Present Reflections

September 22, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Auto-Biography

Healing hearts can take a lifetime.  For many of us, it seems like a central responsibility in life is paying attention to our selves, mirroring our selves, listening to our selves in ways that we can finally feel embraced.

This can take a while, particularly if our personality structure tends toward self obsession.

For me, forgiving myself, being present to myself, respecting the feelings that I experience has been necessary to be able to be open to others, or at least to feel myself feeling open to others.  I suspect I love more often than I am aware of, engaging in stealth affection, hiding my attraction to others from myself.  I can’t imagine how it is that so many people love me if they haven’t experienced that I, at least to some degree, love them back.

Where am I going with this?

When I am aware of what is going on in my chest, where affection seems to center itself, it is usually asthma.  I have been pumping adrenaline into my system through inhalers, on and off, for 50 years.  It is no big surprise that I tend to dissociate from chest experiences, feeling like every hit of albuterol is a failure in my ability to fend off ill health.

After asthma, longing seems to lodge itself with little effort in the middle of my body.  Younger, I longed for female.  Older, I long for embrace of my ideas.  Mostly, I seek passionate, animated conversations with specialists in the disciplines I explore.  I feel like a jazz musician in a world of classical performers.  I long to make music with others besides myself.

Third, I’m learning to linger where appreciation sits.  Experiencing gratitude seems central to my next step.  Having spent a life focused on the details of my own desires, I’m looking to shift identity some, redefine what exactly I might be, allowing my chest to feel attracted to what I experience in the present.  I’m seeking to let myself be aware of what it is like to feel loved.

This has been an astonishing spring and summer.  It seems to rain every third day.  July was as green as April.  In our teeny, cement-covered backyard we are visited constantly by all manner of birds and critters.  Evanston is absolutely beautiful.

The brain aneurysm nudges me that life is short.  I can make it sweet.  I engage in far fewer internal-dialog disempowering games.  It feels far clearer that this is life, that there is no outside intervention that will change my life, and that how I talk to myself, how I feel, is my responsibility.  If I want my heart to be fully engaged, I can choose to speak to myself with compassion.  Then, maybe, my heart will open.

I can be in the present.

Or, as the Kung Fu Panda says, “They call it the present because life’s a gift.”


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