Posts tagged with "Shawn"

lessons learned on the path to awakening

Order matters. Timing is important. It’s helpful to arrive at the point where things can only get better, but losing everything takes time. Making mistakes is okay. Being unable to cope is okay. Not being ready to say it back is okay. Life is a balance between holding on and letting go. Some people should never have children. You’re only over someone when you don’t need to make a conscious effort to stop thinking about them. The first step in taking responsibility for your needs is communicating those needs.

cat

Cats are little bundles of non-judgmental, unassuming, food-conditional love.

I need to be with listeners more than talkers. A day spent writing letters that will never be read isn’t a waste. Some people don’t know how to help, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. It’s important to make peace with one’s suffering. You never stop growing with the right people in your life. She never loved me more than the words I wrote. The last thing I want is to be ignored when I open up. It’s okay when friends prioritize their kids before me. It’s okay to prioritize myself before anyone else. Always be mindful of long hair when cuddling.

Foxhole party

There are people who love me enough to save my life (and pants are optional at their parties).

The ones with a little bit of darkness to them tend to be more interesting. If a guy in a suit is cute like me, that means I’m cute like him. Lisa is my third cat and that’s enough for now. I deserve to be happy. A bad trip doesn’t necessarily mean a bad experience. Strength is often quiet, receptive determination, rather than chest-thumping pushiness. Being kind to difficult people is just as important as being kind to benefactors and friends; being kind to myself is most important of all.

Level 8

Shawn and I go deep once a week, usually with a decent amount of psychoanalysis mixed in with our Magic matches. I realized I still need therapy, but in a different form from what my therapist could offer1. I need to work with someone who isn’t restricted by time limits when I’m in the middle of extremely time-sensitive events, and it’s vital that I work at my own pace, since it’s easy to rush things (that should be dealt with very carefully) when it costs $180/hour. He also stretches me out in all the right ways, and I’m learning that physical comfort is often just as important as emotional validation.

Shawn admits it’s all pop-psychology since he has no formal education, but he’s specialized in people and relationships for so long that it’s no less effective. Sometimes, it’s scary to work with someone who functions at such a higher level of understanding of the world. I recently heard Jon Kabat-Zinn say, “Buddha was not a Buddhist”, which I started repeating to Shawn when trying to relate mindfulness with modern religion. He finished my thought by saying, “and Jesus was not a Christian”, an idea I’d only come to after a lot more research and reflection. He was able to reach the same conclusion by examining patterns in his existing knowledge; an extremely profound and impactful concept to me, which I was still trying to fully grasp, was applied common sense to him.

That means I’m occasionally confronted with how narrow-minded I can be in comparison. It’s messing with things I take for granted, like my ideas of right or wrong, parts of my world-view I’ve held for so long and without question. Sometimes, I realize the person I was until that very moment would have done things I’d now consider embarrassing (being judgmental/intolerant/hateful), based on ignorance, parochialism, or naïveté. Thankfully, I’m also getting better at accepting my past self(ves) by understanding all the influences that have led me to think a certain way. It also helps knowing that the truly important thing is that I have the power to change now, and that it’ll affect me positively for the rest of my life.

Shawn used to say I was a wizard stuck on level 7, always on the cusp of levelling up. I had enough wisdom and intelligence and other attributes to be a much more powerful character, but was still a mage who couldn’t start his main quest, due to a very low stat in his relationship score. This was holding me back because relationships are a huge part of my needs; ironic that I’m also so bad at them.

I’ve learned a lot in the last few months though, through a new awareness of deeper parts of myself, and a view of the world that’s getting more objective. I’m applying these things by pursuing healthy interests, which currently means building my relationships and practicing unilateral virtue. While the latter has been both empowering and humbling, it’s also drastically shaken my understanding of my relationships, my needs, and my past. I can tell I’m only beginning to figure out the dynamics of people and how they function, but Shawn says just coming to that understanding means I’ve finally reached level 8, and with that foundation, I can begin the next part of my journey.

Then he gave me a high-five. My therapist never did that.

  1. Not that he was bad in any way. It’s just that the nature of openness tends to get more complicated when money is involved. You know someone truly cares when they listen without having to get paid, and it’s easier to be comfortable with that. []

the loving dominant

My relationships function best in a one-on-one context, when I’m giving a single person my full attention or vice versa. I see myself as the dominant most of the time. But power flows from the bottom up and I’m a pleaser too, so I frequently assume the submissive role cause I enjoy it (need it?) so much. Knowing that I can make people happy is something I thrive on.

At heart though, I’m a very dominant person, and I never realized I was missing an outlet for those tendencies until Shawn handed me the remote as we were about to watch Game of Thrones. He read me well enough to know that I enjoy taking care of little details, and he’s even more of a pleaser than I am, so he gave me control, even though I recognize that he’s the more dominant person1.

Over time, I’ve become the one to do the talking, to decide what we do, to make the small choices that remind me I have wants and needs as much as anyone else. Shawn’s a person I respect, and he’s naturally “better” in the ways that are important to me, so being in control when we hang out has been really fulfilling. I’m getting better at speaking out about things that bother me and thinking of myself and being stronger in general.

  1. I highly value intelligence, so it’s natural for me to submit to more intelligent people, and he’s way more intelligent than me. He’s also a lot stronger of character. []