Nothing that we avoid ever goes away, we will spend our lives avoiding it, and that will be how we live. If we don’t want to avoid something for the rest of our lives, we need to deal with it once.
Many people withdraw their feelings from each subsequent encounter being hurt. Each time that they are hurt, they withhold more and more of themselves from being vulnerable to feeling. As time goes on they give less and less of themselves to life and to their relationships. Those parts of themselves that they have pulled away are stored in a void, a place of emptiness. Feelings are the food that the soul exists upon, pain as well as joy. When we hide our souls from experience, deprive it of what it needs to grow, to expand. Sooner or later the pain that we are avoiding pales in contrast to the emptiness that we are feeling. It is the avoidance that causes us our suffering.
We feel an absence of joy in our lives, but we don’t understand why. When we avoid emotional experiences we not only lock away our souls, but we forget where they are, or how to release them. We deprive our souls the very food that sustains them, which is feeling. We allow them to atrophy. We lose our connection with them. Even when we enter a relationship, we do not permit our souls involvement. We handle it all on the ego level. The other person involved feels that nothing is being shared. There is no soul-to-soul connection, only ego to soul.
We make impossible demands of those with whom we are involved to guarantee our feeling of security, and in doing so we drain our partners until they pull away. We are left still hungry, still longing and still in pain. Although we are unable to give of ourselves we are still looking to receive. Yet since we are leading with our ego, we cannot receive. We believe that if we do not open ourselves we will not be exposed. We measure what we give, to convince ourselves that we are loving, but we are not giving, we are merely demonstrating because our heart is not involved, we are not letting anyone in, and we are not giving freely. Our partner sees that we appear to love but the feeling of openness is not there. Our partners sense that they are being tested and that acceptance is constantly conditional. A loving relationship requires a presumption of trust. Without the presumption of trust there can be no freedom and without freedom to be oneself, there can be no exchange of love. When we are protecting ourselves from being hurt, or being betrayed, we are never being there, never present in the moment or in the relationship because we are always watching for signs. Always ready to run or to attack first. So we can’t feel that the other person loves us, not because they don’t, but because we don’t trust being loved and so, we do not allow ourselves to experience it.
Love when true comes from a place that is open and vulnerable. It comes from the soul. This is the place that we do not let anyone or any feelings near. Love cannot flow in if we are not open. So our emptiness just keeps on growing and since we are giving nothing comes from us that is not measured and noted on our ledger, nothing given to us is allowed any closer to our hearts than the balancing column on our ledger. Our hearts remain empty and we tell ourselves and others that is because we are not loved. We remain empty. Only need flows from emptiness. Although need feels like love to those who are needy, it only feels like a drain to those in to whom it is flowing. Love gives to its object – need drains from its object. When we allow the pain of our past to be program that guides our lives, what we will continuously get is the same outcome. It means that our automatic pilot says love hurts. Regardless of the mantras or affirmations we repeat, the program is the program, don’t give until you are certain, don’t open up until you have a guarantee, don’t give more than you receive, and above all, don’t let down your guard. It does not matter what our conscious mind is saying, or what we think that we are giving, the moment that we feel vulnerable – the program runs and end result will be pain, caused not by the other person, but by our programmed belief that it is inevitable. So long as we believe in our subconscious that loving equals betrayal, or pain – our subconscious will ensure that we create this outcome. To feel joy and love we must be vulnerable and to be vulnerable means that we may also feel pain. The secret is that absence of feeling is as painful as any hurt that can be inflicted by others.
There is no way to avoid being hurt as long as we live. When we refuse to open ourselves for fear of more hurt, we are also locking the hurt that we have already experienced inside. This hurt is locked in the darkness and as anything positive flourishes in the light, anything negative flourishes in the dark. So we are not protecting ourselves only hurting ourselves. Pain can only be healed by love and forgiveness. As long as we live we will be trapped with our pain inside and the cure outside. There is no avoiding this. We can avoid loving but we cannot avoid living. Life does not allow us to hide; it finds us wherever we are.
It is imperative that we experience life with every fiber of our being. We must embrace every chance that we are given to feel. What we can do is avoid expectations of life, or of love. Each time something comes into our lives that has the ability to bring us an emotional experience we must embrace it. We have to understand that it will enrich us and increase our capacity for love. However, we cannot hold on to it. Allow the experience to be lived for the moment without strings attached to it or expectations of tomorrow. If it is still there and it is still good tomorrow, we should experience it all over again. If it is not there anymore we cannot think in terms of what we lost, only in terms of what we have had. The love that we give becomes a part of the giver; it becomes a part of the fiber of our being. It is ours forever.
