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Day 439 – The Secret Ingredient (Joy)

May 18, 2016

When I go to Hawaii, one of the things that I love most is being around my nieces and nephew. They are so full of wonder and joy and love. They are so open, and really all they want is for you to take care of them, love them, and share time and space with them…

I go out in the world today. It’s time to start making my own money again… My emotions are not balanced, so I’m gonna take a moment to write and hope that I can balance them out before I start interacting with other people…

God, I am still sad. I will tell you the good part of this. The good part is that I’m not caught up in my sadness. In the past, when I was feeling low, the feeling was I could see. I mean, I didn’t even see it. It was just a state of being, like a spell or cloud that I was caught up in. I was just sad. I felt powerless and I didn’t have any solutions except to cry every day.

Today, this sadness is different. It’s like I can stand outside of myself and see what’s going on. I can see that I’m sad. I can see why, and I can also see how not to get caught up in the downward spiral of events that this feeling can often lead to. I can see that the sadness will pass. I can see that I’m grieving, but I can also see what needs to be done so that the grief doesn’t take over my life, and so that my life can still be a good life. So I have grown up a bit…

And I know that what needs to be done in order for this grief to pass is to just let it pass. Don’t stifle it. Don’t pretend that this is not the first time in my life that I actually feel like I let a good man get away. Don’t get all desperate and try to force a result. Don’t go running to some distraction (man, work, new drama) so that I don’t feel anything. Just let myself feel and then let the feeling pass. It will pass. I know this, but in the past, I didn’t know it. I thought that sadness would last forever. It doesn’t, unless you don’t deal with it and hold on to it.

Can I tell you what happened yesterday? Yesterday I threw myself into my “to-do” list. I got back on my schedule and was actually done with my daily plan by 2pm. And I had gotten invited to a big time Hollywood event that evening…

But before I say that, let me say this. I have a house guest living with me. A sick friend who I’m helping to get medical care. I’ve known him for a long time, and he’s here with me because I’m actually the only person in his life who believes he’s sick. I know the feeling. When I was super sick, people didn’t know how sick I was, because I looked normal. My body was in shape, I still had an attitude and a smart mouth and I was bleeding or limping or coughing. People thought I was just faking, or just being lazy when I said I had no energy. People thought that I was just depressed or something and that I just had to get myself up and do stuff. But I was sick. And the worst part was, doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me, so I didn’t know how to get better… My friend is in a similar position. He’s been sick for a while, and doctors don’t know what’s wrong with him. He actually hasn’t seen as many doctors as me, because he doesn’t have rich family members who pay for doctors visits and he doesn’t know how to navigate the public healthcare system. So he came out to Cali. Because the public healthcare system out here is pretty good. And I know how to navigate it. So at the very least, I can help him see doctors and hopefully get a diagnosis. And I can tell him how to do other things that help a sick person who has no idea what’s wrong with them and can’t seem to get better. The other things account for at least 50% of well-being if not more.

And so I’ll get back to my story about last night. Last night, I had finished all of my work for day and I wanted to go this fancy Hollywood music event. I thought my house guest was going to go with me, because he likes music, but he was feeling sick, so he said he wouldn’t go. So I went through my phone book to see who I could invite. Who could I just go out with and enjoy their company? Who, in my inner circle, even cared about joy? Who was full of wonder and joy and love, and who was open, and would appreciate the love and care that I had to offer and would just want to share some space and time for a moment? I looked through my whole phone book, and there was no-one who I wanted to go with. There was something going on with everyone. Too busy caught up in whatever storm, too much stuff to do, too sad, too sick, too committed, too conflicted, too guarded, too picky about the conditions necessary to have fun, too crazy… It’s OK. I’m not judging them. I have been all of those things.

But what I realized yesterday is that there is not one person here with me in this city of grey skies that I can experience and express joy with. Nobody I know is really interested at the moment. At least they’re not interested in sharing joy with me… This made me very sad. Because I realized why I liked My Kind so much. There was so much joy and openness between us. And I realized why I had gotten caught up with so many silly men out here in this city. If nothing else, they offered smiles and connectivity and at least a few moments of joy…

I didn’t reach out to any of my exes. I would have in the past. I didn’t reach out to My Kind. I would have in the past. I didn’t reach out to any of the people I knew out of a desperate need to share with someone. Action motivated by desperation was not the answer for now… I would have in the past. Instead, I went to the event alone. There was a long line wrapping around the venue hall. I went into the parking lot to park and the guy said it was $20 cash. I didn’t have cash, so the parking attendant said I could park and then get money out of their ATM after I parked. So I parked. And I sat in my car. I grieved over the loss of My Kind, the one person who I know in this city who makes a conscious effort to be open and bring the joy wherever he goes… And then I had a thought. I didn’t really want to go to the event by myself. I didn’t really want to pay $20 to park. I was hungry. And I would have rather spent $20 on some good food. And so I went and got some good food. Then I called a friend (who lives out of town). Another being like me, who, despite being in the midst of a storm and feeling sad, had managed to keep his joy in tact. Another being who was aware that joy is the secret ingredient.

We forget about it. We don’t think it means anything, but subconsciously, joy, openness and a sense of connection are usually the things we are seeking when we get involved in so many destructive behaviors (substance abuse, toxic relationships, etc). The desire for those three things are so potent that we are willing to walk through many fires in order to just get a little taste of life. But what if we didn’t have to walk through fires?

It’s hard. I’m not gonna lie. It’s hard to just sit here and feel sad and not run to some “fix”. But I know that the “fix” won’t fix anything. Not in the long run. I know that if I don’t let the sadness pass through me, and if I try to suppress it, then the energy will just be here, sitting in the expression in my eyes, undermining any attempts at happiness I try to make. I know that it’s time to surrender my need to try and control everything all the time. I know this, and I thank You for this simple understanding, God. I thank You for putting something in me that helps me know what I need to do when I need to do it… I know that what my heart is really seeking is an unbridled expression of joy, in a way that is safe for me. I know that my soul is yearning to be open and connect in ways that are healthy and supportive of all involved. I feel like I have discovered something major. I’m not a love addict. I’m not boy crazy. I’m just full of a lot of Love an joy and up until today, I thought that the only way to express that was in the context of a relationship, regardless of how crazy that relationship might be. But that’s not true. The truth is, there are myriad ways to be open, there are myriad ways to express joy, there are myriad ways to connect with the world around you, and all of those ways can be safe, nourishing and bring good for all involved… Wow… And so now, armed with our secret ingredient, we move forward. I’m gonna go find some babies to hold…

Thank You, God. Ameen.

Day 439
The Secret Ingredient (Joy)

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