Look into my eyes

This morning I woke up with a feeling of great autonomy. I had a good night sleep on the floor of the dojo. (In the picture you see my bed in the foreground and my fellow uchideshi still asleep in the background.) I felt that I could survive anywhere and that my meditation cushion would always be able to save me. Then that feeling of autonomy shifted into loneliness and sadness.

Why am I feeling so sad suddenly? Two things come up. There is something happening that I didn’t foresee. An important reason for me to go travelling is that I want to search for inspiring people, I want to know ‘the 21st century warriors’. There is an implication there that I want to find people who are more evolved, more inspiring, clearer and more successful than me. Ouch, it hits me. As I type this I realize I am looking for father figures, people to look up to. Goddammit, is the pain of growing up without a father still driving me? I thought I was beyond that. But my need is not met. Because what happens is that when I tell my story about what I’m doing here I am all of a sudden the inspiring dude.

This saddens me because it has many implications. It means that chances are small that I will ever feel what it means to have a father. It also means that if I’m amongst the bravest there will be never many people that will understand me and that humanity and our planet will keep suffering from our greed, fear and ignorance. But the most difficult part is that I have to let go of the idea that I’m inferior. Where would I be without something to strive for? What if there is no special species that is more human than me?

Then there is the second thing. Yesterday I had coffee with an American tantra teacher. She invited me and I felt honored. Our meeting was very interesting. When a practitioner (when I say that I mean meditator) meets another practitioner who has gotten rid of a lot of unawareness they recognize each other. Because both people are not hiding behind masks they allow the other to look into their eyes. Defenses are dropped.  This happened during coffee and I could physically feel the energy flowing.  Coincidently the shaman that I met the first night also had lunch in the same place and came to say hello and promised he would call me. I repeat: he would call me. And I felt blessed. I felt like wow, it is really happening, I am meeting awesome people and I am not rejected.

My lunch partner is expressing how she enjoys looking into my eyes. Then she tells me that she is also a little bit uncomfortable because she is attracted to me. All of a sudden there is an extra layer added to the meeting. She is happily married but in an open relationship. I know her husband. First I took her confession just as a compliment not as something that needed further ‘exploration’. I found out she felt differently.

Although I obviously like being considered attractive (I prefer that over being considered unattractive) it saddens me that the other experienced an exchange that I was valuing as very real differently. I’m sad that it’s so hard to meet somebody on the same wavelength. Even when I thought I met somebody on the same wave as me she also wasn’t. It seems to me that we are all inherently lonely. The consolation is that we are very much together in our loneliness.

Paradoxically enough I can understand how it is for attractive girls when a guy always wants ‘more’ than just friendship. It feels like being a prey of the other person’s desire or lust. When you go along with it without feeling it yourself, you are depleting yourself and deluding yourself and the other. When you express your boundaries you are disappointing the other.

Now, an hour later, I see that it is all about rejection and acceptation. I fear being rejected by the people I look up to because my father rejected me. I want to be accepted but I even reject their acceptation because I don’t fully accept myself. I don’t like to be put in a situation where I have to reject a woman because I reject rejection. I need to accept that I’m a person that rejects. I need to accept that I am hurting like my father.

How to learn that? The irony (or beauty) of the situation is that aikido is all about accepting the other and moving along, it is about keeping your balance within the continuous flow of forces. It is about boundaries and being graceful at the same time. Exactly what is needed. I am very much a beginner here, in every sense of the word. But I am at the right place.


  1. Manolis says

    Acceptance of yourself might come from simply letting go of the need to avoid rejection. Your father’s absence was not your choice. It is not your fault. But it will be your fault to continue carrying the pain. Let it go. Choose to let it go. Simply lay it aside. And the space that it took inside you will be liberated to receive new things. Don’t struggle avoiding the pain. Simply let it be… and it will go.

    good luck with your journey

  2. Glenn says

    Atalwin – Enjoying your comments and experiences. Keep them coming. Suck them all in and keep on living your life in the now.

  3. Pausha says

    I used to think I did not belong, and there was a lot of pain and sadness to that – then I learned that I don’t follow, and it came with feelings of independence, autonomy and freedom.

    I realized that where there was loneliness, sadness, feelings of rejection, was where my ability to be autonomous, to be unique, was traumatized. I couldn’t be that present, so I collapsed into pain.

    Can it be that the worrier, the leader you are searching for, is yourself?

