Every time I cut myself or thought about suicide, those were moments characterized by emotions that propelled me to where I am now. That’s all moments are – intense training to teach us what we need to help others. People often have really dark moments, but if they stick around long enough to allow that day to pass, and then use those dark memories to help somebody else, it makes it so worth it.
The biggest thing is feeling my feelings. That’s the real practice, letting everything in and not looking to get busy with something else. As far as other things I do, everything is periodic. It used to be periodic drug binges and cutting. Now, its periodic mediation, prayer, and dancing. I think the reason I’m meant to be periodic is that I’m growing compassion for myself. This world is so focused on perfection and the strict rules to get there, that I think a little letting go is good for us. So I won’t be perfect, and I’ll love myself anyway.
I think this world is severely lacking in ritual, and that prevents us from experiencing healing and growth. The greatest healing we need to do is around the belief that we’re broken or inherently lacking. A lot of us carry around this idea that there is something wrong with us that needs to be fixed; so in that sense we actually are broken, which is a strange paradox.
When I hear someone sneezing, no matter what country I’m in, I will always say, Bless you. It’s just a little sprinkle of kindness for me to throw out to the world, and it always catches people off guard. Smiling at strangers, greeting people when you get into an elevator together, making eye contact and being intentional when saying thank you to someone – these are all examples of great kindness to me. I believe that there is so much kindness out there, and I believe that there is a tremendous need for people to continue to spread it as much as possible.
Amber explains to me the microcosm that is ballroom dancing. I chuckle and shake my head as she speaks, as I absorb the greatest analogy for life I have ever heard. Amber tells me that she usually spends a couple of years mainly focusing on technique, “But then, at some point, it becomes more about them as people. How are they interacting in their partnership? It’s ballroom dancing, so it’s basically a relationship all the time. After practicing for years, it’s not that their technique is flawed, it’s that their view of themselves is lacking.
Tom still has dark days. It’s the reason we are such easy friends. He is one of the only people I know who is completely open about his struggles yet genuinely optimistic about it all. He’ll go down for a few days with heavy depression and not come out of his house. He hides like I hide. But then he comes back out, and when we see each other he tells me everything. He is so open, vulnerable, and sanguine about his struggles that I release some long-held tension within myself, some fear of being discovered, because he makes me feel safe to be human.
She has this look of deep empathy, and she holds her heart in a way that let’s me know she understands me. It means so much to me, because she just takes the time to listen. So when she tells me that things will get better, that I won’t feel this empty forever, I believe her. It’s different when one of my friends says it, because I just dismiss it so easily when I hear it from them. But when I hear those words from this lady, with her hands on her heart, it’s like the hugs I never got.
To experience in a unique way. You can only make the choices you make because of the experiences you live through. And the choices you make will take you to different paths. And these different paths will put you in direct contact with the people who need exactly the experiences you have lived.