First 30 Days Blog

13 apr

Coming Out of Survival 17: Wherever You Go, There You Are

WaniManleyWherever You Go, There You Are

Those who really know me know the following pure truths about me; I love to travel, I love to dance, and I love “GIM,” (pronounced “gem”) which stands for “Gorgeous Italian Men.” About a month ago, I met one of those GIM while out with friends on South Beach and recently spent a beautiful evening with him on the water watching the sunset in Miami Beach. This was our first date. This past weekend, he invited me to go with him to the Keys. Like a man after my own heart, he had taken care of all of the arrangements for the trip and even had the courtesy of checking in with me to see whether I was pleased with his choice of hotels. What’s more, he even suggested for us to rent a car instead of us driving my convertible; my kind o f man, my kind of style. Oh, yes!

Any other time, I would have been packed and ready to go faster than a New York second, but this time, not so. I was hesitant and on the fence about going with a strong tilt towards not going. Sure, I barely know him, but when has that ever stopped me before. It wasn’t him. It was me. All me. I thought to myself, “What is wrong with me?” A trip? GIM?” Moments later and still with a tilt towards not going, I also said to myself, “Who is this emerging character and where did Wani go?” “Bring her back,” I said. Getting serious, I sat with my feelings a bit and inquired within why did I not want to go? Why did I not want to do what I absolutely loved to do, which is to travel? Sure, it wasn’t to Europe or to some far off exotic distant land as I typically liked to go but still, it was a trip and a trip with a wonderful GIM that I liked. I continued to sit with the hesitance and found deep uncomfortable feelings within me and being whisked away to the Keys in the arms of a GIM, I’d be running away from my those feelings of fears in my face at that moment. What as calling my attention were: feelings of fear around surrounding the breakdown of negotiations for the sale of my condo coupled with the fear of having to relocate and being ill prepared to do so wrapped up with guilt; fear and grief surrounding death as news of death of close friends’ family members were swarming, as well as my own with the homicide of my cousin’s two-year old and learning of the child abuse he’d suffer before death at the hands of my cousin’s boyfriend (which wasn’t the baby’s father); fears of having to defend against a possible Bar complaint brought on by a disgruntled and desperate shareholder of one of my clients, a publicly trading company; fears around money; and most notably fear of cancer as that week cancer was just swarming my inner and external space. There was also anxiety as to what’s next in my life, which is a seemingly directionless interplay between Eat Pray Love and The Alchemist.

I felt I needed to and did stay put and sit with those fears and feelings and that going to the Keys on a romantic getaway or anywhere else would not change a thing because wherever you go, you take your mind with you. These same fears and feelings would have traveled with me to the Keys and would be there with me, GIM or not. It didn’t matter. You cannot escape your feelings, no matter what you do, where you go, or whom you blame. There is no way around it. You take your mind with you, even to the afterlife. This explains why some people can take vacations to the most beautiful of places and still be utterly miserable, or why some people, myself included, purportedly fed up with where they are living relocate and find out that the grass is just as green on the other side and not greener.

To illustrate, In 2004 I moved to Miami from Chicago to work with a law firm and upon moving to Miami, I absolutely hated living here. You name it, I hated it. For years, I bitched and complained about it and hated living here so much that literally once a month, I was flying back to Chicago. The fact that I was working in a sweat shop under the auspices of a law firm only I wasn’t sewing clothes fourteen-hour days seven days a week played a huge part in my misery with a capital “M.” As the years went by, almost every complaint I had about Miami aside from my work-life when remedied, still had no effect on me and my feelings of lack, emptiness, and self-worth. Yet, I blamed it on the external and Miami was my prime suspect. Years later, I finally realized that it wasn’t Miami at all. It was me. Not only was it not Miami, but it never was. I didn’t like me; more profound, I didn’t love me. It was my own feelings of lack, of emptiness, and inadequacy that was causing my dissatisfaction of where I lived, and of course Miami played back to me a mirror image projection of my own thoughts and feelings inside of me. Once I got on the path of spiritual and personal growth and started to shift the non-loving feelings inside of me about me, everything else in my external life began to shift and move into harmony. Living in Miami wasn’t all that bad anymore. At the very least, it sure as hell beats the dreary long winters of Chicago. I started to recognize and appreciate the things that I did love about Miami as my love of self started to grow and expand. Now, Miami is not where I care to spend the rest of my life as I have an affinity for living in larger older cities and in Europe, I am happy and enjoy living here. Now when I do leave here it will not be because I am running away from something with the false hopes of towards greener pastures but because I’ve satiated my experience here and am looking to start, do, and experience something different, even radical.

So, the moral of this story is rather then run from your feelings and emotions just face them. Otherwise, they will chase and haunt you, and if left un-dealt with make you sick. Running away or trying to run away from your thoughts and feelings is analogous to a dog chasing its own tail. Pointless. Instead, learn to make friends with your feeling by allowing them to be as they are and just sit with them. What you will find if you do this is that your feelings, however, uncomfortable they may be, will empty out. All thoughts, feelings, and emotions are nothing more than energy wanting to leave the body. It is your attachment to those thoughts, feelings, and emotions that gives them any real or overwhelming power. To sit with your feelings, all you have to do is sit comfortably and breathe deeply and slowly from your belly and observe you feelings and emotions. Observe with neutral attention and be detached from your thoughts, feelings, and emotions but welcome them to come up. Refrain also from disapproval of yourself for having those feelings. Simply just breathe and observe. Nothing less, and nothing more. You will see that your feelings will empty out and all is well and always is. Now, back to my GIM and the Keys, we’ve rescheduled the trip for next weekend.

Coming Out of Survival,


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Posted by Wani Manly on April 13th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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