Some of my favorite conversations happen at bars. It’s obviously not the bar, but the uninhibited people. Recently, I met with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. We sipped on our drinks till last call, and deliberated on topics such as religion, spirituality, humanness, history, ancient and current conspiracy theories, and more. I love those nights. I couldn’t get a word in between the two boys, so I listened. One was schooled in history and politics, and the other in life, documentaries, and internet articles. As I listened to their theories and questions, I thought to myself, “There it is, there is the problem.”
I believe that separation is the greatest lie of humanity, the lie that we are not all the same.
The thought that one is right and the other wrong. I think we all got lost in the details of race, religion, class, beliefs, and country. What if we are all right and wrong at the same time? What if we are all just wasting time and energy trying to figure out and arguing about who is right? What if that’s the simple and impossible truth? The thought rang in my head for days. I saw my therapist after the weekend, and we just caught up on recent events.
How my grandmother passed away, how my entire family was in town, how I lied to my best friend, again, how work was draining me, how I was going out a lot, talking to exes, and how tired I was.
She said “Wait, I have a video for you.”
She hands me her phone with an Oprah Super Soul Short on it.
It was about separation. I laughed.
It was about a little orphaned lamb who was starving, starving for food, nourishment, acceptance, love, and connection.
I shook my head as I watched the video.
“Keep watching,” she said.
The lamb wandered from and to different dogs, goats, and other sheep, looking for what it needed and wanted so desperately.
Nothing would oblige.
Oh, he was so hungry and sad.
“That’s all of us.”
We are separated from ourselves, from something non-physical, and from each other.
We are so desperate to feel full, and we are knocking on the wrong doors, over and over. We are so tired. We are so hungry.
Our souls are starving, and we feed them no substance.
We feed them addictions, vices, relationships, money, religion, things, work, food, and any fleeting thing we can get our hands on. It’s never enough. It gets us by, but we are still hungry.
Over the course of the past few months, I got to spend more time with my family than I have in years. It was…there are no words…a gift at best. I have spent most of my adult life carrying so much anxiety and self-loathing about my lifestyle, my drinking, jobs, boyfriends, and beliefs. This month we met as we were, and we accepted each other. A piece of me breathed for the first time. I said, this is who I am, and they said okay. What this did was give me the freedom to just be, to reckon with myself more clearly, and to accept myself despite our differences. It allowed my soul to step forward even more.
I think when we stop worrying, distrusting, and judging, we make a huge space for love, connection, acceptance, transformation, and soulful evolution.
When you have the tether of pure love and acceptance, you gain the courage and freedom to be more you, a better you.
Or as Thich Nhat Hanh says, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”
I’ll tell you still, I don’t know the answer, I just know the problem.
Embark on something with me. Stumble with me.
We are lacking connection with ourselves. Our Within. Our something that isn’t human. Dare to knock on that door with me. I’m doing it through research, therapy, self-reflection, and conversation. You can do it however you do it. There is no way for me to know how you are suppose to do this. That’s what makes it real. I don’t have a instruction manual for you, a book, words, or even advice. Check in and tap into that thing in you that whispers. Look and ask for teachers. Teachers come in all forms. Spend time with yourself. Reflect on your life, your habits, and your story. Step outside of your routine for a moment and meet with yourself.
Talk to yourself if you have to, I do.
“Caitlin, breathe, what’s going on? How are you? You good?”
Then listen. Cultivate a relationship with yourself. I believe that when you meet yourself, you meet your God. I believe that’s where the goodness lies. I believe that’s where the answers lie. I believe that’s where we find truth and purpose. Not all at once. No, this is a life long endeavor, and the greatest endeavor. It is not the only endeavor, but it is where you begin. It’s where it all unfolds.
Hey you, right there, do you know what you’re harboring? I don’t believe you do. You’re harboring a piece of God in you. You are harboring a piece of all of us. You are harboring a slice of All. We belong to each other. Will you share it with us? Please? Let me know what you find. This world is so huge. I hope you explore it, but there is also a world inside of you that is even more grand. Will you explore that too? Go backpacking, exploring, hiking, and traveling in your own being.
I write to you because I wrote to myself first,
Caitlin V McDowell