Wanderers Searching for Connections

April 30, 2016


Wanderers Searching for Connections

Late at night, early in the morning, or in the screaming silence of the dark, questions rise and can fall without an answer. It is my shallow breaths and racing heart that I try to ease, but the soothing peace evades me for the moment and forces the chase. My mind can spin away from me quickly if I allow it wander off course. It is so easy to get caught up in clutches of our wounded human ego and the dark confusion that hides as fear, guilt, and shame. I know this will pass. I begin to remind myself that I am believing the illusion of fear and the separateness that it creates. I understand that it is all part of the process to bring our shadow to light.

In this consuming moment, I must feel what I have neglected for so very long and allow the emotions to come. I welcome the reminder to be in the gentle flow of love and grace as the memories release from me. With tears falling from my eyes, I embrace my body like a long lost friend. I whisper that I will never leave my heart again. I am not broken. I am not alone. It is a choice to be willing look into the darkened reflective pool within my soul. I tremble as I cry. I am embraced by my long lost friend. I am comforted with no judgement, with no demand of payment in return. I am embraced by my own heart… my darkness, my light. As I cry, my breathing slows and grows deeper. The tension in my muscles ease. The grip that fear had in my very fiber melts away by the love and acceptance that I so desperately longed for… the acceptance of myself.

For so very long, we have been taught that there is a time and a place for our feelings. We must be strong. Little boys are taught that they are weak if they cry. Little girls are met with rolling eyes as they have tears rushing from theirs. We must act a certain way. We must be strong and keep our chin up. We do not have time to play and dream let alone feel, acknowledge, and understand what our heart is feeling, what our soul is expressing. We must push through what is spinning and turning within us in order to get our jobs done. We don’t have time to feel things that are uncomfortable, confusing, and overwhelming. As a result, we ignore our thoughts, we numb our senses, and smother our light and voice.

Society seems to spend a lot of time pretending or creating the illusion of being all together. People move through their day, smiling faces, washed, dressed, going about their important tasks. We are told that we need to have the next greatest and latest thing. It appears that in order to be seen as successful, we must prove our worth by what we have and not necessarily who we are. We can move through our day ignoring what is going on inside of us. We tell ourselves that we don’t have the time. We convince ourselves that feelings are silly and childish distractors. We are adults. We must do adult things. Looking at how we feel takes away time that we seem to never have enough of. Maybe we don’t pause to look at who we are because it will kick up emotions we are choosing to run away from. It may be simply that we may not even know who we are. Maybe it’s because we don’t have the ability to understand our own feelings and emotions let alone know what to do with them.

I remember being in the eighth grade at a small Catholic school. For an activity during religion class, we were instructed write the word ‘feelings’ in the center of a piece of paper in all capital letters. Around the word, we were asked to write down descriptive words that explain who we are and how we feel about ourselves. Our teacher wanted to give us a few minutes to complete our task, so she decided to play the song ‘Feelings’ by Morris Albert. She thought that the song would inspire is to connect with our own feelings. She pressed play and the cassette tape hissed as the first notes of the song played in the classroom. My classmates quickly picked up their pencils and scribbled words to describe themselves and their feelings. It seemed that everyone knew what to write except for me. I froze. Panic and fear rushed through my body. My mind went blank. I had no idea what words to use to describe myself. From where I stood as an awkward thirteen – year – old, I didn’t really like myself. How could I possibly come up with a list of positive things about myself to explain who I am?

Seconds ticked by and they felt like centuries. What was supposed to be a happy and light exercise was incredibly difficult for me. Adding to the trouble, I was listening to Morris Albert lament about the pain he was in with the love he had leaving him alone and empty. How could I relate to that, let alone be inspired? Did I know the feeling that ached within me as of the love of my life left me, never to be held in my arms again? Hmmm…

As the song played on, I forced myself to jot down a few words. They were qualities that I heard others use to describe me: friendly, nice, and polite. I know that I felt no attachment to them. I know I didn’t think of myself that way. However, they were words that were familiar to me. It really upset me that I couldn’t describe myself and wrote down some hollow answers during a religion class assignment. Once again, I felt I was living a lie, and I was in a way. Fear and shame were the feelings I was familiar with and they came rushing in like an old friend. I remained silent during the class discussion of the exercise. Silently, I was a feeling an entire range of feelings. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, overwhelmed, and so alone. It seemed that the feelings I could easily identify with were dark and painful.

This memory captures me to this day. Looking back, it holds powerful messages and lessons to learn. Like an onion skin, I can peel back the layers to uncover the pieces that make up the puzzle of who I am. But for now, the lesson is this: we must learn who we are. We must explore the undiscovered reaches of our soul by reflecting on our memories. We cannot rush through life and live by what others think of us or who they perceive us to be. That is not living. Life is messy and beautiful. Life is about taking changes and healthy risks. It is about traveling through our endless depths and limitless soul. We must be free to be who we are without pretense, limits, and restrictions. We must embrace love because it is the very fiber of our being.

Looking back to the lyrics of the song, I can see how much it related to that class exercise. We live our life ‘trying to forget feelings of love’ and ‘feelings like I will never have you in my heart again’. However, it doesn’t need to be true. We are the ones longing to embrace the love that we are. How can we expect to understand the ones we love when we cannot love and understand ourselves? We must explore those quiet and dark spaces in order to understand our heart and truly live this life that we were given.

So yes, we are wanders and dreamers. We are poets and storytellers. We set out for the journey by living the quest through the dark night of our soul. We are hopeful romantics looking for connections. We are willing refugees deciding that the life we have and are merely existing in is worth so much more. Our life deserves to be lived. We have the duty to laugh, love, cry, and experience joy and pain. We come together to witness and offer love and joy. We are all woven together through the threads of our soul to create the fabric of life. We are connected. We are together. We are never alone, yet we hunger for something. We long for something that is just beyond our grasp. That special something, that precious gift, the obtainable goal is ourselves. It is our heart. It is our soul. That is the connection we seek. Take the time to embrace yourself. You can and will quench your thirst, feed you hunger, and rekindle the fire that burns within you. Give yourself the gift of you. Then, and only then can you welcome your wanderer home.

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