for them the less likely they are to come.  The answers will find me when I am ready to receive them.  It’s just like the quote.  I didn’t get it at first because I didn’t need to.  Maybe at that point I was too immersed in my seeking to appreciate the powerful message my friend was presenting me with.    But now, I GET IT!

Living the questions to me is to ask, expect to receive when the timing is right, and LET GO of the need to know.  Get back to living and loving while the Universe gets to work on the how and when.  The answer will arrive and you will just KNOW it’s time to take action.  I am going to stop acting like the kid in the back seat saying “Are we there yet?”  I am going to be present in my life and have confidence that I’ll be led to the right step when I am truly ready to take it.

I Am

A new poem:

I Am

I am the clarity that calms

the peace that passes through

I am the light that leads

the stillness in the storm

I am the love that levels

the ecstasy that embraces

I am the energy that engulfs

the aspirations that arouse

I am the courage that coarses

the wisdom that brings wealth

I am the divine that dances

the spark that springs forth

I am one with wonder

the connection to creation

I am not removed by remorse

but awake with awareness

And on another note: Happy Anniversary, M!  I love you with all my heart and am so grateful for the past 11 years and this amazing journey we’ve shared.  You have given me more than you will ever know.  I am so proud of all we have accomplished and created and just how far we’ve come!  You are such an inspiration to me and I am in awe of your amazing ability to do everything so well, especially take care of our precious family!

Soulmates 2

I wanted to continue talking about soulmates because I didn’t feel like one post was enough for it.  As I have started paying attention to the events in my life I notice the feelings that arise when I meet people.  When I encounter a soulmate there is a certain recognition within me.  I think that the level of attraction or even repulsion I feel, determines the impact that person will have on my life.  I felt an incredibly strong attraction to my friend and neighbor, Teresa and my meditation teacher, Rob.  Both of these people have been pivotal in my spiritual journey.  I have learned so much from the two of them and they have become my spiritual companions.

The same sort of connection happened when I started attending writing group.  It was actually Rob’s wife who put me in touch with Adrian Fogelin who then invited me to join her group.  The group is amazing and each person involved has offered me just what I needed in my growth as a writer.  They offer positive support and encouragement when I am doubting my skills and they ask the tough questions that make me examine what and why I write what I do.  I am so grateful to be a part of this group and if  (no actually not if..but when) my novels are published it will certainly be because of what I have learned from these amazing writers.  I have felt like I “belonged” with them from the first meeting I attended.

There is also another theory behind soulmates that I tend to buy into (although for some the idea is controversial or even offensive) and that is the idea of reincarnation.  Many books I’ve read and people I’ve talked with believe that those closest to us, whom we connect with the most, are people we’ve shared other lives with.  If you meet someone and are completely repelled by them without good reason it could be because in a past life the two of you had a difficult relationship.  And of course the whole idea of “love at first sight” could be because in another life you had actually been in love with the person.

Recently I read a book by Denise Linn called “Past Lives, Present Dreams” where she talked about something called “Lovemates.”  Her definition of lovemates was the definition that most people use for soulmates.  She suggests that we all have a twin soul, someone who is a mirror of us, who “completes us.”  She says that we do not share every life with this person and don’t always connect with them when we do.  She says that relationships with lovemates are sometimes difficult but when the work is done are very fulfilling and loving.  She also says that many people never find their lovemates and many others are already with their lovemates and don’t realize it.  (I like to think I’ve found mine.)

The truth about all of this…soulmates and lovemates…is that we will never have any real proof of it.  Just like so many other things, I take it with faith because it feels good to me.  I feel less alone believing I am connected beyond this physical realm with many other loved ones.

Compromise

Over the past few months, I have been making a conscious effort to connect with my husband.  Up until last December, I would often hear my friends talk about these things called “dates” and “babysitters.”    I’d laugh and say, “oh, we don’t go on those and we don’t hire sitters.” It was funny for a long time, until I was sitting at a Wiggles concert with Mark and the girls on my 10th anniversary.  I realized it had been a long time since we had been out together by ourselves and of all the nights when we should have hired a sitter, we didn’t.  We’d let ourselves get into a rut and we’d used the girls as an excuse for it.

Sure we had plenty of alone time after the girls would go to bed, but we usually used that time like toddlers engaged in parallel play.  Mark would be on one side of the room playing his guitar, surfing the internet, or watching football, while I was on the other side reading books or writing them.  We were always together, but not really.  That was yet another excuse.  We were always together and never fought, that meant everything was perfect right?

At some point I decided it wasn’t perfect and acused Mark of not being interested in me.  The problem there was I realized I was just as guilty.  I rarely asked him about the things that were important to him.  And in true lazy form I would tell myself, if he wants to talk to me about something he will, I shouldn’t have to ASK.  Eventually we had a long and wonderful talk.  We were reminded of how much we are still in love and decided to make our interest in each other’s lives obvious.  Our marriage gets top priority.

These days I am constantly reminded of what a great husband I have.  He has supported me so much.  When I’ve been down about the various reactions to my writing, he’s the one who reminds me to stay the course.  He knows I love it and encourages me to not let the critics get to me.  I’ve recently realized that he is the one person that is truly invested in me.

So everyday I am thinking of ways that we can become closer.  Recently it occured to me that he is a huge football fan and I have always just ignored that interest of his.  So this year, my gift to our marriage (compromise if you will) is that I am going to learn about and watch football.  I’ll even be willing to go to a couple of games if we can get tickets.  It’s definitely long overdue!

Connection

A running theme in my Unity church is the idea of looking for the “Christ” within people.  That “Christ” in us is our divine spark, our souls, our power, that something that makes us all brothers and sisters in God.  We are all connected by this.  We all have it and when I am present and focused on the NOW, I like to look for it in people.  One way I do this is by making eye contact and smiling at strangers.  It is amazing the way people change when you do this.  Almost always, they smile back and usually I will notice them do double takes as they walk by or away from me.

About a week ago at the grocery store I had a moment like this with a woman.  We looked at each other, smiled, and said hello.  She was this beautiful silver haired lady and she commented that she had forgotten her bags.  I immediately thought I should give her one of mine, but ignored the impulse at first.  I walked by her later in the store and because we had had such a great connection I went up and asked her how big her grocery list was.  She held it up, without the slightest confusion in her eyes.  I saw that the list was small and handed her one of my bags.  It was a tiny gesture but she looked at me like she would either hug me or cry.  We really saw the truth of each other in that moment.

Yesterday I was at Border’s (it’s my favorite hang out) and on my way out of the bathroom an older gentleman bumped into me.  He was disabled and looked disheveled.  We both said excuse me and went our separate ways.  Later on he approached me in the cafe and said he was sorry for bumping into me.  I reached for his hand, looked him in the eyes and stressed that it was OK.  I noticed him looking at me after he sat down.  I got the feeling that most people don’t really see this man and the fact that I saw him and reached out to him meant something.

These days I am finding such joy in connecting with people in this way.  It feels good to give smiles, but it feels even better to get them in return…which you almost always do.  It’s also important to look beyond the exterior (the homeless person on the corner, the super-hot chick, the stressed out mom, the grumpy old man) and find the spark of divinity that is almost always resting in their eyes.

I’ll end this with something from one of my friend’s facebook page.  Under religious views he wrote “Finding God in each other…”  That’s what connection is all about!