There's been a vague but lingering sadness that I've felt for a while. Something I've tried to ignore, push down, squelch. Spirit said to me recently, "Of course you're depressed. Of course you're unfulfilled. You continue to live your life completely out of alignment with what you know to be true." And I could sense the correctness of that. Inwardly, I have a vision of who I want to be and where I want to go...but I've continued to make decisions as if I had no vision at all, with behavior totally in-congruent with how that ideal self would engage. I don't think there's anything more deadening to one's soul than living an inauthentic life. Having a call to expand and stifling it is a recipe for despair if there ever was one. But even after receiving that message, I continued on with what I was doing - and it was that kind of inner turmoil I took with me on my holiday up north.
Emily has made a lot of dramatic, life-enhancing changes lately, and while I knew that intellectually before my visit, seeing her life, where and how she spends her days, up close and personal, it sunk in for me just how brave she is and just how right on things are for her. Every ounce of goodness and progress that she's experiencing, she deserves; I am the first to applaud her and bow down to her joy. But the truth is, there's nothing that reveals your failure at living your life boldly quite as well or with as much force or eloquence as someone boldly living theirs. Witnessing her independence and seeing the life she leads was bittersweet for me, because as proud as I am of her, I'm prone to feelings of self-disgust. And while being there, this feeling was magnified and brought to light.
I don't recall exactly what set the ball rolling in this direction on this particular night, but I do remember getting very, very drunk...and very, very sad. The evening began with self-indulgently listening to melancholy music and ended with my wasted ass lying in the snow wearing pee-stained pants, bawling by the river. I can't remember the sequence of events - or even their exact details - but I do know that I was being very loud, very rude, and out of control. I was testing Emily's patience, who not only had a host of her own concerns to worry with, but had also come down with a fever. I won't say that she yelled at me, but she did angrily raise her voice to me. She went to bed and I went back downstairs. Making my way down to the river walk I slipped on the ice and rolled down the hill. At one point, I was so drunk I couldn't even find my zipper in time to relieve myself in the street and I urinated in my pants. Then in a panic, I realized that I'd lost my cell phone somewhere in the snow and so I went back to the apartment and Emily, bless her heart, came down and helped me look for it. She found it, luckily, but she was so cold and angry and tired, she just went back upstairs without even looking at me.
I felt like I was in a nightmare. I kept replaying in my mind the look on her face earlier in the night when she'd spoken to me the way she had. I got the feeling I used to have as a child when my step-father would scold me 'til I felt 2 feet tall. And the feeling I repeatedly got in high school whenever I would piss off Emre, Cody, or Simone with my drama queen antics. I felt so ashamed and like such a loser. I felt like that fucked-up kid I used to be, the Unstable One, that has haunted me all these years, the one I've been attempting to redeem. I was certain the cops would pull up any moment and arrest me for my drunken display. But at that point I didn't even care. I cursed and I screamed and I wailed - until I couldn't anymore.
The next morning, without a word, Emily came and gave me a hug. We apologized to each other and we talked it out, but I still felt like such a schmuck. I spent most of that next day outside of the apartment, walking by the river, praying, reflecting on how I'd treated both my friend and myself. I was incredibly ashamed. As self-aware as I imagine myself to be, how could I have let myself go so far? How unspiritual, how unenlightened.
The ego-trip didn't last long, though, and that's really the point of my sharing all of this. The fact that I consciously chose not to use this error in judgment and lack of self-discipline as something to continue beating myself up with - something I would have done without hesitation in the past. As I sat in the quiet sunshine the next morning, I realized that as stupid as I may have felt, what was done was done. My constant prayer is that God wake me up to my true nature. There is no darkness apart from light; it's just a matter of perceiving it. And this certainly couldn't be an exception; somehow this would benefit my soul. And as I remembered that, I realized what it was: the gift of humility. As close as I feel to God, as much revelation as I may have experienced in my life, as often as I receive messages from Spirit, and as insightful as I may be sometimes, there is still an egoic mind-stream in operation here, and that what Grace has given, Grace can take away. I am still very much a part of this plane of duality. I'm still in this human game. I was shown that as long as I am in this human body, there is Work to be done. There are prayers to be made. There is Love to embody and perfect. There is growth to be had. And that while yes, I may spend more time than others contemplating the divine, contemplation makes me no less human, no less special, and no less prone to ego-driven bullshit than anybody else. This has helped me realize I truly need to be more vigilant with my awareness of the mind so as not to get swept up by it. As well as my need to rely heavier and heavier on Spirit to guide my life and not think I can skip around and play doing whatever the ego feels like. That only leads to more me-me-me! And the 'me' is insane.
With the reminder to be more humble, I was given another great gift: the reminder not to demonize myself either. Putting yourself down is just as false and just as arrogant as singing your own praises. I've often used my differences from other people, my mistakes, and people's perceptions of me as a whip to beat myself with - and that was my instinct this time. But fortunately, God has been telling me that I'm loved simply because I AM. Because I exist, I'm worthy and I'm okay. The message being: what's done is done, who do you choose to be now? What will you do now that you know what you know? Where will you go from here?
And to get that last point across, it was demonstrated to me how simple it can be. God is always telling me to stay present, to let go of what was, not to identify with my story. To learn from it and move on. I don't know if it was as big a deal to her as it was - and is - to me, but Emily's forgiveness and quickness to leave that night behind showed me that it is that simple and that I can do it too...and that I should. That I don't have to tell stories about myself, that I don't have to use it as an excuse to look down on myself.
And so I'm not. I'm learning from it and moving on.
It's down in the trenches of life where you find out who and what you and the people on your journey are made of. And Emily, what did I find out about her? I knew she was a best friend. But I got to see that Friendship in action. And I'm very thankful for that. She's someone come to help wake me up and inspire self-forgiveness among other things. She's a sister. One of the great loves of my life. Traipsing through the snow in all her glory.