I want to thank Bill who writes the blog drbillwooten.com for posting a quote this morning which has been echoing in my head -
“In the life of each of us…there is a place remote and islanded, and given to endless regret or secret happiness. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside wakes.” — C.E. Jung
Let me qualify this, before you leap to the notion that I’m advocating a narcissistic approach to life, centered totally on yourself with no consideration given to anyone or anything else. Back it up my friend – let’s slow down and just take a little stroll, ok? There is little risk that any of those who read this are on the cusp of world domination, figuratively speaking (if for some reason you are on the literal cusp of world domination, I think it’s best I don’t know – just remember to please be kind when you assume global power).
I worry about my friends and family the way my Sirs can worry a bone. Archie can spend hours considering a new bone from every angle, holding it tightly in his paws, refusing to consider a walk outside or a diversion of any kind. I get it. And so today I’m writing to all of you who have been on my mind – I love you, but I also need to get some sleep.
You are so incredibly worthy and deserving of all the happiness that you seek. And you’re going to find it. I wish I could tell you that it’s located on aisle six of the supermarket, next to the shaving cream. On sale with no coupon needed. The good news is that the cost isn’t prohibitive. The less-than-good-news is that it’s where we seldom choose to look. Step inside yourself for a minute. What do you see? My hunch is that you see a lot of what you don’t want to look at. So, we shut that door and look outside. And our lives become “if..then” statements. ‘If this person loves me, then I will be happy.’ ’If I could just get her to do ‘x’, then all would be good’. ’If I get this promotion, then I’ll be set’. And – what if none of that happens? We push that away. Don’t want to think about it, because we’ve already set the level of expectation.
But where do you come into play? If you spoke to yourself as you would your best friend, looked in the mirror through the eyes of one who loves and cherishes you, gave yourself permission to love yourself with the same passionate devotion with which you approach others – what would you do today? How would you take care of you? Would you let someone you love waste one moment of his/her time on sorrow that is avoidable? Would you ever let someone you adore, cede control of his/her sense of self to anyone? You wouldn’t of course – that’s what makes you such a fantastic friend. Perhaps to everyone except yourself.
I’ve gotten myself so lost at times that it’s taken me years to get back to someone I recognize. It happens. And finding that I detoured and went so far off course that I couldn’t even figure out my true location is not a foreign exercise to me. I’m still learning to give myself a break, nurture the little kid in me, still the voices in my head that continue to insist that they know what I should be doing, when arguably they no longer really know me at all. I look in the mirror and some days I can’t stand what I see. And I have a very strong able-bodied imp that jumps up and down every time I try to give myself an ‘atta girl’.
But – and it’s a big but – I know if I listen for too long, I will go down a path I would rather not travel. I want to love this life enough to feel joy with who I am – choosing to sit here at the round table, with the sun on my back, jazz playing softly in the background, writing to you. I choose to travel inside every once in a while to see how I’m treating myself, and to remember that I’m more ok than I probably think I am. And more importantly, I can’t dismiss my own neurotic idiosyncracies by focusing on everyone and everything except them. They’re as much a part of me as any wonderful qualities I may possess. So be it. I’ve gotta expend a little emotional energy on me. That’s what my best friend would tell me.
My best friend would remind me that in her eyes, I’m wonderful and worthy and important. A best friend would not let me put the onus of my happiness on anyone’s shoulders and would urge me to get happy with me first. Because a friend loves like that. Can you be your own best friend for a little while? Take that tentative walk inside and find all the wonder that is there and try to make peace with what is not – and still love you like crazy?
That is my wish for today – that you see yourself as I do. That you embrace your magical, wonderful, generous, funny, lovable, silly, serious, slightly nutty, ridiculously talented self as I would if you were here.