Welcome to Day 2 of my new blog series. This series is based on Judith Hansen Lasater’s “A Year of Living Your Yoga.” While the book has 365 quotes, I picked only 30.
I chose the dates in the waiting room of my kids’ dentist. I rolled dice and arbitrarily chose dates based on the numbers that showed up with each roll of the dice.
I also had the pleasure of sitting with a Turkish grandmother who didn’t speak any English. We managed to communicate in a female, maternal way that transcended any real words. I used a “bee buzz” sound to describe my middle son, a steady hand / ocean wave motion to describe my youngest and oldest sons and then we “spoke” effusively about the World Cup. “Keeek! Keeek ball! Futbol!”
I will try to keep these posts to less than 500 words. (These words don’t count — ha ha, nor does the quote.)
Here is the quote:
March 3 — To understand union, you must understand separation. Union with another can only occur when we fully occupy our place in the world. Let yourself expand to fill your place, so that the coming together with loved ones can be that much sweeter.
I can speak to this with much authority.
The bottom line is this: no one can live your life but you. Until you admit your reality, know your fears, your drives and all the rest, you’re going to be a giant mess looking for yourself in other people.
It’s a lot of work, this “know thyself” crap.
Boundaries must be established and adhered. You don’t want yourself to be **needed** by anyone. That gets sticky. You want people to be themselves. You want to be helpful, but not enmeshed.
Once you know separation, you can know union.
“We’re all alone in this together.” –Lily Tomlin
When I began therapy years ago, there was a time when my husband was threatened by it because my therapist was working assiduously to get me to understand my own personhood — the place at where my being begins and ends and where another’s begins.
When you’re like me, from a family with blurred boundaries affixed by codependence, your identity becomes mushy. You don’t know who you really are. So you work extra hard to attain things in which you might not otherwise be interested; they only seem like good ideas because that was what you were told to do. You look for your reflection in other people, in anyone actually, but yourself. So you only start to see what you are TO those people. You don’t get to see what you are to yourSelf, what you are on your own.
(What’s funny –not– is that I first wrote this post in past tense…)
So in order for me to build my Self identity, I have to strip away a lot of the conventions placed before me and on me by society: I am no longer my mother’s keeper, my father’s sentry, my brother with a uterus or my other brother with breasts. I am my own person. That means I need to do things (including failure) for myself, by myself and without the assistance of others. It means I have to live in a way where I admit and can’t blame my crap on anyone else. I have to solve my own problems and take my own chances. I have to be ok, really, with being alone — not angrily holed up in a cave somewhere, but being alone with myself. Because that’s how it is in the end. Even if we die with other people, it is still a very unique experience.
So live for you.
An example: when person A vests her success in person B, person B has to live for two people. B will screw up. It’s a given because A really doesn’t know who she is or what she wants. B can’t read A’s mind because they are two different people. So B keeps swinging and missing. The guilt B feels is overwhelming. As a result B constantly feels inadequate. So he works harder, but that builds resentment and then A feels disenfranchised because all she wanted was for person B to be happy… by telling him what to do. A put too much stake in B and B in A. This creates a cycle of toxic codependence in the most amazing and fast way. A tries to let go but she can’t and even if she does, B will feel like A’s letting him off easy because he’s a failure and so B tries harder and never wins. So they ignore the conflict: that both A and B are totally lost inside. So we walk around on eggshells in silence.
That’s one form of separation.
“Until you are your own person, you can’t walk in union with your husband,” I remember my therapist saying. “You will walk around with him as a half-person or a quarter-person, but not a full person. Does that make sense? It’s ok to do a dance, to fill in for one another when needed, but we must come back to ourselves, or else we take on the other person as well, and that’s no good, because we lose our identity.”
So we never separated in a marital / legal sense, but in order for us both to grow, I had to do a lot of Work to find mySelf. It took about half a year. It felt a lot like rejection to him, but I was on a mission to find myself. It felt a lot like things were falling apart for a while there, but like a sky after a storm, it all cleared up and we are stronger for it.
So … go find yourself. Don’t hook up too intensely with people who are living for external reasons. It’s a messy proposition. The energy is there: you can pick up on it. You know when you’re dealing with someone who’s lost. Be good to both of you and erect boundaries.