    • Lily says

      @Atalwin@Pausha “Can it be that the warrior, the leader you are searching for, is yourself?” That sentence broke my heart open. It really is that simple i believe.

  4. annemiek says

    Wens je veel mooie spiegels op je kruistocht. En je bent altijd welkom op Ibiza.. hoop light warriors hier en altijd een sofa en een hartige maaltijd over. Love and light Annemiek

  5. Panna says

    Nice post Atalwin! It resonated with some things in me. Your words about your father made me think of my own father. Despite the fact that my father is still in my life, I also missed a father that really understands me and can see and fulfill my needs. The mismatch and misunderstanding caused a lot painful and frustrating feelings and situations. I get angry and sad when my dad doesnt see what I need and it always felt so frustrating that he can not talk about feelings and never really is interested in what I am doing, what I feel and think. I miss the intimacy. As I worked hard on myself last years and learned to talk about feelings step by step (because that I never learned at home) I tried to change my dad as well, I desperately tried to teach him and change him so he would talk with me, understand me. Until yesterday. He called me, talked about some things and then asked me: And how are you? (I am having a hard time last months and well this was the second time he asked me). I answered: well, with ups and downs. He answered: ahem, well, keep that going. ” silence” and then: yeah, well, yeah, maybe we have to talk some more, yes. I answered” ok, dad. This all felt so uncomfortable, full of tension. I was glad that at least, he asked me how I was but well, yes, I felt his anxiety for my answer “oh, please, tell me you are good because otherwise I do not know what to say”. Than after the call for the first time I did not feel frustration, anger and sadness. Instead of that I felt compassion and forgiveness. I realized this old man never learned how to talk about feelings during his life. I realized it must be though for him as well and he must feel locked and helpless about this. And I knew that he must feel (maybe still unconscious) the frustration and loneliness about this as well. Because I know he loves me. And next to this I felt: ” I do not have to save him, I do not have to teach him how to express himself, this is not my job.” I felt relieved. In a way my father rejects me too, he rejects my feelings, my needs. In seeing that he does not do this deliberately, I can feel compassion, accept him and forgive him. He will never meet my needs. But hey, I do not need that anymore. I will take care of myself, of my own needs. I am not a baby anymore.

  6. Michael says

    I agree with what Panna said Altawin. I too had a father who never tried to make any real type of emotional connection with me. I have mourned that loss, accepted it, forgiven him and let it go. He is old now and I can see regrets his actions with me but is not self aware, and does not know how to overcome his feelings. I counter it with just being kind and respectful to him.

    I often wondered what would be worse. Growing up without a father, or with one that you have no real connection to.

    Either way it is sad for any child to experience, and something that stays with us as men.

    I tell my children multiple times a day how much I love them, and am determined to end this cycle of dysfunction.

    May you come to peace with your past.

  7. Kyoko says

    I read this post with great interest. I find myself sometimes over thinking things too much, the experience you had with this woman, was just that, an experience.
    In order to know me better, i have come to aknowledge that the departing is always me… Yes… The my, mine, me that is so often demonized lately, bur rejecting to cling to much to it is somehow healing, departing from that point i think i have reaches a point in which i recognize i am united to everybody around me through not only fear, but love, not only rejection but empathy, not only through selfishness but compassion.
    It takes just a few minutes to realize we all have a burden of denial or pain in our backs, life is not as it seems for not only but for all of us… And that is marvelous because it gives us the opportunity to share and open our hearts to everything around us.
    I wish you luck, and send you best wishes from here… May you find all you are looking for, may you be happy!

  8. Dana says

    One thing I continue to marvel at is relativity. Why is it the people you want to hear from don’t call, but the people you don’t necessarily want to hear from call a lot? “Even when I thought I met somebody on the same wave as me she also wasn’t.” I just don’t think we ever find someone on the same wavelength until that perfect time? When you are feeling the energy and it feels like openness, respect, learning, … and so does the other. Or that point when it feels like openness, attraction, connection, perfect, dare I say fate… and so does the other. Is that ever possible? One can only hope.

  9. says

    Dude, I really love your writing! Stumbled upon your site, because I’m in the process of setting up an online business, helping guys/men to find their direction, make peace and become their own father AND mother. I found your article about 12 things every guy should master as part of field research.

    Thank you for sharing. Happy to ‘meet’ you here.

    Love, Daan

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