It was a cold, winter day and the wind brushed against the windows of my dad’s white, 1969, Dodge Dart.
I sat in the backseat listening to the whistle the air made as it seeped through my window. In a flash of a second, the door beside me flung wide-open.
With a strong gust of wind, I was tossed from the car and on to the side of the road. I don’t remember falling from the moving vehicle or the impact. I only recall waiting a while on the side of a winding road for my dad to turn back.
I wondered afterward why the car’s broken door and seat belts had been neglected. I questioned why my body wasn’t checked for bruises, breaks, or scratches. Deep down, even though I was only nine years old, I knew my answers. My parents were overwhelmed; life had thrown them several curveballs.
I made my way, nonetheless. I ducked, weaved, and moved through a variety of life experiences. In other words, I learned to cope with the good, the hard, and whatever else arose. My character (or psychology) would develop from and in spite of my collective history.
In the process of my becoming, however, many places inside were left unattended—lacking love.
These spaces I have come to know as my emotional holes. At times, I catch myself looking toward another to fill them. I see others do the same with their emptiness. I witness many I know enlisting alcohol, sex, food, or all the above to occupy those vacancies. All of us searching, in our own way, for something or someone who will help us feel whole.
In my life, there is a theme within my challenging relationships: a deprivation and a withholding—stemming from each others’ voids.
I often feel deprived or overlooked when searching for acceptance or approval in those exchanges. I am reminded of the scared, injured child left on the road I was once.
I experience the other person as withholding their love, which appears as an oversight or a disconnect on their part. Yet, whenever one holds themselves back or emotionally cuts off from their feelings, it derives from their emptiness. Thus, both of us are operating from the depths of our hollowness.
The relationships that bring the most joy into my life are the ones where this pattern doesn’t exist. These are the “good vibes only” people. I’ve been told to surround myself exclusively with them—the ones who enhance and bring out the best in us. While this idea is wonderful, I also know that it is somewhat unrealistic.
Inevitably, those who push our buttons will show up in our lives—whether it is a boss, a colleague, or a family member. In some situations, talking it out and speaking our minds is effective. But, I have come to realize not everyone sees it as their responsibility to hear us or right their wrong.
These difficult exchanges may arise not to agitate or have us feel unseen but to point to the places we may want to heal.
I am learning, I can look inside to my own nature to care for my wounded parts. There is a center of nurturance inside each one of us, and it is called our heart. When I choose to turn toward the love inside, rather than search outwardly, I begin to heal. I am home.
When those difficult entanglements present themselves, I can remember the cold, little girl watching her dad’s car drive off into the distance. And, I acknowledge her desire for affection and approval from another. But, I can remind myself that I am no longer lost or alone. In this moment, I am well. I can turn down the voices that tell me otherwise.
And when there is quiet, I can tune into the reservoir of unconditional love that exists deep within my heart. I offer myself the praises and the love I need.
This is the voice that matters and the one we need to trust. It tells us to stop our seeking, and it directs us toward our hearts—again and again. It reminds us that we are love and love lives within each one of us.
“Whenever an answer, a solution, or a creative idea is needed, stop thinking for a moment by focusing your attention on your inner energy field. Become aware of the stillness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle