Back from a short trip to Arkansas and trying to decide my next step. More travel? Writing a short book? Going out of my mind for lack of physical intimacy?
Perhaps I should apologize to anyone who thought this blog was going to be all “zen”….full of peace, harmony, meditation. Mostly, it’s about expansion….stepping out of the proverbial “bottle.”
In my reading last month, there was a mention of how people often imagine Buddha sitting under the bodhi tree, but rarely imagine him walking nearby path(s). And yet, Buddha did spend hours walking and must have realized the importance of balance, that there is a time to sit still and a time to move. Thoreau, too, realized the importance of going into the woods….and then coming out of the woods and returning to the world beyond his small abode.
In many ways, I feel like I’ve spent most of my life trapped in a bottle. Men, in particular, tend to joke when they hear my name for the first time. They seem to like the idea of their own female “genie” kept in a tiny container. They have no idea that I would chew them to bits and spit them out in less than a heartbeat. This is my balance. If you ever meet me and mistakenly think I’m just sweet, innocent, and giving, I may relieve you of your delusion in short measure. Or, I may just move on to someone who sees all of me…..not some partial selective idea of who I am. Because, that’s a bottle and I’m not getting in there.
So, again, what now? I just spent three days in turmoil over whether I should end communication with someone. Not only has the person in question triggered me several times in recent weeks, but I had a moment when I thought I may not be able to stop communication even if it was what was actually best for me. After months of not being moved by anyone, I even found myself having all sorts of thoughts about him and all efforts to be okay with the status quo were failing hard and fast. I wasn’t okay at all.
Maybe I’m still not okay, I don’t know. Slightly better, perhaps….since I am currently taking a break from texting him, the only two-way communication we have. I’m taking a break rather than making a more drastic and regrettable decision. Although, he’s unlikely to be affected no matter what I do. I just have to figure out how I’m going to handle everything moving forward. Do I close off myself indefinitely because of people I can’t seem to let go? Or, do I make efforts to continue friendships with them because friends are important in this world…..and I want to be there for people I care about? After all, if we can’t be friends with people first and foremost, we have no business being anything else. I suppose this is the way I’ve always seen it, but I have to wonder in this moment if all of the holding on (in whatever capacity) is actually just tying me down in some way. Maybe, in fact, it’s putting me in a bottle and keeping me from what I really want.
Assuming anyone cares about me and my life, I don’t think this is what anyone would want for me. Contrarily, I should be living life to the maximum. And I have definitely had thoughts of this, too, in recent weeks. I’ve had thoughts of honoring the person I love with the way I live my life…..to live all of the grand adventures I can for the both of us. I often think about how my late husband couldn’t find it in himself to let me go. He couldn’t look to the good things change can bring. He couldn’t love me in the way I needed. Maybe I listened to my “Beauty and the Beast” record one too many times as a kid, but I don’t believe it’s real and true love if you can’t set someone free.
The spiritual leader, Osho, would say that you can’t actually give anyone his/her freedom at all. You can only accept the freedom of the other person. True as this seems, there’s one thing I think he left out. Some of us have learned to give up our own freedom. In doing this, some of us also have learned that this is a very bad idea….so maybe we’ve decided we’re never giving it up again. Maybe we even see other people as trying to take our freedom from us. Surely, those who have learned to give up theirs so easily want to also take ours from us…..right? Isn’t the entire institution of marriage built upon people giving up their freedom?
I imagine this perception accounts for the push/pull we feel in certain relationships. One person pushes for more. The other person pulls away. One person willingly gives up his/her freedom to be with someone and that someone freaks out…..because that’s not good…..at all.
Interestingly enough, I also read recently that women are more likely to see the sexual act, specifically, as something to be “given”…..while for men, it’s a “take-away.” Again, this is something that women are said to learn. Whether sex or our freedom, we learn that it’s our job to give in our relationship, marriage. I have learned to give. My late husband, in fact, reinforced it in me and I’ve been trying to break out of it ever since.
