Be Fearless, Love Garry – Part 2

I had to return to Garry for this post because his documentary has stayed with me in deep and thoughtful ways since viewing the two-part series.

I posted Part One of Be Fearless, Love Garry in the middle of last week. As I was getting ready to go away for the weekend, I was wrapping a gift for a friend’s party for whom I was going to miss due to my weekend travel. I planned to drop the gift off before I left town.

I had a couple of oddly shaped presents that I wanted to connect together in their wrapping.  I inserted the goods into a hand-made bag that I had purchased from a local shop and went to cut the tags off. My heart skipped a beat and the hairs on my arms stood up. The bag, which I bought because I thought the wording on the front was funny and befitting the receiver, had this beautiful leather tag attached to the back of it, which I had not noticed when I bought it. At the bottom of the tag:

BE FEARLESSLY AUTHENTIC

All caps. The pretty tag was yelling at me. Thank you, Garry, I hear you loud and clear. Just as in last week’s post, Garry’s message was to be brave, fearless and myself.  Synchronicity Posse at it again.

The entire purpose of my writing, starting with the journals years and years ago, was to figure out “who am I” and “what is my purpose”? Authenticity in terms of self had not really entered my vocabulary at the time. But at 40+ a few, I had no idea who I was, what was important to me, what felt true in the deepest levels of my soul. My anxiety had crept up to levels of which I had not felt since postpartum with my first child.

I found myself being reactive, quick to make assumptions, feeling alone and disconnected. Unhappy with myself and my life situation, yet not having a clear cut reason for my unhappiness based on my surroundings and love of my family.

This quote from The Zen Diaries is one of the reason’s I can’t shake Garry’s story:

Sarah Silverman notes, “He turned to Buddhism, but it’s not because he’s Zen. It’s because he was in desperate need of being Zen.”

A few people in my life know personally what it is like to be cut by the knife of Jane’s words. Mean, nasty, inconsiderate, selfish, cutting words.  My inner struggle was taken out on those closest to me at times.  I was in desperate need of being Zen.

This observation, this comment by Sarah Silverman is so poignant to me because of the depth of truth contained within it.  Why do we change our diet? Because we need to lose weight. Why do we exercise? Because we want a healthy heart and bones. Why do we have relationships? Because the human condition requires connection.

I needed to find some sort of Zen because I was in desperate need of peace, love and contentment in my life.

A couple of years ago I took a birthday trip with friends. We were there to celebrate another friend’s birthday but it just so happened to be my birthday while we were there as well. I made a firm proclamation that I wanted essentially no birthday attention – the weekend was to be all about my friend.

Based on my reaction, that proclamation was not at all aligned with what my innermost self had wanted.  I was hurt, acted irrationally and basically made an ass out of myself due to my perceived unmet birthday adoration.  Awoken horrified the next day, I grabbed the book that I was reading at the time by Pema Chodron, “When Things Fall Apart,” and headed to the beach.

I can see how that may have seemed incongruous to the friends on the beach with me. I had acted like a bratty baby the night before and was now reading the teachings of a Buddhist Monk twelve hours later, keeping to myself, ashamed and saddened.

But that is why Sarah’s quote is so on target: we, the hurting souls and spiritual seekers, are here at this point in our lives because we desperately need relief. We know there is more to life than pain and discontent and we are willing to do the work to find healing. I know I am. And I want to help those who feel the same way.

I travel from place to place with my brief case loaded with a little “work stuff” but more fully weighted down by journals, articles and books about healing, meditation, mindfulness work,  resolving trauma, and self-compassion to name a few. These are my journey and they help me answer the question I for so long have asked: Who Am I? Why Am I here?

I am a flawed human soul who has a deep, almost desperate desire, to become the most authentic version of myself in this life time. I no longer hide in shame nor am I afraid to say I am sorry or to reach out to connect with those in need.

