Saturday, July 26, 2008
TENACITY VS. VIGILANCE
Life is essentially going according to plan; I have the job that I wanted moving my way up the ladder as a design director, a loving supportive marriage, a prudent savings plan and a baby on the way. Why do I sometimes feel like I’m being crushed by my own life? Choices I’ve made, no matter how thought out, seem to have backed me into a corner where I have little flexibility because of my many responsibilities. Even if I look at it logically and see that the life I’m leading is exactly what I went for, I still find my emotions are disconnected from that reality. I am restless and always looking for something better or different, often seeking a change of scenery (ie wanting to travel or move) as a solution to my dissatisfaction. How can I find peace and joy in my day to day rather then getting restless for something more or better?
There are two quotes which, when paired, read to me as the two most important things ever uttered in the history of mankind. The first comes from Plato (or Aristotle- no one is really sure) and urges us to "Know thyself." The second is offered by Shakespeare who suggests, "To thine own self be true."
It is my sense that most people (at least those whom I have had the privilege of helping) are prone to attempting to fulfill the second directive without ever answering the first. That is, they make an effort to be true to themselves without ever finding out who they are. Consequently, often through sheer tenacity, they achieve what they believed would bring them joy (job, spouse, money, children) and find themselves perplexed by their lack of satisfaction. What we find here is that it is nearly impossible to be true to oneself if one knows not whom they are being true to.
I am certainly not declaring that this, in any way, sums up your situation, though it might be worth considering whether or not it is in any way reflective of what you find yourself facing.
To look at your words in a more specific fashion, you claim, "Everything is going according to plan." What is this plan? When and how was this plan developed? Is this plan based on the wants and needs of your heart or is it based on some idea of happiness that you absorbed as a product of your conditioning? Does the plan demand that you find peace and self-love or does the plan suggest that money, job, marriage and children are THE ROAD TO peace and self-love? If the plan is based on the latter, you may be functioning under a faulty construct. Don't get me wrong; the aforementioned items can all be abundant blessings. I can testify to this from my own experience. I have a wife of nearly ten years who is truly my closest friend and advocate; we have two remarkable little girls; I have a career which allows me to feel incredibly useful and satisfied; and we are financially comfortable. Also, I am happy, joyous and free. You will notice that there is no suggestion that my emotional and spiritual state is a direct product of what I have.
Another way of relaying this idea might be through the "be do have" construct. The idea here, is that many people tell themselves that the most efficient order of these three simple words is have, do, be. This is to say, they believe that if they HAVE what they are supposed to have, than they can DO what they are supposed to do, and finally BEcome who they are supposed to be. My experience shows this to be an entirely backward perspective. I (and many wiser than myself) have found that if we work to find our truth and authentically BEcome who we truly are, we will be presented with what we need to DO to honor that truth, and we will summarily HAVE whatever we are meant to have.
The statements, "Being crushed by my own life," "Backed me into a corner," and "I have little flexibility" suggest to me that you have become the victim of the illusion that your life is happening to you as opposed to the reality that your situation is a direct product of your thinking, your perspective and your choices. And it is quite possible (and I stress possible), that your input and conditioning were such that while you may have been taught how to seek and find accomplishment, no one really instructed you on how to seek and find Karen. The persistent restlessness you allude to suggests there may be some merit in this idea. It seems that the lens through which you are viewing your current state is one that has all to do with "having what you want," rather than one assisting you in "wanting what you have."
As to the natural follow up question of, "well how in the hell I do I pull off this perspective change!?" there is, unfortunately not an EASY answer to this, although there is a fairly SIMPLE one. My suggestion would be an energy shift. That is, for a time, choosing to let go of what your exterior life is supposed to look like, and putting your energies toward some internal work in an effort to learn more about who you are.
In terms of action, this might mean continuing to work at your present job and release the need to "climb the ladder,"; allowing your financial situation to be what it is (assuming your basic needs are met); continuing to be the best wife you can be moment to moment; and simply allowing this beautiful new life form to grow within you toward its entrance into the world. None of this ought to require much in the way of staunch pro activism on your part.
Then, take your new found energy and apply it to a journey of consciousness. Whether this journey is best propelled through some form of counseling, meditating, spiritual reading, yoga, or some combination of these, will reveal itself as you engage in paying attention to yourself. Further, I would be happy to make some more specific suggestions if you are interested.
Let go of "being true to your self" and choose to "know yourself." You won't be sorry.
God bless you-