Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Real Me

The first words that Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John are in the form of a question.

He’s walking through Jerusalem when John the Baptist sees Him and declares, “Look, the Lamb of God!” Two disciples begin following Jesus, whereupon He turns around to ask them “What are you looking for?”

Rev. Mark read this gospel at Trinity Church on Friday and he expanded upon this most basic question during his sermon.

“If that isn’t the question for this year,” he told us, “then I don’t know what is. In 2013, what if we allowed this question to echo through our hearts and our lives for this year? What are you looking for? What do you want in life?”

The obvious responses include health, happiness, companionship, and success. I’m looking to free myself from the chains of rage and despair that I’ve used to entangle myself so I can become the person I really want to be.

I’m looking for love, starting with myself, because I have to say that sometimes when I look in the mirror I’m not very fond of the guy looking back at me.

I want to live in the present moment because I know that anger and self-loathing can’t exist in the now. These toxic emotions need the treachery of memory and the fear of the future to keep their harsh fires burning.

This is, without a doubt, the most difficult task I’ve ever undertaken and that’s why I’m not nailing it down to any foolish New Year’s resolution that will almost certainly end in failure.

I may have a bad back, but my mind is as wild and skittish as a colt and it’s ready to leap over the fence at the slightest noise and take off for the horizon. Reigning in this wild horse is a hell of a lot harder than dropping a few pounds or cutting out the sweets.

I’m trying to rewire my brain, so I will take this will be one day—one minute—at a time.

I’m looking for results, not excuses. Bob Beamon didn’t fantasize about winning a gold medal in the Olympics. He went out and did it.

Whenever You're Near

I’ve been assembling something of a mental health playlist and one song that comes to mind is “The Real Me” by The Who.

Roger Daltrey repeatedly asks the most important people in his life--doctor, mother, preacher--“can you see the real me?”

He never gets an answer and I’m having trouble with that question myself. I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to be someone I’m not, to play a character rather than build a life. And I’m tired of it.

I haven’t been feeling well for the last few days—I suspect that some of the rich foods I’ve been eating during the holidays activated my chronic fatigue issues. I’m feeling better now, but on Friday evening I was furious about being sick yet again.

And when I’m angry I slip into the ugly past, resurrect every bad incident I can think of, and then go into a tailspin of guilt when I realize how ungrateful I am. I know I’m repeating myself here, both in life and on this blog, and that makes this behavior all the more frustrating.

I’ve fused my self-worth to the quality of my health and, given the difficulties I’ve had with my immune system over the years, I’m pretty much guaranteeing that I’ll go berserk with debilitating regularity.

So I must learn to love myself both in sickness and in health.

In my first post of 2013 I quoted Rumi’s line about “that place where everything is music” and that got me thinking about another song for my Mind-Pod called “I Can Hear Music.”

I’m most familiar with the Beach Boys’ rendition where Carl Wilson tells his love that he can hear music, sweet music, whenever she’s near.

I’m going to stretch things here a little bit to include self-love, so that I can hear music whenever I treat myself with kindness instead of suffering through the malicious feedback of scorn.

“It is my prayer for this year,” Rev. Mark said at the close of his sermon, “that we’ll all have the courage to answer that question because that’s a very tough question. What are you looking for?”

Amen, my brothers and sisters. Amen.



6 comments:

Ron said...

My dear friend, Rob....what a wonderful post!

And I have to say up front, that I don't feel you are repeating yourself on this blog because with every post I read, I sense you growing and learning more and more about yourself. So, keep on expressing all that you feel on this blog because it is THROUGH those feelings...you will be guided to heal.

Mind, body and spirit.

I truly believe that people in blogland are Divinely guided towards each other because of the similarities they share. I could have written this post myself because I have felt this way A LOT.

I went through years and years of raging anger, to the point that I couldn't stand myself.

But what I learned is EXACTLY what you just shared....

"self-love, so that I can hear music whenever I treat myself with kindness instead of suffering through the malicious feedback of scorn."

And it was through self-forgiveness, that I slowly found self-love."

Sometimes the most challenging forgiveness of all… is SELF.

And it was ironic, because when I began to focus on self-forgiveness for being an angry person, the anger and rage began to subside.

My anger had a lot to do with not accepting myself (with all my flaws), so the more I didn’t forgive myself, the more angrier I got.

I am posting something tomorrow that ironically coincides with your post here.

In conclusion….I am so glad that I met you, buddy. You’re an AWESOME person, who is AWESOMELY talented in so many ways. It’s an honor and pleasure to know you.

So look in that mirror and see what I see.

AWESOMENESS!

Amen!

Have a supa’ week, my friend!

Rob K said...

Good God, Ron, I'm about to keel over from all the lovely things you said about me.

There is a part of me that desperately wants to disagree with you, but I'm giving that guy the night off--for the rest of my life!

I can't thank you enough for being so supportive and so understanding.

I learned so much about blogging from you, about how to tell the world your story so that everybody reading it can feel like you're speaking directly to them.

You've been a true friend, Ron, and I haven't even met you in the real world yet. But, you know reality is highly overrated.

Thank you so much for being such an AWESOME friend! We both have a lot more to say on this topic and I can't wait to read your post tomorrow!

Take care, buddy, and once again, thanks a million!

Jay said...

I'm with Ron! How can I improve on that? Well, apart from the fact that I need to speak for myself, of course!

I'm a self-hater, too. I don't see much to love. I'm opinionated, intolerant, argumentative, unforgiving, selfish... the list goes on. I'm working on ditching the downer I have on myself, but I'm up and down like a yo-yo. Often I'll swing too far the other way and become overly proud of my accomplishments or think I'm somehow better than I am. I can't seem to strike a happy medium.

And of course, that fuels those fires, doesn't it?

But you, Rob, you seem like a great person to me. You think deeply about things. You are tolerant, gentle, and humble. You just can't see it, because you're too close to that mirror!

Rob K said...

Jay, I should pay you for therapy sessions!

Thanks so much for writing those wonderful words. I'm so glad we connected, both technically and spiritually.

When I read your blog, I see one of the sweetest, kindest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.

I don't recognize the person you describe--"opinionated, intolerant, argumentative, unforgiving, selfish"--I'm sorry, but you'll never get me to believe that, not in a million years.

The yo-yo image is quite familiar. All I can suggest is that we try to avoid extremes. Full throttle emotions of any kind probably aren't good for us.

And remember if you're ever feeling low, there's a certain hairless guy in Brooklyn who'll always have your back!

Take care!

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Rob, your comment literally brought tears to my eyes. Thank you - you're so sweet!

Rob K said...

And I meant every word!