Tag Archive | awakening

Glimpses of my authentic self

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“Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart, my friend
That will be the return to yourself.” ~ Enigma

For years, I struggled with depression almost every single day, recurrent severe episodes on top of less but often still severe, long-term depression.  I was suicidal or wanting to die, in different degrees, nearly every day, sometimes just brief thoughts all the way to dangerous contemplation. My depression is not environmental or circumstantial, although it can be triggered or worsened by environmental factors, it’s more of a biochemical depression. The initial onset may have been triggered by things in my environment and certain insecurities but once it manifested, it is here to stay, even when my environment is pleasant and I’m not struggling with any specific problem.  I’m not depressed everyday anymore.
Now it comes and goes. It’s in my genes and unpleasant situations I have experienced brought it out as the whole disorder.
This condition confused me for many years. I couldn’t understand why I was so depressed. Sometimes it felt like I had every problem in the world which was causing my despair. Other occasions, it seemed like everything was going amazingly well and I was still devastatingly depressed. 
I often made excuses for why I was so depressed. I took every little problem I had or ever had and said that’s what was depressing me. Sometimes I exaggerated the problems, making them out to be worse, more dramatic, or more frequent than they were, to make sense of my depression.
I said it’s because I had no friends, because my family argued, because I experienced a verbally/emotionally abusive environment previously, because I’m worthless, because my friends were arguing, because I got a low grade in class or on an exam, because I haven’t accomplished much, because it’s all too late, ….while these things were sometimes true or seemed to be, they weren’t always what triggered or caused my depression and they weren’t always as frequent as I made them out to be.
Sometime they were the culprits, but often they were just the scapegoats I used, sometimes consciously, some occasions, unconsciously, to make sense of something that made no sense to me.
They can trigger or contribute to my depression but that’s because it’s in my genes already, I’m already prone to it. And even when things are going great in other ways, I can become depressed. Those problems would likely make anyone unhappy about them but not everyone would fall into a deep, full blown suicidal/psychotic depression in the face of them.

Also, depression can make problems seem exaggerated, worse than they really are. Sometimes when I’m depressed, even just mildly depressed, I care so much about little problems or things I would never care about when I’m not depressed.

It can be completely chemical, coming on for no known reason, it can be triggered by an unpleasant environmental factor, or it can be psychological, triggered by certain thoughts I have, painful memories I dislike, an insecurity I may be struggling with, a negative self-image, a hopeless feeling about certain situations…this kind, I can sometimes reverse before it gets out of hand if I catch it quickly enough, I can change my thoughts or perceptions or attitudes before it sucks me in too deeply to where I can’t pull myself back out,  when I realize my own negative thinking is the main contribution. This is a technique I learned through the years.

If you’re not susceptible to depression, you can most likely struggle with a negative thought, situation, insecurity, environmental issue….and not sink into a deep, dark place where you want to die, lose all sense of hope, joy, pleasure, energy for weeks or months. For someone with depression even while not currently depressed, these things can trigger that.

After struggling so long, I was never sure where the despair and pain ended and where I began. It became my identity. It was threaded throughout my every day, throughout me, throughout my entire existence. I couldn’t separate it and me. We were one and the same. When I looked into a mirror, into my own eyes, it wasn’t any kind of me I saw, it was the dark entity lurking about deep within me, all around me, crushing my body til I couldn’t stand up straight and my speech was often slow and slurred. People pointed this out occasionally. It was more alive than I was. It choked me and suffocated me.

I saw things I would have liked or loved if it wasn’t for the pain, the emptiness, the loneliness, and nothingness. I could detect things that would have won my heart if I were “a regular girl.” I saw things I wanted to want.

I knew which things would bring me joy if I wasn’t so worn out and wrung. And sometimes those things would bring me joy but it was tainted joy. I felt pleasure but not to the fullest.

