Sunday, February 12, 2012

What You Leave Out

The Fool
When I was younger and would, all wide-eyed-and-eager, tell my daddy that I loved him, he would say, "Thank you." The absence of that four letter word from his expression created a vacuum in my heart that knew no bounds. For years I ached a little empty all the time, consuming all kinds of unhealthy anything trying to fill this void that never would've existed if not for an apparent lack of L-O-V-E. It's so small, so simple, a single syllable that would've meant so much.

See, the things we don't say and do matter immensely- sometimes more than the things that are said and done. There is no room in the mind of the egomaniacal child to account for the foibles of their parents, so when the child doesn't receive the feedback they are looking for, of course there is something wrong with them. This child will grow into an adult who wonders, silently and aloud, if they are okay. Sugar addresses this perfectly in this quote from her beautiful forty first letter: "Do you realize that your refusal to utter the word love to your lover has created a force field all its own? Withholding distorts reality. It makes the people who do the withholding ugly and small-hearted. It makes the people from whom things are withheld crazy and desperate and incapable of knowing what they actually feel."

There are moments when holding back feels like the only safe choice. Sometimes it actually is.Who has the patience and purity to be The Fool? To be guided by trust and innocence instead of skepticism and past experience? Who has the courage to slough off each hurt like an old, ill-fitting skin and enter each moment fresh and open?

The drive for self-preservation and the desire to avoid pain are useful evolutionary adaptations that serve us well in many instances. Hot stove ouch! Hungry tiger AHHH! This Tom Robbins quote just found its way into my consciousness this week and I'm kind of in love with it: "There are only two mantras, yuck and yum, mine is yum." Who doesn't want to feel good? Isn't that why people do drugs and eat delicious food and get massages and sit in hot tubs? I'd argue that the majority of human activity is geared towards achieving pleasure, or at least comfort. Yummm.

But the thing is, Mr. Robbins, sometimes on the other side of a deep, dark valley of yuck is a big ol' mountain of YUM. We can't always run at the first twinge of discomfort. I find in my life on and off the yoga mat that the most uncomfortable things are the things that I absolutely must be doing. For example, I used to be filled with great distaste for Sat Kriya but it came up over and over in class until I took it on as a personal practice and gained incredible benefit from it. There are some things that are worth braving the yuck for, like looking into your little daughter's gleaming eyes and saying, "I love you," no matter how foreign the words feel in your mouth or what you think it might mean to say them.

No matter how scary it may be to say, you know you need to hear it. We need to be told and shown demonstratively how loved we are. Hang tight with the people who never leave a doubt in your mind that they love you so much they ache a little. And if you feel that way about someone, TELL THEM! RIGHT NOW! Seriously. Stop reading this and go tell them. I'll wait.

We only get so many breaths with which to make words. Don't waste your breath.

I love you.

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