Saturday, 15 February 2014

Life is beautiful, sometimes everything just clicks into gear just nicely and we go on our way down what seems like a predetermined path where is everything is just going great. Sometimes it feels like the universe has a plan for us and we are on that path, partly by our own choosing partly by the choosing of the universe.

Part of living though is it doesn't always stay that way. Sometimes a car breaks down and needs an expensive repair just before when we are planning a short trip away that was very much needed. Sometimes despite our best efforts we are late for work through a delay that was not of our own making. Sometimes despite trying to do the right thing always we get drunk and do the wrong thing. Sometimes life has other ideas about something that matters to us, about a few things that matter to us, sometimes it has other ideas about everything that matters. Sometimes life sucks.

The more things that matter to us the more potential there is for life to shake things up for us.

Everything that matters has the potential to turn around and bite us when something goes wrong. A lot of things don't matter and it wouldn't affect us in any way, but the things that do tend to have a lot of meaning. Anything that has meaning we carry around with us like a box in a pocket, except the pocket is in our hearts. Meaning attached to our hearts run deep. Sometimes without wanting to the lid of the box comes flying off, causing chaos and pain. Anything that matters, that has meaning has that potential to hurt us. Sometimes when that happens the attachment associated with the pain is exaggerated because it has meaning that is so close to us.

I'm coming to realize that pain is all about perspective. Someone who suffers from cancer suddenly doesn't see the point in worrying over the small stuff.

Sometimes I look at my life, and how through the history of time my life will be so very insignificant and my perspective on my life changes, at that moment my life becomes more about me and less about what other think I should do in the small time frame I have left. I may as well just go for it and lead the life I want to lead and take with me the only people that matter.

Theres the rub, sometimes life crashes to a halt taking with it everything that matters. Sometimes life  can survive trials and tragedies, sometimes it doesn't. Life can crash when some of the things that people have placed a lot of meaning on go very wrong in an instant. If that crash happens it can take everything with it, you and everyone you that matters know it. Its not a lesson in perspective, you have no experiences to relate it with. Its just a deep dark pit of despair.

I went through such a moment myself a few months ago. Everything I thought I had was going great. I had a beautiful wife, beautiful step kids, beautiful home. Decent income. Plans for the future. Had just survived cancer. I had everything I wanted. Then without warning. I lost it.

Let me set the scene to the day of my crash. It was a good day, actually, until it wasn't. We had the day off work, took the kids for lunch and then a movie, between lunch and the movie my wife said something jealous which I didn't like and that kind of pissed me off. But then I forgot about it, I shrugged it off. My wife has jealous insecurities, I knew that when we first got together and I was fine with it. I knew it wasn't me that had done something wrong to her, but it was something that had occurred before I came into her life. I empathised with her insecurities because I had some of my own, I knew  early on enough about her background to suggest that it might be related to her dad. For weeks at a time my wife would be happy, no jealousy, no insecurity, other times weeks and months could go past where I was getting the brunt of all her fears, and anxiety. And I was happy to do so, because above everything else I, above being wealthy and everything else we are supposed to want in life as husbands I wanted to be the source of my wife's happiness, peace and safety. I wanted to be the man that for her gave her faith and hope when she had so little hope and faith in men. I wanted to be the man she could trust.

But for some reason that day, i'd had enough, i'd lost my perspective, maybe it was because comments were said in my safe zone, dates with my wife, dates with my step kids were my safe zone where life intangibles couldn't touch me. Maybe it was because later that day, after coming home from the movie where we all had a good time, and after walking the dogs another comment was said when I was taking a moment to relax in my other safe zone our bedroom. Maybe it was the weeks of stress, wondering when the comments would stop. I wanted it not for me, I wanted the peace for her but for some reason I lost it because at that moment I needed to be trusted. I came out like a raging bull in a china shop. 5 beautiful years were lost in 5 horrible minutes. Minutes where I wanted to say it all, minutes where I wanted to run away, minutes where I wanted to curl up and crawl into a ball, I lost it. And when I lose it such a way, none of it makes sense. I like to think i'm a smart guy, but sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I am very dyslexic, I can read a book, enjoy a book, but ask me about and I struggle. When my feelings and thoughts are in chaos I'm worse. When I have time to plan and work things out I can control life just fine, mostly. Add a touch of chaos though and i'm not handling life very well.

For some reason, when life was actually going bloody great, I needed something so badly that I lost everything that ever mattered.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

So Tomorrow Is Valentine's Day.....

As a single person I always kind of hated it. As a married man, I liked it as a day like any other. It wasn't a day I particularly wanted to celebrate. Personally I thought love should be celebrated each and every day. I wanted to spoil my wife at Christmas, I wanted to spoil her on her birthday on the 29th of September. I wanted that whole month to be special. I wanted her to feel loved with little random acts throughout the year, just because - she existed - she was my special one.

This 14th of February though is a time of reflection. With no wife to share my love with I have to look at the lessons I have learned from love. I don't want to take this time and look at the loss, I want to look at it with a small dose of  romance and take what positives out of it as I can. Life doesn't always go as planned. Sometimes we don't even have a plan, we are just walking forward. Sometimes, if we are lucky, love is along that path and shakes everything up. Sometimes mistakes happen, that shake everything up again but love is pretty special and needs to be celebrated.

