The hardest thing to do is to be still and observe, given our limited concept of time. How does one go in the in-between places, stay there and be truly quiet? How do you get comfortable with yourself in a way that is genuine, learning to accept yourself just as you are? How do you realize what’s true to you? While it seems hard to define, identify and locate, it really isn’t. Just hang out long enough and stay put and you will find it. But standing there will seem excruciating.
If I can download an mp4, stream Netflix and get up-to-the-second live feed to events happening all around the world, why can’t I just be born enlightened? Is there an app for this? Well, no…at least not yet.
I have come to realize that I am analog. It isn’t what I would’ve wanted from my particular plan of my own existence, but then again, I can’t see the whole picture. And while this year has been wrought with change from the The Presidential election to transitions in the workplace, and loss of my personal creative heroes; I cannot deny that I am still here because I have something to contribute.
I didn’t always think this. I wanted to believe that I am an some obsolete model destined to be taken under by the corrupted power structure. It’s easier to go into the familiar patterns of the past and pretend that I am powerless and that the sky would fall and crush me in the process. I was playing that familiar track from an old dream: the one where I’m taking a test and time seems to speed up and I never finish. A dream that’s actually happened to me in my waking life but has now become a one-way ticket to Woe-Is-Me-ville. This crutch-this excuse-is just a worn-out tool that I take out when I am feeling overwhelmed.
I want to be clear that this is just a myth; this is not as simplistic as it sounds. It’s a deliberate reaction and choice that I am making (albeit unbeknownst to my true self) whereby I always come out the loser. This kind of negative thinking has become intrusive, a detriment to my well-being, a major player in the play of my life. Worse, by continuing to use this outdated model, I have been causing my own suffering and limiting the possibilities that lie within me. It’s like I am believing the rhetoric of my own campaign against my opponent: my self.
Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s a incentive to change.
I bought books and began The Quest to Discovery earnestly and with fervor. I judged myself harshly when I slept or took a break or caved and had ice-cream. I started to break out and refused to act on treating myself better. Instead, I became stricter and harsher and buried myself in knowledge. Then, feeling that this wasn’t enough as it was all about self-improvement, I started to dole out advice–no matter if you wanted it or not. I was going to make you see the error of your ways. I was going to be perfect and set the example for others. I was going to model myself after leaders and figure out how to respond. Do I join protests? Do I fund initiatives for change? Do I give to charity? Do I sign petitions? What do I do? I mean, I had to do something, didn’t I?
Then, I crashed. I started to feel weak and sick all the time. I got sick from all of the bad food I stuffed into my face while trying to solve the world’s problems. Hesitant and resistant, I had to take a step back and address this monster (which I call by many names). I had to do something. If not, it would overtake me and swallow up any opportunity I had to grow. It would strip me of my joy, my purpose, my peace. So I did what all beginners do: I made a mistake.
Failure is part of the process because it allows you to experiment and explore.
In layman’s terms, it’s me squeezing into that “trendy” dress to try and make it fit or trying on a new, wretched shade of lipstick that isn’t me because the girl at the counter said it went with my skin tone. I had failed. I had failed. Failed, failed, failed.
Once I shed light on it and called it what it was, I had to remove the shaming and labeling that comes with that. I actually hear myself say things like, “You suck, MeMa” or “Why do you have to be such a dummy?” I say terrible things to myself only reinforcing a negative view of me even though the only person in the room saying these things was…well…me.
No doubt this is a common struggle in a human being’s life. No doubt there are countless others out there berating themselves and critiquing themselves in mirrors. In my struggle to assess, understand, and become more aware, I was figuratively doing a tailspin toward a bumpy off-road in a golf cart. This method of managing change has been how I had always handled things: fight, act, and resist! But to my surprise, none of these traditional game plans worked.
So what happens now? The truth is I don’t know. I’ve been occupied with doing nothing, nothing at all. Doing nothing is actually something. It is the act of being. I gotta hand it to the plants and the animal kingdom for making that look so easy, I find that humans are not adept. Apparently, not every monkey can do it.