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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Does Love equal Suffering?

I have perfected the art of suffering.  I sometimes wonder if I am addicted to it and actually cultivate suffering in my life to feed my suffering narcissistic ego.  It's a reverse egotism where the more I suffer, the more I must really love and care about the person, thing, or event that has happened or has not happened.  Somehow I have equated love with suffering and have made that experience one of the primary focuses of my life, and this has repeated itself over and over again, in various forms, all to give me the energy vibration my soul was singing out to the universe.  If love equals suffering, and I want to love, then send me experiences and events that cause me to suffer so then I can show the universe, the people around me, my loved ones, my family, and myself, how much I love because of how much I suffer.  This is a bit of a problem when you want to change your life and yet the program I've been operating under for so long has become unconscious and is only doing what it's programmed to do.  This love equals suffering paradigm implanted early in my life combined with the poor-me drama I developed as a consequence of the fear and intimidation I felt growing up in the presence of my father, led me to create situations where I suffered, where I was made to feel unworthy or undeserving, and then I would receive love and sympathy from others through the subsequent poor-me and aloof dramas.  This is how I manipulated, acquired, and controlled the energy of the universe - this is how I learned to receive.

Where did I learn this and how has it manifested or shown up in my life over the years?  Well, the receiving energy in any human being is connected to their feminine side, the yin of the yin/yang principle or chi energy, and at a very young age, in my most formative years, between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, I witnessed my mother suffer terrible anguish, misery, and pain over the loss, betrayal, and deception by my father who left her unexpectedly after coming home one night from work and saying he didn't love her anymore, packed up his things, and left.  My mother was deeply traumatized by the event, she loved my father so deeply and truly, that this sent shock waves through her whole system which undoubtedly had a profound impact on me and my infant sister.  As my mother wept and wept for my father, who had by this time started living with another woman, which only caused my mother more pain and anguish as she suffered through the deliberate cruelty exacted by my father whose intention, at that time, I can only conclude, was to hurt her, and this, as a consequence, caused her deep, emotional pain that was unendurable.  I witnessed all of this, and as a young boy who loved his mother, I would come up to her, console her, and say things like 'Mama, please don't cry anymore.'  She would tell you to this day that I was her rock that helped her to get through - I was her guy - and because of that particular event, an earth shattering event for a mother and child, we created a very unique and special bond.  I am very protective of my mother, regardless of who they may be or whether or not my mother may be in the wrong.  I have a deep connection with her to protect her first, and then reason with her later.  My other siblings don't have this connection, not like this, and often we are at odds about how to communicate with our mother.  But that's another issue.  What did I learn about love in this formative episode?  I learned that love, true love, meant that you had to suffer - my mother loved my father deeply, and loved him despite his cruelty and betrayal of her - and thus, these were not only the signs of true love, but only through suffering - for others and oneself - marks one as a person who truly and deeply loves.

This belief in love equals suffering deeply for others and oneself became apart of my identity, both consciously and unconsciously.  I remember as a boy praying that I would take on my brothers' troubles so that they wouldn't have to suffer (there's a vague memory of that in my childhood bedroom - also, more recently, I prayed I would give up all success and achievement in my acting career as long as my brother got out of prison, which, thank God, he did, thanks to my father).  So I consciously wanted to take the suffering away from others. I wanted to see them happy, however, this meant, according to this world view, I would have to suffer, not only for my own life lessons but for theirs as well, which meant that I would live a life of quiet misery, dejection, and depression as I suffered for the world around me.  Because I loved the world so much, and the people in my world so much, I suffered for them so they wouldn't have to suffer.  Very Christlike of me.  Although it didn't achieve the end I'd hoped it would - harmony, love, joy, happiness, and peace.  And, because I believed suffering and love were together, another idea took shape which supported and reinforced this now unconscious belief - and that is - In my world (in Charlie's world), everything goes wrong.  In almost every situation, circumstance, or relationship I've had, there has been something to suffer over.  Either the opportunity which showed itself fizzled out and didn't live up to its promise, or I put all my heart and effort into it and it was rejected or I choked when it counted most, or the relationship with the woman whom I loved so deeply but couldn't have the family I wanted with her, all these examples and more caused me extreme anguish and suffering.  Couple that with the wounded masculine in me that resulted from the fear and intimidation I felt whenever my father flew into a rage, and I wonder why my life has been such a struggle to find balance.  (NOTE: my father is a war veteran, who fought valiantly and honorably for this country on 2 tours in Vietnam as a Navy Seal.  It should be noted here that I grew up when the war was still very much inside of him, and the effects of PTSD were at its peak.  The trauma my sister, mother, and I experienced during this time is directly attributed to this disorder, I have no doubt in my mind.  I want it to be clearly noted, I do not find fault or am in any way blaming my father for what happened.  I love, adore, and cherish my father unconditionally.  He was operating and functioning with a lot of pain inside of him, and at that time, PTSD was looked at as a weakness; a strong man, a warrior, learned to deal with the pain everyday of his life.  Unfortunately, if the pain we are carrying is buried deep within us, it comes out in dysfunctional behavioral patterns and undermines our ability to have meaningful, healthy relationships.  His disproportionate rage was one of those dysfunctional behavior patterns that resulted from denying and suppressing the diagnosis of PTSD).  

