When I see a man
in a dress shirt, I want
to walk up behind him,
place my hand
between his shoulders,
to rest it there
for a moment. I think
about his socks, how
he chose one pair
that morning and the rest
are still at home
in a drawer.
And his shoes —
god those shoes, they break me,
especially when they’re polished, what
does he do to make them shine
like that, yes, all it takes
is a pair of shiny black shoes and such
a wave of tenderness
collapses over me that I see
his ties, at rest
on their little carousel, imagine
that he held them up
in the mirror
at the department store,
By Gretchen Marquette, published in the Summer issue of The Paris Review.
The following is by Dr. Wayne Dyer. See his blog here: http://www.drwaynedyer.com/blog/love-your-enemy/
The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “If we could read the secret history of our enemies we would find in each man’s sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
Harboring anger and hatred toward anyone guarantees that you remain in low energy fields where problems will continue to crop up repeatedly in your life.
Try examining every relationship in which you feel judgmental thoughts of anger and hatred. Replace those thoughts with energies of acceptance, kindness, cheerfulness, and love. You will have to make a personal commitment to, first of all, notice what you are feeling and then exercise your ability to choose to send love.
When your heart becomes pure, your enemy becomes your friend, or even more significantly, your teacher.
Your worst enemies are your greatest teachers because they allow you to examine the emotions of anger and revenge and then to transcend them. They give you the exact tools you need to elevate yourself to the spiritual energies that eliminate problems and provide solutions.
When you send love in response to hate, you accomplish one of the most difficult things for anyone. As I look into my conscience I can now honestly say, I have no one who I can call an enemy. Over the course of my life I have been disappointed many times. Some have borrowed and never repaid. Some have forgotten their promises. Some have left me for others. Some have cursed me and spread rumors about me. Some have stolen from me.
I send love to them all, mindful of the Buddha’s words: “We live happily indeed, not hating those who hate us. Among men who hate us we dwell free from hatred.”
It has been this transformation in my own thinking, perhaps more than anything else, that has allowed me to move out of those low energy problem regions of my life. It is a powerful strategy for raising your spiritual awareness
Well that’s today, and I’m not letting it end! Some of the pleasures were simple, but very meaningful to me:
- a plethora of ergonomic work stations at my disposal;
- the fastest internet I’ve had in 7 months of travel;
- privacy (a luxury when you’re almost always in a dorm room);
- healthy, crazy delicious, affordable vegetarian food, including deliciously ripe pineapple;
- as much free drinking water I as I wanted (with the option for cucumber water!);
- and fresh air and sunlight!
I started my day by tending to my responsibilities. It felt good to focus and be productive:
- took care of some lingering business which lightened/freed up my mind;
- filed my taxes and for the first time in years I’m getting a refund – and it’s a big one;
- organized my files and cleared out my inbox;
- tended to my finances, uncovering a forgotten $1800 dollars in the process;
- successfully got my insurance to cover my camera repair even though they could have denied it as they don’t typically cover items purchased outside of the US;
- and purchased a ticket to Thailand for 50% less than it’s been listed for the past several months.
But even better than all that:
- I had a deep conversation with my dad about the purpose of life, and closer to him than ever before which I didn’t think was possible;
- researched books that will inspire me for the next decade, and bring me closer to the person I want to be;
- cried so many happy tears;
- and had stimulating conversation with a like-minded person.
I ended the day with a glass of Chardonnay, which I sipped while cooking a brown rice and lentil curry dish, and watched a cheesy but old favourite good-feel movie, What Seems May Come (it’s got Robbin Williams, what else do you need to know). And soon, I get to Skype with my Maman!
“I don’t know how to be anything other than intense. I don’t know how to experience without feeling too much and thinking too much. I am always searching, always questioning, and always trying to find the meaning in everything. I am passionate and I am deep, and sometimes I am misunderstood, but I am finally okay with that.”
