Love Boldly

An attachment destroys your capacity to love.

– Anthony de Mello, “Awareness”

I love this book. I have mentioned it time and time again. But the words in the book are so wildly profound that they are actually helping me through some of what has been pretty damn challenging times for me emotionally and mentally.

I cannot promise that my recent practising of his words is going to stick around, but I am certainly very keen on keeping this going for as long as I can. It comes really as part of CBT that I am trying to practise on myself. The ability to train your mind to behave and think in a different way by virtue of practising, and reminding yourself.

I had forgotten to love myself in the pursuit of what I thought was a love I had for my partner. I had forgotten that I, too, deserved love, and that there were some really good people who do love me, and are supporting me through anything that I might need to go through. I had started to form this attachment to this woman. I had started to become a bit blindsided to the fact that there were all these other things that I had planned before I had met her and that I still can and should pursue. A relationship involves compromises, yes, but it should never compromise your life. It should not compromise who you are as a person. You should not have to become a completely different person to be with someone else. You be yourself, and if there is love, it will flow, and it will flow in a manner that is natural. Or it should anyway.

What stops us from fully loving, is the fear of the unknown that the person loves us or still loves us. But does that matter, when none of that is really in our control? Easier said than done. I know. I know. Then one has to really ask the questions then, “why do you love this person?” … “do you love this person because you think he / she loves you back?”. Are you actually seeing the person for who he / she is, or who you think he / she is in the grand scheme of things? Deep inside us, when we form a feeling of love toward a person, let us remind ourselves why. Why did we start feeling this love? And what is it that keeps us going? Is it the expectation that the feeling we had felt initially would always be the same? And that we would want that reciprocation to be able to continue loving? How tiring is that!

Some sceptics would debate this entire thing as stupidity because nothing is free in this world. But what if it was? What if we all just put in a little effort in loving the person for who they are, regardless of the change we witness, rather than the image that we have of them at a specific point in time? We put so much expectation on our relationships, when our friendships and family connections are really borne out of the same love that we have each been instilled to give. What is it about a relationship that blind our sights from loving the same unconditional way?

I don’t really have the answers, because I am guilty of treating these differently too, but really all relationships in our lives should be treated with the same respect, the same trust, the same love. And I am attempting that. As much as I possibly can.

For now tho’, to you, who is reading this, soak in the memories of that point in time but don’t cling onto the moment. Don’t get stuck on any one note in the symphony of life. Let the orchestra play and let the score run. Only then, can you listen to the true magnificence of the music you’re creating.

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Awareness

I have spoken about this countless times, and it is amazing how beautiful the concept really is. To be aware. To understand. To actually see people and things for who and what they are (though this is incredibly difficult for the former).

If you’re constantly in tune with what you have inside, there is a chance that this awareness is creeping in and you’ll start to see the changes happen over time. I know I have. It’s been a bit of a slow process for me because as they say old habits die hard but hard work will pay off.

The biggest lesson so far for me, is learning that I am existing not for anyone else, and people will be constantly accepting / rejecting me for who they think I am, rather than who I really am. Because at the end of the day, who knows us better than ourselves (besides a higher being that some of us may choose to believe in)? It is us. We know how we feel and what we are thinking when we do something. And we need to be fully aware of that too. Because are we doing and saying the things we are because we are expecting something in return? Do we have preconceived notions about what would happen even though the future hasn’t happened yet?

The answer is usually an unfortunate yes.

But we are humans. We tend to see things selfishly. It is whether we want to take that step forward and be the someone whom we really are, rather than who we think we should be, or having a facade to match up to what others expect us to be.

I still form subconscious expectations. I still find myself getting sorely disappointed. More so, I still find myself feeling insecure about things I shouldn’t need to feel insecure about.

But I do trust the gut. I do trust the feelings deep inside me, telling me to be prepared. And right now, I am. I will not stop giving my all, but I will stand prepared. And from past experiences, nothing will ever prepare you for what might potentially hit, but hey, you’ve given your all in any case.

