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One Step At A Time On The Lonely Path (published today on Medium.com – https://medium.com/@JimLMusic/one-step-at-a-time-on-the-lonely-path-44a7adff25d1 and to my friends on Facebook)
My open heart…I cannot live with a closed heart. To laugh and to love either alone or beside one another….I don’t want to do anything else…and I cannot do that with a closed heart. To laugh like a child, to feel safe enough to keep it open. That’s what I want.
For how long have I kept my heart closed when I thought it was open? So many female friends that have shared that moment with me when I let it all come spilling out, that uncomfortable place. The affection and attraction not returned. Why was I ever surprised when I always stopped short of risk? Why was I surprised when I engineered relationships that took more than they gave? How long did it take me to realize that I had chosen this path because it was easier?…My emotional stupidity or just my emotional unavailability? It’s easier not to risk, easier to be right about my terrible self, easier to short circuit real happiness for the instant gratification of pretending.
Sometimes, even when it did become intimate — same story with a plot twist. Where did I draw the line? Where did the heart remain closed? How many compromises did I make where I ended up in that other uncomfortable place? Why am I here and how did I get here?
I have moved too fast…I had ignored my intuition far too many times and I have put the blinders on and full speed ahead and locked and loaded on the target — a rigid simulacrum as the goal…I knew that if I did not act fast and act now and cement and then tape together this illusion that it would disintegrate and be shown for what it was.
Now matter how hard I tried — friends or lovers — all I got was an illusion eventually broken…rendered real again and again. How “available” is that? To stand in a box and expect the box not to be a box. To live in a dream and expect not to be woken.
Awakening can be an amazing thing. For years I put it on other people and when I finally looked at myself in a hospital bathroom mirror, I looked around and there was just no one else to blame…then I knew, then I knew. I am the only one moving my feet. While others may have their responsibility, it’s MY responsibility to myself that is the key. I realized that for a while I had stopped walking the lonely path, in spite of everything my gut told me.
I began to move one step at a time…. I stood by my feelings. I stand alone if I need to….fiercely proud of that. I remain true to myself…when I am ready and when available. Not exactly waiting for when the time is right because the right time is always now. My heart just knows when to open. If I give myself silence I can hear it beating, loud and clear.
I can’t say that I always give myself silence. I can’t say that I already haven’t made mistakes. It’s something to learn and earn slowly…walking down the lonely path, we dust ourselves off, laugh — rest, heal and remove yourself from the situation — and keep walking. You keep walking even though you feel numb. Even if you say to yourself that you can’t possibly get out of bed. Inside each of us is a candle that we alone can tend to and that we keep burning. We are responsible for our own happiness and own own sadness and as much as we would like to put blame and heroism onto others, we are still only left with ourselves for both. One step at a time.
What I find is that beyond all this navel-gazing and pondering is a good time, a fun time, actual laughter…not the sort of laughter that avoids the issues and says “lighten up.” I didn’t want to *have to* think of all of this…but you see, you really must do the work sometimes to allow your heart to shine through like the sun. My work continues but I have found something in myself like a hidden animal in a drawing in Highlights magazine — once you see it, you never forget it.
The lonely path is the path to the pleasure of being alone — not to escape but to know that you are doing this alone, that you can do this alone if you have to. Each time you feel lonely, you get the chance to experience the brighter side of being alone and then from there you can experience the rest of the world fully. You have no one to impress but yourself…but also not to use aloneness as another way to hide either. A balance that I am still working on.
For myself and for anyone who has sat in a room with another and either wondered “why am I here?” or “what if?”…to anyone who has ever been lonely or just wanted to be alone….this writing is for you and I.