I’ve been discussing growth with the people in my life for some time now. Most of the people that surround me are each on their own search for happiness and inner peace. I am asked for perspective as often as I seek it. It’s comforting to have balanced people to reach out to and it reminds me each and every day why relationships are important. The people we choose to have in our lives get intimate information about us. We’re very lucky when we find that the people in our lives choose to love us for the things we say, instead of judge us.
On Sunday afternoon, a few of us were sitting around in my friend’s West Village apartment. It was three of us just sitting around. Whose apartment, you ask? We can call him Jack, like Jack Kerouac, because he’s a mad one. My other friend we can call Joe. Joe is one of my oldest friends, I think the middle school “cooties” had just been discovered as a sham when we became friends. If there is one word for Joe, it’s loyal. He’ll listen to anything you have to say quietly listening to everything you care to reveal or hide. The three of us are very similar as we all wear our hearts on our sleeves. (Jack’s sleeves are usually more expensive though.) It’s in our faces and we can’t hide it; the coolest part is no one tries to hide anything when we’re together. When it’s just us three, there is an open door policy and anything goes. If we had a clubhouse, it would say “anything goes as long as you feel it” over the door. As you can imagine, this was destined to be a good Sunday.
We had met up after brunch at a record store in the West Village, where I was perusing the boxes of vinyls for my new collection. There is so much romance in vinyl. Even the hunt becomes intimate. Ayn Rand said that the most selfish act is sex, but I have seen fractions of this selfish madness in passion. Passion can be as unique and intimate as one’s sexual intrigues. It may seem to be quiet when the eyes open widen and the hands freeze, but the sensation brings a loud clamor with it. Someone will call your name and all you can do is lift your hand and say, “wait.” That’s how I felt at the record store and it was such an inspiring note to have on a Sunday afternoon.
After buying records, we headed to my friend’s cozy apartment for coffee and record playing. As the songs began to play, we all romanticized about the “old days” when something like this was common. The conversation spiraled and eventually we found ourselves talking of fears. This isn’t uncommon for the three of us to discuss. It’s rare that our gatherings are limited to superficial conversation. There was an observation that many people around us were exhausting themselves in running away from their fears. I know this can sound a bit high and mighty of us, but the value of the comment lay in the conclusion that there is difference between wanting to know your faults and avoiding it all together. I have experienced that same intense fear of knowing what my faults are. I once “mastered” the art of dodging them left and right to avoid a single drop of change. It was painful, to say the least— it was draining. I remembered that as the week kicked in.
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
When I read the quote above this morning, it reminded me of something I had learned long ago and it reminded me of the conversation we had on Sunday. There is a crack in all of us. There is a crack in me and in every one of my relationships that guarantees imperfection. What I have come to realize is that it’s when we open ourselves to the imperfections that we find a high power and understanding. There are things we are great at. There are parts of our lives where for some reason or another we manage a beautiful balance of right and wrong, of negatives and positives. There are some areas we just instinctively figure out, but there are others where we struggle. These cracks are the ones that make us weary, the openings that make us humble, and they are the holes that bring in the light. I see now that because of my fear of discovering that I might have something horrible to discover about myself that I’m able to be compassionate when I see the same in someone else. It’s my yearning to control that makes me receptive to when someone else is doing the same. It’s my desire to control everyone and everything around me that pushes me to seek a higher power and it’s only when I do that, that the urge to control fades. If we were perfect, why would any of us consider improving? praying? silence? We wouldn’t. We were given the imperfections so there would be a purpose to the climb. It doesn’t matter what your fault is, in the end it’s just a different shade from mine. You are not better or worse and your path is no easier than mine. I see that now.The only difference is whether you or I decide to face it, work through it and love ourselves despite of it.
All this made me remember the reason I bought the vinyl records in the first place. There are cracks and pops in the record. The quality is different. It’s more real, less sound booth. That’s why I bought it. It’s a constant reminder to me that life used to be simpler. The cracks used to be okay, they were even considered part of the music. Perhaps, that’s what it’s all about… more real, less stage. Find a rugged edge this week. Find it, call it what it is, and propose a small change for it. Remember, we all have cracks, but maybe the edges don’t have to be as sharp as they once were. Maybe it’s our job to wear the edges down not remove them completely. In the end, it’s the cracks in us that get us out of bed. It’s the journey to make it beautiful that makes the day.
Con mucho amor,