No Right

I have been reading “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello a second time, and this time, with a different eye form the heart and soul. And my my, the things you pick out when you read books at different points of your life.

This point had previously resonated with me when I read the book the first time around. but this time, it was just different. It had actually made me truly realise how I have been seeing the people around me, and how incredibly selfish I am as a person.

The fundamental lesson here for me, is that I have absolutely no right (i.e. zero, nada, zilch) to demand anything from anyone in my life. That would be an expectations, and you know how they say never to expect anything from anyone when we give? That is true, but how many of us actually practise that for real? How many of us can actually say that we give and we say yes to things without subconsciously expecting some form of response based on what we think we know about a person? Do we really know that person in the first place at all? Do we really? Or do we know what we think the person should be in our eyes? Do we see the person for who we are, rather than who they are. There is a massive difference.

When one loves conditionally, one expects. One demands of the other, a reaction that plays in one’s subconscious mind. I bet this has happened many times to you, because it’s a constant happening for me. It still is at the moment, but because I am now so aware of this horribly selfish act of mine, I’m constantly checking and re-checking myself.

You love and you give to a person because you want to. Out of the love in your heart and soul. And you shouldn’t harbour any demand that he / she would react in the way you imagined him / her to. It’s selfish. Who are you to do that? You don’t own him / her. You give, and then the reaction is totally out of your control. When you get disappointed, it only means that you have formed an expectation without really realising it because that’s what we naturally do. That’s why we harbour negativity.

“Awareness” by Anthony de Mello, folks. Please do yourself a favour and get this book. I am not marketing this for him, but I am a firm supporter of this book and his words in it.

Ultimately, this book has changed the way I view life, and the way I view my approach in my relationships with everyone in my life. It is tough, given that you have to constantly remind yourself of the need to be aware and not to identify with any negativity that may be felt inside (we’re humans afterall), but the reminders to stand back and view it from the top makes for a wonderful way to grow, and ultimately achieve inner peace and happiness.

And then loving just becomes something natural, which is the way it is meant to be anyway. No thoughts of what if, it’s not fair, etc. But don’t go loving blindly. Love with sophistication.

Yourself

So in chatting with a dear mate of mine, I have completely forgotten this very basic but ultimately, fundamentally important fact that we sometimes forget in living our lives…

“You don’t have to be anyone else but yourself”.

By trying to be someone you’re not, you end up being very tired. You end up wondering who the hell you even are, and that, is very sad. I had a horrible sleep to welcome 2018, but I took a nap and found myself waking up to a moment of ‘eureka’ because of the conversation this morning, and also because of a very sweet message that I had gotten from another old friend.

We read this everywhere, and how many of us truly believe in it? I thought I did, until I entered this relationship.

Make sure you truly, and utterly believe in what you have to offer this world. And don’t say nothing. Search deeper. You know it within yourself. You really do. It is a matter of digging deeper. And whilst you’re at it, make sure you’re never identifying with any negativity in your mind / heart, because all of these pass, as I have learnt from the awesome Anthony de Mello.

Be yourself, and people who are drawn to you, will stay because they want to, not because you’ve tried to make them stay. 

Namaste. Happy 2018.

2017

I end this year with a rather heavy heart and no intentions to have any form of new year’s resolutions because they don’t really make sense.

I do end this year, being grateful for a few things:

  • Finding a couple of really really good friends whom I know I can lean on if I needed support and if I needed help with, within reason.
  • Finding the courage to let go of people who have done damage to me, and who were toxic in my life for many years, and not actually looking back (anymore).
  • Deciding to stay in Perth to work because that has allowed me to find some form of stability in life.
  • Being exposed to dating women whom I thought I’d never want to date, and learning a lot from my experiences with them.
  • Travelling to the places I travelled, particularly Uluru.
  • Passing my citizenship test because this means another step forward in settling here for the rest of my life.
  • Selling the house and putting a deposit for a new apartment just by the beach – and being able to finally have a space of my own where I can do my own thing, and live my own life.

