Masters of Our Fate

The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions…disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending .”  – Brene Brown

Timing. I struggle with this whole thing, both in the sense of the ‘space-time continuum’ and in the sense of being defined as ‘good or bad’.

Bad timing. We hear it all the time. It’s usually a deal breaker, right? You got the perfect job offer or met your person or want to move to a new city…whatever the situation, there is something you want, but the circumstances aren’t ideal for it to happen. I actually think bad timing can be split into two versions: timing of things or events that happen to you, and timing as the point when you decide to let things or events happen to you.

Timing as uncontrollable: Clearly, there are events in our lives over which we have no control. For me, there have been life-changing events that have happened, seemingly at the worst possible time, and I had no say in whether they happened or not. My dad getting terminal cancer when I was just about to graduate from high school (clearly, there is no good time for this to happen). My mom getting in a fatal car accident two weeks before I was moving to Spain. Meeting who I thought was my person at the exact point in his life when everything came crashing down.

Timing as a decision: But there are also times in our lives when events happen because we decide for them to, or not to. We convince ourselves that whether or not something can happen is contingent on all things being in the ideal state necessary for the desired outcome. If I hadn’t had my heart broken, I could be happy in a new relationship. If I wasn’t so busy looking for a job, I could write the book I want to get published, etc.

Space-time continuum. This concept of time is pretty straight forward. Time as a duration. What we use to define how long it takes to do something or for something to happen. How long we have been married or working at a job or living somewhere.

Timing has become particularly relevant in every sense of the word over the past year. Falling in love ‘at the worst possible time’. The duration and perception of time enduring six months in a dysfunctional relationship. The death of three boys because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time (I know, not my fault, but just how it feels most of the time).

As a result, I have come to the conclusion that time can be both a gift and a curse. When it is not something that is beyond our control, I think time can be used as an excuse. But I also think we can use it as a source of hope and progress. It is completely dependent on how we choose to approach it.

This has become especially apparent for me as I try to approach dating and relationships post-divorce and heartbreak. I’ve heard repeatedly from well-intentioned friends, “Are you sure you are ready?”, “You know, they say it takes at least half the time you were in a relationship to get over it.”, “You are supposed to give yourself at least a year after you get a divorce before you start dating again.”

Am I ready? Do I need to wait a year, or 5 months? What if I meet my person somewhere in-between? Do I walk away because the allotted time has not passed? Am I measuring time by the actual end of the relationship or the point at which I knew it was over?

I just don’t think there is a bullet proof strategy or ‘perfect time’ to get back out there. Clearly there are points in our life that might be better or worse for starting a new relationship. But I think this is something we have to decide for ourselves, not because a friend or a book or a therapist gave us the go-ahead.

Timing can be a deal breaker, there is no question, but I also think that we have a huge say in whether it is or not. I think we often use it as an excuse. It is easier to dismiss something as bad timing vs. questioning why the timing is bad. Is it really timing? Or is it the underlying emotions we are too afraid to unpack? Acknowledging they exist means we have to do the work. Admitting timing is irrelevant- if we are brave enough to do so- initiates a process that can be very painful and anything but a quick fix.

But isn’t it actually more painful to keep repeating the things that are not working in your life? Isn’t it more painful to continue preventing yourself from experiencing life fully, whether that be love, fulfillment, success…whatever it is that would allow you to arrive at happy. I think we have all figured out by now that happy takes work. It isn’t something that just happens. It is something we have to make happen. It’s a decision, right?

I have this quote by Mike Dooley posted on my desk was a complete revelation to me.

“No one can be both happy and unhappy at the same time, right? One blights the other.”

Completely logical and seemingly impossible at times to apply to my day to day. It would be much easier to be the victim, to believe all of these things are happening to me, and chalk it up to bad timing. But I just don’t believe that, as tempting as it can be. I think we decide which approach we are going to take- are we the victims of ‘fate’, or are we the masters of  it?

This has brought me right back to timing, but in the time-continuum sense. Application, essentially.  How exactly do I do this whole transformation part? I’ll bring it back to relationships, since this is definitely something that has not been working for me, and I’m not the least bit interested in recreating my past experiences with them.

Am I ready to get into a relationship? I really don’t know. The truth is, I’m questioning everything right now. I don’t 100% trust myself anymore. My intuition and ‘follow my heart’ approach to life has not served me of late. It is extremely challenging at this point to trust myself, or anyone else for that matter. More times than not, I find myself functioning from a place of fear and insecurity.

So does this confirm that I’m really not ready to put myself back out there? Maybe. But I’m not sure the alternative, forcing myself to steer clear of all things intimate, is the solution either. I don’t think you can know for sure unless you know and trust yourself enough to listen to what your intuition is telling you.

What I do know is that I can’t do the work if I’m not giving myself the chance to try again. True, I need to be very cognizant of the issues I need to work on. But, if I am determined to never go back to the place I was a few months ago, then I have to figure out how to go another direction. Standing still certainly isn’t going to get me anywhere.

Oddly enough, I started thinking about the general theory of relativity when I was thinking about all of this. Quick review (I definitely needed one).

The theory dealing with gravity…based on the postulate that the local effects of a gravitational field and of acceleration of an intertial system are identical.

I know, where the hell is this going? Bear with me, here…just a metaphor of sorts.

If we want to move forward, then we have to be willing to fall and trust that the result will be a progression forward. One cannot happen without the other. They are happening simultaneously, even though if feels all to the contrary.

