Monday, September 20, 2010

One Too (a Poem)

I lie here, face wet
the pillow tear stained
My heart feels so hollow
Enfolded with pain

So tired of longing
I pray for release
My thoughts feed the darkness
I've no sense of peace

My worth again measured
by my place in your life
Living secondary
Brings some comfort from strife

When life goes wrong, you come to me
I'm always here, I'm always free
Always longing, I know not to ask
Better than nothing, better than last

I must accept my place in line
I am not first
Neither three nor seven nor nine
Second means victory isn't my fate
but I will get my turn, so I patiently wait

In the silence,
my mind begins to wonder
if you're even aware
of this burden I am under

Turning onto my back
tears stream down my face
I question my value
I question this race

I question my purpose
I question yours as well
...your place in my life my life turned to hell

I am slowly realizing
that it's not only you
with all who surround me
I accept number two

Everyone else first
My sacrafice magnanimous
To give to myself
Would mean less me for Us

I finally ask myself
"why accept two?"
The universe is infinate
Infinate means part of you

I am realizing my fate
is not place holders in lines
its not second or first
Noone is behind

Its loving my Self,
and her and him and you
It is knowing ...I am One...
and that we are all One too

 ©Acuminous Watanabe

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Synthesis Note (36): "A Lesson in Humility"

Song of the Moment: “Insane” Tamara Wellons  (lyrics below)

A Lesson in Humility

Trying to juggle two lives can be a crazy experience. The demands can be overwhelming. In recent months, I have felt more and more like I am going insane. Have you ever feIt that you’re trying to do the best you can, but often feel like it is never enough? I ask myself, that for all I try to be for others, why is life so difficult for ME? I have tried with great effort to search internally for the source of these feelings… to find and fix them, so that I can get on with my life in a happy and productive way. I am realizing that PRIDE, may be the culprit and that my understanding of what it means to be prideful, especially when in relationship, may have been significantly off.

I was talking to one of my best friends this morning about a devastating blow to my sense of self worth and value. The erosion of a relationship that has meant a lot to me has sent me into a tailspin. This relationship offered an opportunity for reciprocal love and affection, which is almost heretical for me. The break down was initiated by me, instigated by me and propagated by my thoughts of self righteousness and an attitude that “I am in complete control of my life, to include how others function with me, and that I need to manage difficult relationship situations by isolating myself.”

My friend listened attentively and provided loving support (God bless you Dainie Fraina) and when I began to ask “why me?” she gently replied “maybe this is a lesson in humility.” The words resonated with me so deeply, I stopped crying for a moment and decided I needed to write…to organize my thoughts, to tap into this message she was able to give me.

Growing up, my caretakers were diligent in teaching me a strong sense of pride. This was encouraged by helping me to know that I was better than “that” and could excel in anything I set my mind to. As a poor, African-American family with few social supports for courageous effort, I believed that sacrificing the things I wanted in lieu of that which would represent my family well, was what life is all about. The problem, however, is as I got older, I began to realize that there is more to life than public notoriety and that although my family was pleased, I was not happy at all.

To say that I am a prideful person, would probably be an understatement. I am not used to being cared for by others, and often feel obligated to take the lead in caring for everyone else, their needs and desires. In the interim, I feel lost, alone and afraid and often isolate myself with the belief that the “good” is for everyone else, not me. In that way I call myself a humble servant and justify the self sacrificing as a sacred and selfless. As I thought about Dainie’s suggestion, however,  I understood how crippling my pride has been. Although healthy pride can encourage us to great things, the problem with
self-pride is that it is a distancing attitude, that separates us from what we need the most… to be able and willing to lean into the depth and wisdom of others.
Perhaps in my case, the ‘need for pride’ has been more about a  deep, pathological ‘need for a sense of significance’ and if I am “sick” I have to ask how legitimate, then, is pride in my life?

In relationships the expectation has seemed to be that I would “take care of it,” whatever “it” might be, which ultimately lead to feelings of obligation and sometimes superiority, because in my mind, no one could afford for me to be “weak” or to “not know what to do.”  From that space, I developed an expectation that in exchange for the sacrifices I make for my relationships, that my family, friends, acquaintances, should be available for me, and agreeable to whatever it is I needed, or asked. After all, I was sacrificing my own needs for them, … or so I would tell myself.

Pride affects all of life's relationships. When we become jealous of someone, pride is the root. When we re embittered toward competitors, pride is lurking underneath. When we put someone down; when we covet our neighbor's possessions; when we say, "I can do it better;" when we give someone the silent treatment; when we gossip; when we get our feelings hurt; pride is the reason.

Humility is about a willingness to be self-abasing, to appreciate that in the way we care for others, we too need care. It’s a willingness to accept the love of others and to be supported in ways that allow us to continue to grow and  in the process being supportive of other’s growth. It is letting go of the …need, desire, compulsion… to do and/or be it all, and to allow others the pleasure of “doing” too, and thusly supporting their sense of self value and competence.

Seeking peace in the pieces… and reclaiming my sanity and sense of Self…

In love, peace and humility…

p.s. I found tremendously helpful an article at on the impact of self pride. Great definitions and an activity for some self exploration. Hope you find it useful too…

“Insane” Tamara Wellons

La dah dah dah doh, dah dah dah dah doh…

Tried to cry
…the stress away
Tried to cry it out
Dealing with my head…
Dare to close my eyes and dream
…can make the tears flow down my face
Some days I think I’m going insane.

Some days I feel I’m going insane
Got to get up above my thoughts
Faith got me going today…
..trying to live this way

I am what I am
…wanting to BE (want to BE)

(Repeat Chorus)

Part of me
Still wants to smile
Even though my soul
Falls down to the ground

I keep telling myself that…
“I’m courageous, don’t be weak”
Some days I feel I’m going insane…


Ok lets stop it now…

Some days
I feel
going INSANE
Some days
going INSANE
La dah dah dah doh, dah dah dah dah doh…

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