When life pushes you to the edge, build a bridge

Have you ever had a dream in which you were being chased? If you haven’t, you can probably imagine what it would feel like. Suppose you were forced to climb a mountain, but as you run across the peak, you suddenly stop because you find yourself at the edge. It seems the only option is to jump.

But as you’re about to make the final leap to avoid your pursuer, something catches your eye. Just a few feet away, you see a bridge, and even though you can’t see where it leads, you have no choice but to trust and cross it.

On the other side, you find yourself in a garden at some kind of party. You’re surrounded by people you love and everyone’s having a good time. You feel safe and thoughts of worry are far from your mind. You’re caught up in the joy of being. The troubles you experienced just a few moments before are long gone, left in a distant land in a distant dream.

Sometimes certain aspects of life can feel hopeless. When we resist or run from problems, they only seem to get bigger and more daunting. There are times when it feels like our experiences push us to the edge of a figurative cliff, rendering us stuck between a daunting past and an unforeseeable, dangerous future. We find ourselves paralyzed, not willing to go back and yet unable to jump.

But the choice to move forward or backward doesn’t have to be daunting.

There’s a way to progress into safe territory.

We simply have to look around for the bridge that will lead us to a joyous existence, and even if it isn’t readily apparent, we have the ability to build one simply by thinking it into form.

Our minds are often caught up in circles that begin and end in extremes. I can’t stay in this situation because of ___, we think, but I can’t get out of this situation because of ___.

Our inability to build a bridge to a mental landscape in which things work out in our favor is what renders us paralyzed and unhappy.

We tend to think that because things have happened in a certain way, they will continue to happen in a certain way. It’s subconscious conditioning; it’s our brain’s way of developing a pattern to keep us safe from future harm.

But unless we find a way to break the pattern, we will continue to experience the same thing, even if our experiences come in different forms.

This is true of relationships, jobs, habits, and personality traits.

For example, if you’ve ever been in a relationship and you’ve been cheated on, your mind will try to convince you that any relationship will potentially end in disaster and heartbreak. You will find yourself constructing scenarios in which the person you love, whether or not they’ve been faithful, is dishonest and probably lying to you this very second. Trust issues are the reason so many potentially wonderful relationships end up dissolving. Accusations of wrongdoing get old after awhile, especially when one person is paying the price of the past mistake of someone else.

But your mind will continue to assume that because it’s happened, it will happen again until you make a conscious effort to alter the pattern of your thoughts.

But it isn’t easy to simply “switch off” the negative thoughts and move into an assumption that everything will work out perfectly.

Instead, we must learn to guide our thoughts to the happy ending. This is how you build a bridge.

Next time you catch your mind in a loop, assuming the worst is yet to come— imagining bad things that haven’t happened based on experiences of your past— remove yourself from fear of the situation by observing the way your mind is working. Notice the pattern you’ve subconsciously developed to keep you safe. Then, ask yourself whether that pattern is keeping you safe or hindering you from experiencing something potentially wonderful. Do you have reason to be fearful other than the “triggers” that caused your mind to run in circles?

Why hasn’t he/she answered my text message? Maybe I freaked him out. I probably freaked him out. He’s probably with someone else. He probably never wants to see me again. I should just accept that I’m going to be alone forever. No one is trustworthy.

Even though this inner conversation happens mentally, our attitudes and behavior naturally mirror what we believe to be true. We always assume a defensive stance when we believe we have something to guard against— even if that “something” doesn’t really exist.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is the ability to control your thoughts, rather than allowing your thoughts to control you.

When you notice a mental loop like the above example, correct it by talking your mind away from the edge by building a mental bridge.

Why hasn’t he/she answered my text message? Maybe I freaked him out. I probably freaked him out. Wait… maybe I didn’t freak him out. I probably didn’t freak him out. Someone hasn’t answered my text message in the past because they were with someone else, but not everyone is dishonest. There are good and loyal people out there. People fall in love and are honest and loyal to each other all the time. I don’t have to guard against the unknown or assume anything. Things will probably be fine, and even if they turn out bad, I don’t have enough information to assume they will. I’m fine right here, right now, and I know that because I’m deserving of something good in my life, that good will find me.

Can you see the difference in the way our thoughts have a powerful affect on our attitudes? By thinking thoughts similar to the first example, we will work ourselves into a panicked frenzy. But by simply talking ourselves to a safe, calm place, we can feel at ease in any situation, regardless of the outcome.

We don’t have to worry about outcomes. We’ll get there when we get there. If something bad happens, it’ll happen regardless of how much time we invest stressing out about it potentially happening.

That time could be better spent enjoying life and where we are while we’re there.

We can build a bridge for any trigger of worry, regardless of the situation. Releasing thoughts of potential disaster is not only conducive to inner peace, but also allows for hope to grow in a place where darkness once lived.