I am willing to be me, to BE FEARLESSLY AUTHENTIC, in life and with love.

befearlessGarry

Be Fearless, Love, Garry

Lately I have been having these incredibly interesting life events simultaneously occurring. As I continue to open myself up to others regarding my personal history with mental health struggles and some of the causal factors of those challenges, more people, more articles and more connections are continually being revealed to me.

In psychology, Carl Jung calls this “synchronicity:”  events that are “meaningful coincidences,” occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related.

For example, if someone recommends a certain book to you, then you happen to see a review of it in a magazine and then see a stranger reading it in the airport, there’s most likely a message in that book for you.  When three different people of no connection suggest you try something new, it is worth your effort to investigate. The universe has something waiting for you in these meaningful coincidences. I accept life’s synchronicities as little winks from the universe: “Keep going, Jane. You are on the right path.”

However, in order to be alert to life’s synchronicities, we must be fully present, or mindful.  As a reminder, mindfulness is: “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”

This is a picture of the artwork I keep on my office wall as a mindfulness reminder:

BeHereNow

It’s a lot harder than it seems, frankly. When I am at lunch with a friend, am I actually present mentally or am I thinking about the 3 things I need to do immediately after? When I am working at my “real job,” where the above artwork is framed, am I day dreaming about what I want to write about next on my blog? (Usually, yes…but we are all works in progress).

The most significant synchronicities have been in the revelation of connection through our shared experiences, particularly our common struggles:  real life stories of anxiety, panic attacks, major depression, anorexia and/or bulimia, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, alcoholism, prescription medication addiction, PTSD caused not only by military experience but also by rape and child abuse, suicide and suicide attempts. Real stuff. Scary stuff. But the stuff from which we are most deeply connected, if we allow ourselves to remove the shame and stigma.

Big name movie stars, athletes, news anchors, and comedians are braving the consequences and sharing the truth of their struggles with mental health. Parents, coworkers, college students, children, young adults and grandparents are opening up with confidants and professionals. I am hearing these stories first hand and know that the more we talk about these things, the more they will be lifted from of the darkness, free from shame.

Which brings me to Garry Frickin’ Shandling, of all people. As those closest to me know, I’m a sucker for anything biopic. Unlike a sitcom rerun that makes me run from a room covering my ears, give me a life story and I’ll inhale it faster than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. But Garry Shandling? Isn’t he a dorky comedian who was in his prime during my college years??

Well, yes, I guess, but I’ve just recently learned so much more about his depth and process through the HBO mini series, The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, produced and directed by Garry’s protégé, Judd Apatow.

Posthumusly, Garry Shandling, who died at age 66, has become a major contributor to my Synchronicity Posse. Below are  pictures on my phone from some of his diary writings, which he began in his earliest days of trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life, and continued throughout his explosive career.  His soul searching began as a result of the trauma he experienced as a boy through the loss of his brother at ten years old. His parents never acknowledged the death of his brother, nor allowed his grief. He wasn’t even permitted to attend his brother’s funeral.

I paused the show and snapped pictures, paused and snapped, taking photos of Garry’s personal diary and his words of wisdom and personal reflection. Each one of these had a personal meaning to me or was relevant to things I care keeping about: being fully present, being/becoming my most authentic self, being fearless, the power of vulnerability, just to name a few.

This is a screen shot of all that I accumulated… from Episode 1:

GarrysNotebooks

A writer. A spiritual seeker. A student of buddhism. Practicer of mindfulness. Also, often a pain in the ass, work-related perfectionist who was often difficult to deal with and overly sensitive. Was I watching a documentary on myself???

No, just my synchronistic soul brother, encouraging me to follow my path and be both brave and fearless at the deepest levels.

Because, of course, this is not the first time I have heard these exact words recently. Meaningful connection through occurrence. Synchronicity.

befearlessGarry

“Have the courage to feel your emotions in <whatever is important to you>”

Meditate on it, open up at the deepest level.

Be brave at the deepest level.

Be fearless.”

– Garry Shandling, Zen Diaries

Look for the 2 part series, The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling on HBO:

https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/the-zen-diaries-of-garry-shandling