Reader letter: “I see you, I’m with you, you’re safe.”

Hey Brent, I haven’t written in a while, I apologise, it was my intention to write again sooner. There are no excuses (other than dealing with life) although I’m now noticing trends in my learning, which I’d like to share with you. There are discoveries to me made, I become unblind to them, capture them, write them down and congratulate myself for the growth… Then begins the process where life shows me what these lessons really mean. I’ll give you an example. In the last letter to you, I wrote about letting go of judgement over my thoughts. I described a zen like, floaty quality of watching all fleeting thoughts flowing past me without getting attached to them. I think I’ve also said about learning about being strong… Well the universe was watching as I wrote those words, Brent, then threw its head back laughing and had some fun.

To be frank, after reading your letter… things turned a tad Disney for a bit this end. A couple of days later, I was watching Aladdin and heard the song “A Whole New World” and you popped into my mind… wouldn’t it be great for us to take a magic carpet ride and explore the world. We could touch down for Dal bhat in Nepal, take a seat in front of the Taj Mahal, fly low over Australia’s Ayers Rock, dive head first down Niagara Falls, a snow ball fight in Canada, maybe even a 2-mile vertical ascent into space to top it off. I had it all worked out in seconds: we’d escape for the ride before heading back, safe and sound, before anyone even thought to mention the words “lock down”. It was a fleeting thought that had me smile as I went to fetch more popcorn.

Then the rug got pulled out from under me. An unexpected wave of grief mixed with vulnerability had me batten down the hatches and that’s when the attacks came. A car smash (none hurt other than my insurance premium), the sudden onset of excruciating pain of kidney stones (so grateful I don’t have free access to Oramorph, that stuff is amazing!), Sister Vianney (the most formidable nun who taught English at school) died – going to her funeral brought a whole host of mixed memories to the surface, followed by a freak flood in my home (picture me standing in my water logged kitchen looking up at a great dripping hole in the ceiling, mouth agape thinking “what the actual *%#*??!!”).  That was on top of all the usual nonsense to navigate, like: “am I in the right job?”, “will I ever meet my mother’s (aka my own) expectations?”, “why do men (OK, OK… women and the gender neutral too) need to be assholes?”, “am I messing up my daughter’s life?”

It’s had me writing, running and raging a lot: proper tantrum, snotty faced stuff (turns out this doesn’t go down well in the gym). I’ve engaged the support of a therapist, I’ve even turned to Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrow of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them”. I’ve been comforted to realise that I’m not the first and won’t be the last to wonder whether it’s all worth it.

 I’m kind of reluctant to share what I’ve learned from the experience, in case life decides to show me the real lesson again. But right now, I feel humbled. Life’s purpose, if ever there was one, appears to be open with others; to speak with them from the perspective of: “I see you, I’m with you, you’re safe.” Things seem to fall into place when I do this, even with people I sometimes struggle being with, like myself.

Is it really that simple?


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