I have been loved, I have been left, and I have lost and found again. Yet my life would not be as rich as it is has been had I not been open to the possibilities of being hurt as well as being loved.
We are here to experience. As long as we live we will experience all sides of all things. To everything there is a season under Heaven. While we are here we are to experience all of the seasons in our lives. These experiences are what living is all about. Each person, each situation that comes into our lives is a gift as well as a lesson. Who we are today is the sum total of these gifts and lessons. These experiences make up our colors.
Yet what we must understand at all times is that it is all experience, and all part of our journey. I am who I am, that I am, regardless of how someone else experiences me. If I make a mistake, I experience that mistake, I never become that mistake and I must never be afraid to start again because we are made as much from the times that we fall as from the times that we get up.
We all need love, and to avoid it because we are afraid of getting hurt is sentencing ourselves to a lifetime of pain. We must immerse ourselves in each experience, but detach ourselves from the outcome. It does not matter whether or not something will last, we must be grateful that it is here now. We don’t even know how long we will want to stay. What matters is that something is giving our lives extra color and extra meaning today.
There is no such thing as failure. We do not have the information to determine if traveling this path that we choose was meant to lead to our destination, or if the traveling of it is the destination. We will always be rewarded, sometimes the pot of gold is not on the other side of the rainbow – sometimes it is the rainbow. Somehow, we have to except that it is all right, every direction is the right direction. We always end up where we are supposed to, and with what we are supposed to have. The thing is that unless we are open and our hearts are available, we usually miss the best views and overlook the greatest gifts. It is like the joke about the man whose house was flooded, who believed that his faith was in God. A police boat came by to rescue him, and he refused because he was waiting for God. Neighbors on a raft came by to rescue him and he refused because he was waiting for God, finally a helicopter came by to rescue him and again he refused because he was waiting for God. When he ultimately died, and faced God with the burning question of why God did not save him, God replied, “I sent a boat, a raft, and a helicopter – what more could you ask for?
We must open to each day as it comes, not as a continuation of the last, but as a new beginning pregnant with new possibilities that we must be open to take advantage of. We are co-creators with the Universe by its’ design. If we do our part, the Universe will do its part. If we do nothing the Universe will not stop throwing us balls, but if we treat them all as bombs and duck – we will never know what we could have.
Remember that it does not matter what happens to us in our lives, or even what we experience, we are always passersby. For example, when someone succeeds they may be called a success by the world, but they do not become a success. We are always in the process of succeeding sometimes we are on the top and sometimes we are on the bottom, but as long as we keep moving we are succeeding. Therefore if one fails, they do not become a failure, for most every person who has succeeded has also failed. Yet we immediately identify ourselves with outcome of each experience. The sentence of our lives ends where we place the period. We can place it where we fell, or where we rose. Or, we can know that there will never be a period, only an occasional comma so long as we are open to life.
We see ourselves and many times each other not as who we really are but as the product of our last experience. So long as we do this we withdraw from life for fear of being a failure of losing our success or losing a love, but in truth, there never is a last experience.
I lose almost everything that I put my hands on, that does not make me a loser, it simply means that I am learning, maybe the hard way, that what can be lost is not worth holding on to. I could give up, but life has too many surprises for me to do that. And so, I try harder, and often lose harder, but I feel like a great success because my only responsibility, my only success lies in my doing, in my effort, in my willingness to be the product of this moment and not of the past. If God wanted me to catch the ball, I would catch it – so God must want me to reach for it, and as long as I do, I am fulfilling my purpose successfully. And I know that God did not put me on the earth to be loved, I came from God and so my cup is already full, I know that my challenge is to see how much of that eternal fountain of love placed within my heart I can spread in the world. Being hurt is one of the most important parts of living.
Pain expands our capacity to feel, to be filled with love, not from man but from God. The more we are filled the more we can give and the more we give the more we are filled. We find, in the end, that we can never be hurt because we loved too much, only because we expected too much. Love with all of your heart and all of your soul, and expect nothing. Give live the best that you have, and better that best each time, and expect nothing. Live life in this way, and you will never suffer. But you will also never be empty but always full, always a success, and always satisfied. We can describe life spiritually in many ways, but in the end, we are here to learn one thing and that is to love, and we learn that by facing reasons and challenges to our willingness to love. If we can love through all of the hurt that life throws at us, then we rise above hurt protected, not by the love given to us by others, but by the love given to all by ourselves.
And so, when all else fails, love, love with abandon, love without condition, love so much that it fills your entire life. You will not only change our own life, but you will be a part of changing the world.