The meaning of life is to see.

– Huineng

Do you consider yourself Seen? Do you feel that there are people in your life who “get you” and see “the real” you? In a lot of my researching for Crazy Isn’t Part Time, I have read over and over about how both addicts and enablers feel unseen and disconnected from the people around them. The addict soothes their disconnection with substances or distractions. The enablers give without discernment in hope that through their giving they will feel seen rather than just passingly acknowledged. I know I experienced both sides of that disconnect. I’ve been an addict (food, toxic relationships, unhappiness) and an enabler, and recognized that lack of connection and feeling unseen in both sides of that dysfunction.

So, what happens when we DO feel seen and understood? What changes for us when we, the disconnected A & E, are given that connection we so deeply desire? I think it becomes a new intoxicant/distraction for us. Because most of us haven’t learned healthy coping and boundaries, we allow, or maybe can’t help, that connection to become supremely important to us. Quod me nutrit me destruit. We give that craving for connection the power to feed us or destroy us.

We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

I think though, that what in us is unseen is really only unseen by ourselves. That is, we are disconnected from who we truly are and unable or unwilling to accept ourselves. We feel unlovable and so we become unloved. We feel unattractive and so we don’t take care of ourselves. We feel worthless so we do things that devalue us. I hate to use this word because it is so charged with *woo* but by our thoughts of feeling separate we manifest our separation. It isn’t the separation from others that hurts us, but the separation from the higher self, or Soul, or Spirit within that gives us the greatest pain.

How can we manifest connection? How can we go from feeling separate to connected? I think it just takes a little bit of seeing yourself in others, creating empathy and having gratitude and compassion. I know that sounds simplistic. It is. It is only as complicated as you want to make it to be.

If you understand, things are just as they are.

If you do not understand, things are just as they are.

– Zen Koan

We are all the same. We are all born. Live life with happiness and sadness, suffering and bravery, connection and disconnection. We all die. No one is outside the circle. Not you nor I. We really are all in this together. In my struggles, I See you in your struggles. In your struggles, I See me in mine. In your joy, I See my joy. I try to be grateful that I am alive to experience them all. I try to live by St. Teresa of Calcutta’s words, “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”

I spend a lot of my time alone but I am not often lonely. I reach out to my friends when I want to feel a connection, when I want to know how their day is going, what is happening in their lives, or when I want to share what is happening in mine. Most of my happenings are things I think about or read. I have some friends who say their love language is “memes” and so we share silliness as we find it on the web. Shared laughter is a fantastic love language. Maybe if you feel disconnected, send someone a silly meme and share a laugh.

A Dream Within A Dream

-Edgar Allen Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow –
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

I have felt Seen. I have also felt very Unseen. I realize now that the disconnection was within myself, my eyes were half closed to myself. Lady Lazarus, open your eyes. Once our eyes close for their final rest, we will live only in short human memory, like a dream. While we have eyes to open, we are meant to See.

I see you,