It's interesting too, that when life did present me with an alternative, especially in regards to relationships, I would reject it because it didn't offer me the excitement or probably more accurately, the subconscious pain, that my soul craved.  I say this because I saw a picture of a girl who absolutely loved me, a gorgeous woman, who may have offered the alternative to love that I had not experienced: a healthy, vibrant relationship.  I wasn't comfortable with who I was, plus I was afraid how I might behave in a relationship (would I become like my father?) and so, I rejected it altogether without ever exploring it.  It probably was for the best because I had a lot of growing to do, but its not like I didn't have other opportunities.  The problem was that I equated love with suffering, and a relationship with Stacy or Vicky (their names have been changed), didn't offer that.

Another thing I am humbled by is that I equated true love from a woman after she had been betrayed by her man and had forgiven him, like my mother did with my father, and which I ended up acting out with Angela (her name is changed) in our former relationship.  Once she forgave me my transgressions, then I knew her love was real and true, and that I was worthy of it, and so, love was equated with suffering - Angela suffered because of my infidelities and I suffered because of my guilt and shame.  Not a very healthy approach to a relationship.

How else has this shown up in my life?  Here's what happens:  an event or opportunity occurs, I put my whole self into it, at some point it falls apart, my heart breaks, the poor-me drama sets in, and I suffer.  Time and time again this pattern re-occurs.  Football - I got a scholarship to play at the Academy, I give it everything I got, my body falls apart because the guys are too big, and I feel sorry for myself.  I graduate from the Academy, my life's ahead of me, the reality of what I'm doing causes me distress, I lose hope, fall apart, make some really bad choices, and things collapse.  The poor-me drama sets in and I suffer.  My acting career has had multiple times where I thought it would take off, but somehow, someway, it always fell apart, I get angry and upset - sometimes its my fault because I choked, other times it was just bad luck - the poor-me drama sets in, I start to believe I'm meant to come close but never cross over to success, and thus, I suffer.  My relationship with Angela started out wonderful, but the whole child/family issue tormented me, the poor-me drama ensued, God and life wanted to punish me and make me suffer, and so on and so on.  When I started to lose my hair, and tried everything to keep it - spending all my savings and investment money to keep it, and it didn't work, and thus I got to play the poor-me drama again - I no longer had my mojo and so girls wouldn't find me attractive - and I suffered.  And most recently, with my ex-fiance Angela married off already and involved sexually with another man so soon after leaving me unexpectedly and suddenly, I suffered unendurable suffering (much like my mom from when I was a boy) because I loved her so deeply and have yet to re-ignite and re-kindle my own desire for sex with another woman.  I suffer while others do not and this is all connected to my unconscious belief that love equals suffering.

