Chasing Two Rabbits: A Tale of Divided Convictions

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“The man who chases two rabbits, catches  neither” (Confucius)

For some reason, this quote really stuck out to me, and could be interpreted a few different ways. In the past, I have mainly used Facebook for my social media, however, I have been finding much inspirational content by browsing twitter and spending some time on my twitter feed. If you are not following me there, please do @marisapell.

As I noticed the above quote, I stopped for a second and thought about it, and then moved on to reading other content. However, the events over the course of the next few days had me ponder it a little more and inspired me to write about friendship and how it could shape you, move you, and elevate you to be a better person. And how important it is for friendship to be a part of a lasting loving relationship.

After a long week of work, I was able to spend some quality time with friends I hadn’t seen in a while. I was able to be in the moment and present with them without having somewhere to go or something to do. I spent time with various friends on separate occasions, and realized just how important this was for me to number 1: just be and number 2: see the events and conversations as a means of some heavy self reflection.

I was feeling completely drained, tired, and kind of out of it. Part of me just wanted to sleep! However, since it was my birthday last month, there were a few friends that wanted to spend some time with me, and it took us about a month and a few weeks to finally get together. Just the fact that they wanted to have a special day for me, even though it was almost a month and a half later made me feel very special to them. So, before I go on, I have to explain that as a person I am very “self reliant”, and this is great for my independence and helps me with goals, but it doesn’t make me a great “receiver”. I am a giver by nature. Look at the field I am in!

BUT…I love people, and it’s that love that keeps me going.

And I show a LOT of love, some people would say I love too much sometimes. And I guess this is the reason for this post. I’m thinking a lot of you feel the same way. Those who are reading this are the matriarchs of their home, the women & men in the helping professions, those in the intuitive field, and those who just take on way too much at the expense of themselves. I am always learning, and the people who love me often let me go (and sometimes I’m not doing the right things) but they are always there when I am ready to seek some advice and just plain ready to sit down, shut up and listen. I have many long term friendships, which I am truly grateful for, some I speak to daily, some I haven’t seen in 5 years. However, I know that I can call any one of them up and say, “I really need to talk right now” and they would be there. And what I tell them will remain without judgement, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get a kick in the A#%! My friends are honest, loving and truthful with me, but not honest with the intention of breaking me down, criticizing me, or giving me a feeling that they may use it against me down the road.

Did I always have these types of friendships? NO. There was a time in my life where I let no one in, kept people at arm’s length and basically was just the funny girl who made everyone laugh. I was there for others but was not able to ask for help in return. I didn’t have clear boundaries, and I didn’t know how to resolve conflict. Therefore, I had a lot of intense friendship “romances”, where when everything was perfect we were together 24/7 but as soon as there were issues or a problem, the friendship would hit a silent period and fade. I had no idea that people would love me if they knew I wasn’t always funny. I thought it they found out I had a serious side, if they knew I was a person who didn’t like to talk much sometimes, and that I really did enjoy a deep conversation that maybe they would think I was boring. I know, it sounds weird now even writing it, but deep down, I felt that if I didn’t keep everyone entertained at all times, they would get bored.

One of the great friendship moments I had was when I was in graduate school from a great friend who I spent hours on the phone with analyzing my crazy relationships. We were both really interested in psychology and loved anything that had to do with it. And there were no romantic elements to this relationship, just pure friendship. Plus, how did we both meet?? In class and we were both were part of the same Improv Comedy venue (you can laugh now)! He was a regular performer and I was taking classes. This friend was really the only one during that time that saw a deeper side of me, the side that wasn’t running around being loud and making jokes.

However, it was always “after hours” on the phone or when noone else was around. When we hung out at school, or with our improv friends, or went out at night, I became that “larger than life” personality. And do I still have that side to me? Absolutely yes! Humor is a huge part of my life, but by all means it’s not everything. I still embrace that side, but after many years of working on myself and changing the parts of my life which were causing me problems, I am able to embrace and SHOW the other sides of me.

One night my friend invited me out with the other actors that were part of his touring troupe. These people were already performing comedy at the venue and basically their next step were spaces on the main stage, which was a big deal in the thriving Boston comedy scene. In the history of the place, there have been some main stage performers picked up by Second City in Chicago and even went on to perform for SNL. Of course, I really wanted to follow in their footsteps or just have the opportunity to perform on that stage! I was just there taking classes, and performing with a small troupe over at another less known venue on the outskirts of Boston. But of course, I felt the pressure when I went out with these people to be funny, if not HILARIOUS, because after all, they were funny people. OMG. I can’t believe I am writing this, because now it sounds so ridiculous, but that was my mentality then.

