But most of all, I hurt. I hurt for women everywhere. And for men everywhere too. I hurt for all humanity, the ones that have been victims, but also the ones that do the hurting. Because most of the ones doing the hurting were victims once too.
This life is hard. It's painful. It's not fair. It's cruel. There is evil in the world. Not that any one person is entirely evil. But every person has the capacity of evil inside of them. It is the blood we share. It is the air we breathe. It is the earth we walk upon.
In the Christian religion, it is called Original Sin, the Fall of Man. The concept of evil is not a concept at all. It is alive and well, and something that each person living in this world encapsulates. Look at any toddler. Barely able to walk and talk, yet they grab tightly to what is theirs. "Mine! Mine!" they say. Selfishness is inherent in us. Some of it is for survival. How much of it is the evil that is part of humanity?
This show, touching on themes of rape, violence, ridicule, loneliness, embarrassment, and downright torture was excruciating. Mostly, the main characters' behaviors are a direct result of fear. And every viewer can relate to that.
So as I watched Hannah Baker be bullied, get raped, slit her own wrists, and die alone in a bathtub, I saw myself in Hannah Baker. As I saw Jessica sexually assaulted in a drunken episode at a party, I was Jessica. As I saw Clay fall in love with people he wanted to save, I saw myself in Clay. When I watched Bryce sit alone with a glass of whiskey wondering if his parents even loved him, I saw myself in Bryce. I was in ALL of these characters to some extent. And I think you are too.
I think that's why this show touches us on such a deep level. At least, I think that's why it touched me on that level. Because it was no longer about the 'good' guys and the 'bad' guys. It was only that we are all human. And to be human is to suffer. And suffering can make us do unimaginable things to ourselves and to others.
I know as long as there is fear living in me, I am capable of evil. But if there is love, a deep love that recognizes we are all One and part of the One, I will see myself in my neighbor. So of course I'd want the best for him. I get back what I put out into the world. Call it the law of Karma or whatever you want. But it is Truth.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." - 1 John 4:18a
"Namaste - the light in me honors the light in you."
Yes, this show dramatizes the teenage experience. Some people can say that, sure. But I choose to see this series as a reminder of our own humanity and the depths of anguish we share as humans. I choose to see it as a reminder that I am no longer the 'one who was sexually abused'. I am only one of the many faces of humanity, who each have a story to tell, a pain in their heart, and paralyzing fear that motivates us to behave in all kinds of hurtful ways.
The more we choose to search and focus on our similarities, on the One in each of us, we will experience healing in our own lives and in humanity as a whole. I pray that very thing.
For all of our sake.
And when those things happen, the person on the pedestal falls the hardest because they have the longest way to drop. The person holding up the other person experiences even greater disappointment because his image of perfection is being destroyed. He won’t be able to control the situation and mold me into the thing he believes I should be without me experiencing just as much pain and disappointment. And when his image of me shatters, he probably won’t stay because he hasn’t fallen in love with me at all, but instead some illusion of what he wanted me to be.
So please, don’t ever hold me on a pedestal. I am human. I will mess up. I will disappoint you. And that’s exactly how it should be. Hold me alongside of you, never above and never below. Walk with me, not ahead or behind. There will be times where we may walk out of step, but in the words of the great Bruce Springsteen,
“We swore we'd travel darlin' side by side
We'd help each other stay in stride.
But each lover's steps fall so differently,
I'll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me.”
I’m sorry you are experiencing some pain right now. Life gives us all kind of experiences so we can feel the full range of human emotion. It really is a beautiful thing! Sometimes we lose sight of that while we’re in the pain, however.
I’ve heard it said that whenever we are disturbed by something or someone, it is usually some thing within ourselves that is the problem. I can’t give you advice, per se. But I know from my experience, when I have issues with people around me, I look for the answers within me. Is it my expectations that are out of line? Is it my behavior that is causing a negative response in them? Am I being understanding and loving? I usually find that somewhere, I am feeling pride, fear, etc. Maybe I’m not being honest and forthright with my feelings. Maybe I’m being too controlling, expecting those around me to behave in a certain way. I spend some time taking care of myself for a while - eating well, getting enough sleep, having fun in life, making sure my spiritual life is thriving. I try to find balance within myself.
