Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Heavy Heart, But It's Okay

  Do you ever have days where your heart is just heavy, weighed down with the cares of the world? It may sound cheesy, but I am having that kind of day today. I just need to vent a little, and that is one of the benefits of having your own space to share your thoughts, so here I am.

  Even if nobody were to read this, I am grateful that I have a way of letting things out when my heart and mind are too full. I need some breathing room, and writing is one way for me to free up some valuable space; especially considering that there is a never ending flow of inbound data.

  I am an avid observer, it's just the way I am wired. I continually notice complex details all around me, often without even meaning to. I constantly watch the way people interact. I silently dissect the way the world works, even when no one knows I am "recording". I subconsciously make mental notes of everything I experience, everything I feel, and everything I see others feel.

  I care about the unfortunate and painful things that people endure, in a way that typically leaves me stuck pondering the challenges we face "out there" in everyday life. My hope is to pay attention to the careless things we say, or the unfair judgments we make. I feel a deep empathy for the times when people smile even though they are struggling on the inside.

  I think about what I see, more than I probably should. My memory is predominately photographic, allowing me to recall a snapshot of a past experience and review it in depth. This made school especially easy for me growing up, but as an adult it means I often get stuck trying to solve the world's problems as I play them back in my head. For better or worse, pondering the ups and downs of the human race in a "big picture" sort of way is part of my everyday life. This propensity to viewing the world as a series of vivid images, intricately connected to vibrant visions of what could be, very easily becomes quite overwhelming.

  Consequently, I am also painfully aware of my own faults and mistakes. I know I have made my fair share of contributions to the debt of regrettable karma in the world. But despite that humbling fact, I sometimes reach a point where I have seen too much of judgment, too much of people being unkind to each other, too much of selfishness and impatience, too much of injustice and inequality, too much of cynicism and condescension.

  My heart aches with the simple observation that compassion is an increasingly rare commodity in the world. I passionately believe in the idea that we need only to make a conscious choice to be more compassionate, in order to begin making a difference in the life of the people we come in contact with. We really can make a difference in the world, one person at a time; I know this firsthand because of the special people who have touched my life in unforgettable ways.

  Think of a time when another person brightened your day, whether they realized it or not... and it meant more to you at the time than they might ever know- you have the same power to make the world a better place for someone. We have more power to lift each other up than we realize. And the most important place to start making a difference, the most profound place to focus our energy is right in front of us when we look in the mirror. We should be kinder to ourselves as well.

  Everyone has a story-- everyone has battles they are fighting, and many of them are not visible. Whether for my own trials or those of others, I sometimes feel child-like tears welling up inside with nowhere to go. Childhood has an innocence about it that has not yet learned to be afraid of being ourselves. Children tend to be openly honest in expressing whatever they are feeling.

  I usually feel too self conscious to really let my wounds show, even around people who care about me and have repeatedly encouraged me to do so. Admittedly, it feels embarrassing to speak "out loud" about needing a good cry once in a while.

  In many cultures, it is generally more socially acceptable for women to show their emotions. But male or female, people tend to be reluctant to share our truly vulnerable moments with each other; sometimes even with people we are close to. I spend a lot of time and effort doing my best to be strong and keep a positive energy about me, and that's a good thing when done in a healthy way.

  These days I make it a point to keep reminding myself: "You only live once! Keep doing everything you can to embrace the journey, and learn something from every experience." It reminds me of a classic line from the movie Braveheart, when William Wallace says: "Every man dies, not every man really lives."

  Today I have a heavy heart, and that is okay. Today is a day to let myself feel, so I can keep up the good work of being strong; I know it is part of living this life, of embracing the journey. I am determined to keep learning, to continually strive to be better at facing the adventure head on-- with all of it's uncomfortable complexity, and surprisingly beautiful simplicity.

  So anyway, I think I feel a little better now. And if you identify with anything I just shared, then I hope you feel a little better too!  :)

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