It’s Now, Now

Take the time to examine both who you are and who you choose to relate to. It’s time to select members of your new family!

now

Home Alone, Family Ties

One of the more interesting concepts to get your head around is how the individual work we propose fits in with our constant “nagging” about building intimate relationships. Since the two things seem to be opposites, surely you must have to choose.

Well, no.

If you haven’t found yourself, how will anyone else find you?

sad

Some years ago, a young woman of my acquaintance went through a breakup. She was quite beside herself, and e‑mailed me. I suggested she have a look at all of the issues she raised: self-awareness, honesty, openness, her sexuality, etc. We went back and forth a couple of times, and then she wrote that another person had asked her out, and so she would work on her issues some other time.

As far as I know, 5 years later, she’s yet to do that.

Because the real issue is being comfortable in her own skin, able to relate to and know herself. As opposed to the norm, which is to view oneself through the lens of “how others see me,” and “what is my role?”

Others see me…

The most difficult thing in the world to do is to look at how we are setting ourselves up. In the above example, my young friend spent an inordinate amount of time describing the motivations of the guy who dumped her. Now, in actuality, all he said was, “I need time to work on myself.” Se went on and on about what she thought was “really” going on—his sexual preferences (which she judged she didn’t meet), his lack of communication (which she judged to be about her being unreceptive,) etc. She was living her life in reaction to what she imagined he was thinking.

We all benefit from asking ourselves, “How did I set this circumstance in motion?” In other words, to self-explore what my role is in the drama I am creating. What we tend to do is to tentatively put our toe in the water, and then anxiously crane our necks around to see how the crowd is responding.

I am here to figure myself out—and in that process to take responsibility for how I am seeing and living my life. No matter how often I am tempted to want to list off the things I think are “making” my life miserable, in the end, I know that what makes the circumstances of my life miserable are my interpretations.

So, my task is first of all to notice, and then to let go of, my interpretations. I pretty much know I’m heading down the garden path when I start thinking or saying, “This isn’t fair,” or “Why are they (the ever mysterious and evil “they”) doing this to me?” Other times, I confuse myself with what I actually want out of life, and then simply whine about how “tough” life is.

In fact, I am setting up my life, all the time, by virtue of the choices I am making.

We create scenarios, or what I call “dramas,” and we’re completely in charge of both the script for the drama and the cast of characters that show up to play roles.

The “home alone” scenario requires that I look after my house, which I am alone in—that I understand that I brought everything into the house that is there, and that others flit through my house like disembodied ghosts. Of course they do. Inside of you is no one but you.

The next time you are tempted to ask, “What will people think?,” remember there is only one way to find out. Ask someone. And then be willing to listen and hear what they have to say, remembering that their opinion is just that—their opinion.

The strange choice is to ask yourself that question, and then to pop into your head and answer for “people.” “Oh, they’ll think I’m irresponsible,” or whatever. Talking to yourself gives you no data about others–that you, 100%.

Up your tolerance for self-discovery by reminding yourself that you are always “home alone,” even when surrounded by others, and the only way to function responsibly is to own your home. To hold on loosely to your dramas. And to act with clarity and integrity.

Family Ties

couple

Your biological family is just that—it’s the result of the random joining of sperm and egg. There’s nothing magical about it. It is what it is, and is nothing else. Might be great, might be “not so much.”

I just want to have the Xmas I’ve always dreamed about, instead of the one I always get.”

I’ve heard variations on that one forever, from clients and friends alike. There’s this imaginary “norm,” usually Hollywood created, and then there’s “my dysfunctional family.” The Hollywood version is held up as the real or authentic version, and the real crew are found wanting.

I suggest that such folk gently let go of the myth, relate as best they can with the family they have, and move on. And by move on, I mean create the family they want from the “intimate” friends that surround them.

The Dance of Intimacy

An intimate friend is one with whom I am willing to be open and honest—someone with whom I engage in clear communication. And the communication is about who I am today, what games I’m playing, where I’m stuck and what I’m figuring out. The dance between intimates has the potential to cut through the stories, prevarications, and bullshit, and in that clarity, to let go of what is not working.

Who would you select as your “created family?”

If we are choosy, and we should be, we will end up with a short list of friends who are excellent at commenting on what we’re doing and how we appear to them. We solicit feedback—and as we listen, we choose to pull up short and see what we’re missing. In other words, in intimate friendship, we avail ourselves of a slightly or widely different perspective.

Not to the exclusion of thinking for ourselves.

We create for ourselves an additional stream of information. In this intimate conversation, we are reminded of how easy it is to head down a familiar path leading to a big crash, without choosing to be aware that we’re doing it again. This wisdom comes in the form of intimate communication—and we then, on our solo walk, we can chose to do things differently.

Now, admittedly, this requires the willingness to be vulnerable with a friend, to listen to what they have to say, and equally, a willingness to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. A lot to ask, it seems.

Or not.

This week, examine your walk. How self responsible are you? How much of your life are you still blaming on past events, accidents, the behaviours of others, bad karma or whatever other crap you’re spreading? How much of your life seems out of your control, dictated by the choices of others? How often do you remind yourself to look deeply at the life you are creating, right now, when none of that other past stuff is at all relevant?

And how often do you stop your hustle and sit down with a friend, and open up, and let them know what little or big drama you’re setting up right now? How often do you invite them to comment, and how often do you listen? How often are you tempted to say, “I know that?” without noticing that your behaviour would indicate you really don’t “know that?” How willing are you to be teachable?

In the end, we walk alone, building a life, making a difference, (if we are wise) or building nothing, carping all the way. In the end we either trust a few people, or we scare ourselves into silence and isolation. In the end, as we always say, you choose.

So, choose consciously. Choose wholeness. As you walk alone. In the company of friends.

xmas

That’s it from us for this year. Darbella and I wish you Season’s Best, and we’ll be back to you in the New Year!


Make Contact!

So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!


About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

4 thoughts on “It’s Now, Now”

  1. This is super stuff. Very powerful. I have been reading something that falls nicely into this subject. It uses the word, personal integrity. Knowing ones self and being true to ones desires and needs while being present and available to your relationships. It gave a wonderful visual about falling on a bed, either on one side (individuality) of the other (meeting the demands of others). Either way we are not meeting our own needs. It stems, I think from knowing yourself, being comfortable and loving yourself (faults and all) and being centered in yourself at all times. Like a reed in the wind.….

    Reply
    • Hi Holli,
      Thanks for the comment. I tend to use “integrity” to mean that my behaviour matches my words — that I am doing what I say. Which fits with your comment, as this all requires paying attention. Many people seem to not listen to themselves, as they mis-speak, blame, whatever.
      The way out is to actually be present for your life, like “a reed in the wind.”
      Warmly, Wayne

      Reply

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