Sailing the Seas of the Heart
For the first time in a very long time, I felt happy. Content, calm, centered, creative, and engaged. After finally getting free of a painfully drawn-out, crazy-making relationship that went on far longer than it needed to, I was finally, possibly for the first time in my life, happy to be single. I felt good, looked good, and was having the time of my life connecting with friends, writing, rediscovering yoga, developing creative projects, exploring my new love of live music, meeting new people, and even becoming reenergized at work.
Happiness, I had discovered, wasn’t about who or what was in my life, but about my own inner light. It was about being so comfortable with myself -- including the dark stuff – that I could just accept all of who I was. What started out as an awful summer, with me being just this side of suicidal, ended up being quite possible my best summer ever, filled with love, light, learning, and, let’s see, what’s another ‘l’ word….Langour? Lust? Levity? They all work.
For the first time in years, possibly ever, I was firing on all cylinders. My engine clean, oiled, and functioning perfectly.
And then what do you think happened next?
That’s right: something unexpected. Isn’t that always the way? The details aren’t important, but it was a situation guaranteed to trigger all of my stuff again. The same situation that always triggers me: my insecurity, my deep need for attention and belonging, my desire to be someone’s one and only, my tendency to ruminate, my desperate discomfort with uncertainty of the heart. And, as it unfolded, I realized that this sort of situation is, and will always be, my meditation. As everyone has certain things in life that cause that deep, soul-level discomfort and uncertainty, this one is mine. It’s my edge. But the wonderful thing is that, this time, I found myself being able to stay in Wise Mind – that balanced place where both emotions and detachment are operating simultaneously – almost all of the time. I could feel discomfort, and not react in an unhealthy way. I could see myself ruminating, and choose to continue or stop, depending on how useful the thinking was. I could see what was happening, consider multiple explanations, and set them aside for another time when I have more information. I could revel in the joy and pleasure, notice the moments of disconnection, and yet not grasp for an answer, any answer, that would make me more comfortable. And I've even stumbled a few times, but I haven't let those times take me completely down the dark rabbit hole that has been my pitfall in the past.
Being in Wise Mind in this way is a strange sensation, sort of like being in a sailboat and trying to keep the keel even. It’s never a straight path, and the balance is never total or consistent. But it’s as if all of my senses are alert, the way sailors are alert to the wind and the currents simultaneously, in a complicated and beautiful dance with the sea. They say never to turn your back on the sea. I say I can never turn my back on my heart. I’ve nearly drowned before, and I won’t go there again. But it’s nice to know that I’ve learned, at least somewhat, to sail those waters in which I used to frantically flail and flop, waiting for someone or something to pull me to safety. Now I know that I’m the only who can pull me to safety if I need it. But I don’t need it right now. I’m sailing.