Every year has its challenges, and this year, no different. I found out a lot about myself, and about others, some of which I’d rather not have known. I have also become a lot less tolerant of certain things in life.

I suppose the most important thing that I have learnt just in the last 2 days, is how much of a selfish bitch I am in my ways. And if there is anything that I would like to change, or attempt to, it is to use this aware of this selfishness in me to become better.

My goals for the new year would include:

  • Getting my head shaved on the 16 / 17 March 2018 for Cancer.
  • Getting a tattoo of the “dove + cross + 413” on the 3 April 2018 to commemorate the 15 year anniversary of my beloved grandmother.
  • Doing well in my job and excelling in it despite not fully enjoying what I do.
  • Study hard for the Life Coaching course, and aim to complete the Cert IV by the end of the year.
  • Save money so that my mortgage for the apartment will be paid off sooner rather than later.

I look back at 2017 and I am thankful for the love I have received. But I am also thankful for the hurt / pain I have received. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today if not for that at all.

May 2018 be one of love, joy, peace, and strength.

Sophisticated Love

I went to church for the first time in about 6 – 8 months yesterday. And this was after a bit of a mental meltdown the night before. It all came crashing on me, and it dawned on me that the invisible pressure that I have been feeling, and placing on myself had taken its toll. It’s taken its toll not only on me, but also on my self confidence, and my drive for life and what I want to do for myself.

And yet again, it is the one God and the one faith that I have been brought up with, which has given me that little kick in the butt that I needed. The kick that woke me up to say “get movin’ on your own life, and you will see you can still have that relationship that you want”.

In feeling the pressures from the family regarding dating a mother, and dating someone who’s intending to have another really soon (and I mean really really soon), I broke down being really hurt that my own mother did not seem to understand about the support that I needed. And so Jeremiah 29:11 just decided to plant itself in my head, and it’s been with me ever since.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I had no idea what this meant because I wondered, “what plans??”. So I just let it sit in the corner of my mind. And whilst having a mental breakdown, and after being calmed down by the girlfriend who has shown nothing but absolute patience with me through this silly-ness of mine, I went to church asking God that I was casting all my cares onto Him. And what happens? The homily was about love – my absolute favourite topic. No joke.

What sparked interest was that the priest said “Love is not that simple when it comes to Christ. It is not about a simple love. It is about a sophisticated love. A love that is educated and calculated, just like how St John did when He stood by Christ when Christ was being crucified”.

It is about a sophisticated love. 

All along in this life, I had thought that love was really quite simple. It was simply, loving. But I had never really heard of the word love described with the term sophisticated, calculated even. But it does make some form of sense. The sophistication and calculation spoken about, is not what we might actually be thinking – in a pessimistic way. The sophistication and calculation comes from the thoughts of what would be best to express this love that we have deep in our hearts for the people and the things we love. That is the sophistication. Let’s not love foolishly, because fools rush in. Let’s love with sophistication, so that we love with reason, motivating others, and ourselves, in the love that we give.

And as I attempted to catch up on my studies for Life Coaching yesterday, I was drawn to how the topics I was studying was relating to my life at the moment. From the realm of trust, to the realm of values, it all started to click in my head. And as I studied, I listened to Spotify (as you do when you’re studying), and the song “Psalm 91” came up – by Shane & Shane.

Ultimately, I was relying on myself too much. I do have trust issues, i.e. I find it very difficult to trust others. But the matter of truth is that I had forgotten to trust my own faith, and to trust the God whom I believe in to take care of me. The same God who’s always come through for me in my darkest times. Always. Never failing me. Giving me consistency that comes with maintaining trust. I forgot to trust my own faith. And… I forgot myself. I had put this one person whom I’m so very in love with on a pedestal and everything didn’t matter besides her happiness. And her happiness still does matter to me, but it is no longer in that foolish manner. I want to love her with sophistication.

And I will trust my faith. And I will trust the God (Psalm 91) who will show the plans He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11). And as of today, I am already feeling the difference of having all of the above happen over the span of 2 weeks.

