Independence Day had a different meaning for me this year.
When your life is going through drastic changes, holidays are weird. They just are. Holidays tend to revolve around tradition and family and friends, and when your family and friend situation is a disaster it tends to fuck up the tradition part too.
I’m not complaining. It’s honestly fine with me, I’m adjusting to a lot of new “normals” in my life; it’s just part of the territory.
I do like having traditions with my boys though… Kids thrive when they feel secure and know what to expect, and I think holiday traditions give them a sense of that. It’s important… they look forward to certain things and I do my best to honor those.
So, on this July 4th, I found myself at a “family festival” at a park on a lake… sitting alone. While the boys spent time with their dad.
Again, not complaining… I do enjoy my alone time nowadays. I sat in the sun, I read a book, I soaked up the view of the water and trees and the sweet sound of kids’ laughter. But then I started feeling that familiar tug to WRITE things… so I pulled out my phone and started frantically typing (I should probably start carrying a notebook and pen with me at all times… rookie mistake).
I’m surrounded by people but feeling utterly alone in the world. So aware of my ME and everyone else’s THEM. But the loneliness is welcome today… I’m not grasping for connection or validation or distraction but sitting in the presence and awareness of myself.
Relaxing on a blanket in the grass on a hill provides a great vantage point for people watching… and I’m suddenly extremely aware of my deep love for humanity. I can’t help but wonder what all of their stories are. I want to smile at everyone, as if to silently say, “I see you. You matter.”
I quickly question my motives… Do I really care about them or am I needing them to care about ME?
Maybe this “need” I feel to see and understand them comes from my deep longing to be seen and understood by them.
Or maybe both?
I struggle today to separate my being, my consciousness, from all the ways I identify myself. From my negative thoughts, from the roles I play, from my physical body…
I do still feel peace. The awareness of my being, the truth that I AM… no matter what I have, what I look like, or the people in (or NOT in) my life… I am a whole person, just as I am; life continues, and there is peace and beauty in that.
But my honesty requires acknowledgement of my restlessness too. My awareness of the ego within has exposed it; it has been caught red-handed as the liar and thief that it is. And now it scrambles to cover its tracks, to hide its crimes against my heart & soul. It struggles to convince me that I NEED it, that I need more, that I need an identity and validation from others.
It wants to replace what I have lost. My ego sees the void that my loss and grief have opened up and seeks to fill it with something else. New relationships, new desires, new ways to feel unsatisfied and stressed. It needs to create a need, so it has something to cling to. The ego is fighting for its survival just as hard (if not harder) as I’m fighting to eradicate it.
My eyes suddenly well up with tears and I’m thankful to be wearing sunglasses. It’s like a tug-of-war in my heart; immense thankfulness for all that I have vs. a yearning to fill the perceived deficit. How can I feel so full and so empty in the same moment? It is a true paradox, and I choose to just accept it, and feel it all.
These moments honestly make me feel more alive than any other.
When my heart sinks into my stomach and opens up a hollow pit of grief within me, I allow myself to feel the emptiness, and the sadness that follows. But it only lasts a moment now… because feeling the depth of my pain reminds me of the depth of my love.
The chasm creates a shortcut to my soul and the sadness is quickly replaced by hope, knowing that all that space is designated for love. It might be empty now, but it won’t always be so.
Eternally the optimist, it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty (or completely empty)… all I see is possibility.