“Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
~ Walt Whitman
“We broke up, and now I feel empty.”
It was the text I received from my friend as I was waking up this morning. The first thing that came to my mind was, “You didn’t break up, the agreement just shifted.”
This then sent my mind into a spiral of how everything can be reframed.
It is common to say, “I can’t afford that.” In reality, we prioritize certain things over others. Therefore, “I can’t afford that” is really an unskilled way of conveying, “I’m not going to make that a priority at this time.”
Affording things and breaking up carry with them the undertones of disempowerment. There is a crippling effect on our psyche when we become disconnected from our sense of agency.
An interesting effect takes place when someone is disempowered. The energy of saying no holds more power than the energy of saying yes. So, in this state a person spends most of their energy resisting everything. Walls go up, proving one’s viability through the futile acquisition of seeking attention (i.e. living life on social media), and rigidity becomes the norm.
Conversely, amending agreements and prioritizing carry with them the energy of empowerment. In this place, a person is acknowledging their ability—and even choice—to respond to a situation, therefore taking responsibility for their decisions.
Taking responsibility for decisions is different than taking ownership of outcomes. Outcomes are alchemical in that there are a variety of elements and variables that come together to produce a result. Simply put, you may want to rewrite the script of your life, but you are not the only author.
So, let’s talk about these concepts in the terms of romantic relationship. Just like the song by Neil Diamond about clouds (“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now / from give and take / and still somehow it’s clouds’ illusions I recall / I really don’t know clouds at all”) I too have looked at relationships from all sides.
The one thing I know to be true is we simply cannot live without them.
Relationships are defining forces in our lives. But more than this, the agreements we make with each other in order to be in relationship begin alchemical reactions that set the pendulum of choice and consequence in motion.
First, we fall in love. A lot of people think this is by chance. It’s not. Falling in love happens through a series of decisions—large and small. Sure, the time and place of it may feel random, but it’s not. It has everything to do with agreements. Some people call these “karmic contracts.” Some call it fate. But, mostly it is acting upon impulse.
Second, we prioritize that person or event in our life. It gets more time and attention. We afford it. For some this prioritization is pure instinct—babies need to be made and so the sex needs to be made. And at this stage the relationship needs more than instinct to keep it together. Stories have to be told about why, how, when, where, what and so on.
The storytelling portion of relationship is otherwise known as “getting to know each other.” And there is a difference between sharing our life with a person and building a life with that person. One has to do with being the center of attention, and the other with being a collaborator.
These are also agreements.
A lot of people want to be the King or Queen of the relationship, because somewhere in their mind this notion got coupled with the promise of satisfaction. It works for some people. And, my sense is that most of us want connection in a way that supports forgiveness, growth and autonomy.
Third, relationships come to an end.
Much like people graduate from various levels of education, so too do people graduate from relationships. This is just where we are at our point in conscious evolution.
As an aside, I imagine a “thug” or “layman” reading my words and thinking, “What the f*ck is she talking about?” There is a certain pretension to what I am trying to convey. So, to bring it down to a really simple level, you can have anything you want, just not everything you want. The key ingredient is getting in relationships with people and in environments that will elevate you.
If your friends sell crack, start rapping and get out of the ‘hood. If you are a trophy wife on her fifth plastic surgery, start a spiritual quest and get to an ashram. If you are a writer who hopes to become a thought leader but is living the starving artist lifestyle because you can’t seem to make sense of the material world (oh, sh*t, that’s me), make new agreements.
Love, money, prosperity, connection and all the good things in life are different forms of the same language. It takes time to learn it. A lot gets lost in translation or transition.
The point is, breaking up, being broke, running out of time, having bad health and all the bad things remain bad if we continue to believe in them.
My dear friend would say, “Emotions are just the lower harmonics of stupidity.”
In other words, what you resist persists. What you focus on manifests. What you decide upon materializes. And persistence wins out every time.
So, the take away—at least the one I’d like to guide you to—is this:
Sure, life can suck giant monkey balls sometimes.
First world problems are annoying. The planet needs our help. And narcissism is the new normal.
So be something about it.
Embody your ability to respond.
Be intentional with your agreements. Prioritize connection.
Move beyond survival. Die trying. Contribute your verse.
Let’s Stop Saying “I Can’t Afford It.” (Instead, Say This.)
Author: Rebekah McClaskey
Editor: Toby Israel
Photos: Author’s Own // Flickr/thatsbreathtaking
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