Karma Knows Intentions… You Can Run, But…

MoonlightThey say Karma is a bitch and believe me, having met her face to face, I can tell you first-hand that yes, she is.   She recently decided to feed me a fresh batch of payback stew – with a pitchfork.  Don’t make her wait too long kids, atone for transgressions quickly – she gets more sour with time.

When I was in school, there was a girl I hung around almost entirely because I had an unbearable crush on her boyfriend. My crush was a one-way street and so I pretended to like his girlfriend far more than I did just to be near him whenever possible.

While I did like the girl, I was not nearly as enamored with her as I let on and so, when he left her, so did I.  We both broke her heart, and while she had some understanding about why he just wasn’t into her anymore, she had no clue as to why one of her closest confidantes had abandoned her too.  Pretty heartless, I know, I admit my selfish guilt; I simply had written it all off to the heart wants what the heart wants.

Affairs of the heart can be pretty tricky at any age, and regardless of our experience, we’ll always be in some sort of learning curve within all of our relationships.

When we want something or someone so badly that we will bend our values or morals or sense of fair play to get it, the one thing I learned from that is, the achievement will not only be shallow, it’s doomed to be short-lived anyway.

Even that much awareness, regardless of age, is still no guarantee we’ll be able to over-ride desire.  We all want to be loved,  respected,  to be heard, and sometimes to get those things,  we‘ll go so far as to convince ourselves that bending a value is the same thing as a compromise.

Compromises mean things like you’ll agree to half the salt you normally like on popcorn so you can share with your sodium conscious pal, or you’ll agree to that raucous rugby tournament on TV the whole weekend if he’ll wear the earphones.

If someone says they agree to a value like a level of trust or respect, but do so not so much in understanding and agreement as in just an effort to halt friction, that’s not compromise.   That’s deception, and not only to the party who believes they have an understanding, your own heart is eventually going to take a beating too.

Love makes people do some incredibly wonderful things, but it also, intentionally or not, makes them do some really stupid things too.  Deception is a friend when we need to sneak around a corner.

This kind of deception isn’t necessarily the deep, dark, nefarious predatory sort, but it can sure feel like it if it gets to step in your relationships, especially as broken agreements.

If we become close to someone and honestly love them, but we’re not able to truly understand a value need of theirs, intended or not, if we don’t work to resolve it, we create a chasm that only one of us knows about.  Eventually the blind one is going to fall into it.

If consensus isn’t genuinely met, but the desire for that person remains, what is the fair play in the end?  There is really only one decent option.  As painful as it may be, you’ll either need to slog it out until you both truly get honest agreement or just let go.

Let me assure that the seemingly easier route of agreement for the sake of avoiding conflict is neither easy nor painless. It’s a short term plan that always gets revealed and as I was recently reminded, it doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 50 years old, when your heart falls into that chasm it gets crushed, pretty damned badly.

You don’t have to be cruel to be kind, but know the heart taking what the heart wants while bending values means someone is going to get hurt anyway – mostly, devastatingly.

Karma takes no prisoners.


There was never any RA, it was only a dream

Bad Medicine

There was a time I needed to feel safe.
So, I would just be the Italian, Eurasion or Greek.
It was better to be whatever I wasn’t
because anything was better than pain.

I didn’t have my grandmother’s arms to hold me
while she told me where we came from.
I didn’t have my grandmother’s words to tell me who
We are.

Her children went outward and got lost in the White Sea
with only glimpses of shining glory, such short moments,
but mostly they got knocked around and then down,
till the medicine could numb them, and set them free.

Some moved from drowning the sorrows, and doing what we were told,
but I learned the voices in my head weren’t the ones in my heart.
My grandmother’s voice now comes through; she’s been whispering the stories.
that the hurt of the years stood in the way of, for so long.

She’s been telling me to stand up,  to remember and learn who we are.
She’s saying use your voice to teach.
Use your voice to reach the hearts of the other lost.
Let them know they’re not alone, show them lies are not real.

Learn for them; then show them the ways through that White Sea.

It’s OK to not be only safe.

Staying hidden is another bad medicine.

Eagle on perch


Photo credit: Jim Wong Photography

The Bandwidth of Pain

Whose Story Will Be the Worst?

Pain Profile 2

We all have a story to tell, I search for yours to better understand mine.

We all have a story that waits to be heard.   No matter how uplifting or how dire the tale may seem, we all have known pain and we’ve all known joy.  We like to mostly brag about the joyful things in life and to show off, a little, all the good we have.  It’s good to say my happiness in life is good, and maybe even a little special.

On the other hand, how odd and strange is it that we sometimes take great pains to take measure of the pain of others too? To judge whose suffering is worse or not, or even worthy?  Are we really special because of the ways we have been subjected to pain?

Regardless of our circumstances, richer or poorer, surrounded by many or none, we encounter the same range of emotions from various ranges of circumstances.  It is only the circumstances that cause us to judge what pain level is necessary, appropriate or even merited, as though some of us may have got away with something.

Some of us have had been abandoned as children, some only temporarily, but even so both groups will share those first moments of realization that they had been left behind on purpose.

Some of us have been told our bodies hold disease with early fatal outcomes.  Some will die, and some will have some amazing intervention that continues life, but what real difference was there in their feelings when they were first told that news?

Some of us have lost loved ones from sudden tragedies, lingering illnesses, and even family disputes.  Is the pain from these losses so significantly different?  Do we miss one more?

Whether we burn our hand on a match or a hot coffee, or lose our only key to the car, or if our laptop gets smashed, or we lose our last dollar, deeply or nor not, there isn’t any shortage of situations where life will shoot shards of feeling through us until we scramble for ways to cope and/or beg for escape.

The moments of aches and heartbreak may not rise from the exact same stories, but really there is only so much bandwidth for feelings.  How we feel them varies in degrees according to our natures and of course the circumstances, but short of incapacitation or an early death, we will all experience the range in some way in our lifetimes.

No one really, should feel like they are the only ones to feel what they have, not for the sake of comfort in a ‘misery loves company’ kind of way, but hopefully at a minimum, to share compassion that comforts.

Ideally, we would grow to focus on our commonalities and heal together. Our shared stories are guides to solutions.  It is the stories of how and how well we overcame pain that really says who we are.

Everybody’s story deserves to be heard; only some of us get that benefit, especially if we speak or write in public forums.  When we tell our stories, we think they are only our own, but I have to wonder, when we do tell them, how many of our seven billion people are we really speaking for?