For many, many years, nearly every day, I had no clue what I was. I saw myself as a monster, as the pain itself, as “different” than all the other girls I saw, knew, encountered. I literally never thought of or referred to myself as a person or as someone. To me, I was no one.

I remember writing in a journal when I was a young woman about this one moment I actually pretended to be someone. I pretended to have value. I looked into a mirror and told myself I’m someone, knowing it wasn’t true. And I wrote about how pathetic that was. And that it was a lie.

I had no dreams, no goals, no plans other than to die. My main interest was my own death and planning it. Everything revolved around that. It was often the only thing I was passionate  about, the only thing with some sense of purpose or meaning to me. Everything was wrong with me, I was deeply flawed, irreparably broken, shattered to pieces. A million little pieces.
Pieces that could never be put back together.

When my depression would lift very briefly, or I wouldn’t be suicidal for a short while, I felt like I wasn’t completely me. Even though I would be so happy, it felt strange, uncomfortable. Sometimes I almost welcomed the suicidal pain back into my heart. I was me again. Home again. I felt relief. It was agonizing, pure anguish, but it’s mostly all I ever knew. It was a kind of comfortable there.

Even now when I think back to my years as a girl and young woman, most of my memories are clouded with pain. Even remembering when everything was going right, even happy occasions. Sometimes now it brings me pain to reminisce. When most people think back to each stage of life, they can probably think of many things they were interested in during each one of those stages, the thrilling obsessions they had back then, the happy memories they created, even the trivial little problems that were the end of the world then but now are laughable.

My memories are mostly of vicious darkness. Despair. Pain. Suicide contemplation. Year after year. Day after day. My struggle with depression and certain experiences contributed to some insecurities I have now that come and go. One of those is struggling with feelings of worthlessness, sometimes even when I’m not depressed. This can lead me to a Depressive episode then leading to deeper feelings of worthlessness. It’s a vicious cyclic process. 

I have a few happy memories. Even some memories in the midst of my depression are happy. I had a very happy childhood until the depression hit making me sluggish and uninspired then worsened to a vicious darkness, a deep kind of despair. I loved high school and had lots of friends in school and some I saw outside of school. I loved college and met a couple great friends there. I loved all my classes, the professors, and people I met through the years there, the campus, the experience.

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(me when I was fourteen years old, one of my truly happy, non-depressed days, at Wildwood NJ, on vacation with my family)

But I still often struggled so hard with suffocating loneliness and deep emotional anguish.

The depression was me. I was the depression. I was nothing but pain itself. The pure agony that suffocated me everyday but still allowed me to live so I would continue to suffer. 

Except, not really. I was me.

The me I am now and the me I have always been, the me I always will be.

Nothing can take that away.

I have a few profound memories that to this day are poignant life lessons.

One of those memories is of one day in college I was sitting alone in the student activity center/cafeteria planning my own death. 

I had a notebook out. An educational book about U.S. Politics in my hands, not for any class but because even back then I read about politics and government and law and philosophy for pure pleasure. So I bought the textbook for thrills. And reading did bring me some sense of pleasure occasionally, even with the pain and despair of depression. I had an opened pack of Reese cups on the table that I bought at 7/11 because just like now, back then Reese cups were my favorite and I had a bottle of Coca Cola on the table half full. Although back then it was half empty. Just like now, Coca Cola was my favorite then as well and has been since I was a little girl. I have a picture somewhere of me as a three year old girl guzzling up a glass bottle full of my sweet Coca Cola. 

I had my plan all devised and was about to execute it very shortly. I was going to walk out of the University building and up the street and end my life. Then I looked down at the book I was holding. The political book that wasn’t for class but for pure pleasure. An unbiased book about how the political parties in the U.S. came to be, their similarities and their differences, their evolution through the years. I looked at the Reese cups and the soda and my notebook with the pink frilly cover that I picked out for some class because it was pretty. And I was struck with the reality of my uniqueness. My very own personality. My individuality. 

