When I started this blog, it was with the intention of chronicling my life in terms of the lessons life teaches me. Life is, after all, a never-ending process of learning, and there are many thousands of lessons to learn from life. The Buddhists and Taoists believe that only by opening oneself up to a deeper awareness of experience can one fully savor life and gain enlightenment.
But life can be difficult to bear at times, and in those difficult times of sorrow and depression, of anger and anomie–when you feel overcome by some tsunamic wave pulling you into a maelstrom of chaotic emotion and internal struggle–openness, awareness, and enlightenment are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. But despite the chaos, you’re still alive and learning still proceeds, even if you’re not aware of it or open to the lessons being taught.
Over the course of the past year; during the dissolution of my relationship and drawn-out break-up, I have learned many things that I was not aware I was learning. Now, life has becalmed, and I feel the many changes and can see the many lessons I have somehow absorbed:
I have learned that for some people, love and commitment are not the same thing.
I have learned that if one or both partners is afraid of negativity and avoids arguments, anger, and hurt feelings; or worse, gives the impression that negativity of any sort makes the other an unlovable person, then the relationship is doomed to fail.
I have learned that when I know something, I must speak out, and not hide behind a veil of innocent geniality.
I have learned that my needs and my desires are of no more or less importance to anyone else’s.
I have learned that I can survive any hurt and betrayal and still remain me.
I have learned there is no room for love in the selfish heart.
I have learned that I am loyal and generous to a fault; that I value those aspects of me, and must learn to choose my companions with more care.
I have learned that I have a solid rock of kith and kin who are always there for me if I should need them.
I have learned that I don’t always have to be strong and self-reliant; pain is tolerable but need not be suffered alone.
I have learned that sex is as complex as the emotions behind it. Sex can banish insecurities and sex can create new ones. Sex can forge emotional attachments, and sex can break them.
I have learned that I have the courage to make a stand, to confront my demons and to demand my due. I have the strength to define my terms, to do what must be done.
I have learned that no matter how limited your resources may be, there is always a way to make a change.
I have learned that every loss is also a gain; that for every door that closes, another opens.
I have learned that if I ask, I shall receive. If I seek, I will find, and if I knock, a door shall open unto me.
But most importantly, I have learned that fear of loss shall no longer prohibit me from asking, from seeking, or knocking.
Jean-Paul Sartre had it only partially right when he said that “Hell is other people”. He forgot that fear is what gives Hell its power.
I have learned to recognize that fear for what it is.