Ever since you introduced the love/fear issue years ago, I have tried to get to know how my motivations pivot around these two forces. As you have said often, it is not easy to discern. Sometimes I wonder if I ever get it right.
Last week I spent a day w/ my two older sisters that ended on an unpleasant note. I felt insulted,
demeaned and was spoken to harshly by one of them. She seemed exasperated, annoyed, condescending, as if she were talking to a child who couldn't understand 1+1=2. My other sister & my niece jumped in now & then, agreeing with my other sister.
In the final analysis, her "argument" had truth to it. The way it was presented put me on the defensive though. Instead of saying, "Yes, it's both and..." I dug in my heels and emphasized my side of the story. Both of us presented truth, however.
The only clarity, for me, lies in each moment. Am I now proceeding out of love of something, or out of fear...
In the moment, however, I got lost. I felt like my head was spinning. Surely my blood pressure went up. I felt attacked. The atmosphere felt unkind. I didn't see this coming, especially since the issue at hand, the very thing I felt criticized about, was a point of intense pride for me.
I couldn't believe that anyone, particularly a relative, could actually be so negative regarding my approach. Someone might say, "It's great that you do that, but don't forget this..." Instead, I was bombarded in essence, with, "You should be doing this. You need to think like this. The way you are approaching the matter is missing the whole point."
It has taken days for me to let go of this. I still haven't, really. The first two days I felt aches & pains in my body, & was very, very sad. It seemed to lift on Wednesday, then Thursday, the first thing I thought of upon waking was the "incident." All day I dragged on.
This morning I read your letter to Z, and realized that I must be entrenched in a lot of fear--fear of losing love, respect, good standing in my family. Also: fear of notbeing able to stand on my own two feet; fear of being "bamboozled." I didn't see this "attack" coming, & it has bothered (frightened) me that I lost my ability to thinkclearly & to speak well on my behalf. I didn't lose my temper or cry, but I also didn't present my thoughts very well. I wasn't capable of holding my own. I was steam-rolled.
How do we stay present in such charged moments? How do we find the ability to act, instead of react?
The day had gone so well, then boom! I felt so surprised. Perhaps it is smarter to
expect that this sort of thing can always unfold.
I felt momentarily the annoyance of being "put down." I remained silent, listening to her finish. Later I thought of a few comebacks like "So you only want a monologue, not a dialogue." or "I'm not talking politics, I'm talking economics." It seemed so ridiculous to me to demand that the Post Office remain open for the benefit of the workers when the agency was losing money and the money to pay the workers and all their benefits was going to have to come from the taxpayers and thus be borrowed from China!
Thank you, AB.
Your reply makes so much sense, and I feel much better after reading it.
Thanks for sharing your "post office" story. I hear you!
Maybe it helps to realize that the only thing we have to share with each other is our stories. So, in a way, Life is just listening to one another. And, of course, it hurts when people don't want to hear "our" story, they just want to tell their own.
Beautifully said, AB! You say so much in so few words.
Thanks, G, and one more thing. Go to my depression website click on Truly Inspiring and read the Paradoxical Commandments and the Desiderata again. We need to keep reminding ourselves about our essential human condition. A. B