I had interests that not everyone has. Interests that had nothing to do with pain. I was drawn to certain colors and designs not everyone else loves. I became filled with some small sense of compassion for me. I, very briefly, saw myself as someone. An innocent girl I was about to kill, for what, I don’t know. Would I kill some other girl for whatever reason I ached to kill myself for? That answer is always, never.

I was overcome in the clarity of what I was about to do to myself. I thought it would be nothing because I was nothing.

Through the pain I saw glimpses of me. The real me. This experience was very brief and I soon went back to wanting to kill myself but I was and still am able to use the memory of this mini awakening as a reminder now and again that no matter what, no matter what pain or problems occur, I am me. The pain is not me, I am not the pain. Problems are not me and are not even extensions of myself. If I look hard enough I will catch glimpses of myself in everything I do even when pain is consuming me. All of these things I saw that day were evidence that someone exists beneath the layers and layers of pain. Someone. Someone who is more than just pain. 
Someone. Me.

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(me fourteen years old, another happy day, in the Fall. I was laughing with my sister in the backseat, she was four years old and took all her clothes off!)

I have a strong ongoing sense of self. My identity is crystal clear to me. And I take pleasure in my own company whether I’m alone or surrounded by people.

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(me eleven years old, at Wildwood New Jersey, very happy, on vacation with family)

Not all people with depression have dark, gloomy personalities. It’s a mood disorder, nothing to do with personality. Not all depressed people are always negative and too serious and want to live in the dark, alone. Not all depressed people loathe everyone and the world.  I’m just the opposite. I’m very easily amused, playful, curious, I laugh a lot even when I’m depressed, I listen to music and love everyone even when I’m deeply depressed. Sometimes I feel that the depression violates my personality. My cheerful, pleasant personality. Even when I’m deeply depressed, if I pay close attention, I can catch glimpses of the true me underneath, the natural personality of mine. Even now if I skim through journals I used to frequently write in when I was deeply depressed and on the brink of killing myself, every single day, I see my true self through the pain laden words.
Even back then in the midst of suicidal pain and psychosis, I expressed gratitude for things I loved, I can see my sense of amusement, the laughter, the inspiration I felt in me even back then in my seemingly endless struggle, the things that interested me, issues I was passionate about.
It wasn’t always as deep and not ingrained like it is now but it was there. 

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(me, ten years old)

Never forget who you are. 

Even when it feels like your whole self is being consumed, swallowed up in pain of any kind, stress, being busy, taking care of others, working, depression, anxiety, grief, other people’s definition or ideas of you, or whatever it may be, remember you are still you, a unique individual person with a combination of interests, pleasures, thoughts, desires, ideas, experiences, points of views, and ways about you that no one else on Earth, no one who has ever lived or will ever live, has. You can define yourself. Pain itself doesn’t define you but the strength and courage and Truth you know in the face of it can. What other people say or think doesn’t define you.

“Her work, I really think her work
is finding what her real work is
and doing it,
Her work, her own work,
her being human,
her being in the world.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

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(me – that’s pure, raw, joy showing on my face!!) 😀

“You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly posses all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality.” ~ Florida Scott-Maxwell

My reality is that I am not a victim. Not a victim of any sort. I have and have always had choices. I have the ability to change for the better, to try new things, to love and live and learn. I am alive.

And I know the woman I am.

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 I love Coca Cola and drink it way too much.
Still have that love for sweet treats.
Oldies music is still my love.
I still read educational texts for sheer joy.
I have these same big blue eyes that see beauty, compassion, and love everywhere they look.

