“Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” – Stephen Covey
I felt a familiar stitch in my mind this morning, a painful cramping that drives me to my proverbial knees looking for relief somewhere. I felt the sting of something riddle my mind with doubt, and I began questioning everything. It’s something I have found is a familiar pattern; one I can trace back to the time when I was taught not only to doubt everything around me, but to also doubt myself.
The doubt starts here, within me. Although I am strong, I often believe myself weak. Although I have a lot to offer, I often feel myself worthless. Although I am kind, caring, and compassionate I often feel myself cold and heartless. I know who I am even as I get lost in the insanity of who I think I am. Actually, maybe the thought of who I am is part of who I am, and when I finally readily accept the Doubting Thomas I can finally accept the St. Thomas.
In that place I doubt that anyone, at any time, could love me, be faithful to me, and accept me. I struggle for aloneness, often telling myself that I am better off the lone wolf than part of a pack that will, at some point in some time, bare its teeth against me. There are others so much better. Fitter. Stronger. More confident. More able. The list goes on and on as to why I am not worthy of the very things I thirst the most for; love, companionship, devotion and loyalty. If I extend them to you, you will invariably bludgeon me with them at some point.
This belief, which has proven true at various places in my life, is my own creation that is like a chain that has always bound me to a wall that is too of my own making. I may want to get there, but the chain of my mind attached to the wall of my own attachment to the past and the false beliefs that experience has created. I can feel me run to open arms but then can feel the chain pull me by the neck back to where I believe I belong.
I belong back here. You belong out there. It’s safer that way. Safer for you, and safer for me.
This morning, as I felt that old, familiar chain tighten around my neck I felt something else too. Something unfamiliar but becoming more a truth than a piece of fantasy. I felt the warmth of love so intense that it could not be ignored for the chill of the steel wrapped around me. It caused me to stop, to look, and to listen. I could see her love reach out to me. I could see her eyes look right through the layers I had created to hide myself from her at least partially. I could see her hand touch mine and utter a command that would resolve me to ending this lunacy.
I could see her loving eyes looking into my own.
I could feel her hand taking mine and strongly demanding me to hold on.
I could feel her lips nearing mine while she whispered into my head.
So, I stopped it. I fucking stopped it. And to those of you who do not know how glorious that moment is when you achieve such a monumental goal think back to that scene in Rocky when a battered and bruised man wants nothing more than to tell his Adrianne the truth and she finds him. He has nothing left – no face, no strength, and no thought other than to tell the only person that matters to him how he feels.
And she finds him. She fights her way through the crowd, through her own fear and her own shyness to tell the only man she loves how she feels. She bares her soul to him in front of thousands yet it appears that there is only the two of them standing there, each baring their truth to the other and taking the chance. The world may have been watching but that didn’t matter. What mattered was the complete absence of boundaries, the complete dismantling of walls and the complete destruction of the chains that kept them from knowing the power of that moment. They lived for each other, and they let it be known.
Yeah, Rocky is not a sports movie to me. It’s a love story; a deep, passionate and meaningful love story. Still, enough of the story, let’s get back to a slice of reality. I could get lost in that story all day because I find great meaning to it. I can relate. J
So, I stopped it. I fucking stopped it. I was Superman there, standing on the railroad tracks stopping a speed freight train before it destroyed yet another perfect moment in my life. I stood my ground. I braced for impact.
Well, I shouldn’t say “nothing.” To quote one of my favorite books/movies (Peaceful Warrior), “there is never nothing going on.” So, in order to best describe it in the way I know how, let me use a metaphor (I apologize in advance) and let me start from a place where I realized that nothing stopped going on.
We stood there, my chain growing taut and the air becoming harder to force into my lungs. I could see her walking toward me. She wasn’t asking me to struggle with my own limitations to get to her. She wasn’t asking me to break the steel that bound me to my own limitations in order to touch her. She came to me. I could sense her fighting her own thoughts and own experience to get to me, but get to me she did. I marveled at her, feeling somehow pathetic as this remarkable vision made her way through the mud just to comfort me.
Something struck me at that moment. I was not pathetic here. We were both showing one another something, and we were both learning from one another. We both were challenging each other, and we both shared a love that no real boundaries could keep hidden. I had as much meaning to this story as she did. She didn’t just grab my hand for me, she grabbed it because she needed it. She just didn’t look into my eyes to cut through my own layers, she did so to cut through her own. It wasn’t just my truth she wanted to take, it was hers she wanted to give. In that moment she was searching for the same thing I was looking for even if she did not realize it. Hell, I didn’t realize it until it nearly destroyed me.
It wasn’t a command to me alone. It was a testament to a new reality. So I fucking stopped it.
So, as the train came bearing down on me and I extended my arm to “stop it” I felt something. I felt her hand on my shoulder. I felt her lips come close to my ears and I heard her whisper,
“Not going to happen.”
In that moment there was no train, no tracks and no need to be Superman. There was her, me, the chain and the wall. I looked at her, and her at me, and I knew. It was time to end it all, and to move on to the sequel where me and this woman…well…that’s a bit private.
Once upon a time she handed me a hammer. Others had tried, but I often found I could not wield their tool. Either they were too heavy, or too soft, or too long or too short. The hammer she gave me felt just right and I have used it to destroy many of the obstacles in my way to where I want to go. Yes, I have been fixed on a star and yes, I will get to where I want to go.
I can’t start by destroying the chain. See, that chain is my friend. It allows me to roam within its circumference, and to feel the taste of liberation even as it binds me to the past. It allowed me to see love walk toward me, and to feel the beauty of being the one. The chain also shows me the direction to the real obstacle in this continuing saga. The wall. The attachment I have to the past that, brick by brick, has created the largest obstacle of all. It’s an obstacle I may not completely destroy, but it is one that I will turn into something I can easily hop over when I need to.
In this mixture of metaphors and dreamy states of mind, there is one constant. Motivation. Love isn’t just a tool of acceptance, it is a tool much like a hammer that we use in conjunction with stern resolve to get to the destination we want to reach. We can either choose to knock down those walls or attach a chain to them. It’s all about choice, and it’s all about finding the resolve to overcome those very temporary moments when the obstacle seems too high to climb or too thick to demolish. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come to that moment when I just didn’t think I could overcome the obstacle. I’ve given up, walked away, protested that I just couldn’t go on only to find the motivation to continue. Sometimes it has been despair. Others, it has been hope. Sometimes it has been fear.
It has always been love. Always. Despair comes from the failure to follow your loving heart. Fear is the feeling that love is absent even when it is staring into your eyes and holding your hand. It all is a belief in doubt, where the doubts scream at you that you cannot climb this wall until you find the strength to simply say “fuck it” and reach for the top. Love is the motivator and regardless of whatever tool it shows itself as at the end you will feel its power if you just “stop” the activity of forgetting.
Well, that sermon is over. I have a lot of stuff to do, including “stopping it”. I have love to make and dreams to fulfill and good times to create. I have mistakes to rectify, and a wall to tear down. Then, I have a chain to dismantle link by glorious link. Yeah, I’d say I have plenty to do.