Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The daughter you see isn't the daughter in existence

Rumi said, “Ignore those that make you fearful and sad, that degrade you back towards disease and death.” When it's a parent that's tearing you down, ignoring them can be a hard thing to do. Until a few years ago my dad and I were very close. We talked every other day and we saw each other very frequently, but somewhere in my growing up process during college, we lost that. Our lives are supposed to be fluid like water. We move, swell, expand, churn, and change with each bend, rapid and waterfall. Somewhere in his life, he just stopped moving. He became a rock glued into the muddy bank of the river. Everyone else kept flowing past him, but he refused to move. His little girl grew up, but he couldn't acknowledge that because it would involve shifting from the comfort of his mud cavity in the riverbank. When he looks at me, the daughter he sees isn't the daughter that is in existence. He creates his own image of a person that he can love or be angry at because it is easier than accepting the fluidity of the water around him. He likes to think that his daughter is a quiet little girl; a recluse that will never marry, have friends, or do anything wrong; someone overweight; and as a brainiac, so anytime I try to talk about what is happening in my life, he ignore me. His image of me is comfortable and he can see his own reflection in it, so he won't listen to anything that will force him to abandon this image of me. He wants me to be him so that he won't feel like the only one that is stuck. I can't be around him anymore because after I see him he tears me down so much I feel miserable about myself and start to believe that his image of me is truth. For a long time, I would take the feelings of disease and death when I was around him because he is my dad and family is the most important thing to me, but it has gotten to the point that he wrecks so much havoc on my emotional health that until he choses to see the person that I have become, I am going to have to limit contact with him. I thought that by sticking out the emotional abuse I could pull him out of his rut and get him moving with flow of things again, but he has buried himself so deep in his hole that he won't budge. He has to make the choice to rejoin the flow of water and until he does, he will not keep me there in his hole. I chose the exuberance of life that comes with fluidity over the fear, sadness, death, and disease that comes with stagnance.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lost is a State of Mind

During the past couple of months I have discovered how much your state of mind reflects the state of your life. I feel like I am traveling in a boat through life's ocean and my mind controls the conditions. When I don't think about where I "should" be or where other people expect me to be, I know my boat is heading in the right direction and I am exactly where I need to be at that moment in time. The second I start to question my decisions about the route I've taken, which primarily occurs after looking at where my peers are or when I think about people's expectations of my voyage, thick fog and tall, powerful waves roll in. The waves toss my boat in every direction and I lose control. The fog limits my visibility, causing navigating to be difficult and I get overwhelmed deciding which direction I should go to get out of the fog. There are so many options and I don't know exactly where I want to end up. The further I think into the future, the more fog rolls in, blanketing me with anxiety. I convince myself that I am lost, so it becomes my reality. When I do stop thinking so much about the future and start enjoying where I am right now, the fog clears and I realize that I'm not actually lost. It was all in my mind. You can't be physically lost because all life is made of is a bunch of experiences. Every experience is beneficial and creates your ocean. Life may take you on a completely different path than what you had originally intended, but you will end up where you need to be. Our journeys are all different, but in the end the ocean brings us to the same place. It is our choice whether we navigate through the fog and waves or through calm water with the sun smiling down upon us.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Planting a Seed and Successfully Growing a Tree

A year and a half ago I planted an acorn. I watered it, nurtured it, and sent it all of my positive energy to it in hopes that it would grow into a beautiful, strong and courageous oak tree. I waited patiently, knowing that the life inside a seed takes time and the right conditions to be awakened, but too much time had gone by without any sign of the acorn ever opening it's eyes to the light of the world. It got to the point where I gave up on my little acorn. I thought I had picked a dud acorn that would never sprout life, so I started looking for a new seed to plant. Months had gone by since I had given up hope on a tree ever growing when an unexpected green sprout started to emerge from the soil. I was so excited when I saw the growth I could hardly contain myself, but I didn't tell many people because it was too early to tell if this sprout was a tree or just a weed. If it was my tree, the timing was perfect. I had just lost my companion and my current scenery was getting to be overly explored. I was ready to dedicate all of my time and energy into this tree and explore all of it's branches. After a week went by, the sprout had grown enough to tell that the growth was indeed a tree. My initial reaction was surprising. I immediately burst into tears, and not tears of joy. They were tears of disappointment. I had been waiting for this moment for a year and a half and it was finally here, so why was I disappointed? I mean what did I expect? An instant full grown tree? It made me question my intention for planting the acorn in the first place. I felt selfish for not wanting to give this tree a chance and I couldn't provide a clear answer of why I didn't want to help this tree grow and reach it's full potential. I wasn't scared of it or unsure if I would be able to make it grow, it just didn't feel right, so I started observing this tree more closely; smelling it, touching it, tasting it, meditating next to it. I was spending so much time with this tree trying to figure out what I was going to do, and I was starting to get sick. While meditating and taking in all of the information I was getting from my observations, it occurred to me that this wasn't my tree. This wasn't the oak I planted, but a juniper which had somehow managed to kill my acorn to make room for itself. Yes, it was a tree, but not my tree, and on top of it all, I'm allergic to junipers. So I was then faced with a choice; do I dedicate 27 months of my life to this tree which needs my help, knowing that those will be the hardest 27 months of my life, but in the end coming out a stronger person or do I plant another seed and wait for my oak tree, the tree that I'm really passionate about? Deep down I knew what my decision would be, but people were playing a huge roll in my decision making process. They thought I was crazy for not wanting to jump at the opportunity to help this tree grow because I should take my chance on this tree while I know there is something growing there. Junipers have branches to explore too, they told me. They didn't understand why I would abandon this tree just because it was making me feel sick. In the end, it is my life and my decision. I don't have a good feeling about this juniper and this isn't a tree that I'm passionate about, so when it comes to helping this tree, I won't be putting all of my energy into making it grow healthy and strong. I would rather plant another acorn and wait for a tree that will I love and want to help, not because I feel obligated to. It will be just as much work and just as hard to get it to grow and flourish, but facing the hardships knowing that the end product will be the beautiful oak I wanted in the first place will make it worth it. In the end, there is someone out there who is really passionate about that juniper and will dedicate themselves to helping that tree reach it's full potential.