And just to take it to the extreme, cause that is what I do, let’s consider the space-time continuum

The four-dimensional continuum- consisting of length, width, depth, and time- in which all objects are located and all events occur, viewed as a single and continuous framework for existence. 

So, moving forward in time (i.e. progress) and how far we are able to go are inseparable from the depth and breadth to which we travel.

Okay, just one more and I’ll stop.

There is a cosmological theory that the space-time continuum has a curvature in 3 dimensions. So, if you travel in one direction long enough, you will return to the same place where you began.

So, metaphorically speaking, if one of the primary forces of gravity is acceleration, then couldn’t that mean that we have to let ourselves be pulled down/go to the depths of what is keeping us stuck, in order to move forward? Isn’t the latter impossible without the former? If we do let ourselves travel the depth and length needed, then wouldn’t that lead us back to the place we were, to a place of falling or being in love, but now armed with the knowledge and tools we acquired on our journey back?

Just something I was thinking about…

Regardless of the applicability of my Einstein tangent, I think you simply have to find the courage to go deep, dig up all the shit that is keeping you from where you want to be, and replace it with behaviors and actions that will manifest what you truly want.

Some say that you have to be alone to do this. I don’t agree. For me, my issues usually surface when I am navigating the emotions involved with being intimate with someone. All the fears and insecurities that, for me, are inseparable from making myself completely vulnerable and opening myself up to potential rejection. It’s actually my worst fear and what has resulted in the most growth.

When you do experience the pain of rejection, the last thing you want to do is go through it again. it’s instincual, right? Fight or flight. Stronger then our inherent desire to avoid pain, is our inherent desire to make it stop once we feel it. But it’s been my experience that it is much more painful to be alone because I was too scared of getting hurt, then to stay and fight through the pain with someone I love and trust. You can’t experience the opposite of pain, which I think is love, if you choose ‘flight’.

So I guess that is where I am at. I’m ready to fight again. Maybe it is too soon. Jumping back in the arena sounds terrifying. It is terrifying. It feels so much safer to stay on the periphery, to protect myself from any more potential suffering.

But is this living? Or is it just existing?

I don’t want to just exist. So my only other option is to fight. Yes, it’s scary, but complacency scares me more. I saw my parents do it, my grandparents do it, other family members do it. It was heartbreaking to watch and it literally killed them. I tried to fight for them, but I couldn’t save them. So now it’s me and the things I love I have to fight for. I don’t think it will always be a fight, in the sense of a struggle. But I do think there will be, no there is, a substantial amount of pain in the beginning.

But it is time, and it has nothing to do with timing and everything to do with my decision to let relativity take me down and move me forward.

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.
                                       – Willian Ernest Henly 
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10 thoughts on “Masters of Our Fate

  1. Bravo! This post has so many great approaches to problems we all feel are our own special curses until we understand that they are nothing more than the challenges inherent in being human. I have so much more to say about what you wrote, so I think I’ll do a whole post about it in the near future. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Inspiring you to write a post might be the second most flattering thing I’ve heard besides be likened to a bodhisattva. 🙂 I hope I get to the privilege to read it, but always look forward to your posts popping up in my inbox regardless of the content. Thank for taking the time to read mine. Take care of that beautiful soul of yours…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your hope gives me hope and not only will you of course get to read the next post I’m planning, but if it’s ok with you, I might include a link to your post that I read today. That way I can confine myself to my take on it and then for those readers who are still interested, guide them to your words for more important things to ponder.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Warrior Mind – Spooky Action At A Distance

  3. Okay. Where do I even begin? This post, without question, is one of the most profound and thought-provoking things I have ever read. It feels as though I just got sucker-punched and I am quite literally sitting here dazed and confused. A million things are racing through my mind. The first thing I want to say is that I hope you know what an incredibly talented writer you are. To almost, knock someone unconscious with your words is only achievable by a select few – those who are born with a gift meant to change the world. The second thing is this. You and I are complete opposites in our approach to recovering from a broken heart and allowing ourselves to love again. My choices could not be more different than yours, but as I read each word you wrote, it was as though the knife was being twisted and shoved in a little deeper. You have me questioning every choice I have made and wondering how well I have served myself by erecting so many walls around my heart. I am so much better off alone, right? Aren’t I? I thought so, but now I don’t know what the fuck is going on. I just don’t. My world is safe, and the only person who can hurt me now is me, and that’s how I have wanted it. How I have demanded it to be. There are places I need to go, things I need to see and feel and I don’t want anyone messing with that trajectory. For the first time in my life, I like who I am and the person I have become. It took hard work and a commitment to myself to get here. So I am of the belief that it just isn’t possible to remain ‘me’ and make my dreams come true if I don’t keep moving forward alone. Or is it? Right now, I just don’t fucking know.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A couple of years ago a dear friend of mine broke up with her boyfriend at the time, who she had been dating for a couple of years. He was the jealous and unfaithful sort, and he had kept my friend from being my friend for much of that time. Almost immediately after this break-up she went out with another fella who had long adored her but kept his distance while she was with others. She didn’t think she would fall for him. Serendipitously, she did.

    She text me about that one day while I was driving out of town on a road trip and I responded (I know, bad Tom). She said that she thought she could really have something with this guy, but wanted to resist the notion of being in a relationship again, so soon. She was afraid. My response to her was that we only get one trip through this life, we have to take chances on it, and few things in life are worth such a risk as love.

    She gave it a chance.

    They married this past April.

    Not every story is a success story, but almost every adventure is worth the taking. Look before you leap, I’d say, but leap away. 🙂

    Fantastic entry. Glad our mutual friend directed me this way!

    Like

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