On Life:: When the Braces Come Off
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Fear and desire as far as I can tell, are the respective bad and good witch of the human landscape that is consciousness. As you begin to wake up in life, you come to realize how programmed fear based living is in your daily actions. It really is an insidious meme we all have succumb to in a way that actually just seems like the normal, status quo way of doing life.
And so it was for me. I spent years trying to be good, and then years undoing all the effort and ideology around trying to be good, i.e trying to be less of my natural, wild, passionate self. I have indeed put in much effort to peel of residual fear so as to allow desire and ever more power to come through. However, at a particularly critical point in a relationship a few months ago, I realized something quite profound. For all the “work” I had done around fear, I was simply managing, rearranging furniture on the Titanic. I am always expecting the other shoe to drop, for the bad and “inevitable” (as my fear based mindset labels it) to happen.
Many months ago, I was in one of the best, pleasantly unexpected, relationships of my life. We couldn’t have been growing deeper and better and faster together. At every intersection I asked him to expand and grow, he did. There have certainly been moments of discomfort, but by and large it has been amazing. And in the back of my mind, amidst my reflection on how great it has been, this voice says “okay get prepared, something bad is going to happen.” Now some may say this is the normal ebb and flow of relationships, the cycle of things. And to a certain extent, that is absolutely true.
The distinction to be made here, for me, and for many of us, is that we are bracing against the natural ebb and flow of life. We are labeling it as bad and then attempting to anticipate the event we think is going to happen (which by the way may or may not take place, it isn’t a calculated formula as in (“good happens and then something bad happens.”)
So here I am on an unassuming Friday morning and I ask my partner why he feels distant. OM has attuned me to the nuances of what I can feel in my own body, and what I can sense in another person. A cascade of fears tumble out of him. "Yup", my brain says, "here it is." It starts this train fast. "See, its happening, just like predicted" and on and on it goes attempting to convince me of how doomed me, this relationship and my life really are. I listen neutrally at first, and then inch by inch, my own fear gets activated as I listen to his. And before I know it, we’ve spent two days slogging around in our little stew of fear and the race is on. We are going down fast. It isn’t all that fun. As in, it's that bad thing my mind convinced me would happen.
And yet, amidst the chaos and monkey mind chatter I see an opening and I realize that I am always bracing for this kind of experience, I always EXPECT the bad to come and so the natural ebb and flow of life doesn’t really happen because I have it segmented into GOOD and BAD. And in expecting it, I have been creating it. When really, it is neither good nor bad. It is just the occurrences of living a life in amazingly close, intimate proximity to another human being. Fear happens. Desire happens. One does not exist without the other. It isn't good or bad. It just simply is.
I also realized that in bracing against my fear, I am simultaneously being run by the story that relationships always have to be upbeat, happy and GOOD.
And I am clear this isn’t just MY story, it is OUR story, one that is pervasive and ingrained in all of us. We avoid discomfort at any cost. We want to fix problems, make them go away fast, to ignore the bad and focus on the good.
But that simply isn’t what intimacy is. It also isn't what life is. Intimacy is seeing the whole of someone and in turn getting to see the whole of yourself in response to who they are. Intimacy, much like life, means riding the ebb and flow through all it brings you and treasuring the whole ride because that is where the richness is built.
And like that, I realized I didn’t have to brace anymore. I could let the relationship happen as it is going to happen, in just the same way we follow the peaks and valleys in an OM, we let the orgasm go where it wants to go. Yes this requires letting go of an agenda in your life, relationships or whatever the context may be. But what it also requires, or rather delivers, is an ease, an openness to the mystery and the spontaneous unexpected joy and depth that comes when you stop managing, working toward outcomes and simply relish the ups, the downs, the storms and the sunny days. When you welcome it all, the ride becomes the satisfaction. No bracing necessary.