I was a pissy guy yesterday. I had no idea why. I tried all kinds of remedies to shake myself loose from the torment to no avail. I treated myself to a dirty chai, I lit the firepit and sat outside, I went to a 12 step meeting. I talked to people, I prayed and meditated. Nothing. I woke up this morning with the answer and a hot air balloon analogy and two applications for it. So, instead of choosing, you have to read both.
It was three years ago yesterday that I committed my mistake. IT lead to the dismantling of everything I knew to be. IT would be today that I would be asked to leave my home and kids. I would live in the basement at my brothers’ house for several months. The job would end, the business fail, the marriage erode, and my kids would turn their backs on me all together. I would lose everything I had know to be true. Well, most things. I would lose my family, but I would grow very close to my Dad and younger brother. I would lose my business and career, but gain humility and the understanding I am more than what I do. I would lose many friends, but discover what true friends are. I would lose my identity, but gain an understanding of my perseverance and character.
The first analogy is thinking of the past as a hot air balloon ride. I have been stuck in the past the last few days and forgetting to admire the beauty of the ride. I started the day of the past very early. I unloaded my gear and began the process of checking out the contents. I opened my hot air balloon and spread it out on the grassy field. I put in air and then added life to it with a firey passion. The sand bags of remorse hung over the side of the gondola as the balloon stood up in the air. I strained against the remorse and used more heat, hoping to overcome it. I had left the ropes attached, fearful of letting go. I wanted to be aloft and I feared it at the same time. I held onto the past, making it fit the present. I strained to reduce the passing of time to make it more 2 dimensional. I was holding on and wanting to let go at same time. I stopped fighting it. I eased on the heat and addressed the fear. The fear was attached to my insecurity, my poor self esteem, my false pride, my ego. I addressed it and thanked each anchor for having kept me safe at some point in my life. I acknowledged its usefulness at that time, and then unhooked the ropes. I lifted each bag of remorsefulness. I looked for the messages of shame and rejected them. I saw in the bags the growth edges and the bags I had already dealt with. Again, I dropped the bags of shame. I kept the bags of stumblings that I could work on. The balloon soared into the sky. The bright balloon against the blue sky. The dark cranes flew by. The remnant of the moon sinking in the west. It was beautiful for what it was. I let the past drift away, grateful for all of it.
The second analogy that came to me was the balloon as relationship. I have been trying to heal up from a relationship that I messed up. I was afraid, but deeply in love. Truth be known, I will always love her as a memory and person. The balloon of the past has left and I doubt we will cross paths again. It was beautiful for what it was, and I am grateful.
Early in the morning of the relationship, you begin to unfold all the equipment you both have brought. There is excitement and anticipation and some hidden expectations. The anticipation is palpable and electric. You fill the balloon with hot air. The hot air can be the result of the lies issued from the masks we wear or it can be the heat from the passion of true intimacy. It boils down to communication versus contact. I have had relationships of both kinds. I have faked it more often then communicated. I feel relief to be out of the contact variety, I feel regret from the loss of the communication one. I was afraid and misguided in my fear. Either way, as you board the gondola in the relationship, you can either handle the weighty issues and the self imposed limitation ropes with discretion and discernment, or you can throw them overboard and cut the ties with careless abandon. I have tried to discern and deal with them. I did better than I ever had before with the recent relationship, but still tried to ignore some issues without really dealing with them. It lead to a shortened flight and some resentments. The relationship is aloft and it is thrilling . Being present in the moment is the importance at this point. Enjoy it for what it is. Rejoice. As you land, don’t think of the end of the thrill, remember it for the memory of the adventure, the joy. You are still in the relationship even when the balloon is packed away, you are building on the closeness and thrill everyday, even when you don’t float on the clouds. The relationship is the ups and down, the sand bags and ropes, the packing and unpacking. The storing with care, the attention to the beauty in all of it. I will miss that balloon, it was beautiful , thrilling, scary, sometimes painful. The experience and time together was beautiful for all of it.