I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

I absolutely welcome comments. It's nice to know how people relate to what I'm saying.
To send me a private message, please e-mail me: flylittlewordsfly@gmail.com
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Monday, 12 November 2012

Universality and Uniqueness

Sycnhronicity is amazing. There was a lesson I needed, and the universe conspired to put certain people and things in my vicinity so that I could see it, should I choose to. You know I choose to.

So here it is. We are Universal and we are Unique - yet another paradox to ponder. The common threads, the big picture - when you look at life like that, you can see it - when you live openly, it is there. This is my story: I was born whole. I was broken. I hit rock bottom. I remembered who I was. I chose to be that, and I evolved. Life had ups, and downs. I continue to evolve.

It's a simple story. And common. And yet, the details of it are unique to me. Where and when I was born, my familial heritage, my teachers, my influences are only mine. My DNA is unique, my fingerprints, my physical being - there is only one like me. Even my sister and I remember our childhoods and the adults that shaped them very differently, and we were very close, in age, and emotionally. The reasons I broke, how I hit rock bottom, how I came to remember and the ways in which I evolved are all in detail only things that I could have experienced. My thoughts are my own, born of each individual experience on this planet. Mine and only mine. Nobody can ever share my unique perspective. And yet. My story is universal.

My teacher and friend asked me the other day how I keep my spirits up (and that will be a topic for another post, because there's lots to say about that!). We talked about her life, her struggles, and how a friend of hers had seen them, and felt sorry for her, until he faced similar struggles himself. And she and my mother shared stories about the joys and challenges of being a grandparent when their own children need support in their role as parents, and I thought about other families I know that have gone through similar situations. And that's when it hit me how universal it all is.

I am connected with people both in person and, through the wonderful world of the web, from all over the world, whose ideas and thought processes and evolutions reflect mine. Our illnesses are different. Some are urban, some rural. some have young children, others have grown-up children, other have no children at all. Some are married, some not, some in polygamous relationships, some in the midst of divorces (more on that in a moment). Some can work, others are home, like me. There are Pagans, Catholics, Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists and Jews in the mix, as well as one or two (like me) whose spiritual lives are harder to define. The details are different. And yet. And yet we connect on a level so much deeper than all of that, because what we have in common is a desire to live our lives fully and with awareness, and to heal if not our bodies then our spirits - to thrive within the context of what life has dealt us. We are so different and we are so much the same. It's like their journeys amplify mine.

There are three people in my periphery going through divorces. All their stories resonate with me. Each one is so different, in the reasons they are getting divorced, in the day-to-day relationship issues, in the conversations and the personalities of their spouses. And yet. Each is dealing with a spouse whose viewpoint excludes the reality of their illness, with themes of self-love and self-acceptance, and with the amazing discovery of how rewarding and joyful it can be to engage in enlightened self-interest. Each story takes me back to my own separation, and yet none of them are the same as my story.

It is interesting to me, and I don't think it's a coincidence, that I find myself in an informal encouraging role for two of these people, both women, both dealing with serious co-dependency issues. I look back 10 years, at when I walked out of my co-dependent relationship, and I see how all the players have changed and grown, and I know that the decision to leave not only changed my life drastically and forever, but also changed everyone around me, for the better in the long run, in spite, or perhaps because, of all the pain I caused initially. I see my ex now, happy with his wife and new baby, being the father I always knew deep inside that he could be. I see my son, grown and thriving in an environment I never could have provided for him had I stayed in that relationship. I see my family, opening their lives and hearts, and gleaning strength from my strength. I see friends taking courage from the way I've lived my life, seeing an example of what is possible. And most importantly, because this is about me, I see me, living through another "difficult" situation, and thriving, because I know I've lived through harder times, and at least this time there's no heart-wrenching decision to make.

I see these women where I was 10 years ago, and my heart goes out to them, and I do what I can to show them that there are possibilities, that there is life beyond fear, and it is beautiful. What I notice though, is the length of their stories, and how they are so focused on the details, of what they said, and how they said it and why they said it and on and an. And I remember doing that, and feeling that, and needing that.

Yes. When I used to tell stories, in my head or to other people, they were long, and the details seemed so important.  It seems to me now that it was necessary, and that the details are like markers at the beginning of a really long road, that show us how far we've come, or how stuck we still are. And yet, as we learn to let go of them, life opens up, because suddenly we can put our attention elsewhere, and the landscape is beautiful beyond what we imagined when all we saw were the markers by the side of the road.

My aunt showed me once, a long time ago, that if you hold a pebble to your eye, it is all you can see - there is little beyond the pebble, and when you hold it close to your eye, it cannot physically focus on anything beyond it. When you put it on the ground, and you see it in context, and you see how small it is, then, you can see its place and how it fits, and it is surmountable. You can step right over it, and go where you are going. Try it one day - doesn't have to be a pebble - a piece of lego, a marble, a raspberry, or anything of about that size will do - it's one thing to hear about it and another altogether to experience it.

The details of our stories are like that. Our suffering is like that - and I'm talking about first-world emotional suffering here (I believe Maslow was right, that if you are worried for your safety or survival, there is no room for this kind of thought). This kind of suffering resides in details, I think. It resides in that place of "he said, she said", and in that place of attachment to the minutiae of the stories. Happiness, true contentment, however, seems to be in the bigger image - in the context and the realizing that minutiae do not comprise a life.

Joy, pure and simple, is there too, but not so much in the minutiae. It is in the expression of life force. Yes, details bring joy, but joy resides in a bigger place. It takes us out of our stories, it connects us to others in ways that suffering cannot.

Each of us is a separate unique being, whose life is carved by our sorrows and filled with our joys, and we are connected through those carvings, to every other unique being that ever was and ever will be. We are tied through our molecular nature to the entire Universe, and everything in it. And when I see things like that, it is much harder to think that what I said yesterday makes a jot of a difference in the long run. What matters is what it meant, how it changed me, or not, how it changed or affected someone else, or not. And even that is relative.


  1. Great insights as always my dear, the decisions you made 10 years ago were so brave and truly you choose the "path less travelled" and it has reaped great rewards. Your blog has reminded me of something I was reflecting a few weeks ago when I was reminded of an experience from highschool; I thought "if only I could have told my 17 year old self how wonderful and beautiful she is, and that things can get better", but I realize that part of life is the suffering we go thought, it shapes who we are, I wouldn't be who I am today without those experiences. We can't avoid the negative experiences in life, but what we can do is learn better, healthier ways to deal with them and to look after ourselves. Love you :)

    1. Love you too. Glad this resonated with you.