Since turning 28 last week, I have been evaluating a laundry list of personal tendencies and fundamental patterns that sway me to the habits that invade my daily existence. Granted, some habits are positive — thank you self care! However, I am looking at those reactionary tendencies to guard and harden myself instead of choosing to spill open with compassion. My intention is to embody the light-hearted image I illustrate in my imagination, however, often, I get distracted by cultural competitive conditioning.
I am lucky enough to have a partner who challenges me to be more “me” each day. When I am single, I get farther from intimacy with others, but even more so, with myself. I am seeing clearly as I look deeper at my mind and actions, that intimacy – the one that breaks boundaries and sings to your soul – is not dependent on how we share time with anyone outside our own being.
Across the numerous Elephant Journal articles I read each week, there has been a theme about intimacy and connection. Per usual, these articles highlighted the barriers to and benefits of intimacy. But in reading, I was decoding the bigger message and realization: I am not healing from heartbreak from another. I am avoiding being my best “me” because I am still trying to rebuild my internal trust and safety after breaking my own damn heart. Up until this moment, after years of therapy and long-winded, tearful phone calls to my mother, I’ve never fully acknowledged that I completely broke my heart to the core.
Oh, and it gets better! Thanks to prolonged hours on my beloved road bike, I get the time to deconstruct my innermost (brutally) honest mental patterns. My monkey mind monopolizes on this opportunity to create a battlefield of conflicting thoughts; between increasing the adrenaline inspired-confidence boosting mindset and defeating the (over) analyzing mindset of those pieces of criticism that I swear “need to change.” Most rides, I make more sense of my life and come to some sort of pacifying acceptance. But my experience today was quite frankly, a slap in the f*cking face. In the tough love kind of way though. Where I couldn’t help but agree – yep, you’re right monkey mind. You win. Hands up. I surrender.
I stay busy to avoid being bored because in that very same adrenaline-inspired monkey mind, being bored = total (worthless) laziness. My ego finds free time ‘unexciting’ and convinces me that I ‘should’ collapse into a bed of failure. So, I do my upmost best to plan for the protection of my insecurities. Can you say: Ouch!
This whole epiphany thing manifested twice in two days — a) intimacy starts with you and we can’t avoid REALLY being with our being, especially when it’s most uncomfortable. So it’s not who we’re with or what we’re doing, but the absolute quality of our mental health that quantifies intimacy and success. That idealized “life partner” that everyone talks about finding, that some people search most of their adult life to attract, is indeed OURSELF! Boom. Take that self-help books.
From this realization, I recognize that the only route to inner peace is unconditionally loving myself as a “life partner” would. Intimately and whole-heartedly. The American Dream has lost its luster. Yes, it’s that painful and raw. But I choose to trust that it is also transformative and uplifting.