Elizabeth Chandler · 431 pages
Rating: (11.4K votes)
“I had discovered that there was something more painful than falling in love with someone who hasn't fallen for you; hurting that person-hurting him and not being able to do anything about it.”
“Are you lost?"
I turned around. "Excuse me?"
Two guys were sprawled on a bench close to the sidewalk. The one who had spoken wore tattered shorts and a colonial three-cornered hat-nothing else. He had wide shoulders and long, muscular legs. He stretched dramatically, then lay his tanned arm along the back of the bench. "You look lost," he said. "Can I help you find something?"
"Uh, no, thanks. I was just looking."
He grinned. "Me too."
"Oh?" I glanced around, thinking I'd missed something. "At what?"
He and his friend burst out laughing.
Way to go, Lauren, I thought. He had been looking at me!”
“Do you know what it was like kissing Holly and looking up to see you?"
"You said to begin anywhere."
But I hadn't expected that as a beginning, middle or end. I felt my cheeks getting warm. "I guess it was pretty embarrassing for both of us," I said, and walked ahead of him so he wouldn't see my face. "I know, I just kept staring at you."
"What were you thinking?"
"I don't remember."
"Don't you start using that line," he chided.
"Then don't ask me, Nick." Did he suspect how I felt.
He caught me and turned me around to face him. I focused on his shirt.
"Okay," he said quietly, "I'll tell you what I was thinking. I couldn't believe that I, who was never going to get hooked, had fallen in love with a girl who didn't want to date, and she was watching me kiss somebody else."
I glanced up.
"Your turn, brave girl. What were you thinking?"
"That Holly looked beautiful in your arms and that you didn't pull away from her the way you had pulled away from me when I kissed you."
He drew me to him. "I'm not pulling away again," he said holding me close.”
“Good dog," Nick said. "That's one of the tricks I've taught him, shaking water on girls so they back into my arms."
"Really! How smart of Rocky - and you, of course."
"That's another thing I've been wanting to tell you," he said, turning me to face him. "I'm tired of getting jealous of my dog. I mean, he has nice eyes, but so do I."
I looked from Rocky's golden eyes to Nick's laughing green ones.
"I didn't enjoy the way Rocky got to stick close to you while I played Holly's boyfriend. He's going to have some competition from now on."
"Oh, yeah? Are you good at retrieving sticks?"
"I'm good at stealing kisses," Nick said, then proved it.”
“Hey, does my stupidity give you the right to bruise a tender heart?"
"Yeah, yeah. I'm bruising a heart made of Play-Doh.”
“I stopped walking and wrapped my arms tightly around him. "You know I can hear your heart."
"Could you hear it breaking when I accused you of getting my cartoon pulled?" he asked.
I held my head back so I could look him directly in the eye. "I didn't pull it."
"You couldn't have," he replied, "because I did.”
“dreams are shadows cast by truth shining on our darkest secrets”
“Wounds heal. Love lasts. We remain.”
“Hurray', shouted Glokta. 'Porridge again!'He looked over at the motionless Practical. 'Porridge and honey, better than money, everything's funny, with porridge and honey!”
“A woman in her thirties came to see me. As she greeted me, I could sense the pain behind her polite and superficial smile. She started telling me her story, and within one second her smile changed into a grimace of pain. Then, she began to sob uncontrollably. She said she felt lonely and unfulfilled.
There was much anger and sadness. As a child she had been abused by a physically violent father. I saw quickly that her pain was not caused by her present life circumstances but by an extraordinarily heavy pain-body. Her pain-body had become the filter through which she viewed her life situation.
She was not yet able to see the link between the emotional pain and her thoughts, being completely identified with both. She could not yet see that she was feeding the pain-body with her thoughts. In other words, she lived with the burden of a deeply unhappy self. At some level, however, she must have realized that her pain originated within herself, that she was a burden to herself. She was ready to awaken, and this is why she had come.
I directed the focus of her attention to what she was feeling inside her body and asked her to sense the emotion directly, instead of through the filter of her unhappy thoughts, her unhappy story. She said she had come expecting me to show her the way out of her unhappiness, not into it.
Reluctantly, however, she did what I asked her to do. Tears were rolling down her face, her whole body was shaking. “At this moment, this is what you feel.” I said. “There is nothing you can do about the fact that at this moment this is what you feel. Now, instead of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is, which adds more pain to the pain that is already there, is it possible for you to completely accept that this is what you feel right now?”
She was quiet for a moment. Suddenly she looked impatient, as if she was about to get up, and said angrily, “No, I don't want to accept this.” “Who is speaking?” I asked her. “You or the unhappiness in you? Can you see that your unhappiness about being unhappy is just another layer of unhappiness?” She became quiet again. “I am not asking you to do anything. All I'm asking is that you find out whether it is possible for you to allow those feelings to be there. In other words, and this may sound strange, if you don't mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness? Don't you want to find out?”
She looked puzzled briefly, and after a minute or so of sitting silently, I suddenly noticed a significant shift in her energy field. She said, “This is weird. I 'm still unhappy, but now there is space around it. It seems to matter less.”
This was the first time I heard somebody put it like that: There is space around my unhappiness. That space, of course, comes when there is inner acceptance of whatever you are experiencing in the present moment.
I didn't say much else, allowing her to be with the experience. Later she came to understand that the moment she stopped identifying with the feeling, the old painful emotion that lived in her, the moment she put her attention on it directly without trying to resist it, it could no longer control her thinking and so become mixed up with a mentally constructed story called “The Unhappy Me.” Another dimension had come into her life that transcended her personal past – the dimension of Presence. Since you cannot be unhappy without an unhappy story, this was the end of her unhappiness. It was also the beginning of the end of her pain-body. Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.
When our session came to an end, it was fulfilling to know that I had just witnessed the arising of Presence in another human being. The very reason for our existence in human form is to bring that dimension of consciousness into this world. I had also witnessed a diminishment of the pain-body, not through fighting it but through bringing the light of consciousness to it.”
“So I stared out at that cold window, watching my breath collect on the glass, trying not to think about my life after the thaw.”
“Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine;—they are the life, the soul of reading;—take them out of this book for instance,—you might as well take the book along with them;”
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