She reached out from another lifetime, and tapped me on the shoulder through the time-travel machine that lets old flames find each other: Facebook.
You’ve googled your ex, haven’t you?
Of course you have. Even if you’re married with children, you still wonder about The One(s) Who Got Away … Don’t lie. 😉
Thanks to Mr. Zuckerburg, now you can find out.
So many years had passed, I’d buried the memory of her deep in the basement where I keep unfinished things. And now, some 20 years later — from before the internet drug — a comet comes flying out of another galaxy. A friend request from a woman who’s name sounds like an aria in my mind, but I can’t for the life of me place her in any part of my story. So we start talking, and the trip down memory lane starts turning up stones that reveal clues. Spring shakes loose from the winter in my mind, and memories blossom like red buds in April. The conversation grows wings, turning up gems like when I said,
“so, back when we were seeing each other…”
but that sentence slammed its nose on a brick wall that sounded like,
“Oh? We were seeing each other?”
Um, okay. I kinda thought we were. I mean, we did have a few flings here and there. Didn’t we?
“That meant we were seeing each other?”
Reality walked in the door. And reality is kinda like a pretty big imposing dude. Sometimes he’s the Incredible Fucking Hulk.
True story: I never really saw her. Not REALLY.
I saw how she looked, yes. But I never saw HER. I saw her smile. Radiant. Her eyes. Electric. She was a body builder. I saw long, lean muscles. I really loved looking at her.
Oftentimes when people say “I love you” what they really mean is, “I love looking at you,” or “I love touching you”, or “I love the way you touch me.” But you can do all of that without ever SEEING a person.
Mostly when I looked at her all I saw were question marks. I was a young guy then. The sapling before the tree. When I looked at her all I saw was a reflection of my own warped beliefs: why would someone so beautiful want to be with a regular ol’ guy like me?
But that wasn’t the worst part, really. The worst part is that she never really even saw ME. Because, true story:
I never let her.
I spent about a year going back and forth with this woman without ever letting her know who I was. And then I was gone. Ping-pong interruptus. In child therapy its called “parallel play.” We’d get together and go into our own worlds. Like the way people do when they sit down for dinner and disappear into their smartphones.
So I never told her how crazy I was about her. I never looked in her eyes long enough for her to see the tic-toc behind the clock in my mind.
I was going to say that I let her slip though my fingers, but that’s the wrong metaphor. You never really get your hands around a lover. Intimacy isn’t about what you can hold in your hands. Its about your capacity to let someone IN.
What really happened is that I locked her out of my heart.
I never let her see me because, you know, that’s dangerous business. And there’s this rumor going around that romance and intimacy is supposed to be “safe”.
A few years ago, a man was revived while having a Near Death Experience. He came back with this treasure: there is no “morality judgement” after one dies. There is only a reflection on two questions:
- How well did I love?
- How well did I allow myself to BE loved?
Open those doors and your “Love Life” turns into the Yellow Brick Road. And the tool that picks that lock is one’s own capacity to see ones true self. If you don’t have that, you can’t open the treasure chest. It sits there looking pretty, but all those glorious jewels remain untouched, unseen, unheard.
Truth is, my Old Flame used to look at me like I was a walking rainbow. She wanted to spend time with me. I just couldn’t believe it. Spent too many years trying to compensate for my short-comings. Pretense. I could dazzle you like David Copperfield. But I couldn’t ever see my own brilliance that lay beyond the “performance.” I couldn’t see who I REALLY was.
And a person who cannot see themselves will never be able to see another.
Sometimes you just have to stand in front of the mirror long enough to let the steam evaporate. Lean too close to the mirror, your breath will “fog it up” and it never gets clear. Siddartha used to brag that his best talent was simply,
“I can wait.”
Wait. And watch the way your mind interprets what you see. A shaman once told me,
“You can’t see clearly because you’re focusing on the smudge print on the mirror rather than the reflection.”
My true Teacher retorts:
“You can’t see clearly because you’re under the illusion that the smudge print insn’t a part of your Beauty. You’re under some illusion that the Divine only shows up without flaws.”
It boils down to this: when you look at yourself, what do you see?
There’s a neat trick used by people for disrupting the obsessive rumination on sex and objectification: When passing an attractive person on the street, and the lust starts up, try this 3-step process, which you count with your fingers:
- Acknowledge your attraction, appreciate the beauty.
- Stop gazing (some call it leering), and make a prayer for the person you are admiring.
- Acknowledge that person as somebody’s daughter, son, mother, father, or beloved.
Perhaps there’s no spiritual practice more beautiful than this. It forces you to SEE a person, beyond what the visual will allow.
But first you have to know that you are a Rainbow from Heaven, smudge prints and all.
I once worked in a men’s organization that has a powerful practice. Upon entering the room, a man stands before you and looks into your eyes. The squirrel gets trapped, and you cannot run. Only when you settle in and become present with him are you allowed to move to the next point. Then he directs your next step by pointing to the next guy, and demands,
“See that man!”
Emphasis on “see.”
One might say that before you can start seeing someone, you have to open a different set of eyes.
To see more than just a body part, but to see a woman.
To see more than a woman, but a human being.
To see more than a human being, but a part of this earth.
To see more than a part of this earth, but a spark of the divine.
To see more than a spark of the divine, but an expression of infinite Love.
To see more than an expression of Infinite Love, but a dimension of MYSELF.
May we all SEE our own divinity.
Then lets see each other.
Maybe we can go steady 😉