synchronistic encounters: part iii

I wrote about my synchronistic encounter with a long-lost friend in synchronistic encounter: part ii and wanted to share my aha moment.

To be honest, a part of me wanted to say so much more, to reply charged with emotion. I wanted to win the argument, have the last word, or at least get even. I struggled with it and it was so hard to resist, but in the end, I realized that none of that matters. (Plus, the satisfaction from a snarky remark would be momentary, only to leave a lasting sentiment of regret.) By creating distance, removing emotion, and seeing our shared past as it was, not overwrought and blinded by emotion, I felt like I gained power over it.

To admit even further, I think that part of me sought one-upmanship. I wanted to feel superior, to validate my meaning over hers as wiser or more meaningful. How foolish of me. If I’ve come to understand and made my meaning of my past, of course, she has, too, just as firmly. How weak and insecure of me. I don’t need to take the bait of outwitting, I just need to stay strong and keep my eyes on me, on my path.

Meaning is relative to the individual and this profound truth resonates with me. It’s meaningless to seek validation of my meaning over hers. Rather, such an attempt is counterproductive, an interference and regression from my own path.

My meaning is meaningful to me, all on its own; its validity and gravity doesn’t depend upon approval, acceptance, or even acknowledgement from others. My meaning is all that really matters to me.

Relinquishing labels and relational hierarchy from my youth, I feel more grounded and connected to the heart of who I am, who I aspire to be.

synchronistic encounters: part ii

I wrote about synchronistic encounters in my previous post and want to continue that thought here.

I believe everything happens for a reason, even if one can’t see the reason in that moment. The encounter of this book, “Love” by Leo Buscaglia, was synchronistic in more ways than one, addressing so many of the personal issues I’ve struggled with for so long. It spoke to me, cheered for me, and reassured me on my path. It was a perfect nudge of support to navigate another interesting synchronistic encounter, this time, with a long-lost friend.

Last year on my birthday, I gave myself permission to cleanse, let loose on paper the occasional and obnoxious tinge of shame from my past. As I revisited those words today, they are clearly strung with anger and resentment. I only note this to share that I was still struggling with my past then, even after 10 long years.

This New Year started with a surprising message from this long-lost friend through Facebook. She was offering her forgiveness for my unforgivable act of betrayal over 10 years ago (yes, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life, betrayed her trust, and lost a friend but over many years, I had learned to forgive and love myself again, as well as grieve and adapt to the loss of that friendship). She added in the message that she was moving back and thought it would be fun to reconnect with our daughters.

As much as I was happy to hear from her and the possible reconnection, I was a little thrown off. More than a little, actually. With close to 10 years of silence, I wasn’t confident we could repair the damage of the long separation. And out of the blue, completely on her terms, she was ready to let it go, offer her forgiveness, and see me again.

I wasn’t quite sure how to respond and I wrestled with all the possibilities, but I couldn’t disregard this nagging gut feeling. Something wasn’t sitting right with me. Something felt off. Maybe it was her message, her string of words, there was a hint of something I can’t quite name. Maybe carelessness. I’ve always had a sharp intuition, but my trouble has always been listening to it and trusting it. This time, thanks to Buscaglia and other synchronistic reads and thoughts, I convinced myself that the only way to reply was to be honest, to be me. So I did.

Though I welcomed the opportunity to reconnect, I also honestly shared my reservations. She replied with hints of surprise and annoyance. She couldn’t understand my reservations and found my response to be negative and off-putting. I replied with calm and truth. I clarified I was only being realistic. I wasn’t interested in hanging out without ever acknowledging and coming to terms with our shared past. Knowing myself, I knew I couldn’t forever ignore the “elephant in the room,” my betrayal over 10 years ago and the long separation thereafter. If it needed to be addressed, better sooner than later. I didn’t want to waste any of my limited time and energy only to find out later that our definition of “reconnection” were incompatible. She termed this “drama and negativity,” yet I saw it as a necessary, positive, challenging opportunity to learn and grow.

I don’t quite know what she was expecting but I noted that if she couldn’t understand my reservations, maybe it would be best to keep things as they were.

In the end, she ended our brief reunion with, “Have a nice life.”

I will and I am. I have a nice life, an extremely nice one, growing in love, a happiest trip of my life.

