Constructing a world of Wholeness.
I returned last evening from a weekend retreat (New Warrior Training Adventure) where I felt "at home". I've experienced this once before at another retreat. These retreats are mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically challenging. The "at home" feeling comes, I think, from the amount of safety that is felt as one shares parts of his deepest self with others, knowing that no judgement will be made about them or their life experiences, thoughts, beliefs, or desires. Having returned, I woke up this morning wanting to still be there. I could recall the chill of the morning, and the sound of the drum in the distance. I imagined I was still there. Alas, I was not still there. I started feeling depressed earlier as I could feel the weight of my world returning. One thing I took away from my experience this weekend is that I, again, have the power to change aspects of my life that do not fit. I don't have to continue to do things the same way, or be the same person just because that's what people know, or because that is what I want to be. What I REALLY want to do, and literally be, is authentic, without the fear of others opinions or judgments. I love myself, and God loves me, and my family loves me, and I know I am a good person. That is knowledge; what more can a person ask for? The New Warrior in me refuses to fall back into previous ways of being and doing. Yes, I am an optimistic person most of the time, and I have learned to look at life situations through a higher “lens” than I did in the past. That absolutely helps, but it does not mean that my life is figured out, or that I have the answers. The truth is, my life is hardly figured out at all. I mentioned a few things that I know; something else that I know is that the answers are coming, especially as I take steps in my life that lead me to them.
I know that the world isn’t a “safe” place, like the retreats I have been on, to be authentic and share personal stuff. With the knowledge that I have, the only opinions or judgments that I value are from others who love me; so, to satisfy the Warrior, and step away from the past ways of doing and being, I share with you that my life has been harder than you know. For the purposes of this post, it doesn’t matter how any of these experiences came to be, only that they are currently present in my life. I find it extremely difficult to allow an emotionally intimate relationship to continue to develop once the relationship moves past “friends”. It feels sticky to me; emotional boundaries within the realm of a dating relationship are very hard to define for me. I tend to go into, “take care of” and, “make better” mode with the other person. I am better at “friend” boundaries, but once the relationship starts to enter the “more than friends” realm, it is like there ARE no boundaries. I have been more of a giver than a receiver in my relationships because it is what I know. It doesn’t take much “giving” to me, for me to feel loved. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when those with whom I have relationships give what I feel is too much, and I start to feel claustrophobic (likely due to introverted tendencies that I have). I then step back to get some air. I only need to know that I am loved, and so, genuinely. Quality time, even just a little bit, is remembered. Gifts, and acts of service are meaningful too, also in moderation; they are remembered and valued as well.
Three years ago my life completely changed when I realized that my attraction to guys was not a phase that would end. The moment of that realization, my life changed; believe it or not, it changed for the better. That realization triggered a river of opportunities that have improved my life, the relationships with my parents, with myself, with God; and I met some brothers who became the closest friends I’ve ever had. My life is so much better now than it was before the realization. I cannot wish this part of me away because of what it has done for me. I cannot be upset at God about it. He knows it’s there. He knew it before I did, and I know He loves me just the same, but I feel His love more now. The experience of knowing what I have learned from this is very important to me; I wouldn’t give up the attractions if it meant I had to also give up what I have learned. Getting married and having a family was always part of the plan I had for myself. Two years ago, I accepted that it may not be part of my life experience, and I became OK with that. There are other honorable things I can accomplish, and ways that I can make the world a better place in ways that are unique and authentic to me. I know that God has a plan for me, and it may include marriage and a family, or it may not. As long as I love myself and continue to work on myself, I’ll reach the best end. I believe that my life is rolling forward towards that best end, and that is where comfort and peace come from.
A world of love, acceptance, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, and compassion is possible; it takes ears from each person to listen with the intent to understand, instead of to judge, defend, separate, or preach. People who hurt people either intentionally or unintentionally, are hurt people. Said another way, hurt people, hurt other people. Hurt people can be healed. This is also true, people who are healing, heal other people. Healing is possible, it is happening. My life’s mission is to construct a world of wholeness by loving myself and others, and helping others do the same.