The Self and Sudden Death: Fearing Intimacy & Doubting Destiny

{Weeping Woman, Pablo Picasso 1937}
{Weeping Woman, Pablo Picasso 1937}

As a tender-hearted woman, I feel safest with the written word. It allows me to rip off the band-aid of my many wounds and allow the light and oxygen in, just as Rumi stated when he was opening his heart for the ages.

The level of intimacy that opening the heart activates between my higher power, deeper understanding, and my vulnerability is invaluable, but it is something that is also a root fear for many I encounter. While I thrive on intimacy, many of my relationships have been strained from misunderstood communications, from mutually poor choices of relational entanglements. Intimacy, the feeling we desire the most, and yet contains the greatest fear, is a relationship with the Self. In the Hindu text The Upanishads, the Self has been defined as the universal fabric of all existence, pervading space and time. It is all and nothing, it is everyone and everything: The husband doesn’t love his wife for the sake of his wife, but for the sake of the Self that lives within her. – The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

The Self and its paradoxical characteristics of being both void and light coupled with its keen sleight of hand that makes life seem so very personal is part of a greater mystery I feel that I have come here to explore. It keeps me from internalizing the pain of my past and perceived lack of intimacy I experience with others. It has helped me stabilize a long-time learned behavior of internalizing others issues and making them my own, and it allows me to maintain a sense of innocence that has been steadily eroded over the years.

Recognition of the Self is a crucial part of a life guided by purpose and prevents a barrier to fear when developing intimacy. How can one fear intimacy when the eyes are pools of reflection? As you look into the eyes of another, you are seeing all that we are made of, all of creation, the entirety of Self.

 As I sit in an empty office, where nothing else resonates for me except the written word, I feel that the Universe is trying to tell me something. Perhaps my empty office is for my own solace, comfort, self-healing and creativity.

{The Dream, Pablo Picasso 1932}
{The Dream, Pablo Picasso 1932}

I have had friends, well-wishers bless my space. Potential clients enter into this incredibly creative sanctum, expecting my counseling to be free. I have had those enter into deep discourse about their personal lives only to say that they have an issue paying me to listen to them talk. For the many years of schooling I have worked though and continue to do so, this hurts so deeply. The love and compassion that is behind every single word of truth and love spoken is carefully chosen to affirm a sense of safety in this world for those I assist with active listening and compassionate dialogue. I love what I do, and I thought I was a damn good spiritual counselor, but in all things entrepreneurship, an intimacy of purpose, I feel unsteady and uncertain, especially now. The question on my heart now is this: Am I meant for this work to help others or myself?

 I have grown weary of carrying around the veneer of perfectionism that I use as a cheap sense of personal unflappability in the face of challenge. I get scared, really fucking scared, and I know you do too. We are in this boat together, and guess what? There is nothing wrong with you or me. This life has no guarantees. What other reaction would any of us have when our life is the love of our life? Our world is all we know and sometimes all we want to know.

 To read, to write, to artistically express, to be threadbare honest about the inner workings of the heart, and to activate the soul: this is truly living, an imperative to longevity.

As a wild woman, I feel as if I am quickly shedding my skin, transforming and outgrowing the place I live, and the limiting ideas that I have. In this evolutionary process, the written word has become my solace. It truly feels as if it is the only place I truly belong.

As I realize that Tennessee is becoming a smaller and smaller place for me to live (in fact, I oftentimes wake up thinking how did I get here?), I must declare. I must not gloss over this realization. I am being called elsewhere. New York is calling me, Europe is wooing me.  I want to travel, explore, grow, shift, be a gypsy, get over my fear of flying, trust that my higher powers have my back and that my life is not meant to expect death, but to live as if I were to die tomorrow and learn as if I were to live forever, just like sweet Ghandi said.

Women: don’t you feel this tug in your heart also? How do you avoid complacency? How do you stay out of your rut?

{Dora Maar, Pablo Picasso, C. 1937}
{Dora Maar, Pablo Picasso, C. 1937}

I remember having a conversation with my beloved mentors Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen on one of our Beautiful Writers Group conference calls. I had so much inside that I wanted to express that it just exploded from my mouth.  The ladies, with unconditional love and laser precision cut through my drama and went straight to the source of my pain: patience.

I am only impatient when I feel inactive, as if I am not contributing enough to society and left on the sidelines of the greatest game we will ever play, which is often.  As I prepare for a book deal, and my first semester with Harvard Divinity School, I realize that my journey is unfolding, even if I sometimes consider my back yard to be a pine box.

Long ago, when I was a little girl, my grandmother said to me, “If you go and follow your dream, all you will do is come home in a pine box.” Now as I reminisce about those cold, cruel words, I think to myself, I am in a pine box right this moment.

When I am too afraid to follow a dream, when I follow the wrong dreams, and when I expect to have “it” happen for me, whatever that “it” may be, and yet I do not do the work, I am already dead, my fate sealed.

Do I have enough courage to listen to the message? Yes, and if not, I will discover more courage. Do I have enough love for myself to take action? Finally yes. My love must be bigger than my fear and discouragement. Your self-love must be that big for your dreams to come true and stay committed to them.

I am almost finished my book, and the search for a book deal is perpetually on my mind, but holy hell, I am scared! So far on my entrepreneurial journeys this is the only avenue I have yet to walk down. I have never searched for a book deal, but have self-protectively placed matters into my own hands. Now, I feel the urge to free fall, dance in the art of letting go. My work involves continuing to peel away my layers and defenses. I must write about the hardest things: pain, purpose, and growth, like Hemingway said. This is part of my destiny.

What aspect of your destiny do you fear? What part of your destiny do you doubt?

{The Ironer, Pablo Picasso 1904}
{The Ironer, Pablo Picasso 1904}

These are the most important places to begin sacred contemplation, because underneath all of the human and therefore earth bound pains we needlessly carry, our spirit can transcend each and every challenge we face. Our higher power can take us to heights we have never seen. All we need is our sacred utterings and the command from our will to continue on. We must train our weakened flesh to get with our program. We are living life. Life is not living us! We must move our fear of intimacy with the world, reveal what is hidden in plain sight, and do the work we were called to do.

Please join me in this effort. Lone entrepreneurs, leaders in the making, people with something to say, advocates with injustices to correct, mothers and fathers born to love their children and teachers of love and light: we need each other. Let us not waste one another’s time with fake niceties or social pleasantries.  Instead let us touch, just simply touch, the intimacy that each of us achingly craves without taking advantage, without discouragement, beyond human vision, and only with the sight of God.  Only there will we understand our limitless capabilities to grow beyond even our greatest dreams and visions.

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