We don’t just get over stuff

At least five or six interactions¬†this week have highlighted for me the fact that we don’t just get over stuff. If we want to be free of anger, of anxiety, of insecurity we need to actively work on letting it go.

And yet, at the same time just working on it ourselves is not sufficient. Real interior freedom is, in my experience, a grace. Something I can put myself in the way of, but not something I can achieve on my own.

The work isn’t particularly easy and can take one to surprising places but I have found it well worth doing. In committing to doing the work, the grace eventually emerges. The real joy of finding interior freedom has been tremendous.

Nonetheless, it is the work of a lifetime. As we grow and develop we almost always find new stumbling blocks.

I guess the question I have been pondering is why some people appear happy to embrace the stumbling block. Obviously, they don’t put it in quite those terms, but they appear to be¬†happy to derive their identity through these issues.

It may be that they hold on to anger from something which has long since passed. It may be that they choose to identify as the ‘generous’ one, whilst allowing themselves to be walked over. It may be that they allow a particular negative interaction to shrink their world.

It is one thing, if you are not aware of your stumbling block. It is quite another to be aware of a strong emotional reaction to a situation and to simply accept that that is the way things are.

I wonder how often we try to control the wrong things in our lives. The only real control I seem to have is the choice to monitor my responses. If they are overly strong, it is usually an indication that I have an issue which needs to be examined.

If we can just dare to deal with the strong emotional responses we have, then interior freedom is possible.

Virtual connections

Last week I had the great privilege of having dinner with someone whom I had only connected with virtually before. It was a wonderful evening. The conversation weaved its way between depth and laughter with ease and lightness.

To be fair with this particular person there are two significant ‘real world’ connections. I taught her daughter first year chemistry and she is doing a spiritual direction course with a group I know well.

Still… I marvel at the way in which one really can connect via social media. Of course a single real world meeting changes the dynamic significantly and I very much look forward to our next encounter.

I am profoundly grateful to Fran Rossi Szpylczyn who taught me that sometimes risking making the virtual connection real is worth it. Several years ago she drove from Albany to Boston to have lunch with me! Her generosity and the joy of the real friendship I now have with her meant that I dared to respond positively to other invitations to meet up.

I am discerning in my choice of response, but so far, the risks I have chosen to take have yielded real joy.

Overall Facebook continues to enrich my life in wonderful ways. For today – I am grateful that it gives my deeply introverted being a way of engaging with others which is far less energetically costly than any other most of interaction, and yet provides the soil in which deep connection can germinate.