WHY: Part II—Precious Fragments

This “Why” series is a way to bring me closer to you—by revealing my inner-most thoughts and being 100% vulnerable with you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking my words and embracing them with love and kindness.

The first time I was completely vulnerable with a man, it changed my being. Bringing it back now, I feel exactly the same as I did in that moment. My breath is ragged and my chest is warm. I have a sense of exhilaration that it happened, but also sadness that my moment with him has passed. The most important part of it, though, was that I felt liberated.

Whenever I go back and read the poems I wrote for my college thesis, I am so impressed at how much raw emotion I allowed to spill onto the pages. I wasn’t scared of making someone uncomfortable with my words or that they would judge me. I didn’t fear my teacher would read the lines and immediately fail me because I wasn’t Sylvia Plath at 22. I just wrote anything and everything that was inside of me, and it was good stuff!

I hear a song, 25 years later, and it reminds me of the times I danced in the summer darkness among the lightning bugs, and how I felt in the very heart of it. I remember the feeling of being absolutely free, absolutely me, without a care in the world. Granted, I was 10 years old at the time and wasn’t concerned with having a 401k or what I would be when I grew up, but so often, even as children, we burden ourselves with too many thoughts. You know that blonde chick that everyone makes fun of because she’s empty-headed? Sometimes, I envy her. Sometimes it is essential to let go of our thoughts and just feel.

One thing my belly dance teacher always reminds me to do is to let my emotion out while I’m dancing. Claudia says that a dancer can have the most technically precise moves and the most beautiful costume, but without tarab, there can be no complete dance. Tarab has no exact English definition, but the closest I can come up with is “a shared experience of musical ecstasy.” Or “When reaching the epic moment of a feeling derived from hearing music, whether it instrumental or voice or both together expressing either joy, pain sorrow or any other intense emotion.” (Written by Mohamed Shahin and Hanna St. John) This, to me, is exactly what it means to show one’s inner truth.

I have a friend who comments that his son lives fully in the moment, every minute of every day. His face lights up when he talks about how happy it makes him to see his child in this way. Wouldn’t it be great if we all lived in the moment like that?

These days it’s much rarer for me to let go. Is it because I’m older, set in my ways? It still happens occasionally if I’m dancing, if I am feeling particularly brave, or if I’m in a foreign place and just don’t care what anyone thinks. The most interesting times are when I’m wearing a costume or a wig; I’ve noticed it gives me a mental get-out-of-jail-free card. I wish I could let down this wall I have built with more regularity—I have the potential to free myself at any time. Why don’t I? Why don’t any of us?

I read a piece by Wayne Dyer before Christmas about making peace with relatives during the holidays. It struck me that, regardless of the focus on relatives, it turned out to be entirely fitting for this post.

The conflict seems too often to be a choice between being authentic, which means no peace with certain relatives, or having peace at the price of being inauthentic. Being peaceful and authentic can define your relationship with your relatives. First, though, you may have to assess your relationship with the closest relative of all—you.

Can I be extra real with you guys for a minute? Extra-extra real? It seems like, in the past, when I’ve taken those chances and displayed my authentically weird-silly-petrified-confident-lost-found-Quakerific-dancing fool-giggly-imperfect self, I haven’t gotten the results that I’ve wanted. And it crushed me. So I sit, and I reflect on Dr. Dyer’s words, and I wonder, can I be brave again? Is it worth it? I think we all know that the answer is, unequivocally, YES. In our minds we know it, in our hearts we hold it. The answer will always be yes.

In the light of the coming New Year, let’s carry on the tradition of challenging ourselves to be better, to improve something about our lives and to make peace with our authentic selves—whoever that turns out to be. You could make a list, like I did last year, or just hold the intention in your heart. Either way, I dare you to love and express the true YOU in 2015! If you’d like, please share one thing you intend on doing in the New Year that will create a more genuine you.

Vulnerability

Scatterheart

In the past, I have had a terrible habit of asking anyone who will listen to solve my problems for me. I have done this for so long that I can be perfectly honest and tell you that there are some important topics that have yet to truly penetrate my thoughts because I listened to the advice of others and promptly executed their will instead of my own.

I have put my friends on pedestals, and have thought that their advice is golden. It is generally meaningful advice, given with love, and meant to be helpful, but I think this mutual indulgence has hurt all of us in a way. I can’t remember the last time I made a concrete decision without the input of another person. Scarier still, I’m not sure I know what my decision would be if I let myself actually ponder it. For the other person, getting sucked so far into another’s psyche can’t be healthy. Some things should be personal and sacred.

These decisions can be as petty as choosing between clothes to pack (I actually have a friend who comes over every time I travel internationally to pack my bags for me), to what drink to order at the bar, but as you may have guessed from my previous posts, much of this anguish centers on my search for love. You can see what comes next. Yes, I have indeed let outside sources sway my feelings for the men I date.

Why do I do that? I think what it all comes down to is that I’m fearful not of making the decision, but of the consequences. If I can place the decision-making on someone else, then that someone will be there to blame if it all goes sour. If it goes well, I know who will be the maid of honor at my wedding. No harm, no foul, right? Except, there is no one but ME who really knows who will be the right man for me. I must start developing my own thoughts! What greater decision can we make than that of who we will share our lives with?

What can I do right now to snap out of my fair-weather decision-making? Today, I will rewrite my dream man list. It’s something I’ve been doing for a few years. I write the qualities that are most important to me in a partner (No, not washboard abs and a perfect SAT score; things such as wanting children, the ability to challenge me, and, most importantly, being emotionally available.), and put them in the love gua* of my home. I find that consistently pondering what I want most in my potential mate helps me focus my search (even when, admittedly, I let my friends sway me). It has been especially useful while I’ve been on dating websites like Match.com. What’s the worst that can happen? If I have faith in ME that I can choose my partner, the journey will open itself to endless possibilities, and if I can understand that what will be, will be, then there are no mistakes; everything is a lesson. Each date is a lesson learned. (We can be real here—sometimes it can be a hard lesson!)

*Baguas are the map of feng shui. There are 9 parts (guas) to the map, and each one has a specific purpose. The love area should include colors like red and pink, shapes like hearts, lists like the one mentioned above, and anything that screams “love” to you. I used the book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter to lay out my apartment.

What else will aid me in this process? Remember my post where I listed the places I wanted to go most in Portland? One of them was the Japanese Gardens. Since I wrote that post, I have visited them, and they were absolutely exquisite! I think the Japanese Gardens would be a great place to sit quietly, open up my mind, and envision my future husband. I encourage you to find a special thinking spot and go there often.

I’ve learned some general things that can help on my journey of trusting in myself. One particular source of this “education” has been Wayne Dyer. Look into his literature for his excellent teachings. Following is some of the wisdom I have picked up:

I know that I am on a lifelong journey. I will, through much trial and error, learn many lessons in my life. There is no right or wrong answer or action.

There is no climax, though there will be many peaks and valleys. I will forever be a student of the world, even after I find the love of my life, write that bestseller, or go on a belly dancing tour. My decisions may not produce the result I am looking for at the time, but all of them will impact my journey. I must trust in that.

I am recognizing the value of letting go, delving into the mystery of life, and letting chance take me where it will.

Lastly, I am learning to be grateful for all of life’s adventures. I am also grateful for you.