One of my favorite quotes is this: “When I stopped living in the problem and started living in the solution, the problem went away.” Sometimes, I just need to start moving forward and stop dwelling on what’s keeping me down - even if I don’t feel like it. Things sometimes just take care of themselves :)
Unfortunately, sometimes relationships end or change. That’s a part of life too. We don’t always want them to, and we try to hold onto a relationship, expecting it to be as it always was. However, like life and everything in it, relationships change too. If you and your partner have expressed the pain points of these changes to each other and have tried everything in your power to grow the relationship into something new, and it still is not working, it may be time to have an honest conversation about the future of your partnership.
Remember, a relationship is a partnership. There is not one person making all the decisions. If something feels wrong to you, you must express it and give the other partner an opportunity to express themselves as well. Hopefully, you both are in a healthy enough place on your own to be able to honestly and lovingly address the state of the partnership and start working as a team to correct any issues.
That is why it is so important to take an honest look at yourself first - your health, your motives, your level of understanding. You want to make sure you are your best self before you try to tackle relationship problems.
All the best, my friend!
When they were able to pull the boy's hand out, they saw it was clenched in a fist around something. That was why they could not get it back through the neck of the vase. Curious, they opened the boy's hand to see what had been so important that he wouldn't let go of. They peeled back his fingers to discover a bright shiny penny. The boy had seen the penny at the bottom of the vase and had reached in to pull it out. And because he didn't want to let go of the treasure he thought he found, he lost the priceless treasure meant for him.
Question: What are you holding onto that it's time to let go of? The Universe has a priceless treasure meant just for you. What bright shiny penny have you been desperately holding onto that is preventing you from receiving it?
However, there is still such a big part that is hidden behind the wall I built around myself years ago. I believe it will be one of my ongoing battles, to slowly chip away at this stupid wall. It has protected me long enough, served its purpose long enough. It's time to be fully me, live transparently, not hold back, let free the hidden child that so desperately wants to come out and play. Of course discernment is important. I believe not everyone has the right to see me at my most vulnerable. Trust needs to be earned first. But I guess therein lies the struggle. Half of me wants to live transparently, while the other half hides behind the wall, evaluating if I can trust. It's a balance. Thanks for letting me get deeply personal here today. Maybe some of you can relate. How have you been able to tear down your walls to live more freely in the world?
Small annoyances didn't mean anything to me. I just wanted to love people. Love them while they were here, while I was here. Put down any grudges. Forgive. I wanted to do things I'd never done before but always wanted to. I wrote a book. Time was all the sudden very important to me. I realized what a short time we all have. I realized I'd better get to living.
We all have our own beliefs about what happens after this life. But while we're here, let's live. Live fully, love fully, tell people what they mean to you, forgive someone, ask for forgiveness. Don't wait. Don't wait for any of it.
Today, I try to follow the three rules of a proper apology - 1) I'm sorry; 2) It's my fault; 3) What can I do to make it right? - If I can follow these three rules, I give myself a great gift: the freedom of knowing I have taken care of my part. I do what I can to make things right again. I take the lesson of my mistake and hopefully don't repeat it. Then I let it go. It is up to the other person to forgive or not forgive. I can rest, knowing I've done my part, knowing that I may have failed, but I'm not a failure. I have a long way to go on this still. But I hope that as time goes on, and I learn more and experience safe places to be sorry, I can learn that it's okay to be wrong. Being wrong doesn't mean I'm a failure.
While seeing this girl during my meditation, I was filled with love and compassion for her. I realized how fragile she was, and all the while she had tried to be so strong and brave, trying to convince herself that she couldn't feel the pain. My heart broke, and I cried and cried. I wrapped my arms around myself and told that broken teenager that I was so, so sorry. I told her that it's done; no longer will I neglect myself and my needs. No longer will I treat myself or LET myself be treated badly. I told her I will take care of her now. I will no longer settle for 'less than'.
I urge you, if you have never done a healing meditation for your inner child, to set aside some time to do it. It is one of the most cleansing, restorative, loving things you can do for yourself. I talk about how to do this in my new book. If you need additional help with it, contact me. Lots of love, friends!
I'm just a traveler, a dreamer, like you.