This is a book born in my heart, born in the pain of ending one life and beginning another, born in the excitement of the continuing search for life’s meaning. Some people do not have to search, they find their niche early in life and rest there, seemingly contented and resigned. They do not seem to ask much of life, sometimes they do not seem to take it seriously. At times I envy them, but usually I do not understand them. Seldom do they understand me. I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter. We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love. This is a book for wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves. ― James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves
Of course. Of course I have a more difficult time figuring out who I am, what gives my life meaning, and what I want to do with my life. I eschew convention, and insist on deciding for myself. I investigate these questions deeper than most people I know (or maybe people just aren’t sharing it? please share!) When you take away everything that society tells you you should be and should want and should do, it’s easy to feel lost in a sea of possibilities.
I’ve been learning so much lately. I’ve always had so many questions about myself, people, and life. I dared not hope to find any more wisdom/answers on this trip than I have from my explorations at home, but somehow, I have. I’m seeing that what I once thought were ideas rooted in my strength were actually formed around my inner weaknesses. I see now that what I thought were deep insights were sometimes just reflections of my own limitations*. I’m not sure exactly what’s bringing this flood of insight lately; maybe it’s that I’ve had time and space in my brain to pursue these thoughts; maybe it’s the culmination of my travel experiences; maybe it’s the effect of meditating more regularly; maybe it’s just getting older. Whatever it is, I’m thankful. Meditation is much easier for me with a mantra, and lately I’ve used these two:
“I’m here, I’m open, I’m ready; what wisdom do you have for me, world?”
“I am the warmth of the sun.”
The latter is about how I relate to others: I want to radiate my love, my warmth, my energy with others. Even though I struggle with that, I’m learning that I succeed more than I’ve realized**. And the more I meditate on it, and practice it, the easier it happens. I know that I am Love, and I know that others are Love, and I know that we can all sense that in one another. It’s so interesting that these spiritual, cosmic ideas are now as obvious to me as gravity. I see spirit, Love, magic everywhere!
*Mainly about independence, and being alone. I over-emphasized how important it is to be ok on one’s own, to rely on oneself, to have a deep and profound relationship with oneself, to genuinely appreciate and enjoy time alone, in one’s own company. As important as these things are, these ideas came from my weakness. I was struggling with my relationships with people: with how people made me feel, with how they challenged my ideas, my life, my values, my self-worth; how they made me feel unappreciated, invalid, weird, and excluded. And also how they rarely meet my expectations. So instead of finding a way to deal with it, instead of releasing my expectations of others, instead of validating myself, finding strength and peace from within, instead of washing their insults off of me and thriving despite them – I retreated. And I thought I found “strength” in my cowardly retreat. Now I see that I need to learn how to cultivate that inner peace despite my surroundings. I really do want to be the warmth of the sun. The sun doesn’t retreat when she goes without praise, when she’s ignored, or unappreciated, or taken for granted; she’s ever present, and always bountiful with her loving warm light. I want to be exactly like that: an endless supply of love and warmth, despite surrounding situations. I want to be the friend that’s always happy to see someone, even if I’m hurt that I haven’t heard from them in a while, or if they misunderstand me, or if they’ve hurt me. We are all guilty of that, so I’m letting my judgement of my own and others’ failures go.
**I strive to be positive, open, loving, and nonjudgmental, but at times that is hard for me. During the temazcal, there was a couple next to me being a little lovey-dovey. As I’ve been so focused on independence for the last few years, it bothered me a little. I kept thinking that they should be able to enjoy this experience on their own, and that they can’t be as introspective if they’re focused on one another. But I countered that judgemental thought with another: maybe they are having a different experience together, but I’m sure it’s wonderful and valuable all the same. At the end of the temazcal, the woman told me that she could “really feel my love” during the ceremony. I was amazed that during my inner turmoil/inquietude, my love was still radiating. It was one of the kindest thing anyone has ever said to me, and it came at a time in which I needed to hear it. When I shared this anecdote with George, he said, “your love may be uncommented upon, but it does not go unnoticed.” I feel as if each time I struggle or feel insecure, I receive the most wonderful compliments. The Universe provides.
Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding. — Plato
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