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(me, two years old)

I have long brown hair
I have a desire to help and make things better.
I still laugh until it hurts every single day.
Root beer flavor and ginger ale soda are things I dislike.
Watching TV is not my cup of tea.
I don’t really like butterscotch flavor.
I still have a strange obsession with letters.
My dreams are still something I recall very easily.
I love stationary stuff, pens, notebooks, markers….
Love songs and country music still have my heart.
My heart is a grateful, loving one.
I love people and animals.
I still have chicken legs

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(me now, lol)

I have felt an intense craving. A hunger, a desire for Self. For myself. To look within, to explore, to Know. To know my Truth and to Nurture it, cradle it, to piece together all of the broken little pieces of me and make me whole. I have been starved. famished. Starved for Self. for self-love, self-knowledge. I paid too much attention to the pain, to problems, to everything outside of myself. I neglected the inner-me. I let me starve.

I am not without scars and flaws and cracks and breaks. But I am more beautiful for them, more Whole.

As the Hassidic saying goes, “There is nothing more whole than my broken heart.”

I encourage you to make a list of the things that make you, you. The things you like and dislike, things you love and loathe, things that make you laugh, cry, smile, inspire you, lessons you learned, profound memories your brain created through the years, your strengths and weaknesses. They can be new things about you or the same old things or a mixture of both.  Look for the evidence surrounding you and within you that you are someone separate than your pain and problems. You are worthy of your own love & compassion. Nourish the self you see, feel, know underneath. Listen to those glimpses of self calling to you. Nurture them, pay attention to them. 
Strengthen them. Take part of each of your days, no matter how brief, to focus on you. Do something for yourself. Walk, run, meditate, write, draw, paint, create an art journal, read something just for fun, something that inspires and speaks to you, the authentic you, listen to music, just lay in your bed and reflect….do something for you. And you only. You can live generally selflessly, helping everyone else but sometimes it’s good to do stuff for you to be in tune with yourself even more, to connect with you.

“Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find a thousand regions in your mind yet undiscovered. Travel them and be expert in home-cosmography.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

No matter how many painful memories you have, you can create new, beautiful, joyous, happy memories, even in the midst of pain, insecurities, stress, anxiety, grief. There’s always something to be happy about and thankful for. I learned that lesson in my quest for healing and I hope you learn it too if you are struggling. Our experiences with anguish and pain and despair and broken hearts can teach us if we allow them to. Teach us greater compassion for ourselves and others. They can strengthen us, help us know ourselves deeper than ever, deepen our empathy and wisdom, help us evolve in ways we would not have without the pain.

“It’s when we’re given choice that we sit with the gods and design ourselves.” ~ Dorothy Gilman

Xoxo Kim

“They can change their minds but they can’t change me. I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream. Oh, I know I could share it if you want me to.      If you’re going my way, I’ll go with you.” ~ Jim Croce

” The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi

Gratitude Meditation <3

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“While there is time let’s go out and feel everything” ~ Steve Winwood

I have been meditating more regularly than usual and have been doing more gratitude meditations, usually at night before sleep.

It has a serious, positive effect on me. Not just while I’m meditating but all day when I wake up. Even with less sleep I feel more energized, more alive, more awake, and aware.   And more grateful.  

During my meditations, I have been overwhelmed with powerful emotions coming over me, flooding into my consciousness.   One emotion which has been so strong is grief.   Grief over my dog who died in April this year of old age, grief over broken friendships, grief over people who died, grief over the years I “lost” to depression, grief over people I once knew and let slip away, grief over years gone away, into the light of yesterday…

I’m not exactly sure why this is. I know meditation has the tendency to bring about strong emotions which we have pent up inside, emotions we repress or deny. But I haven’t been denying my grief for the most part.  I have grieved so hard over my losses, not denying them.  But grief over a loss, especially a permanent one, is not easy for me to handle. There sometimes comes a point where my grief reaches a pinnacle so great, it’s too painful to bear so I do try to repress it, not deny it but just push it aside.  Maybe my meditation practices are bringing to the surface of my consciousness, the remnants of initial grief I kept locked away.

It’s possible to repress things or have thoughts or feelings without even realizing at a conscious level.  The experience of my grief flooding back to me during meditation is not bad, it’s good.  It allows me to experience and release.  It is painful though.

