I’m sometimes quite astonished by the will people can bring to hurting each other. I’d rather not contemplate it more, at least not right now. Hell, right about now, I’d rather be thinking of almost anything besides right now. Damned awkward, what with all the mindfulness practices, and meditation, and taking care of me, and such. lol I’m feeling very present, very aware. I hurt, and although a lot of it is old pain, and old baggage, some of it is far less so.

I am learning to deal with anger – new anger, never before shared anger, bright white-hot precise anger – and learning to be more open to the honest information in the feeling of it, what set it off, why it matters, what underlying value it speaks to. That underlying value is pretty significant. I’ve been surprised more than once by what was truly driving my anger, and often by how small a thing it really seemed to be. This time? Hurt feelings drive my anger. Disappointment that a friend to whom I gave significant emotional support and nurturing during a difficult time, never seems able to return the favor, worse – my friend often seems to be in the midst of some intense drama about something somehow more urgent or more important, that pretty reliably comes up after I make a point of setting clear expectations about ‘where I’m at’ or what I’m struggling with, asking for support, or expressing limits or boundaries.

I look at those words with some astonishment. They’re true. Honest. I feel vulnerable admitting to hurt feelings over something so small (we are each having our own experience, and the pain we feel ourselves hurts the most, generally), but a little embarrassed to realize the words I wrote apply equally well to the way I’ve often treated myself: without consideration, without compassion, without kindness. I have no particular say in how someone else chooses to behave, but I have endless choices how I see things, how I respond, and what I do to meet my own needs best, over time. Better still – just knowing how much it hurts to be treated so poorly, and to see with such clarity that these are things I have done to myself, feels like a huge opportunity, a gift, a new perspective and a chance to see a bit farther along my journey; new choices are now open to me, and one is the everyday opportunity to treat myself well – more well? Better. To be considerate of my own needs. To respect myself, my body, my values, my experience, my voice. To be compassionate with myself, because I am still quite human. To be open to trying something new, and practicing something that works, and understanding that building skill takes time. Even choices to reciprocate the kindness of others, and the support offered to me when I needed it most; there is always someone else who could use a hand, and the value of kindness isn’t in recognition.

A trestle bridge along the Banks-Vernonia Trail, and a lovely metaphor for making a connection.

A trestle bridge along the Banks-Vernonia Trail, and a lovely metaphor for making a connection, crossing a bridge, along a journey.

A moment of anger somehow becomes a lesson in perspective, and emotional  self-sufficiency, and a gentle end to a trying afternoon.