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    When Opportunity Drop Kicks

           For many years, I was afraid to open up to my feelings because I was afraid of where I would go once I did. Of what would happen to me if I truly felt all of this pain I had stored inside of me. I was afraid I would become terminally depressed, or worse, suicidal. The thing is, I was already depressed. Because I wasn’t dealing with all of this hurt. I inaccurately calculated that if I brought on more pain, I would become more depressed. Which would bring my life to a standstill. As it was, I wasn’t moving in the direction I wanted to. Descending into pain would, I thought, bring my life to a grinding halt. And I’d be the one getting grinded.
            It was the same reason I wouldn’t risk having my heart broken. The pain of that first heart break, and the truckload of issues that went along with it, were still living inside of me. Because I had never faced it.
            As much work as I’ve done on myself since my mid twenties, I avoided delving into the truth about my relationships with women. Not in therapy, or workshops, or seminars, or on my own, say in my writing. My first heartache was, in a way, still happening to me. I let it stop me from ever letting anyone get too close.
            I wasn’t phony with my lover, or anybody else for that matter. Even people who don’t like me would say that I’m a straight shooter. So I shot straight. But the six-gun of my life was only firing a few of it’s bullets.
            My feelings were apparently the problem. They had seemingly caused me an inordinate amount of pain. Yes, there was joy. Lots of it actually. But far more pain. So, I rationed, if feeling primarily creates pain, then limit feeling. Do that, and I limit the pain. That sounds nice. Who doesn’t want less pain?
            Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. If I restrict my feelings, eventually, I lose the ability to choose which ones I feel and which ones I don’t. That ability is suspect to begin with, but the illusion of it is easier to maintain in the beginning because initially, life feels better. After all, I’m in less pain. Wow! Less pain! That means more joy! More happiness! So I’m happier! Aren't I? And all I had to do was clamp down on my feelings? This is the ticket baby!
            The whole paradigm was off. It’s not a matter of getting to a different point on a continuum. It’s about creating a whole new continuum on which to operate. To do that, I had to open up to my feelings. I had to deal with all this hurt that I had shoved down deep inside of me. That was the scariest thing I could imagine. So I avoided it. Even though, somewhere inside of me, I knew that would save me. Thus my greatest fear was also my greatest salvation.
            At forty-five, I was ready. In May of 2008, I was coming out of My Dark Ages, the most painful period of my adult life. I could feel myself starting to open up. After months of apparent stagnation, all of my work started to crack the vault I had constructed around my heart. Around my true, whole self.
            But I was still not going to chose to dive into this ocean of hurt.
            Well I didn’t have to. Because it chose me.
            Opportunity is said to be the juncture of circumstance, timing, and preparation. I was ready for a breakthrough. When my last girlfriend broke up with me, it triggered an avalanche of hurt that I had effectively corralled my whole life. Losing her was a pain that was six inches in front of my face. I couldn’t hide from it. I couldn’t out run it, out think it, out maneuver it, out fight it, or out fuck it. I had only one option. I had to feel it. I had to face it.
            When I started to deal with the immediate, in your face pain of not being with her, the world of hurt I had kept inside just exploded. The process of release began. The process of rebirth. And like all births, it’s painful. And like all births, it means freedom. This shit had been keeping me prisoner my entire life.
            I would never have chosen this particular path that began on June 12, 2008. Never. I don’t care what you promised me in exchange. So I didn’t have to chose it. Instead, it was forced upon me. Because it’s what I needed. To finally shift to this new place. This new place where life looks different. This new place where I’m more likely to see opportunities instead of obstacles, hope instead of despair, faith instead of fear, joy instead of pain, love instead of hurt.
            And instead of strengthening my subversive cynicism, this experience has deepened my spirituality. I see that the universe gave me what I needed because I could not give it to myself. I never would have given this to myself. I couldn’t. When I was ready to face this, the opportunity presented itself. And I took it. What a wonderful example of how I co-create my life with the universe. With divine forces. I stepped up to the plate big time, for sure. But I didn’t put the plate there. Or the ballpark the plate is in.

    ©2008 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and an opportune amount of Wrongs) Reserved.
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