But maybe I haven’t entirely broken out of it. Maybe I am beginning to choose a different “type” of partner, but these are people who may be reformed givers, themselves. These are people who realize that giving up one’s freedom is never a good idea and if they’ve done it once….or twice….they’re never going to do it again. Part of me definitely relates to this. I’m a bit commitment-phobic. Maybe I’m only eager to give up my freedom with others who are also afraid of being tied down. When others are just as eager as me, however, I back away or even run. You see, part of me still leans toward relinquishing my life to another person even while I don’t actually want that. The program is still there, running in the background of my psyche. It tells me that to give is a good thing and I can still be a good person, a good woman, if I just go for emotionally unavailable people. I can give up my freedom like a loyal and faithful partner and then be rejected so that I don’t actually have to give it up at all. In fact, I’m still trapped in this idea that freedom is something that can be given and taken. I’m still trapped in the idea that even my own freedom is something that can be given and taken. So, Osho had it only partially right. It’s not just the freedom of the other person that can only be accepted and not given, but it’s our own freedom as well. Therefore, to move beyond the programming, we need to accept our own freedom every bit as much as we accept the freedom of others.
On the surface, it may appear that I’ve been accepting my own freedom for some time now. After all, there are strong indications of this is in my traveling, dating, current living arrangements, and professional work. However, I tried to give up my freedom in a longer relationship prior to 2020 and would have given it up last year, as well. So, accepting my own freedom is something I must still need to work on. And if I’m working on it, I’m going to expect others to work on this too. Not only do I want to spend my days with someone who accepts my freedom, but someone who accepts his own. I would say to this person…..don’t be so willing to give it up for me. What makes you think I would want that? I never have. I never will.
So no, I can’t actually set anyone free or let go of anyone. I can only accept a person’s freedom to come and go…..and my own freedom, too, to come and go. If, at any point, I need to step away from a situation or relationship to work on this or for my own mental and emotional health and well-being, I’m going to do that. If someone doesn’t accept this need, then that is on him. It is something that person will also need to work on. Sometimes, two people just aren’t in the same place with their growth, development, life. Sometimes, we need to step away. Maybe we can come back together another time. Maybe not.
Up until now, I’ve always looked at love as if timing isn’t a factor. However, it is most definitely a factor for relationships and sharing a life together. If it wasn’t, then we would never grow. We would never become better versions of ourselves. We would never become better partners. We would never grow in gratitude and selflessness. Today, I am thankful for this wisdom that I have grown in. I am thankful for this understanding. Love doesn’t go away just because the timing is off in any given situation. My love doesn’t go away. Yet, two people do need to be at the same place in their development and have reached, independently, a level of development that is necessary for each to thrive. The type of relationship each person seeks, as well, is a factor. Someone not looking for a soul-mate or the love of his life isn’t going to require quite the same amount of attention to this as someone who is. The reality is that if you want to be closer to heaven on earth, you just might have to be that and embody that. Our relationships, after all, tend to mirror the health of our inner being. If you seek peace and harmony, you have to cultivate that internally, first.
This all being said, my love understands your own need to cultivate, grow, and find your way. My love understands that you need to accept your own freedom and stand back until I better accept my own. My love knows that although I would give up my freedom for you in my love for you, neither of us want that. My love knows that if you ever feel like giving up your freedom for me, neither of us will want that either. In fact, we can’t relinquish our freedom at all. It’s our very being. We are freedom. No relationship status, vow, or marriage certificate can give it or take it away.
Are these things your desire? Your fear? Nonsense. I see women all of the time who try to give up their freedom for a bit of security. They think marriage and the genie life looks pretty cozy, until they realize later that it didn’t make them as happy as they thought it would. I also see people who are afraid they’ll lose their freedom or lose themselves if they get too involved with another person. It’s all silly.
People who try to give their own freedom often decide to take it back at some point and they do…quite easily. That’s because we can’t lose it. Two completely free people don’t merge into one non-free entity. It’s impossible. Anyone who fully accepts the freedom of another person as well as his own freedom will enslave neither himself or the other person. Nothing is lost. Only unbounded joy and love arises from this kind of union.
This is my vision. If I say I’m looking for a “relationship,” please understand that this is what I’m talking about. If I’m not ready for merging in any capacity or believe you aren’t ready, I’m not going to push it and I’m going to reject it. If you’re the one for me and I’m the one for you, I’m going to expect you to do the same. This is our understanding. We both know this, intuitively.
This is my belief. We are already joined by something we can’t explain. Call me crazy if you want, but that just means you’re not ready. I do understand, because I haven’t been ready, either, up to this point.
But give me a minute here, and I just might be….