Remember when I went to Portland for the Rally (Rally!) in March and flailed around in unproductive whininess and self-pity and didn’t notice that I was, in fact, doing serious “work” on my “self” and then I came back and a few days later figured out my thing?
That was cool.
I learned a lot about a lot of stuff at Rally (Rally!) and, especially, a lot about what I don’t know a lot about. Which, it turns out, is a LOT more than one would imagine given my advanced age and years of therapeutic interventions.
Except what I really learned is that most, if not all, of what I absolutely need to know is already here, inside me.
The truth is that when I’m struggling to make the “right” decision about something — which generally involves all kinds of churning and worrying and angst-ing and more worry — I’m wasting energy + increasing the risk of coming to the exact wrong decision. The trick is clearing away all of the crap and noise that has accumulated over the years so I can get to, and hear, what I already know to be true for me.
The sucky thing is that I have “learned” this little trick over and over and over again and, when the need arises, I can totally tell someone else how to do it, and then I forget it again. So, this time I’m putting some Important Notes About This in the Book of Me, in purple magic marker, and with glitter, for emphasis.
WHEN YOU ARE ALL “WHAT SHOULD I DO?” READ THIS:
Oh, sweet pea…
Here you are again. Struggling.
I have really good news for you! You can stop struggling right this minute. Yes, now.
Struggling and churning and angst-ing are only good for one thing: Putting You On Notice.
When you are struggling, churning and/or angst-ing it’s a super-big clue that you are not listening for what is inside. And what is inside is the answer. The way to peace.
It’s not woo-woo, it is just the truth.
(and, therefore, woo-hoo!)
(sorry, couldn’t resist…)
Here are a few things to remember in times like these:
- There are no right answers, there are choices with different consequences.
- You’ve made a hundred-gazillion-plus choices in your life and the vast majority of them were good!
- The less-good, arguably bad, choices were learning experiences and you’re a pretty good learner.
- The more uncomfortable and angsty you are about a choice, the more likely it is that you absolutely know what to do.
- Almost nothing is black or white, this or that, now or never…. look for the compromise solution.
- Make absolutely sure that you are making choices based on things as they are Now and not confusing things with Then.
- Write about it! Writing always helps. Seriously. Write already.
- Are you reacting or choosing?? Reacting = usually bad! Choosing = usually good!
- If one thing doesn’t work out, another thing will. It is the nature of things.
- Are you asking other people what you should do? You are, aren’t you… Just Stop.
- You are the expert on you. Be still and listen.
- Sometimes it just won’t be clear, choose to do the next right thing and eventually the answer will come.
- Usually you know. Remember “alignment” and “congruence” and trust yourself.
Also, it always helps to read this essay (or anything else)(but most of all this one) by Mark Nepo:
Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry; an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God. It is this spot of grace that issues peace. Psychologists call this spot the Psyche, Theologians call it the Soul, Jung calls it the Seat of the Unconscious, Hindu masters call it Atman, Buddhists call it Dharma, Rilke calls it Inwardness, Sufis call it Qalb, and Jesus calls it the Center of our Love.
To know this spot of Inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the Infinite and by inhabiting it. This is a hard lifelong task, for the nature of becoming is a constant filming over of where we begin, while the nature of being is a constant erosion of what is not essential. Each of us lives in the midst of this ongoing tension, growing tarnished or covered over, only to be worn back to that incorruptible spot of grace at our core.
See, sweetie, everyone lives in this tension. You know you have this spot of grace. You’ve been there. The illusion you tend to believe is that you are disconnected from it and you have to look outside yourself to find it again. Then you start to panic and churn, like a panicked diver waving frantically for help on a choppy surface. Using all your energy fighting the surface when just below there is calmness and peace and quiet and strength.
You have what you need, Kim. Stop struggling. Listen for your answer.