practical spirituality

I started this blog as a way to share my insights, trials and tribulations, with my friends and family. Over time it has also become a way for me to laugh at myself, and take the pain out of what stings.

I’ve made a lot of stinging mistakes in my life, and as many people say I don’t regret them, or at least most of them. I believe in sharing these things with others because they are real. I also share because when I avoid acknowledging my screw ups I give them power and I lose the chance to learn from them. But the voices of self-criticism, judgment, and self-doubt seem to get very loud when the mistake seems a repeat. And I’m going to be honest, I beat up on myself more about relationship than other aspects of my life. Whether because I am picky, or have moved around too much, or have grown to fast, or am just a wreck and can’t quite see it, as an adult I’ve spent more time single than in relationship. I understand exactly why I am where I am right now, and why I’ve made the choices I’ve made in my life, but sometimes I wonder, have I failed at relationship? This question presses hard on me when something has not worked out. In truth, this question presses on me in the exact moments when I ought to be loving and caring for myself, in the moments when I have put my heart on the line and gotten a little bruised.

Relationship is complicated because it is an area in which our lack of control is perhaps most evident. We don’t control who comes into our lives, though we can influence it in what we do, where we go and who we surround ourselves with. But we don’t control how others feel about us, or even, in some very important ways, how we feel about them. I have tried unsuccessfully to stop feeling chemistry with a person, and on the other side, wished I did still feel something for someone, but just didn’t anymore. What we have control over is who we are when relationship blossoms. It may take a long time to meet the right person, for the circumstances to bless it, and for those parts we don’t have control over to click.

What I’m working on is learning from what parts are mine, and letting go of what is out of my hands. The practice is one of surrender really, surrendering the illusion that all that goes right or wrong in a relationship is our fault or our accomplishment. Regardless of what your grandparents tell you your problems is, and mine often weigh in on this, in a loving way of course, sometimes it just isn’t your problem. I’m a perfectionist, so that part is harder for me than the working on what is in my control. Boy, shine a light on a flaw of mine and I’ll go to town on it happily, but tell me it’s out of my hands, and when I succeed in accepting that, the joy is ten times more than the feeling I get from facing a mistake. I will never be perfect. But in those moments where I acknowledge this and surrender to what is real, I feel pretty close to complete happiness, with bliss in my heart and love for my life.

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