8 Lessons

No matter how much you think you can handle it, there will always be challenges that you’d face dating a mother. It doesn’t matter how much you love kids as a person, because that is a completely separate thing to actually being with someone who has a kid(s).

Here are a few things that I have personally learnt during the course of my relationship so far with my partner:

  1. You will always remain #2 priority regardless. Or even #3 given that she may have pets whom she absolutely love, too.
  2. The love and affection she shows you will never ever match the same affection she shows her child because a mother’s love is unconditional. Not saying that a partner’s love is, but one can never compare.
  3. The child(ren) will always be in the picture. Always. Unless your partner isn’t the type of mother who focuses her entire energy on her child, the child will always be in the picture, and you cannot do anything about it. If you’re unsure or you cannot handle this, leave early. Don’t let it drag.
  4. Romance is almost out of the picture after a few months. It is difficult to keep romance alive, especially when dating a single mother who is trying to make ends meet and also be involved in a community of people who share the same pain as her in losing a child previously. You’d have to make that effort.
  5. Maintain, as much as possible, an independent and non-attached relationship with the child(ren) of your partner. Unless she has given you parental rights to the child, you remain an outsider. So to speak. You are there to support and help her, but the child remains hers, and is hers to raise, discipline, etc. This will also make it easier if things don’t actually work out over time between you and her – the disconnection will be quite a bit easier.
  6. You have to be sure of your feelings for her, because there is a lot more at stake than just someone. You are dealing with a mother who, in the event of anything negative happening, will need to deal with both the break and also with the everyday ongoing events of life with her child(ren). Be nice.
  7. She doesn’t have time for games, and she doesn’t have time to deal with another child. She is dating you because she wants someone who’s able to share moments with her that her child(ren) will not be able to. She wants an adult. A mature one at that.
  8. Understand that your relationship with a mother will never follow the typical path of those that you read on Facebook, or watch on TV – there is no honeymoon period. There is no fairytale romance where you can sweep her off her feet and get her on a cruise somewhere overnight. There is no time alone as and when you want it. These need to be planned. These need to be consulted on. These are particularly precious moments that you need to treasure because they may not happen very often at all. And when they actually do, chances are that she might be very tired.

It sounds like a whole lot of negativity in the above, but I assure you it isn’t. Rather, it is reality. And ask yourself, constantly, why you love this woman. Why are you in love with her, even. What is it about her that is worth the above? Answer that, then it will all make sense.

And remember to always ask the question of whether you are in love with her, or are you in love with your idea of who she is in your mind?

Love

Love is a choice. We all make a choice every single day to love the people whom we say we love. This applies to our own mother, father, sister, brother, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, spouse, what have you. You are choosing to continue loving them for who they are.

And we choose to love for a variety of reasons. We love our parents because they love us. Perhaps. We love our siblings because they are the ones whom we know will always be there for us in ways our parents can’t. In some instances. We love our partners because there are things about them that we find attractive, maybe. Or perhaps we love them because of the way they treat us.

The point here, is that we choose to love. It is a choice. And therefore, in the same vein, we choose to hate too.

What makes us choose love over hate, or hate over love? And why choose to hate in the first place?