This idea permeates and feeds my conception of my art.  One must suffer for their art - it's apart of being a true artist.  One must give up the joys and pleasures of life (unless you live like a bohemian, and live loosely, which I tried, but conflicted with my soul's deeper longing to have true love and intimacy) in order to be a great artist.  Look at Dostoyevsky!  Look at Van Gogh.  Rilke.  These great artists and others like them suffered for their art.  And they brought to the world astounding contributions, and so, I wanted to sacrifice my life like they did, because of my love for my creations.  Of course, these illustrations don't take into account the worlds and environments they lived in, as well as other factors, and so, I've built up myths about these and other artists which I have adopted to model after (up until recently, anyway) in my own artistic life. I guess I conveniently ignored all the other great artists who became wealthy and successful like Shakespeare, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Marlon Brando, Mark Ruffalo, and many others who have been both great artists and achieved worldly success in their careers.  So the notion that you have to suffer for your art has its limitations.  You should believe and cultivate your art, and not be sidestepped from your creativity and bliss, but you don't have to indulge in suffering for it.  Actually, success will only make you more of what you already are.  If you're a great artist, wealth and success will give you the opportunity to do more of it, without having to struggle for one's survival.  It (wealth and success) can be a blessing or a curse depending on who you are and what you are all about.  If you want to give to the world and share your talents, ideas, and vision for it, wealth and success will open up opportunities to do it.  Hence, there is no reason in the world why you can't be a great artist and be successful financially and living life in abundance.

I have expected to fail or come up short in most or all of my endeavors in regards to my careers, relationships, and life goals.  This program has been repeated time and time again, because life was unfair (another unconscious belief I held dear), and so, life has, up and until this point, proven this to be true.  I believed it - therefore, this would inevitably happen, no matter what I did.  I guess I imagined if I suffered long enough, God would finally relent and say, "OK! Jesus.  You've suffered enough.  Here - now you can start living the life you want.  Here's the careers, money, wealth, abundance, joy, relationship, family, love, travel, etc., that you've always wanted.  You've suffered enough!"  Well, actually, I have suffered enough.  I don't want to suffer anymore.  I see and understand how I have continually sabotaged myself and how this poor-me drama and love equals suffering has played out over and over again.  Now that I'm aware of it, I can take steps to correct and attract to myself the things I do want to experience.  And for one, I think it's time to tell the universe I don't want to experience this suffering anymore, I want to experience this:  where every facet of my life is working - I'm living life on purpose, I'm creating, I'm serving others, I'm creating wealth and abundance, I'm successful in my careers, I'm in a beautiful, healthy, trusting relationship, I'm experiencing true love, I'm traveling the world, I'm experiencing being a father - all these things and more are the experiences I want to have, and this is the song my soul is singing now.  Especially now that I'm aware of the pattern I have been singing.  Also, and I think this is very important, I must look at rejection or obstacles not as denials but as delays, and use this as a time to gather and collect information for my growth and conscious expansion and evolution.

The only one who suffers when I suffer is me.  Is there a place for suffering?  Absolutely, in this world there is.  Why?  Because with suffering and pain we grow in love and compassion and empathy for ourselves and for others which expands our hearts and connects us to others.  As long as we believe we are separated from one another, that we live in separate bodies, there is a need for suffering, until that time when we recognize we are all One, and then, the need for suffering is over because only Love exists.  Where I've gone awry is I've carried suffering to the extreme, and dwelt in suffering for long extended periods of time.  Well, that's over.  A healthy period of suffering is good, but to dwell in suffering, live in suffering, cultivate suffering, is not, and takes away the joy and happiness of life that is my inheritance as a child of the One Source.

I've been addicted to suffering because I equated Love with it.  It's time to break the addiction and learn to receive the love of the universe (life) through my acts of giving, my appreciation and gratitude for all that's in my life, seeing the beauty in everything and sending love to it, learning about energy and how I can tap into the Source of the Universal Field always, and therefore, not need anything outside of me to fill or receive that energy.  Specifically, the feminine energy of the universe - I must break the addiction to another person, complete the circle within me, feel that sense of falling in love and the euphoria that comes with that when the two sides come together, the Yin and Yang, feel that within me first, and on a constant basis, and then, I'll be ready for that true love, that authentic relationship I so deeply desire to have.  Love is giving and receiving and Being - it's not suffering.  And once I'm able to harness this universal love energy that is everywhere and within me, I will attract to me the very things, relationships, and experiences I envision for myself and for my life.

Peace and blessings.