I've been going through quite a bit of turmoil in my personal life, namely with my family. Initially with my 13 year old daughter (I guess that's expected to be a challenge ;), but it seems to be rippling out to my relationship with my wife as well. It feels like my life is crumbling around me a bit, and the counselor, trusted friends and part of me has been telling me to do things for myself right now. That alone is really hard for me since I want to focus on repairing the damage with others. Others have warned that if I do not focus on myself, then at the end of this I will be an empty shell, worse off for healing. Whereas, if I do do things for myself, I will improve as a person regardless of the outcome, I'm up for that! Giving others something positive to look at instead of an empty husk I guess will help me in the long run too, but I really can't worry about my actions evoking a desired reaction from others. It's tough letting go, emptying my cup as they say - but I'm working on it, and looking forward to seeing what comes in to fill it.
At any rate, this morning the point was hammered home a bit, last night after a long talk with my wife, some arguing, some making up, very little sleep and a really nice lovemaking session - I woke up still feeling pretty miserable. It made me realize that even with things nice between me and my wife or whatever, my emotions might still be in the pits, that a lot of the resolution and healing needs to come from within me, not from the actions of others. This whole thing is all new to me, and I feel like I'm learning a lot about myself, but it's also really hard and I am unsure of what I am doing a lot of times.
So, why am I writing this? I've been writing a hand written journal of all my negative thoughts to get them out - I guess it's OK, it's definitely good to get them out, but in the end rather than a healing catharsis response I had been hoping for (though I guess not expected) I pretty much just feel drained. So, instead I thought I would write down the things I am doing for myself, to help me keep track and feel like I am making progress. I plan to use this as a tool to focus on the positive things, maybe it will make me feel better.
Why here? Well, I don't carry the paper journal with me, and if I'm going to focus on the positive, no reason to hide it. My dad always used to tell me things like, "let your light shine" or "toot your own horn" and I have rarely done so. Not that a blog is exactly the best place, but why the heck not. While I'm not doing this for others, perhaps some will see something positive in themselves reflected in my documented experiences that they can related to. While thinking about this I was reminded of Claus Larsen's liner notes (can't remember the album, now I'll have to dig it up and edit this with the album title and precise quote, plus I would enjoy listening to some LeaetherStrip right now), but he said something like:
"This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. If you like it, great - but I did it for myself."
That's kind of how I feel right now, and why I don't mind writing about the positive here even if others might see. I don't really know how many others might read this, and right now I'm not too concerned about how many might - it's just a space for me to get things out. I won't apologize if I ramble on, or if the things I talk about are relatively insignificant, maybe they are to me too - but right now it feels like I don't necessarily have many profoundly positive experiences to talk about, so I will just mention what little things that do come to mind.
With that introduction, I'll begin.
This morning, after dropping off my daughter at school and before going into work, I stopped at Rio Del Mar beach and parked the car. I had just planned to eat my breakfast watching the waves, but couldn't get up the appetite, my stomach was in knots, so I got out and started walking. While walking I came up with the idea that I should document the positive things I'm doing, which is what I'm doing now. :) So there's one. Walking in the sand I was tempted to take off my shoes, but just as the thought entered my mind I walked over a bunch of broken seashells, and thought twice, another time I'll do that. I walked probably a mile or so down the beach before turning around, and as I did, I noticed my footprints and began to step back on them, marveling a little at the ease which with the steps fell into place back where they were, without having to put much intention behind following my path back. After a while of this, and enjoying the waves and air with the sun to my back, a dog walked up to me looked and looked straight into my eyes. I put my hand out to let him smell me, then he smiled and turned to his side and let me pet him for a bit. He dashed off moments later, and as his owner came up and remarked, "He doesn't usually let anyone touch him." I wished them a good day and started walking again, smiling that this dog had seen something in me to come say hi, that I had not asked for at all, then felt some tears welling up as I affirmed to myself that I am a good person deserving love and respect. They didn't come out, not because I held them back, but I quickly noticed that I was no longer following my footsteps back. I snapped out of it and felt that at least metaphorically, I should stop following the same steps back. I didn't want to return to the car along the same path that I left, I wanted to return having walked a new way back, without the same dismay, feeling uplifted. With that I took a deep breath and continued on along a new path back, closer to the ocean. I even saw a barefoot footprint here and there! Next time I'll keep a towel in my trunk so that I can dust my feet off before hopping in the car. I saw a surfer suiting up and was reminded that I should follow my desire to surf myself, and in the front yard of one of the multi-million dollar homes along the beach I heard a child crying, turned to look and saw a young girl maybe 5 or 6 barely older than my son, with a jump rope, bawling like it was the end of the world. It reminded me that even those with all the material benefits one could hope to obtain, that happiness is still found from within and that family life is full of its ups and downs regardless of the family. I returned to my car feeling refreshed, looked for a leaetherstrip CD in my trunk to no avail, and ate a banana, orange and some green tea while watching the waves and listening to the crashing sounds. It took only an hour out of my day but I left in a much better state of mind, feeling calmer and more positive and eager to write here.
There's even more I want to write, about some midnight oceanside walks I've made in the past few days with the full moon, and standing i-chuan exercises I've done that left me feeling buzzing with qi in a way that I've rarely experienced and am so excited to feel after years of wanting to get to that level of skill, it's incredible to be feeling these things with just some time spent working at it. But another time - for now let me just say that the moonlight reflected in the ocean is a gorgeous sight to behold, and that there is a LOT more to internal martial arts practices than I think many believe is even possible, it's amazing to see entire new dimensions of experience open up as I continue to train, and I expect it to be the same with my other endeavours, as difficult as they may feel now.