Also, I have been gaining some fascinating and deep insights about creativity, beauty, open-mindedness, and seeing various things in different ways, at different angles.   I feel even more empathetic and compassionate than ever.  More creative and enlightened, like the beginning of some awakening that’s difficult to put into words.

Everyday I acknowledge gratitude and being alive.  Sometimes I just think of things I’m thankful to have and the fact that I’m alive.  On other occasions I actually feel gratitude seeping into me at a deep level, flooding the cells of my body, tingling and sinking into the marrow of my bones, just flooding over me. 
And I feel so alive, absolutely fully alive.
Sometimes this feeling comes on out of nowhere, other moments I can tap into it intentionally.  And other occasions I feel ungrateful and not appreciative. Or numb, trudging around in a sense of stagnant drudgery. 

I don’t have to just be happy to feel so alive.   I have felt this in moments of grief and pain, anger, and heartbreak. Life is full of happiness and joy and also pain and heartache. So if we’re alive and fully receptive, we will experience it all.  And it’s beautiful to feel so utterly alive.

I want to pull in and embrace every emotion and feeling that comes to me, snatch it up and hold it close while I can, even the painful ones, as they are an indication of life.  So life-affirming.

I want to feel everything while I can.

I want to take full advantage of the gift of life, my blessing of being alive and conscious.

Since practicing these meditations more regularly I have been feeling the deep gratitude feeling more frequently each day, not just acknowledging things I have to be grateful for, but the feeling of gratitude living and breathing, dwelling in my cells, venturing through my veins and each artery, and each breath of my heart.  The gratitude and life that breathes in me.  The gratitude that floods my existence, caresses my very essence.

It’s so different than the depression & despair that generally consumed me for years.

How often do you truly feel alive? So alive that you can feel every sensation in your body and notice every thing outside of you? All the colors, feelings, textures, lights…of your external environment, the tingling in your toes and fingertips…so alive on a deeper level than what we usually feel everyday..

Even in monotonous moments and routine environments?

“I will live while I can, I will have my ever after” ~ Steve Winwood

“We go so fast, why don’t we make it last
Life is glowing inside you and me
Please take my hand, right here where I stand
Won’t you come out and dance with me
Come see with me, oh, come see” ~ Steve Winwood

One very interesting thing is I have been feeling somewhat distracted during meditation the last few nights. I usually do not have this problem too often but I have been, lately, so I have been doing, let’s say, “half-assed” jobs at meditating and still seeing incredible results. So imagine what I’m capable of when I get over my distraction and give it my all!  

I have been struggling for a few days with not feeling very grateful as much as I possibly can. I have been having annoying technology problems with my phone that won’t allow me to do things that I do every day.   Also, I just found out a man I have known for some years and talked to frequently, recently died, of a possible drug overdose and I am so sad.  He was so friendly and outgoing and kind.  He struggled off and on with alcohol and other drug addiction and attempted to get help on multiple occasions.   But we lost this battle and it’s devastating.  And my heart goes out to everyone impacted by this tragic loss.

And to everyone affected in any way by any kind of addiction. It is a devastating and heartbreaking struggle.

It’s often easy to feel and express gratitude when things are going well.   But what about when it seems that everything is going wrong, all wrong, when we have a heavy heart, a broken heart, when the world seems to be crumbling on top of us?   When we lose and lose again, sinking so low it feels we can’t go lower, then we do?  That may be when we need gratitude the most.  Maybe we won’t feel it purely but we can feel and express it to some degree if we try and practice.
It is possible to feel a slither of gratitude even in the midst of pain and anger.  And that slither can be enough to keep us going.

I wrote this.

(Much of it is inspired by 

Mobile: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0R52DePavMo 
Comp. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R52DePavMo

which is created by Angela Carole Brown and is a brief meditation video for gratitude affirmations.)

I live in gratitude.

