The capacity for Ambiguity

Our collective society belief about love is that one day, after time spent with a special person, this person surprises you with a big question and an overwhelming feeling of joy and excitement washes over you. You have been eagerly waiting your whole life to meet "the one" and alas, down on one knee. 

I get that in the last twenty years, collectively we have shifted the paradigm of what things are supposed to be like, but in some ways, we really haven't. And so here is MY story of the tug-of-war, beautiful and collectively much more human experience. 

Dialogue started a long time ago between my fiancé and I. And in the last 6 months, ramped up quite a bit. "I know I want to spend my life with you, and I also know that we have a lot going in our worlds right now with jobs, school, and transition." { insert endless thought; what is the best time? do things ever really fall into place? am i crazy for wanting to just run somewhere and do the damn thing? does talking about heading to the courthouse today and saving money on insurance make me looney?}

The holiday hustle began, kids home from school, and I finished my masters program. With Sean in job transition, I was eager to celebrate my school accomplishment and came home after my last graduate class on a Wednesday evening; "I'm booking a trip to somewhere for a few days. I need sunlight and I deserve time away. I might drain my savings." 

"Woah, Hal. I'd like to come. Just pause for a sec." Sean replied.

{insert endless thought; annoyed that you haven't booked anything. anxiety is building. why am i acting like a child? what part of me feels unseen? swallow, gulp, I don't want to think about that right now. I deserve this trip.} 

Booked. One of our previously visited spots in Mexico where we could unwind. { okay, maybe he will ask me in Mexico. Hopefully it's on the first day so I can relax. -- I can't believe I even think that way. Shame on me. Halle, be gentle with yourself; you're just anxious. anyone would be.} 

Arrival at airport; deplaned due to weather issues. 

Arrive in Mexico; no bag. 

{ I'm so easy. I can totally handle "roughing" it without underwear and comfortable clothes for a day.} 

Irritability. Annoyance. Even rage creep up. 

And I felt ashamed for having these feelings. Why do I feel so uncomfortable in a beautiful back drop? Who cares if I don't have the outfit I wanted to wear on night one. The push and pull continued. I internally judged myself for wanting to go buy items and I judged myself for sitting still. I allowed negative thoughts to permeate each time I decided to wait. to go. to stay. to  move. to buy. 

It's really a pain to be your own worst critic. I couldn't get anything right.  But it wasn't about not having the stuff. It was about avoiding my stuff. It was about having absolutely no control and wanting to run from it. or stay so still it wouldn't notice me. It was about wanting to disown that I was so freaking uncomfortable in one of the most beautiful places on the planet and I didn't know how to make anything different. 

So the night we received our bag. We went to dinner. I put on an elegant top and hit the streets.

"Perhaps we could grab a blanket and go sit by the water with some champagne...." Sean mentioned. 

"Great!" was my reply. 

"Tomorrow..." he added. 

"Sean. I am so uncomfortable. I thought this vacation was going to be easy and relaxing. But I feel like I want to wiggle out of my own skin. We finally have our stuff, I have been waiting for you to ask me to marry you, and I just can't really handle it all. I am so uncomfortable." 

"It hasn't exactly been a prime time to pop the question Hal. We have been wearing the same thing for three days and you were pretty upset." 

We went back to the room and I fell asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and had a deep urge to write. to him or to me I don't know. 

" I am so sorry if I caused you pain or humiliation. I felt like a lion and wanted to deliver like a deer. When I close my eyes and quiet my logical mind, I would wait endlessly in the cavity of my heart center. Limitless time; non-linear; beyond this lifetime and into another. I think time has really tangled up how I feel. I feel like I can wait. I have led with fear and this is the result. I am so deeply sorry." 

I cried. and then I fell back asleep. 

The day Sean proposed I cried. His words were kind. and genuine. and graceful. and loving. I felt understood and accepted. 

We ate fishy oysters after and sipped champagne. And we kept it to ourselves. 

Society wants dates, and times. It wants a timeline and excitement. It craves my mind's logic. 

I am asked and practice listening to my heart. This deep goodness deserves affirmation and attention. And it deserves honesty and messiness and my discomfort. 

I think I'm even a little bit scared to give my mind the power back. In those days, I felt so unlike myself. I felt disconnected from my pulse. 

“If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.”— Van Morrison

I will get to a date and circle in red marker and send it to those that I love. I promise. In the meantime, I appreciate your kind words. your support. your excitement. 

My experience, turns out, was affirmed by many friends whom recalled "oh yea. no surprise here. I even lit the candles for the dinner; hell, I made the meal before my engagement." 

Ambiguity and transition are not really optional. The pile up of uncertainty and questions led me to wanting nothing more but to grasp tightly to something certain and as time ticked, as I waited for movement, the bigger the gap of no control-time felt. 

Carl Jung put it nicely, " Psychological or Spiritual Development always requires a greater capacity for anxiety and ambiguity." My "leaning in practice" looked more like a running away, sinking in, screaming at, and less like the graceful word of leaning. 

Here I am on the other side; one less thing uncertain; and knowing damn well that another wave of transition is on its way. Delicious Ambiguity. 

Love, Hal 

 

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