I started exploring meditation recently. My path led me in various directions. Tonight, my search for meaning involves watching Eat, Pray, Love alone on the stoop. If I had the money for a blunt and a pint of ice cream, I'd be in heaven... if there were a heaven. Most men would be afraid to admit to a night like tonight, but I'm not most men. When you've cost the banking and insurance industries as much money as I have, embarrassment, shame, and fear are not options. What brought about tonight wasn't my adventure with Anonymous, my work with Occupy, or my experience as a whistleblower, though. What brought about tonight was a dame named Lila.
A little over a month ago, I had my heart broken. It was far from the first time, and I'm certain it won't be the last. What made this particular time special is I didn't see it coming, and that hasn't happened since the first time. Lila and I connected on levels I never connected with another person before. We understood each other. I not only loved her; I liked her. I liked her to the point I convinced myself she was different, and I ignored every sign to the contrary. I liked her enough to find ways to include her in my unorthodox future and to put her well-being in front of my own. Walking away from all of that was difficult, but in the end I know what I did was right.
The most difficult part about losing Lila's continuing presence in my life was figuring out what to do with her memory. As much as I didn't want to think about her, she would inevitably creep to the front of my consciousness. Whenever she appeared in my head, I destroyed her. Every time I caught myself thinking about things I wanted to say to her or dwelling on one of the many unresolved conflicts that came up during our time, I took her out of the equation and instead recognized I was having the conversation with myself. I removed her from my future and focused on what I wanted out of life before I met her. I forced myself to smile through everything and focus on positive thoughts for myself... and then I watched Eat, Pray, Love.
The line in this movie that finally got to me was when Julia Roberts is in India sharing a Thumbs Up with Richard, and he says, "So miss him. Send him some light and love every time you think about him, then drop it." The instant I heard it, dozens of epiphanies flooded into my head. A lot of things suddenly made sense, but what made me pause the movie to write this blog was the thought of Lila. I realized it really was that simple. I didn't have to go through the trouble of deleting her from my memory. I just had to appreciate the memories we had together, wish her well, and move on. It then occurred to me how difficult that theory is to practice in today's age of instant connectivity.
Thanks to Steve Jobs, we're accustomed to having everything and everyone at our fingertips. We can text, tweet, and post every thought that comes to mind. It becomes difficult to wish someone well in silence. I have Lila's phone number, email address, and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. With my connections, I can track anyone down online, regardless of whether or not they realize they even exist there. Having that power, it would be easier to delete Lila from my memory and forget that I ever loved her. It would be easier not to think about her than to send her my light and my love in silence all the while knowing the only thing separating us is a gesture of my thumb. I didn't get where I'm at by doing things the easy way.
When I think of Lila, I don't look at her social media accounts or text her out of desperation to get her back like I did with previous broads I've loved and lost. I don't second guess whether or not I did the right thing in the past. I walked away because she didn't belong in my life, and I live with no regrets. I simply appreciate the memories of that brief moment in our past where we meant the world to each other, and nothing could ever have gotten in between us. I wish her well in whatever endeavors she chooses to pursue in her life...
... and then I move on.
Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower who spent the last two years helping regulators and attorneys uncover the largest bank and insurance fraud in history. He documents his experiences working with Anonymous and fighting the banks on his blog . He's currently in the Tampa Bay Area preparing to live in a van and is training to be a yogi with Ally Ford.
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