I breathe gratitude. 

I am grateful everyday that I live and breathe.

Every day that I have a creative idea, a revelation, learn something new, and am able to let go of old limiting beliefs, I am grateful.
Every day that I face my fears or overcome obstacles, I am grateful.
Every moment that I am given awareness of the simplest of beauties, the opportunity to experience profound joy, and feel genuine happiness, I am grateful.
Every day that  I stumble upon hidden treasures, I am grateful. 
Every moment that I am enlightened and discover insights, I am grateful.
Every day that my heart feels compassion, understanding, patience, and peace, I am grateful. 
Every day that I act upon love and compassion, I am grateful.
Every day that I Encounter and engage with another living being, I am grateful.
Every day that I am
Hugged, kissed, and loved, I am grateful.
Everyday that I 
Laugh or make someone laugh
Inspire and am inspired
Hear of someone’s life being saved
Change someone’s life or someone changes mine, I am grateful
Every day I love, live, and breathe, I am grateful.
Every day my heart pumps, I am grateful.
Every day I witness, hear about, receive, or engage in an act of kindness, I am grateful.
Ever day my heart is overwhelmed in anger, pain, frustration, negativity, bitterness, and grief, I am grateful 
Every moment that I act out in anger, I am grateful
Every moment that my heart is broken, I am grateful. 
Each challenge, painful situation, every loss, setback, and failure provides opportunity to learn, to evolve, to get stronger, to become more aware, more compassionate of myself and others, to develop deeper empathy and I am grateful.
Everyday that that I am
Humbled by a mistake, a thing learned, a person who teaches me…I am grateful.
Everyday I am faced with
Seemingly unbearable pain, and struggles
I am grateful
Every day for Lessons learned, I am grateful
Every day that 
I am Strengthened by pain, I am grateful
Every day for moments of 
Quiet and reflection, I am grateful
Every day for stillness and calm within, without, I am grateful.

Every single day, 
At every single moment
I am grateful.
Forever grateful.
Thank you

This is Angela Carole Brown’s page.

 http://www.angelacarolebrown.com/GLOBALYOGA.htm

Please check out her gratitude meditation youtube video. It’s so beautiful.
This is only seven minutes and forty-three seconds long. 
Mobile:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0R52DePavMo

Non mobile:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R52DePavMo

It’s so inspirational and when practiced everyday can be life changing for the better!

She explains how gratitude even for unpleasant experiences is the way to go. A life with some pain and challenges is better than an “effortless ” life, as she says. Because we become stronger, wiser, more empathetic and compassionate, and learn many valuable lessons.

“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

Much love & gratitude to you all!
And thank you for reading! 😀

Xoxo Kim

“We must live while we can and we’ll drink our cup of laughter
The finer things keep shining through
The way my soul gets lost in you
The finer things I feel in me
The golden dance life could be

I’ve been sad and have walked bitter streets alone
Come morning, there’s a good wind to blow me home
So time is a river rolling into nowhere
I will live while I can, I will have my ever after

The finer things keep shining through
The way my soul gets lost in you
The finer things I feel in me
The golden dance life could be” ~Steve Winwood

Beauty, Acceptance, Diversity, Awakening

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❤ I was blind but now I see. ❤

“Always be a little kinder than necessary. ” ~ J. M. Barrie
I am really loving how compassionate, accepting, tolerant, open-minded and loving I have become. I have always been someone who is open-minded and accepting of others, their views, and diversity. I have always been loving and not at all likely to reject a person as a friend because of a difference in perspective, attitude, or view, or because of mistakes or decisions that person made that I disagree with. Even when strongly disagreeing with one another. 

But there are occasions I have been or felt unkind, unfriendly, arrogant, bitter, or timid, or unhappy, meek, or just negative, uncomfortable,  or hostile over differences in opinion on certain topics or how the opinion was presented.  I was never cruel or outright horrible to people over disagreements and I wouldn’t reject a friend or potential friend but on too many occasions I liked that “us and them” or “us vs them” feeling. Now, I can’t even imagine why.   Now, I always want us to all be in this together, working together, no matter what differences we encounter, for a better world, a better life for us all. 

