Two Egos Got Together And Had A Baby They Named Codependency.
I don’t usually quote outside sources. But I am going to here, because this is good. This is fucking brilliant.
Eckhart Tolle writes: What is conventionally called “love” is an ego strategy to avoid surrender. You are looking to someone to give you that which can only come to you in the state of surrender. The ego uses that person as a substitute to avoid having to surrender. The Spanish language is the most honest in this respect. It uses the same verb, te quiero, for “I love you” and “I want you.” To the ego, loving and wanting are the same, whereas true love has no wanting in it, no desire to possess or for your partner to change. The ego singles someone out and makes them special. It uses that person to cover up the constant underlying feeling of discontent, of “not enough,” of anger and hate, which are closely related. These are facets of an underlying deep seated feeling in human beings that is inseparable from the egoic state.
When the ego singles something out and says “I love” this or that, it’s an unconscious attempt to cover up or remove the deep-seated feelings that always accompany the ego: the discontent, the unhappiness, the sense of insufficiency that is so familiar. For a little while, the illusion actually works. Then inevitably, at some point, the person you singled out, or made special in your eyes, fails to function as a cover up for your pain, hate, discontent or unhappiness which all have their origin in that sense of insufficiency and incompleteness. Then, out comes the feeling that was covered up, and it gets projected onto the person that had been singled out and made special - who you thought would ultimately “save you.” Suddenly love turns to hate. The ego doesn’t realize that the hatred is a projection of the universal pain that you feel inside. The ego believes that this person is causing the pain. It doesn’t realize that the pain is the universal feeling of not being connected with the deeper level of your being - not being at one with yourself.
The object of love is interchangeable, as interchangeable as the object of egoic wanting. Some people go through many relationships. They fall in love and out of love many times. They love a person for a while until it doesn’t work anymore, because no person can permanently cover up that pain.
Pretty amazing stuff, right!?
So, a bit ago I read a writing on codependency. And as I read this all I kept thinking about was that this writing was speaking to our ego. And though I couldn’t get my hands around exactly what I wanted to say, I knew I wanted to write about this, too.
And so I did a bit of googling: Codependency and the ego. Ego and addiction. Love and codependency. And I also went to my go-to authors: Elizabeth Lessor, Eckhart Tolle (so lovingly quoted above). And to my own writing: Own Your Shit.
And finally what I wanted to say started to come together. But it is complicated. There are a lot of layers here. Plus there is a language conflict going on because the negative words of codependency are the positive language of many relationships.
Just look at the words we use to describe our relationships. Language that implies dependency to such an extent that – if we were just to look at the language that we use – it would be easy to judge even the healthiest relationships as living soundly and squarely into the center of the codependent bucket. He is mine. She owns me. I could not live a day without Him. I miss Him all the time. She craves me. I am his drug. Her addiction. His lifeline.
Words of endearment or words of concern? And then I got it. An epiphany. That aha moment when it all becomes clear. You see, it truly depends on where these words first form.
Because I believe that when these complicated words that I list above stem from our minds, well, we are in for a bit of a problem. But when we love each other with our hearts, these concerning words become what we mean them to be – words of endearment. So our goal – what we all truly strive for – is to live in our hearts as we live in each other’s world. Our egos, yes they raise their stormy little heads from time to time, but hopefully we recognize this and so they are not usually involved.
When we say that we want to be in relationships with people who fulfill us, that does not mean they are supposed to fill us up. This is the distinction. This is where codependency roots. Right here, in our empty spaces.
And as we suck each other into our empty spaces, we begin to feel responsible for each other’s happiness, which isn't fair and creates so much pressure between ourselves and those we are in relationships with. This toxic pressure, it goes both ways – from me to you and back again. This need, it is deep within us. In fact, it is not really about each other at all. This toxic pressure, it is internal.
And it is ready to explode.
Eckhart Tolle writes: Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form.
But we think it is. Or rather, our ego thinks it is. That this love, it will go away. That we can lose it. That it is fleeting. And so fear appears and settles in and coats us with fog. And when we cannot see clearly is when our ego thrives. Thank goodness, she says. It is my turn now. And she grabs onto someone and convinces us that we need them. More and more of them and that we have to pin them down and we suffocate them so they cannot escape. But they do. Every time. Because they are outside ourselves. Because it is not real.
In my piece, Own Your Shit, I wrote: It is no one’s responsibility to make another person happy. Or to fill up their empty spaces. Yes, I love my kids and they fill me with joy. And my husband is a wonderful man. And I have deep, good friends and a very full, really lovely life. And yes, I am happy in these relationships that I have. But being happy is the blessing, not the purpose, of these relationships. And my responsibility to these relationships is to take care of them. By practicing self-care. And practicing self-love. By not needing input from others but rather meeting others in my life as a full, complete, person. Again, not easy. But I have learned to feel the difference – when I am engaging because I want to give to a relationship and when I am engaging because I am looking to get something from it. The latter does not feel good at all.
Eckhart Tolle says it like this: Only surrender can give you what you were looking for in the object of your love. The ego says surrender is not necessary because I love this person. It’s an unconscious process of course. The moment you accept completely what is, something inside you emerges that had been covered up by egoic wanting. It is an innate, indwelling peace, stillness, aliveness. It is the unconditioned, who you are in your essence. It is what you had been looking for in the love object. It is yourself.