Here are things I've learned about love:

  • Love is not about losing yourself in someone, its about finding yourself in that person, in that relationship. When I found my wife I knew she was the one. She was special. She made me see the best in myself, she made me want to be better. It wasn't about how good I was it was about how good I wanted to be. Perhaps for the first time in my life I truly saw good in myself and I wanted to be better still, for her, for us. I wasn't the best I good be when I met her, but just by being with her gave me purpose and direction to grow into my best self, not for my personal gain but for us. It all came from within me, but she was my guiding light. 
  • Love is choosing to share in each other's joy and pain, and experience life together through good and bad.
  • When you love yourself you can be egotistical and selfish but when you love another more than yourself you can take as much out of a relationship through the hard times as you can out of the good. I loved to shower my wife with gifts. I wanted to make her feel good at all times, but there were times when she would be having trouble at work, or she would be stressed over things big and small, I didn't take much joy at those times I hated to see her struggling in life but I did take a lot out of the relationship by being there for her at those times. Being there to listen or provide advice, or find a solution to the difficult times was as good for me as the great sex we would have.
  • No matter what, love is about growing and learning as one.
  • Love is built on a solid foundation of teamwork.  The relationship I had with my wife is the single greatest source of my own  personal growth and happiness. I learned the most important trip I will ever take in life is meeting someone you love halfway. It wasn't about me anymore it was about us. I achieved far more in a few years working for her, for us, that I ever did for myself alone.
  • The strength of a relationship depends on the strength of its two members, and the strength of each member in the long run depends on the quality of the relationship.Sometimes some one has to pick up the slack. I found that love was rarely 50/50 at any given instant in time.  You can’t always feel 100%, or a full 50% of a relationship’s whole – life is simply too unpredictable for that.  So on the days when you can only give 20%, the other person must give 80%, and vice versa.  It’s never about balancing steady in the middle; healthy love is about two people who are willing to make adjustments for each other in real time as needed, and give more when the other person can’t help but give a little less.
  • Don't ever seek perfection. Perfection doesn't exist. it doesn't exist in you, it doesn't exist in others. A relationship that’s real will not be perfect, but if you’re willing to work at it and open up, it could be everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Your soul mate may be far from perfect, but they are a perfect fit for you.  Give them a chance to show you. When you stop expecting them to behave in a certain way you can start to enjoy and appreciate them for who they are.  What you need to remember is that every relationship has its problems, but what makes it perfect in the end is when you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, even when times are tough. same goes for youself. Don't second guess for what you have to provide to make that person love you for everything you are. They already do. You might have flaws, but love is blind. You have already been chosen, they already love you, where you might be insecure about flaws and issues you have struggling with your whole life they see all thats good. You never need to be insecure with the person who loves you, they love you entirely. They will just feel blessed to be in your company each and every day.
  • Love is risky, its scary. Its about letting go. Letting our guard down. Honesty, vulnerability and presence are demanded. It’s about daring to reveal yourself honestly, and daring to be open and fully disclosed over the long-term.  It’s about sticking by each other’s side through thick and thin, and truly being there in the flesh and spirit when you’re needed most. So open yourself up. Be with the person you love. Allow yourself to experience them authentically. I could not have got so much out of my relationship with my wife had I not first torn down all my emotional brick walls I had previously built up around myself. To feel all the amazing emotions that love offers, both good and bad I had to break down all barriers that I had protected myself from. Letting love in, is risky, we get hurt when we take risks, but risk is part of real living. Love is when we allow ourselves to have a sincere connection with another human being without all the other bullshit that we like to protect ourselves from. Its about saying this is who I am....take it or leave it. At some point in our lives we have to take the training wheels off...and if you love someone, and they love you they will be there to catch you. Ooh I like that line I should have kept that for last...dammit...but I got so much more to say.
  • Nurture your love so that when you tell the person you love that you love them, it’s merely a ritualistic validation of what you have already shown them by how you treat them on a daily basis.  Do little things every day to show your loved ones you care.  
  • Knowing that the person you’re thinking of all day long has you on their mind too means a lot. 
  • You can say I love you as much as you want, but if you’re not going to prove that the things you say are true, they aren’t.  If you can’t show it, your words are not going to come across as sincere. There were things I could have worked on better, but everyday I woke up I asked myself what I was going to do for my wife. Throughout my working day I would thinking of little things to do for today, tomorrow or sometime in the future that was going to confirm how much I loved her. We were both busy people, at times it felt like we only had five minutes together in a day but it was always on my mind what I had to do that day to show her some love. There were times I could have done better, done more, but I always did something. Love is also about seeing. Its not about what the person didn't do, or did wrong, Its about seeing what they did do, right. Sometimes we have expectations, and those expectations aren't met, and we get disappointed and thats what we see. I would get fed up with just five minutes, I wanted more, but looking back those five minutes were the best five minutes of my day, I should have made even more of those five minutes. Appreciate.
  • Love isn't easy, at times its hard work, but far too often, we make our relationships harder than they have to be.  It gets more difficult when conversations become texting and we can't see the context behind the words, feelings become subliminal, sex becomes a game, trust fades as time for each other becomes less, insecurities become a way of living, jealously becomes a habit, being hurt starts to feel natural, and running away from it all becomes our solution. Stop running!  Face these issues, fix the problems, talk, appreciate, forgive and love the people who love you. See the good. Remind yourself why you are with each other. Love is amazing and if your both love each other, you both deserve each other. Good times and bad, love can be your strength. 
  • Love is surrending yourself to another, completely - in that moment you lose nothing at all but coming out winning. 
For me love was everything I thought it could be and more. The loss of love is hard to take, but the lessons have changed my life forever. Thats what I want to think about this year.