I am dating a woman who has a child, and is already trying for her second one at the moment. And people are constantly asking “so how’s the honeymoon period going?”. What honeymoon period? And why is there a defined honeymoon period that people go by? Why do we set boundaries and standards such as these? There are some things that don’t need to be defined. When one falls in love, why should one ever stop feeling the way they feel the moment they met their love? I have struggled to understand this notion. The whole idea of feelings fizzling out, so to speak. Sure we find out things that we would not want to find out about in a person over time, but then isn’t this to be expected as part of getting to know a person anyway? It is part and parcel of being a human being – flaws. We all have them. So why do we seek perfection in another when we are nowhere perfect ourselves? Why do we seek out the perfect relationship when it doesn’t exist? What is a perfect relationship anyway? It is not defined by the number of degustations you go for, neither is it defined by the things you buy to show your love and affection. Every relationship is unique. Every relationship has its own unique foot or thumb print, whatever you may choose to have. And how this print develops depends on the decisions that both individuals make every single day of their lives. We fall in love with the one whom we would like to spend the rest of our lives with, then we get all excited by the concept of falling in love, and by the idea of having someone so very wonderful in our lives. But with everything, the novelty does wear off, things will start to turn into a routine, a habit, an existence. So remember to remind yourself why you had fallen in love with that person. Remind yourself what it was that really gave you that spark in your heart and soul. Does thinking about it make your heart fill up with warmth and good vibes? If so, then make that decision. Make that decision to continue loving him / her one more day. And by making that decision, make the decision such that it is regardless. Regardless of circumstances. Regardless of changes in both you and him / her. Just regardless. Because despite what the pessimists of this world say, love transcends everything.

To love is a decision, so let’s make that decision. A decision to love. Every single day.

 

 

Control

There are certain things that are not in our control. Our lives are largely in our control, such as how we treat others, and what we might say to them. And in the course of producing these words and actions, assuming you’re a decent human being, you would have already considered what the effects of your words and actions would have done to the person.

And once those words or actions are being passed on, that is where the control stops. You no longer have control over what the person does with the words / actions. There could be negative reactions, there could be positive reactions. There could even be no reaction at all. The issue with us humans, is that we tend to expect more than we should, even though we say we don’t even expect anything – that, in itself is not a true statement. If we expect nothing, we wouldn’t be affected at all by how the person would react. And that, is a true story.

So, make sure you consider all things around how and what you’re going to say, and do, and know inside (or at least try to practice telling yourself so), that you have absolutely no control over how the person may react. If you had said / done something in a haste, and you regret that, take the courage to apologise.

But never ever feel like you have control over how someone may think of feel, because that is not your responsibility at all. Nope. Nada.

Oh, and in the end, always practice kindness.

Namaste.

Inner Demons

We all have them. Some more than others. Some bigger than others. But we all have inner demons inside us. These inner demons bring out the worst in us as humans. It causes insecurities to surface giving us reason to destroy ourselves, or to run away – whichever is more detrimental to our lives.

My inner demons were well and truly in action over the past few weeks, and I started doing what I do best, really. Self-destruction.

I allowed my insecurities from all my past relationships and friendships and all the negativity from the comments and words around me take over. I allowed those demons to assist in making myself forget what truly made me happy.

I forgot that I can still live a life independent from the love of my life, where I would not be reliant on her for my happiness. I forgot that her existence in my life is a bonus to the happiness that I would already create for myself. It would be a welcome addition to the level of happiness I would already be feeling inside. I forgot that I had chosen this relationship. I had chosen to take on this road with her. I had chosen her as the one whom I can see spending a good portion of my life with (as of now anyway). I was not forced into this, and I am not forced in staying in it. I choose to.

One of the greatest fears within is that there will be a loss of interest overnight. Never mind overnight, the fear is that there will be a loss of interest. And so every little thing that doesn’t resemble the way it was during the first few weeks of loved up craziness, would seemingly look like a loss of interest, when the truth and reality could be things, unbeknown to one, affecting the other party, totally unrelated to you. It is important to understand deep inside that not everything is about you when you get into a relationship. Especially one that is still in its infancy.

So, I made a few choices. I choose to refocus on my life on the things that make me happy without anyone else in my life. The things that would make me whole. Because having another person in your life, is not to complete you, nor make you whole. You would have to accomplish that for yourself. Having someone in your life is having that beautiful bonus in life of having someone bear witness to your life and to hopefully inspire you to become an even better version of yourself just because of who she is. To have her witness your successes, your failures, and to know that they haven’t gone unnoticed. And if things don’t work out, you go back to living your life anyway, albeit broken hearted. But it certainly doesn’t mean you are any less of the person you were before you met her.

This is that choice. The choice to be happy, and to love not as a means be happy, but to be happy, as a means to love even more than you already can.