“There’s value in the past. After all, it brought you to where you are.” – from “Love” by Leo Buscaglia.

Ironic but I’m grateful now for the painful past because it brought me here, to where and who I am now. Thank you for the lessons, the opportunities to choose a better path, a better version of me, to get closer and arrive here, particularly this last exchange.

I am most proud to have stayed true to who I am, stayed true to my path of truth, authenticity, and vulnerability. I didn’t give in to the trap of labels, expectations, or rationalizations. I trusted, I stood up, and I spoke up.

I am empowered to break the chains of labels and stereotypes from my young adulthood, to make peace with the shame and guilt of my past, and live and love this moment.

I will end with another powerful quote by Buscaglia: “If one wishes to know love, one must live love, in action. To think or read about love or carry on profound discourses on love is all very well, but in the last analysis, will offer few if any real answers. Thoughts, readings and discourses on love are of value only as they present questions to be acted upon. One will learn love only with fresh insight, with each new bit of knowledge, which he acts out, and which is reacted to, or his knowledge is valueless. As Rilke states so accurately, he must simply “love along someday into the answer.” One, in other words, lives the questions. But in order to live the questions, it is logical that one will have to pose them.”

synchronistic encounters

I love synchronistic encounters, whether that may be a person or, in this case, this wondrous book: “Love: What Life Is All About” by Leo Buscaglia

I added this book to my reading list from reading excerpts from Brain Pickings (Leo Buscaglia on Education, Industrialized Conformity, and How Stereotypes and Labels Limit Love and A “Dynamic Interaction”: Leo Buscaglia on Why Love Is a Learned Language) a few months ago and it just sat there on my list, waiting patiently. I felt the urge to start my New Year with this book, along with a few others, and I am beyond glad that I listened.

I just started two days ago but I’m already so captivated by his words and ideas, willing to learn, grow and “take what is right for [me]” from all that he is sharing.

This quote hit home hard and gave me a boost of confidence to believe in my own path:

“You can only be “real” on your path. The hardest thing in the world is to be something you’re not. By straying from yourself you must get closer and closer and closer to what you are. You’ll find it’s an easy way to be. The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position. Find “you,” who you are, be as you are. Then you can live simply. You can use all of the energy that it takes to “hold back the spooks,” as Alpert calls it. You won’t have any spooks to hold back anymore. You won’t be playing games anymore. Clear them all away and say, “Here’s me. Take me for what I am with all my frailties, all my stupidity, and so on. And if you can’t, leave me be.”

~ Leo Buscaglia

And this quote:

“If a man in the street were to pursue his self, what kind of guiding thoughts would he come up with about changing his existence? He would perhaps discover that his brain is not yet dead, that his body is not dried up, and that no matter where he is right now, he is still the creator of his own destiny. He can change this destiny by taking his one decision to change seriously, by fighting his petty resistance against change and fear, by learning more about his mind, by trying out behavior which fills his real need, by carrying out concrete acts rather than conceptualizing about them, by practicing to see and hear and touch and feel as he has never before used these senses, by creating something with his own hands without demanding perfection, by thinking out ways in which he behaves in a self-defeating manner, by listening to the words that he utters to his wife, his kids, and his friends, by listening to himself, by listening to the words and looking into the eyes of those who speak to him, by learning to respect the process of his own creative encounters and by having faith that they will get him somewhere soon. We must remind ourselves, however, that no change takes place without working hard and without getting your hands dirty. There are no formulae and no books to memorize on becoming. I only know this: I exist, I am, I am here, I am becoming, I am my life and no one else makes it for me. I must face my own shortcomings, mistakes, transgressions. No one can suffer my non-being as I do, but tomorrow is another day, and I must decide to leave my bed and live again. And if I fail, I don’t have the comfort of blaming you or life or God.”

~ Zinker, Gestalt Institute in Cleveland, from his paper called On Public Knowledge and Personal Revelation

Other powerful quotes to share:

“We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.”

~ Dr. Albert Schweitzer

“We are all functioning at a small fraction of our capacity to live fully in its total meaning of loving, caring, creating and adventuring. Consequently, the actualizing of our potential can become the most exciting adventures of our lifetime.”

~ Herbert Otto

“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.”

~ Herbert Otto