There have been occasions for almost as long as I can remember where I felt that I was lacking in personality because I have this ability to understand both sides of a debate or argument so thoroughly even if I strongly agree with one and not the other.  I can still see how someone else can feel that way. Even when I would argue or debate taking one side, I can still feel for the other. It’s like that with almost every political and philosophical topic I can think of and in personal arguments that I witness, hear of, read, or engage in.

Now I see this as a gift.  As a unique personality trait.  I have been told that I have the priceless gift, the uncanny ability to understand so deeply, and just “know” things about people, to deeply see the heart of the matter, to feel for all sides and angles, to empathize with my opponents and with people and other sentient beings, in general.

And now I’m even more this way. This natural gift is stronger.  And with conscious intention and work, I can develop it even more.

There will always be disagreements.

Some people will be wrong.

Maybe some things will never be resolved but we can choose kindness, love, compassion, and understanding as opposed to cruelty, rejection, unkindness…

Usually, when I would be bitter, it wasn’t even over a disagreement itself but the way people would present their opinion, their attitude, or way of speaking/writing. When someone would have an “in your face,” defensive, rebellious, or negative attitude, I was more ready to be hostile where when someone would be civil, gentle, accepting, I was more ready to be kind and friendly even when strongly disagreeing. 

But someone else’s unkindness or cruelty does not necessarily justify my unkindness or cruelty. No need to perpetuate that.  I prefer to perpetuate love and lavish love and kindness on others.   Sometimes the cruelest and most unkind people may need it the most.

 I have come to realize more and more that it’s ok to have strongly opposing views, it’s still possible to get along well with those who strongly oppose my views, love, compassion, acceptance is more important.  Opposing a view does not mean opposing a person. I can overlook disagreements or even see the beauty in them.

Sometimes I have felt guilty when I would have a certain opinion on a topic and then meet someone I really liked who would have an opposite view.  I felt like I was doing that person wrong.  Like I was offending…hurting..

But other occasions I was at the other end. Feeling arrogant, pompous, full of myself, telling myself I was holding the better view, the “right” view and I was the one offended, the “victim,” the reasonable one.

Now…

I have been seeing beauty in things much more than I used to and in things I never thought I would see beauty in. People who have the courage to speak up and advocate for themselves and their views whether or not I agree with their views, certain kinds of selfishness(the word “selfish” tends to have negative connotations but isn’t always a bad thing), things shattering so better things can fall into place, realizing I was wrong all along and admitting it and evolving into something better.  At one point I was so mortified when an opinion of mine would change or I would realize I was initially wrong, either incorrect or morally wrong. 

I did not want to admit that I held an inaccurate or “wrong” view.   But changing an opinion based on truly realizing that the old opinion in some way is wrong either morally or factually/logically, admitting it, and moving forward is a sign of great strength, growth, and is worthy of admiration.   According to Roman Stoic Philosopher, Gaius Musonius Rufus, we should study Philosophy and it should affect us personally and profoundly and when a philosopher lectures, his words should make those in his audience shudder. They should experience feelings of contrition or rue.  Instead of applauding the philosopher, the audience should be reduced to silence. (source, Epictetus, “Discourses,” III.xxiii.29.)

In awe and embarrassment for not knowing and now coming to know. It’s not a bad thing.

I find myself more and more “liking” comments on places like Facebook even when I disagree with them because I can still see a kind of beauty in them or because I am grateful for being introduced to a new perspective or point of view or because I find it fascinating or it gets me thinking. I don’t have to agree to like or accept it.  Or to like and accept the person who holds that view.