We can return to a state of childlike innocence, to a time before the growing pains of life caused us to build walls around our hearts. We can live happily and freely knowing that life will take us where it will take us regardless of our mental resistance to what-ifs.

Most importantly, in developing an ability to talk ourselves out of seeing and expecting the worst, we’re able to love others, and ourselves, openly and unconditionally.

Illusions

11

Meeting you was the best and worst thing that could have ever happened to me,

You easily destroyed me with your words, your smile, your touch.

Everything about you was amazing,

You said the right words,

You did the right things,

And to a girl who had never had an encounter with “real love”,

It was more beautiful than anything I could have imagined,

Or at least I thought it was love

I wished it was love,

If it was love that we both felt then maybe ending things would have been better, easier, sweeter.

I felt a love so all-consuming that I couldn’t imagine being without you,

You? You were in lust.

You had found someone who would do anything when you needed your quick fix,

And you knew that you had power over me,

So you manipulated me, used me, controlled me,

Don’t do this, don’t wear that, don’t talk to him, don’t talk to her,

I wanted to make you happy, I wanted to please my man,

So I did, I melted and bent, fit into boxes for you,

Soon you had chipped away all the pieces of me that made me, well me

I was a shell of myself, and a container for you,

In less than a year, you had grown tired of me.

You left me, devastated, empty, a mess.

No friends, no family, no contact.

I’ll never forget you,

You were a whirlwind, you came into my life and made a mess out it

I let you get away with, only because I didn’t know better

Now I do, now I’ve learned,

I’ve learned not to allow whirlwinds disguised as soft breezes into my life.

I’ve learned that I am also a whirlwind, not a weed that bends and tosses.

I’m glad that you came into my life and messed it up,

Cleaning up your mess was hard but worth it.

Never again will I be that naïve girl who lets a man come into her life and destroy it.

& this is what goodbye looks like

 

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After some much time together, you would think that I would have learned something more important about you.

You would guess that I had moved on, that I wasn’t thinking about you at all. Because time really does heal wounds.

But it also makes you forget.

 I forgot what it was to care about you, I forgot what it was like to be able to look you in the eyes and know that no mater what, you would always be there.I guess that was just the naive part of my heart, telling me that our love was real and strong, something to hold onto too.

but we both got older, you moved on, and i thought that I did too.

Until I finally understood that sometimes, there is no last moment. There is no closure. Sometimes, there is just goodbye. And without you saying anything at all, that’s what I got. I didn’t watch you leave, I didn’t have to deal with the pain of begging you to stay and then watching you love someone else.

I didn’t even get to tell you the real truth, only parts of it.

But sometimes, when life happens, we have to take control. And we have to learn to grieve in out ways because that’s what you made me do.

You made me have to face the idea of forgetting you all together.

And I’m slowly learning. Taking it day by day. Some nights are harder than others because they make me think about you. How much I worry, how much I still wait for a phone call, you on the other end, saying that you’re sorry. That you want me back.

But I think that we both know that you’ve made up your mind. And that you’ve found someone else, someone who could give you what I never could. Someone that’s not really better, but better for you.

And I hope that she takes care of you.

I hope that when you tell her you love her, you really mean it. Because I’m not sure you ever did with me.

I hope that when you have to say goodbye to her, you give her more than you gave me. And most importantly, I want you to know that I forgive you.

For handling this all wrong. For making me look like a fool and feel even worse. For making me think that you were going to wait for me.

I forgive you for falling out of love with me, because these things happen whether we are ready for them or not.

I forgive you  for almost everything. Every moment that you let go. Every minute I thought we were making progress, and then hanging me out to dry.

I forgive you for not being brave enough to say that one word that we both knew was coming. But I hope that one day, years from now, you think back on what you gave up, and I hope that you remember the love that we shared.

The memories that still come to me in dreams, the ones that are the hardest to let go of. Because we really were something We were really good for one another, and I hope that even though you walked away, I hope that you think of that, and of me, and smile.

Anyway, I know that time will pass, and that I’ll be able to say goodbye to you in my own ways, and I won’t need to wait for your permission. It’ll probably happen one day out of the blue. I’ll wake up one morning, and I won’t miss you.

But I’ll keep going because I know that the only way to be at peace with this, with you, is to keep moving. Is to make sure that I’m strong enough, that my heart has enough courage to really let you go for good.

Just know that now, to add to the list of things you taught me, is how to say goodbye. Without really saying anything at all.

 

The happiest place in the world is not Disney

I should clarify for myself at least.

My happy place feels like the end of the world. where earth meets heaven and you don’t know where the ocean ends and the sky begins. Where there is a fierceness and a power, but also an incredible beauty, as waves break against rocks so old that the Land Before Time was actually a reality albeit probably without the English and animation.

It is a place where your imagination can run deep. Where images of pirates, and battles. Of mermaids, and sirens exist. A different time and perhaps an alternate universe existed. It tells history, while giving pause to the future.

