Warning: some well-deserved strong language ahead!
Yesterday, I fell in love with the nurse who lavaged my ear at an urgent care clinic.
I have a fucking problem.
But she was so adorably pretty, and so sweet—in that earnest, Midwest kinda way that reminds me of my childhood. She was wearing a delightfully cute pair of shoes, covered in brightly-colored flowers. When I verbally admired them, her face lit up; she was worried all day that the shoes weren’t appropriate for work, and my comment was a welcome reassurance.
We shared a warm, little moment of human connection, so rare in these days of social distancing, and more than enough to send my mind spiraling into the stratosphere with infatuation.
“Why do I fall in love with every woman I see that shows me the least bit of attention?”
That line from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” was still reverberating in my head from a recent viewing.
Well, part of the reason is that I was born with my moon in Scorpio. We don’t get crushes—we hear angels sing, we see rainbow-hued unicorns dance in the sky in response to the slightest hint of attraction. My fellow Scorpios will understand.
And then there is my unrelenting fixation on the idea of “the One,” an epic love that will sweep me away in all-consuming bliss. This preoccupation has haunted me my entire life; I can’t remember a time when it didn’t shape my reality. It goes deeper than social conditioning, although our cultural obsession with love stories has certainly reinforced the notion.
But I think this obsession is a samskara I’ve battled over multiple incarnations. A samskara is a “groove” in our subconscious, a habituated pattern that keeps us trapped in a certain behavior, endlessly repeating the same cycle over and over again.
Particularly insidious samskaras can follow us from one incarnation to the next, shaping our experiences over lifetimes, and deepening with each go-around, if we don’t recognize and address them.
Sometimes we’re able break out of the cycle, claw our way out of the rut, and haul our broken selves up into the light, bloody and gasping for air. We have a moment of clarity, seeing the destructive pattern that keeps dragging us through misery.
I’ve experienced numerous such of these little awakenings—seeing, knowing, feeling in my bones this unproductive cycle I’m in and vowing to never repeat it. (I’ve even written about it many times…)
Certainly, I’ve learned my lesson; I know another person will not complete me. I know that completeness is only found in myself. And for a time, all is well. I love myself, I’m happy alone, and my life is finally heading in a direction that fills with me joy.
I have moments—sometimes days, even weeks—when I feel whole, complete, filled with love. But then something happens to unbalance me, in this case, my new neighbor in the RV park had disrupted my sleep for the last several days, leaving me somewhat delirious with sleep-deprivation. Plus, there was the ear issue that brought me to urgent care, and on top of that I’m still clawing my way back to the surface after the tidal wave of heaviness that was the holidays.
So yeah, I was out-of-sorts, and not in my right mind.
When we become unbalanced, we’re more vulnerable to sliding back into our samskaras, repeating old patterns. Before we know it, we’re facedown in the shit-slimed rut again, dazed and suffering, wondering what the fuck just happened.
I’m beginning to realize that those deeply entrenched, multi-incarnational samskaras may never dissolve completely, at least not in the course of one lifetime. We need to constantly be wary of them, even when we think we’ve escaped.
“Once an addict, always an addict”—I’m starting to understand what this means for me and my relationship addiction. I may never be fully free of it; I need to constantly be aware of the temptation to seek salvation in another person.
Even when we’re feeling whole, when life is looking rosy and full of potential, we’re always one misstep away from tumbling back down into anguish, succumbing once more to our destructive patterns.
“Constant vigilance, Potter!” my meditation teacher used to say, quoting Mad-Eye Moody of the Harry Potter books. We must constantly be aware of the pitfalls in our psyche, the traps hidden in our subconscious. When we have moments of clarity, it’s all too easy to think we’re healed—we’ve slayed the demons, we’re finally whole, finally balanced. We want to forget our past troubles, forgot those parts of ourselves that caused so much pain.
But that’s the thing with balance: we’ll never be completely balanced—we’ll always be balancing. There is no promised land where our struggles cease for good. We must acknowledge our demons, embrace our weaknesses, hold them front and center in our awareness, where we can keep an eye on them.
That’s why I joined Elephant Journal’s Maitri bootcamp. I need help facing those shadow parts of myself I’d rather not see, and bringing love to the embarrassing aspects of my subconscious I’d rather ignore.
We can all use a little help with that.