Charlotte Davis Kasl, Ph.D., in her book “Finding Joy,” writes 

“We have a great deal of division in this world that dictates who you are allowed to love at a personal, intimate level. Black-white, Protestant-Catholic, Muslim-Hindu, Jewish -Palestinian are a few of the many divisions people are taught not to cross.
Fortunately, people ‘s deeper level of spirituality allows them to fall in love and in doing so break down these barriers.”
And this :
“Because love and joy are so totally intertwined, bringing joy to the planet means supporting all love between all people on the planet. Part of the consciousness of joy is realizing we are all more alike than different. The desire to belong,be respected, live free of fear, work with dignity and purpose, and find joy are common to all people.   Of course we all have different customs, histories, and traditions, but when we reach deep enough, we will find the commonalities and in doing so find joy.
Every time we cross a barrier, we build a bridge. And as we build bridges on the outside, we heal the division within us. As a result, we all have more territory to walk on, and more people to love, and more peace on the planet. “
 (p. 130-1)

Isn’t this beautiful?! 

And it’s true. It’s not to say we should ignore differences, just accept or cherish them.   Love anyway.   We can acknowledge diversity but accept it, love it, promote it..

liberal-conservative, pro-life-pro-choice, Democrat -Republican, rich -poor, atheist-theist….love anyway. We can debate, argue, disagree and love still.   Love deeper. 

Still respect.
Show some level of understanding.

It’s true, some people are wrong, either morally, factually, logically…but we can still love.  Platonic or romantic love.  Still accept.  Still cherish. Still embrace.

It won’t always be easy. But it’s possible.
I won’t project my standards or morals onto others assuming that because they act differently than I would have in a certain situation, that they must be less loving, caring, compassionate…than I am.

They can be just as loving and caring as I am. We all have convictions and reasons for making certain choices, coming to certain conclusions, having certain views.  No person is better than another. I believe people in general are basically good, with good intentions, some more good than others.

Also, we don’t have to like everyone or want to be around everyone or be friends with everyone we meet.   That’s unrealistic and not necessary.  But when we do meet someone we really like or love, a potential friend or lover, or we must be around certain people, we don’t have to not like them or abandon or reject them based on distasteful differences.   If I love/like you, and then find out you strongly oppose my views or you did something horrible, made mistakes or that you feel I have made horrible mistakes…you will still hold my heart.

There are things about me people don’t or won’t like also.   And who am I to negatively/hostilely judge?   Some people have lousy attitudes, discriminatory views and are just detrimental to be around and it’s ok to avoid them but we don’t have to avoid or lash out at every person who we disagree with.

I have been seeing opinions I once would have been absolutely appalled by, maybe even ready to lash out, and sink to insults or a vitriolic attitude or tone and even now start to feel a sense of distress but it often quickly melts to compassion, mellows out to understanding that that person who holds that view is not me and has a reason, has experiences, ways of thinking for holding those views just as I do for having other views.  That’s a person first.  A person who is no less than I am.

I can understand to a certain extent even if I cannot possibly know how someone else feels. I never claim to exactly know, just deeply understand as much as I possibly can for someone who is not that person and has not experienced what that person has.

Some opinions seem to really suck and are offensive but I can break through.  I am so enlightened now in ways I haven’t been previously, in some ways that can’t even be explained, only felt.

And there’s room for growth and always will be. No matter how enlightened and “whole” I am or become, there will always, always be room and opportunities for further evolution of the self as long as I’m living. And I now see the beauty in that fact. There was a day when I wanted to be whole and fully enlightened and know all there is to know, experience all there is to experience, and be perfect and felt incomplete and seriously unhappy about it but now I see beauty in incompleteness, in the unknown, in all that is to come.

Where some people see mistakes or flaws, where I once saw mistakes, flaws, wrongs…I see creativity, deftness, beauty, strength, opportunities for growth, for progress.

Yes, I am humbled.  And I bask in this humility.

Much love to you.

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” ~

Benjamin Franklin

Xoxo Kim