It is nature’s very own Ninja Warrior playground. Jumping over rocks, sliding like you are Tom Cruise in Top Gun, and using your arms to swing yourself over crevices like King Kong himself.

A place where you can sit and gaze for hours.

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Upon hours.

Letting the sun moving in the sky keep track of time. Losing yourself in the movements. In the richness and smoothness of the rocks. Wondering about the stories they have witnessed and lamenting that if only they could talk, oh the tales they would tell.

Sitting there, feeling like you are the only one in the world. Well you and the seagulls and whatever magnificent creatures are dancing in the water. And it is perfectly alright. Because all is right in the world.

My happy place is peaceful. It is knowing that there are two beacons guiding my way. Acting as guardian angels of sorts. Mourning their docile sounds, yet still snugly anchoring me into a moment out of time.

It is a place that is Nature’s Disney World. Without the noise and craziness. Where the ends of the world really do meet when you walk through country roads, woods, and finally million year old rocks to the edge of water.

It is a place called Two Lights and it beckons us all there.

12 days 

It’s been 12 days. 12 days of saddness, 12 days of missing you, 12 days of regretting that I didn’t see you the night before. The night before you decided to take your life. 

12 days ago I got a call that changed my life. 12 days ago you died. 12 days ago the world lost the most beautiful, kind-hearted soul, two parents lost a son, a sibling lost a brother, and people lost a close friend. 

You were so incredibly loved. You looked at life in all ways and you were never one to judge. You were such a bright, brilliant young man and I wish you weren’t gone. We all wish you weren’t gone. 

I know you were suffering here on this earth. I saw the pain in your eyes. I could feel it every time you were around. I could feel you silently crying out for help. 

The night before you left us, you had asked me to meet up with you. I turned you down because I wanted to see my boyfriend. If I would have known it would have been the last time, I would have dropped everything to see you that night. 

You were more of a friend to me than you realize. You had such a huge impact on every person who walked in your path.

When we would hang out, I would always share a cookie with you, or you would just take a bite of it right out of my hand when I wasnt looking. You thought you were so sneaky and hilarious, but I knew. 

Last night I was at Copper Coin and I walked down the hall where your picture once was and it has now been replaced with a flower and an “in loving memory of” card. 

I broke down at that very spot and cried on my friends shoulder and just thought, why? why would God allow you to leave us so soon? how could he just take you away like that? 

I have so many questions as to why and how it happened. 

You are gone. 

You are gone but you are most certainly not forgotten and will never be forgotten. I know you are out there, free of pain. I’m so happy for the memories I will forever have of us. You were such a light to this dark world. 

12 days ago you left this world. 12 days ago everyone’s lives around you changed. Forever. 

Rest easy my sweet friend. 

& I Keep Coming Back 

Because I’m addicted. I know I’ll get hurt in the end and yet.. A part of me knows better of what I want and another part doesn’t want to. Because this is a suicide leap but the way it makes me feel, makes it somehow all worth it.

Because we both speak the same language. You understand me even when others don’t..Because on some deep, sub conscious level we just get each other. Sometimes it seems like you know me better than I know myself. You have seen the worst of me and the best; because, regardless of how you hurt me, I still feel an inexplicable trust on you…

& I am afraid. I am afraid I will never be loved like this again; I am afraid no one else will be in tune with me, my moods, the essence of who I am and why in this necessary specific way..Because I have never been so vulnerable with anyone else and the thought of even trying makes me feel hopeless and tired.. I believe in it, against anyone’s better judgment…Because I think it’s worth it; because you’re worth it.. because I don’t want to stop and consider the very real possibility in which the negatives outweighs the positives.

I think I owe it to myself, our history, something still; because I feel inherently bonded and I don’t want to break it. I leave logic out of it; because after all, the heart wants what the heart wants and what can I do about that?

& now I want to live in the past, because I remember who I was once, who you were, and what we had; remember this and remember that and want to rewind. Because I think it’s possible to somehow recreate an idealized past in an unsure future. I have been holding onto the possibility of becoming a whole of me again for months, or days, feeling safe and protected by the idea that no matter what happens, I am not alone.

Because I think it will change, I will change, the circumstances will change; things will somehow mysteriously get better. I think this time around we will appreciate each other because atleast I know what it’s like to be without you. Because I don’t want to think about the possibility of a world in which it isn’t possible for us to be there..

And so I keep coming back to you again and again..because for me, you were always there…and you never left. 

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It’s currently 8:22 pm on a stormy night and as I’m sitting on my front porch listening to the thunder and watching the lightning strike, and suddenly, you cross my mind.

You were a bittersweet fairytale with a grey ending. You were my hamartia, my tragedy, my addiction. Frankly, you were also the one ray of sunlight in my aphotic world.

You consumed every existing part of my soul; the parts you brought to life. And then you got up and left. Leaving me with the crippled remains.

Leaving me to pick up every piece of me that you broke as you gave up on me.