Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Finding the One

Neo thinks he's the One
Hi Edahn,

Recently, I feel as though my thoughts and actions are taken over by the need to find a person that I can connect with at some capacity. It's mentally exhausting, and I don't believe/enjoy online dating so much. I mean, don't get me wrong, I try using them then soon after get disappointed and immediately delete them. Right now I am on a "no dating" hiatus and I would like to think it's very empowering. People ask me out and I politely decline. It feels great (not rejecting people, I'm not that cruel lol) because I have the ability to somehow have time to do the whole self-improvement thing. Yet, I'm still controlled by this societal pressure of having a significant other or just the natural longing for human connection.

I'm rambling. I'm feeling held back because I may have met the said "one" - a person that I can connect with deeply. When we're together I feel as if he knows everything I am feeling and vice versa. All the stars in the universe align. I know I sound a bit crazy but I never felt that feeling with anyone else before, it truly was a beautiful thing.

The problem is my friend was and may quite possibly still be interested in him. I never could make a move in fear that I would lose my friend. To add to it, he's moving to another state in a few months. Dare I say, he is going to become my very own - "the one that got away." 

What do I do?! Accept that maybe we were kindred spirits that passed through each other's lives for some purpose and leave it to rest? Do I tell him how I feel? 

I'LL TELL YOU THE absolute honest truth, something I really haven't told anyone: for a short period of time, I think every person I meet might be my soulmate. Girl at the bar? Check. Barista? Double check especially if she ignores me. Friend's friend from Europe? Czech. It's automatic, even though I'm pretty sure I don't even believe in soulmates (although I have my own definitions).

It's a residue of the same genetic and social pressure you're describing. It's also the product of the desire to end this eternal lonely existence for companionship. The need to find someone distorts our perception so we see what we want to see; we see the solution to our problems. In my experience, the stronger my need for companionship, the stronger my projection of "soulmate status."

Conversely, there are moments where I'm not projecting anything; I'm just taking in what's there, and I know that if it doesn't work out--whatever. I'll go on. What's different? It's the desperation that's gone. The desperation to find someone, to mate, to get your life in order, to rid yourself of loneliness, to fit in, to check someone off your life list. What the cause of the desperation? Now we're getting into esoteric territory, but there's no other way out. The desperation is exactly what Buddha meant by "desire" being the cause of all suffering. The desperation is a product of thinking too much and getting lost in your thoughts. All you need to do is reconnect with your body and heart and you'll see it melt right away. (More posts on meditation here if you're interested and have 17 hours to kill.)

Onto your situation. I'm not in a position to say whether this guy is a great match (I really don't believe in soulmates) or whether you've just projected soulmate status on him. And truthfully, you might not know that either. My advice: go answer that question. Find out who he is, and do it with respect and care toward your friend. Approach it delicately and in person by asking what type of connection they share, and let her know what kind of connection you shared with him. Tell her how you would feel if you were in her shoes, wanting her to be happy and letting go if it wasn't special enough. If she feels the same way about him, maybe you back off, but if he's just the infatuation of the month, then ask her to let you pursue him, and to support you as only she could do. Give her the option to say no so she doesn't feel cornered. If you get the green light, I would just come out and ask the guy if he felt a similar connection, and if he did, if he'd like to come over and watch Netflix hang out sometime, hopefully within the next 3 months.



Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

My Involuntary 3 Month Vow of Silence

So on Monday I had surgery on my throat. Following a wicked cold when I got back from Thailand (pics here for the stalkers), my throat got inflamed and never really got better. It turned into a granuloma, which sounds worse than it is. Hopefully, right? Biopsy results coming in todayish.

To prevent people with granulomas from getting another granuloma, they Botox your vocal chords so you can't talk. For. Three. Months. Technically, I'm not even supposed to laugh. So naturally I thought I'd go Harpo Marx on this, but my doctor said whistling transforms your vocal chords, so I can't do that either.

So now I have to figure out how to communicate without speaking. "You're doing it right now, idiot!" you all say. True, but oral communication happens at a much faster clip. Got a witty comeback? Oh no you don't. Because by the time you finish writing it out and having someone read it, 9 other things have happened to respond to.

So I may just end up taking a vow of silence for a little while. Reflect on things. I've been wanted to do that for a while, as I sometimes feel like I've drifted too far from my true direction in a bunch of different ways. Mostly, psychologically and emotionally. The best person I am is the person who's vulnerable, emotionally available, nonjudgmental, raw, and principled. It's not that I'm none of those things, but certainly not to the degree I want to develop.