So on that night out, I noticed that all these “funny” people weren’t really that funny. They were actually a little boring, the conversation was wanting, and we kind of just sat there at a coffee shop after dinner and a show and they quietly shared some inside jokes and minor gossip. A lot of it was “shop talk” about the inner technicalities of the show or people/things they were annoyed about. Nothing was really over the top, funny, or even remotely entertaining…..except me. (Well not really funny, very over the top, loud and obnoxious). I wanted them to notice how funny I was. I figured I had to take it up a notch, even more so than my normal crazy personality, I went to the utmost extreme. People just looked at me weird, and kind of laughed, but not in a really funny way.

I noticed my friend wasn’t calling as much, and when I did reach him, he was a little distant. Finally, (and this was the first and only time he ever did this), he said, “You were kind of out of control the other night, and a little embarrassing”. “You were way over the top, and I don’t understand why you think you have to act that way. I know you in a different light, and I really like what I see. Why don’t you show other people the side of you that I see? It’s much more attractive.”

I was stunned. I was silent. I just sat there on the other end of the phone and couldn’t say anything. Everything I believed about friendship, about making friends, about keeping them, this was all completely against what I thought to be the truth. I HAD MY CONVICTIONS. All that I felt and what I thought I knew was challenged right then and there. I told him I felt the serious, deeper side of me was boring. He said it was the most interesting. What? This couldn’t be true. He was the only one who saw the other side of me, the side that wasn’t truly smiling all the time, the side that was down, the side that held vulnerability, the side that liked to analyze psychotherapy and all it’s angles. To me that was sooo boring and kind of dorky. Why would someone want to sit there for hours analyzing people?? Well it was fun to me and to my friend, but that was as far as it went.

Needless to say, I don’t think I ever forgot that. He lit a fire within me, but I must say that it didn’t change me over night. It planted a seed somewhere, and after many years of change and rebirth, his thoughts proved to be true. I have come into my own since then, but it probably took me a good 7-10 years to integrate it all. At that point, I was divided, mind body and soul, and when there are divided convictions, it’s almost impossible to make decisions out of your truth.

Conviction Of Heart / Focus

Yes, a lot of you wrote about focus on facebook when I asked what the quote symbolized for you, and I feel the same way. It has been a long while since my friend said those words, and there are times in life where we can’t see ourselves objectively. How we see things, our views, our wants and our needs can be really out of alignment. Sometimes it takes a friend to make us see that WE ARE STRUGGLING BECAUSE WE ARE LIVING WITH DIVIDED CONVICTIONS.

With True Conviction of Heart, there is no wavering. If you think in terms of your life decisions, when you were the most solid, the most strong of heart, you were also SOLID in your convictions.

After spending this weekend catching up with friends I haven’t seen in such time, I allowed myself to just sit, enjoy the time and receive what they had to give, whether that be their attentiveness, listening to their stories, catching up on events, or hearing insight. It was so nice allowing myself to be loved by them, and it’s such an amazing feeling to know that those that care for you pay attention to you, and spend their time thinking about you when they could really be doing something else.

A few of my friends spent a whole day planning things that I loved, small surprises here and there, and a lot of laughs. Obligation is one thing, and I know how it feels to give out of obligation and to be given to, and neither of those feel good. However, you know when people take the time to put a lot of thought into putting a smile on your face, it creates a ripple of gratitude. It took a lot of years and time for them to get to know me, and it took a lot of years and time to allow myself to be loved, and to accept it graciously.

During the time, they had seen that I was struggling with an inner focus, but I didn’t see it. They could tell by my expressions, the way I responded, and my energy that I was confused. Funny thing was I didn’t think so. I thought I knew where I was going, what I was doing and what I wanted. But by sitting and listening, I realized what my head was telling me, what my intellect knew and what my heart said were completely different. Shining the light on this made me realize that I indeed did not have solid convictions with certain situations in my life. Therefore, how could I choose? How could I follow a road when I kept looking back? There is no doubt in conviction. There is just a knowing of where your soul must lead. This definitely may defy your feelings, but feelings are not facts. And feelings run high and low. They change with the tide. However, the light of the moon always remains the same. Your inner knowing is your compass.

How could you or I make a decision, or try to force a decision when there is no solid conviction of heart? Sometimes, that conviction may be a tougher path, a road that is less travelled, and it may involve leaving things behind. However, we must not embark on that road until we have given ourselves ample time to have conviction of heart in the matter. To me this didn’t mean that I had to not listen to my intellect, because reason is a part of the process. To be solid in the extreme on either direction doesn’t contribute to the blend of the energies that is needed to focus. But if we only reveal to ourselves and to others one side of our story, how are we ever supposed to be at peace with our decisions?

Sometimes decisions are made in silence. Sometimes there is strength in it. Don’t you remember the teachers in your old grade school? They were always silent during the test. 

I really enjoyed everyone’s input on Facebook, and I would love to hear what you all have to say next!

Have an amazing day!

Marisa

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