How avoiding certain parts of myself, keeps me from showing up in the world and having the impact I want.
The dog got me up at 4:00 this morning. While we aimlessly wandered around outside, I was reminded of those early morning, semi-awake times with toddlers. Remember? Barely awake on the couch, one eye open to make sure they weren’t playing with knives, but definitely not aware of what was really happening around me.
That’s how I feel about my life sometimes now. I’m connected to some parts of myself and completely disconnected from others. I have these shadows that run the show sometimes, but I can’t actually see them.
After Sparky and I made it back upstairs and he had curled up in a ball by my side, I was acutely aware that the world had been moving for three hours while I slept and I had missed it all.
Cuz this is what I do.
There is a pattern I’m seeing about my experience of reality. I take in the world with my mind and decide that I’ll be ok – in fact, everything will be ok – as soon as I “figure it out.”
“I just need to figure this out and then I’ll be all set.”
Or, like today, it might be:
“I just need to figure out generational racial trauma,
and then I can be helpful.”
So here is the pattern: I stay moving, awake, and occupied in my mind because when I am still, and just sitting in the experience of being on the planet right now, I feel all sorts of emotional pain.
To see me in a chair without a phone, computer, book, or music,
is to see me in a chair weeping.
So I Do. Not. Sit.
Not only do I not want to feel pain, I want you to be pain-free, too. So sometimes, I won’t even let you have your misery, either. Because frankly, when you are hurting, it messes with the illusion of reality I’ve created about the world.
So I occupy my mind with a to-do list, agendas, plans, and anticipating my next great thing. All so I don’t have to feel those primal emotions of grief, shame, and fear.
What I’m learning, though, is that this is the least effective way to get on the other side.
Whether I feel the grief, shame, or fear right now is irrelevant.
Awareness of emotional suffering is not a requirement for experiencing the impact of suffering.
The pain is here, whether we feel it or not. We act it out on our families, our friends, our coworkers, and ourselves.
Instead of feeling it, we put a shit ton of energy into NOT feeling. In my case, my brain is exhausted, thinking and overthinking. Planning and anticipating. Reading, and watching TV, and learning all I can so that I can “figure it out.”
But the reality is, our world, including me, is experiencing a lot of hurt right now. Welcome to reality.
My spiritual teacher reminds me, time and time again, that my denial of reality makes me MORE inefficient in solving a problem, not less. My denial keeps me working really hard to figure it out.
What actually needs to happen is for me to experience it in my body, mind, AND HEART.
When we aren’t working with what is, we are ineffective in our attempts to make things better.
It’s like having a dartboard in the basement but I am upstairs shooting darts at the family room wall.
I keep missing the bullseye. Not only that, I get really, really tired trying. I feel frustrated. I double-down and keep throwing at an empty wall. I can’t even see that the dartboard isn’t there.
All day, I’ve been throwing darts at the family room wall. I connected with my group of seekers and they pointed out that the dartboard is in the basement. Ugh.
They invited me to experience reality. They shined a light on my shadows ~ those beliefs and ideas that are with me all the time, but that my ego structure won’t allow me to see (and hint: we all have these no matter how enlightened you think you are!).
I wept while I looked clearly at the world. I finally saw it as it is and also FELT IT as it is. I am experiencing the world instead of figuring it out. I’m all in, body, mind, and heart.
Even as I write this, I am dumbfounded by how much clearer I am. When I see things for what they are, without the beliefs about what “should or should not” be, I stop fighting what is and experience my place in it.
Having a team of courageous people behind me to lovingly point out what I cannot see, has been essential to my aim.
It is so much less exhausting to shoot darts at the dartboard instead of an empty wall.
When I am present to all of my innate wisdom, my gut, mind, and heart, and not just some part of it, I can always picture where I want to throw the dart, I can then throw it with some intelligence, and I might even hit a bullseye.