Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Is Your Highest Aim?

 A lot of my friends have been asking me about my Yoga Training program and I think part of their curiosity is "what do you do 16 hours a week in those classes? Yoga??!" Yes, Yoga, but also there's a lot of reading, a lot of lectures, anatomy, physiology, history, postures, philosophy and Sanskrit. Then there's homework on top of that, writing essays like this, because we yogi's aim to be enlightened. :)

I thought a lot about this question and reviewed my days and years like a flip book looking for a common theme running through the chapters. It was quite clear what my greatest angst had been and has been even in the last few days, is people…my relationship to people. I say my angst, because what I struggle with the most must be the all-consuming and highest aim of my life right? Why would I struggle, fight for and bite-my-nails worry when I day dream in the car while driving my little boy to and fro during the day? My greatest aim, to boil down to its simplicity is to love and to be loved – perfectly to my irrational standards. Relationship, to me, is the common conflict I have at all times. I have great stamina when it comes to physical pain, and a lot of times, I don’t feel as good as the clean life I live, but somehow I plow through my days without complaining too much about my stiffness and fatigue.  I have great patience through circumstantial conflicts of moving, losing, struggling through tight schedules, work pressures and even tragic loss. I think I can withstand all of these things much better than if I had relationship strife with anyone I love or think highly of.

I am, what some therapists call, a “vacillator” and I normally don’t fashion my life around what the Meier's-Briggs says or even those Facebook quizzes (which I love and am addicted to), but it explains why I am the kind of person that wants to find that particular person and consume their soul (scary?). A vacillator loves and wants connection. They idealize new relationships in hope of satisfying their longing for love and attention. The ‘chase’ is the most exciting phase of the relationship since intimacy is not yet realized but is just around the corner and we haven’t been wounded yet. We are called vacillators because we are hurt when our high expectations are not met, and we push people away and then want them back, because ultimately, we just want you…and your soul.  We are hyper-attuned to signs of connection and abandonment and are sensitive to emotional temperature of the people around them, and learn to adjust our behavior accordingly, being constantly “others focused,” we grow up with poor self-reflection skills. My mood, needs and behavior is rarely been the center of attention.

I needed to explain that because I know I have this dysfunctional system I rely on for making connections with other people. I have written about love more than I can count; blog entries, letters, term papers, twitter tweets, I couldn’t get myself to stop thinking about love and what it looks like to really live it out. Then realizing, to really love someone or something and acting upon that love, is more difficult than I really thought. It scared me to think about all the sacrifices, all the vulnerable postures and humility I needed to extend and I finally gave up somewhere along the way and I don’t know when or where I lost the desire to love people.

My highest aim is to know the balance between loving people the way God shows us to. There were times when I asked myself how that would even be possible because he’s God and I’m mere mortal. I am so flawed in every way and selfish to disbelief! I was paralyzed by my own lack of love that I couldn’t think of even trying, because I am also a perfectionist and If I can’t love you perfectly, I won’t love you at all. I want to love people without the deep desire to receive the same kind of deepness back, to be loved back with the same passion and commitment, no matter who you are. I also want to be able to remain and maintain my personhood instead of melting into a puddle or crumbling apart when I have the slightest doubt that you don’t want me as much as I want you. I mean…what about all of the plans I made for us? I want to be able to draw and drink deeply from the love of Jesus Christ and know that that is enough for me, because his love has been poured out for me once and every day since without ceasing. From that deep understanding, I aim to love others the way I know how, and let that be enough and let that be the end; “today, I loved someone by hearing their story,” and may it not be followed by, “but nobody asked me about my stories.” I say this, but I do struggle with being private, the kind of private that holds back only until you ask. Then I’m completely honest. I am to be vulnerable and a great part of vulnerability is humility, because in my pride, I refuse to let you in until you ask or try first.

I also want to understand (not just In my mind, when I’m being completely logical) that every day encounter with people, doing every day mundane things is “living life” together. That is friendship. It doesn’t have to come to displaying every emotion you are able to have as a human being, constantly peering into the deep (and dark) end of their soul on a daily basis, to have a coalition you champion together to restore justice and peace back into the world and nor does it mean, every person I meet needs to be “my person” that I would call to drag a body out to the river. The people who are consistently by your side through things like, kids’ birthdays, summer BBQs, random hang outs at the park or a coffee house, to swim at a hotel pool, celebrating holidays we don’t really care about just to have a beer, first day of preschool for Jude, birthday dinner for Hans, and coffee after yoga is just the kinds of things you remember with a smile when you scroll through your old Facebook pictures on a nostalgic night.

Besides all of the internal battle that needs to come to “cease fire,” and declare peace internally, when I picture my dream “grown-up” life in head, I see this very healthy family, without too much indulgence, lacking or strife, living each day happily and with great contentment. Knowing that this is it. The day I am going about today is the life I’ve been dreaming about. To have a modest but clean home, with healthy yummy food cooking at all times, visitors, friends, family, strays, and the needy in and out of our open home. I picture a lush veggie garden, a good solid community, a good marriage, more children and a dog.  I want to be learning something, I want to be part of a Justice mission, I want to care for people, I want to be writing and consumed with something that's just mine. That’s it….a simple life loving God and his people.