These last 10 years I've been somewhat of a tracker tracking his own footsteps. We take some many steps without realizing where we've traveled. But we end up getting to places that inspire us and give us a feeling of purpose. The next task is to trace our footsteps and see how we got there.

Meditation seems to do it, but only when I'm not trying too hard to meditate. Listening, in general seems to do it too. Drumming can kind of do it too. It almost seems, though, that the more effort one makes to be peaceful, the less peaceful they are. And yet if we don't try at all, we just end up drifting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On Listening

Listening isn't just an act, is a mindset. We're used to listening to music or to other people, but you can listen to anything. You can listen to yourself, to the world, and even to silence. Listening to silence is called meditation.

The essence of listening is simply not talking. Not just talking out loud, but even talking to yourself. When you listen to a person and talk at the same time, whether judging or figuring out what's wrong with what they're saying, you can really only hear yourself. The best you can hope for is to get a version of the truth that's mixed up with your preconceptions and ideas. That's not very good.

When you listen you get a new perspective. In the same way that you can view a sculpture from different vantage points, you can look at a situation, or more generally, reality, from different perspectives and see new things. In the case of listening, the new perspective doesn't come from getting something new, but subtracting. Subtracting your preconceptions and usual dialogue about a problem or situation. Listening makes room for me insights into a situation, another person, and often, yourself.

You don't just listen with your ears; you listen with your whole body. You listen with questions rather than answers. With silence rather than speech. With gentleness rather than cynicism. When you listen you find room to accept and even appreciate and the capacity to experience love and forgiveness without any pretensions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How to Deal with Narcissists

Kind of a drastic way in his case, but it worked I guess
Dear Edahn,

I am feeling very hurt by my ex boyfriend. I am 22 years old. He is 33 years old. We were friends before we started dating, in October of last year. Everything was great because we were already so comfortable with each other. In January, he broke up with me for the first time..after our first real fight over something stupid. A week later, feeling desperate and lonely, i texted him saying i forgave him and let's be friends. He wanted to see me later that night...and the cycle began! We slept together and started dating again. Ever since then, it has been an emotional rollercoaster!! He breaks up with me because he does not know what he wants and after a fight, and the break ups get longer each time. It is almost as if I AM BEING PUNISHED EACH TIME. But I am an idiot, because I take him back.

I am feeling crazy and insecure at this point. I hate the person i have become. Please help me with what to do. I feel like because of him, I am forever damaged. I am petrified to get into another relationship because of him. He makes me feel like I am not beautiful anymore because we're through. I think he does this on purpose.

LET'S START WITH making sense of what's happening with him and with your relationship. I think he's a very emotional guy. When he's not with you, his emotions erupt and he thinks about you as his perfect match. But after you reunite, everything flips and he thinks about all the things that make you incompatible. You're both his angel and his demon. Why he flips? I don't think it's a simple answer, but I think he probably lacks self-esteem and self-connection and prematurely idealizes others so that he can feel something other than emptiness and self-hatred. But that's followed by devaluation because the idealization is ultimately an illusion built on imagined intimacy. It's like flying really high with faulty wings; you're eventually going to crash really hard.

He takes you on the emotional ride that he goes on--highs and lows--and in the end, leaves you feeling rejected and unworthy of love, which makes you somewhat vulnerable to the same type of behavior he exhibits because they're both rooted in a deep self-rejection.

Now we get to you. Part of dating, and life, truth be told, involves knowing when you walk away from something bad and knowing what you deserve. You should have walked away after he first broke up with you. If someone doesn't want to be with you, fuck them (figuratively). Don't fall into the trap of reuniting and fucking them (literally) because it sends a message, both to him and to you, that it's fine to treat you that way because you're not the kind of person who needs to be treated well. You gave him permission. So in a way you're both responsible for eroding your self-esteem. He pushed it, but you let it slide.

The question is how to move forward. Well, for one thing, you need to identify where your boundaries are. When you don't feel like you're being treated with integrity, hold the line: speak up, set a boundary, and if that person can't honor it, walk the fuck away. If they over-complicate things and make elaborate arguments, just leave and say you're not going to wait for them to figure out how to treat you, and that someone else out there already knows how. Second, and more importantly, you need to dial into what makes you respect and even love yourself. What are those qualities? What makes you a good person? Not in a religious or philosophical way, just a good person. Someone who cares, listens, helps, reflects, contributes joy and wisdom to the world rather than friction and conflict. Concentrate on those qualities and keep them close to you so you can start to rebuild your own self-respect. The boundaries are just a way to protect that once you realize how precious it is in the big picture.

Good related post here.

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