Sunday, February 11, 2007

Thoughts on a New Day

This weekend I had a reason and opportunity to look back my first 12 months of blog posts. I was reviewing the poems I've written to choose one for an upcoming and wonderful collaborative project. It's been just about a year since I began this blog and just about a year since I took my first writing workshop. It's been just about a year that I became aware of deep love and starting living that way.

I am surprised at the change in me. In one form or another, I've always been a glass-half-full optimist. I can remember sitting in first grade smiling at my secret knowledge that the world was a friendly place and I would be able to find my way in it.

I remember being slightly surprised that I was voted "personality plus" in my high school graduating class of 660 kids.

I remember moving to Germany and landing the one coveted job I had no business applying for.

I remember when I started my counseling and consulting business. I knew I would succeed and I never doubted it was just about the best job in the world.

I remember how cool I was when I married this handsome guy with a college degree and together we bought this sweet small house on a half acre of land in this beautiful coastal community.

I remember the depths of love raising my spunky daughter and the first time I knew without question that I would willingly and easily die for her.

Over the years I have been extremely fortunate. I am surrounded by good decent creative talented people. I have a good good life. I am loved.

When I started this blog, I wanted to achieve some blend of wisdom, optimism, and inspiration. Who better than me, the beneficiary of so many good breaks and opportunities, to talk about life and love?

But, as I re-read my posts this weekend, I can see that something has changed. It is still me. I still laugh and appreciate and look and hope for the best. I still walk my dog and write my books and poems and relish the chance to eat a pizza by myself. But within me something new has taken root. It is deep and real and it makes me the same way. I am a more authentic person. My ego doesn't do battle so often anymore, and when I give my word I know I can keep it. There are now a handful of people I love so much I am standing in front of a moving train to protect them.

All this sounds good--all the positive growth I've hoped for when I think of the person I want to be. But my transformation is not what I expected.

For one thing, I cry more often. I can tell straight off that deep love is not all it's cracked up to be. The more I love, the more it depletes me. I can more easily give of myself, but sometimes I need to plan for the aftershock , when I will be wiped, or sad, or afraid in a way I haven't known before. Sometimes I have to digest that my needs are secondary because the needs of someone I love matters more. The worse change is that I now love at a distance and that means I have to live without the benefit of proximity and spontaneity.

Sometimes I cry because I know I will spend too many days adjusting to what is nothing short of longing. Sometimes I cry because I know and accept that while there are no limits to love, there are limits to when and where and how it can be shared. There are limits to the way the world is and the way the world works.

For another thing, I see misfortune around me and as always I am mobilized to want to act against it. I have been in the helping profession most of my adult life. I have been able to reach out and help out without internalizing the pain I see. I'm particularly good in a crisis. I'm a good counselor. But lately I've come to know that, every day, I know less and less--not more and more. And ask me how to deal with the sorrow and threat that has befallen the planet these days and I am at a loss.

I've noticed my recent posts lack the hopeful exuberance of my early ones. In some ways I am weightier, not lighter. And in other ways I am more serious, not sillier. I did not expect this.

This is not a final chapter. I am not feeling sorry for myself, and I would not change one thing. I still believe that most of us are good people doing our best. I believe our best is enough. It's just that I have begun to live differently. I am just now understanding that people and circumstance have changed me and the change is now part of who I am. It will affect who I become. I hope I become a better writer because of it. But most of all I hope I become a better person. That means, unfortunately, that I still have a long way to go and alot left to learn. It means I have become vulnerable. I can be hurt, because I've knowingly forfeited some of my protection.

And it means that at least a chunk of my learning is loving in a way that I willingly accept what is possible and what is not. Acceptance. There's my word of the year so far. Acceptance. If I really get what it means to live from a place of acceptance, how then shall I live?


  1. I am really very surprised that you consider loving at a distance somewhat new. I felt this the moment I left home and worked in those mountains for one year. I was alone with a few friends and I soon discovered how to surround myself with people who were good to me and become my interim "family" while my real family was away. Then I had to leave and soon found out that I am now away from my "interim family" and missed them. Finally I left my country when I was 24 and left my parents, brothers and sisters. I have always loved from a distance but that distance will never diminish my love. One thing for sure, I have frequent flier miles and a very steep long-distance bill! I would like to comment more later.

  2. ces, it's not that i haven't been apart from family and friends. these days there are just some people who i wish were in my day-to-day life, who i wish would stop by for coffee or pick me up for a ride to the mall. loving from a distance creates longing, and that can remove me from the present. that's what i'm working on!

  3. Geez, and I say this with affection and total respect, sometimes you are SO deep and all that I wonder where you've gone.

    But you are there, often going where others fear to tread. It can be hard following you there.

    It doesn't surprise me you were voted Ms. Personality Plus or that you got a job you had no biz applying for.

    You talk about depths and heights and so right there, you've got me. You don't have to carry the weight of the sphinx on your shoulders, but you do anyway.

    Depth is the thing. If it it's true that as you know less and less rather than more and more, it's only because you're travelling into deeper jungle and territory.

    And if that's where you want to go, then few would be as well equipped as you to travel it.

  4. thanks alot, ww. how did i end up so intense??!


  5. KJ,

    you always bring your authentic self in your writings and comments. that i feel "close" to you... that i can "talk" to you and tell you things without fear of being judged... (to be continued on email)

    Thank you.

  6. oh kj, i find this so ironic that i was just thinking about willingness and acceptance it is a moment by moment thing for me -- with limited success. i feel so lucky to have found people through blogging that i can learn from...there have been many times when i have wondered if i am in over my head with a career in the helping professions -- but there is nothing else that fills me up like this...hugs to you...ruby

  7. "And ask me how to deal with the sorrow and threat that has befallen the planet these days and I am at a loss."

    I often feel this way, too. Maybe this is why the need to move away from DC feels so urgent-- I fool myself into thinking that the world's problems live only here.

  8. Hi KJ,

    Here's something for you to see along the lines of "And ask me how to deal with the sorrow and threat that has befallen the planet these days and I am at a loss."

    Natural Hazards and Disasters

    People who live in disaster-prone areas have a certain philosophy in life. They are very accepting. This is something that I struggled with until I decided to leave, only to find out that the grass isn't always greener on the other end, it's green because of too much fertilizer, not naturally verdant. Humans are never satiated, they We always lack something.

  9. I love how in tune you are with your emotions and changes -- and, better yet, that you're accepting of them. That's good stuff! Inspiring, too.

  10. KJ:

    It just is. Youse is just youse. You didn't "end up" always were and were going to be.

    That's my guess, anyhow.

    I'd tell you to embrace it, but you already do.

  11. I remember thinking a while back how that exuberance I used to feel is - now that I'm older - slightly less than it was; slightly compromised. I put it down to having seen too much of life. But I am happy to report I have also noticed (since I started evaluating such moments) that I still get flashes of that 'youthful feeling of exurberance', you know,when the wold suddenly gleams! - and that's enough. I'm content to be largely content. I don't know if I could handle too much exuberance now! Does that make me sound old? (Maybe not old so much as just older.) :)

  12. You put so much of yourself in your blog kj and that's why I love visiting.

  13. That was an astonishing introspective...wonderfully expressed and informative.
    I am a few days away from my 1st anniversary and looking back I noticed that I came on like gangbusters riding a bull through a Waterford Crystal shop..
    until I figured out that commentors don't care how much you know..
    they want to know how much you care.

  14. Your words are very profound & seem completly genuine. time definitely brings, imho, is for living, loving, thing leads to another. p&l to you.