Getting Going To Burning Man
Here is what I love best about this photograph, besides the fact that this is a friggin' awesome suede jacket. I love that you can see both my husband and my daughter taking my pic. And so, when I take all the photos that were taken of me in this jacket I also have all these images of the photo takers, too.
Now, about this jacket. It is suede, as I said above. And was not what I was planning to purchase on this day, which was yesterday. I was planning to purchase a big and warm and possibly fake fur coat to wear at Burning Man. Which I am going to this year. With this same daughter who's leg is reflected in the mirror to the left of me above.
We went into LA yesterday to this great outdoor flea market on Melrose. We went to go coat hunting. She got two coats. I got none. My plan is to likely wear one of her coats, the one she won't be wearing as she cannot wear both at the same time. The coat problem is solved. And I got to buy this jacket.
Plus, I have this amazing, actual fur but it's ok because it was my grandmother-in-law's fur not a new fur. It is a fur jacket. And I will bring it along for warmth as well.
So Burning Man. This is my first time going. Though I have thought about going for a few years now. I want to experience this experience. The art and the desert and the people and the fire. And I am going with this photo taking daughter which, in of itself, is quite amazing.
I am drawn to this Burning Man experience,though I am worried about this, too.
It is a long week when I find that most times being away for 4-5 days is really the best length of time for me. And so, between the driving up and the driving down and the time there, we are really looking at 8 days. And so the worry of overload when I know that my alone time that is the quiet time that is so precious to me will not be easily gotten, well I am overwhelmed now just thinking about it and Burning Man is still a ways away.
I know that the beauty of the experience will also live in the challenge of the experience and that my anticipation that is more like worry is really part of the going to Burning Man, also. That the going has really already started. And, as I have been told that you really cannot control what happens on the Playa, I need to start to let this go, now. And flow through to Burning Man.
Kinda like I did yesterday when I gave up the agenda of finding a coat and then walked into a jacket instead.
The Morning Light
Every now and then a book comes along that is so beautiful in language and imagery that you find yourself slowing down over words and sentences to savor the rhythm and tone that runs across the page. Such is the case with The Morning Light never passes us by.
Brian Lisus is a first time author, but he is certainly not a first time artist. He decided to write this incredible novel after hearing an audio book and immediately visualizing his own story set against the beautiful classical music that his instruments create. You see, Brian is a violin maker. And he takes his journey into his craft and weaves it within a story about a man on his journey into his life.
I met Brian because he posted a heartfelt writing about his experience with the Thomas Fire - the massive fire that swept through our town back in December. I reached out to him then to ask if we could include his thoughts in a book that I am created with a friend about the Fire and, in our interactions, I shared that I am an editor. And we met. And I edited a few pages for him so we could see if we were a match to work together. And I am so glad that we did. And so honored that I was able to work on the book with him. Because, truly, it is one of the most beautiful books I have read in a very long time.
Please consider reading this book. Go to Amazon and buy the paperback or download the Kindle version. And more, wait a few weeks and buy the audio version as well. For, you see, what this talented man has done is taken his story and surround it with classical pieces played on instruments that he created. He reached out to musicians that have his cellos and violins and violas and he brought these instruments into studios and captured the resonance of his artistry.
This book is special. There is nothing like it out there. It is rare in its story and symbolic in its message and rich with music.
I think you will love it!
I recently joined the photography club here in Ojai. I did not seek them out to join them, I kinda fell into them. I had gone to speak to them about this amazing book the I am creating with a friend. A book abut the Thomas Fire. An anthology about hope and connection and the coming together of the Ojai community as well as a book about the devastation and trauma of the Thomas Fire. We are collecting writings - poems, prose, reflections - and photographs (some of original artwork) that document the fire experience from the flames to the ash to the regrowth that is happening now - on the land as well as within the community. It will be a beautiful book.
And so I went to the photography club meeting to talk about the book so that these artists could submit photographs and images of their art for consideration for the book. And I ended up staying for the entire meeting and realized that I miss this. Taking photographs like this. And interacting with other artists who have that desire to capture - once on film - now mostly digitally, those moments that most resonate or that excite the eye, or that capture the essence of something rare or true.
And so I joined.
One of the cool things about this group is that, each month, a speaker/great photographer comes to speak about their process and their art and then they rate our work. And each month there is a theme. And May's theme is black and white. So I took some shots that knew would translate well into that lovely tonal image that no color other than the silvers and blacks and grays and white create. And then I manipulated them to create just the contrast and depth and shadow that I wanted them to have. And then I submitted them.
One is called Feet. The other is Sun Cat Dog Bed.
And then I went back through old photographs that I have. Ones I took over the past few years, a revisiting of old images and memories, to see what else I could work with. I made only one of them new. Changing the almost lack of color of winter grass covered in ice to another black and white image of coldness and shadow.
And then the other few I left alone. Kept them full and lush with color and the original perspective. Because I like them so much.
And now I am seeing the world with an even more careful eye. Looking at the form of an image and not just its subject. Balancing the weight and the line within the frame. And then the possibility that comes with taking what I now have and working it through my emotional response. Do I want it darker? Should it be cropped to isolate just one piece of the whole? Or does the original hold true the intention that I meant to capture in just that moment with the moment was real.
I am so excited about this.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.