Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Power of Being Strong

All throughout 2009, I've been throwing around terms like "happiest in my life" and "having it all" with a kind of sincerity that I think I've never had on this blog. There aren't enough ways to say it differently -- I have reached a place of such achievement in my life after the first 41 years, that I can truthfully say this is the peak. This is the highest point I've been at. Ever.

Yes, there is nothing but sky above me, and so I can't imagine where the limit will be just yet. But I also get the sense that I will probably never look back at any time in my future and reminisce about all the great times gone by.

I'm not only blessed with the good fortunes of decades of hard work in all areas of my life, but I'm also blessed with the knowledge that my middle-class American fear of literally - and figuratively - being "two paychecks away from being Hobo Joe" was an absolutely ridiculous, unfounded fear that only served to hold me back in life. So I am appreciating this moment in my life, but I'm not stopping for more than a breath.

And here is what lies beneath.

When you feel this happy and contented with your life, you suddenly realize your strength is far beyond what you imagined, or even feel in your skin today. I know in my head that I have a gigantic capacity of strength within me - and I am glimpsing it now from a vantage point I've never had, with age and wisdom. And the wind at my back in respects of career, city, home, friends and love. And it's far bigger and deeper than I thought. I'm taken aback. I can hardly believe it. And like wandering into your garage to discover a gorgeous car you didn't know you had, hidden under a cover and gleaming in the light of morning, I have no idea how it works. I've never commanded it. I've never really been behind the wheel. I'm still not quite over finding it in the garage!

And suddenly, I realize: I can go places. Lots of places.

In fact, the power of this strength -- I see in recent days -- can take me even to the darkest parts of my soul and mind, and carry me through. I feel so strong that I'm losing the fear of facing everything about myself, not just the convenient things but everything.

Psychiatrists once experimented with using MDA - or ecstasy - on returning Vietnam War veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They would give a certain dose to the patient, allow it to begin to work, and begin to engage in talk therapy about the traumatic experiences the patients were unable to face and overcome. The main effect of the drug is to flood the brain with chemicals that overwhelm much of their emotional barriers to various emotions, concepts, memories, social interactions. It frees people from the day-to-day emotional walls they put up, for whatever reason. It also takes away much of the fear a patient can have in facing something that normally overwhelms him. For this reason, ecstasy was shown to be helpful to many people -- if it was utilized for specific goals, and not just taken as a means to lull the brain for a few hours. (I believe, and always have, that it is very helpful to people who are desperately plugged up, if used properly.)

I am reminded of those experiments as I look at my new-found happiness. I know it's the real deal -- that I really am happy -- because for the first time in my life I am not afraid to face my own deep fears and anxieties that have plagued me since I was a child -- even less afraid than I was in therapy years ago. Not only do I feel strong enough to overcome these fears, I also feel wise enough to know how. And I'm not sure I need any assistance this time, save maybe the help this blog gives me, as well as my closest friends.

I don't need to lean on Vini, or my career, or the party circuit. Or anything. I can do it.

And in doing it, I can be a better person in all respects. Once I get past this, I can sort out all the challenges of my life, my marriage, my career, my day-to-day life in São Paulo, with tremendous ease.

You know, this kind of feeling is probably where all sorts of faiths spring forward. From Scientology to evangelical Christianity, no doubt -- higher powers and grandiose senses of self. I get it. But this is not religious for me, not foreseen or prophesied - not promised, nor granted. There is no narrative to this moment in my life that I can tie to a book or a building or a philosopher. It is simply me, being a full person, finally taking on what I've feared, put off, denied. And getting on with it.

It's just me.

4 comments:

North Dallas Thirty said...

(smiles)

You're finally recognizing what those of us who have had the pleasure to meet you know, Kevin; you're a hell of a guy.

To quote Whitney, "Learning to love yourself....is the greatest love of all."

Keithincali said...

Nice post, I understand your fears also. I think a lot of us have similar fears. I'm happy for your new found strength. :-)

Vinicius said...

those arms are soo 2 months ago.. when will we have updates here? I kinda miss them.. specially when u r far away..
Love you.

Kevin said...

I love you, too. Thanks for inspiring me.