Monday, August 1, 2011

It's Meant to be Messy

"We are complete, whole, fine and totally capable from the onset. We may cover up, forget or be afraid of this fine specimen that we are, and as such life becomes a continuous dance with our soul and an ongoing unveiling of who we are in relationship to ourselves and our world. We are on a journey of discovery. We fall and get back up. We have questions with no answers and are full of marvelous paradoxes that secretly make us worry about schizophrenia. Truths change as do our desires, loves, fears and longings as we go along. If only we dare wake up and be with our full, complex, wild ever-evolving selves.

The point is this: it's meant to be messy. Life is a rollercoaster ride, with ups and downs, and thrills and terrors, and the more we lean into the curves, the more we get out of it. Life’s meant to be just that. Messy. A rich, epic experience on all dimensions. You are meant to savor and be savored by life.

But we are afraid of this messy life. Entire careers and industries depend upon and have enhanced this fear for their own profit. Look at the bookshelves, search the internet, spend a day on Facebook, and you’ll know, how apparently fucked humankind appears to be. We no longer know how to live. We plan ourselves out of life. We guru and train and abstain and stretch and educate and work ourselves out of life."
Lone Morch

I read the blog post this passage comes from a few weeks ago and my heart said, YES. This is true. Myself and the people I love are wonderfully messy, imperfectly perfect human beings. I have stopped reading self-development books because I know I can get more out of experiencing life fully than reading other people's guides to life. I know no one can tell me how to navigate my own unique path. I have no gurus or formal teachers - I just pay attention to who I resonate with in the world around me and how they navigate their stories for little pieces of insight or tools that may assist me on my journey.

But my reality is that I spend time thinking every day about how I could be improved, how I could be better and more evolved in some way. Lately I harass myself for not making more progress towards my goals to change my career. Today I thought about how I need to continue working on my emotional self so that I attract healthier relationships into my life. I often wonder if I'm neglecting or failing my daughter in some way. I think about how I could have a better attitude and be more centered during the stressful times at work. I think about how I could be a better community leader and how I could interact better with those I love and work with.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how I could be better, improved, and doing more good work in serving the world, as if I am not good enough just as I am. I criticize myself for spending time watching television shows on dvd or futzing around on the internet (even though most of my reading is about spirituality, consciousness and how to be a better human). I tell myself I should be writing (my last blog post was three weeks ago). I should be building a professional website and taking active steps towards changing my career (I've had three conversations with experienced coaches giving me the next steps to take). I should be putting more time into the Imps.

"I suffer mornings most of all.
I feel so powerless and small.
By ten o'clock I'm back in bed
Fighting the jury in my head."

Amanda Palmer

Every single day I tell myself I could be doing better than I am. I hold myself to impossible standards (and as a result others too, which is part of why I struggle with embracing the shadow). I tell myself I should be doing more and being better.

For years I've been telling myself (and others) the story that I was broken and need to be fixed. Growing up in a severely dysfunctional family and my resulting psycho-emotional wounds = brokenness. Mental illness = brokenness. Teen motherhood, poverty and rape = brokenness. I tell myself even now that I if I have strong negative emotional reactions to others, even when it's perfectly understandable, that I'm still broken and need to be fixed.

Since a difficult conversation last night I've been wondering if it's ok for me to be angry and hurt because someone(s) I trusted with incredible vulnerability treated me carelessly. I wonder if it's ok to speak what feels like the truth of my experience right now even if it casts them in a shadowy light. I wonder if it's ok to be frustrated and hurting because people in my life are choosing to withhold intimacy with me because it scares them. I'm having trouble being open-hearted with a couple people I love because they have boundaries preventing our intimacy from being as deep as it could be or manifest in all of the yummy ways it could. I seem to think that if they withdraw then I should, too, because it would hurt too much to let my love flow fully without reciprocity.

Shouldn't I be better, more evolved? Shouldn't I be able to not take things personally, to see the truth of the situation (it isn't about me, their fear is just too big to let the love flow at this moment in their lives)? Shouldn't I focus on compassion for their fear rather than be caught up in my own projections and resulting heartache? Shouldn't I be able to see with clear vision and love unconditionally? After 15 years of actively working on my own psychological, emotional and spiritual evolution, shouldn't I be better than this?

I have pursued open-heartedness and vulnerability with my whole being this year and nearly every road has led to being turned away or shut down or allowed only a fraction of what's possible in the relationship. It hurts. It hurts to feel the possibility in relationship - to feel how the love could flow and heal - but the other erects walls to keep the flow controlled, if allowed to trickle at all.

My instinct is telling me to put a stop to the mission in vulnerability and build walls around my heart to keep me protected. My mind tells me to stop reaching out, to stop trying to connect until I know someone wants to and is capable of connecting with me. But my heart - and messages from the Universe - keep telling me to stay open, to stay vulnerable, to be willing to be heartbroken, and love as big and deep as I possibly can.

My mind keeps asking if I'm being unhealthy in my relentless pursuit of emotional experience, if I am an emotional masochist and creating my own pain. My heart keeps saying that I'm an emotional and spiritual mountain climber and shining my Divine Light means being an adventurer of the heart and sharing my adventure story with others. My map may not lead anyone else to their Divine Light, but my story can provide a sense of connectedness and perhaps an insight into another's story.

I'm struggling right now. I am a paradox, a damn messy one. While I have strong desire to be writing, to be working towards a coaching practice, to be putting energy and consciousness into nurturing community, I am not finding the motivation to act.

Today I read an article that talked about the timing of success and the writer believes that our success comes when we trust ourselves. Now I am asking myself if a lack of trust is what's holding me back. Am I afraid to start taking steps toward coaching because I'm afraid of failing, because I don't trust myself or that people will desire what I have to offer? Do I keep telling myself I need to improve because I don't trust that I'm good enough or lovable enough just as I am right now?

Maybe instead of looking for the next step in improving myself, and maybe even instead of constantly reading articles about how to be better, I need to start trusting myself and my process. I need to trust that I am moving at the pace that is right for me, in my career, in my relationships, in my evolution. I need to trust that taking a break and enjoying the ways I like to take time off - whatever they might be - does not diminish who I am or my value to the people around me. I need to trust that it's ok for me to be an emotional human, to have hurt feelings and fears, and to sometimes act from them and go through the growing pains of relationship. I need to trust in forgiveness, of myself and from others, trust that I can fuck up and that doesn't mean I'm broken or not worth loving.

I need to trust that I am amazing and lovable and valuable in my glorious and messy humanness...and that everyone else is, too. To me, this is what faith is. Trusting that we're all the Divine, sometimes gracefully dancing and sometimes clumsily bumping into each other in our skinsuits, seeking to connect with the Oneness we know somewhere deep inside is our true nature. I don't care about some big God out in the Universe somewhere. I want to be able to consistently perceive the God in all of us, to love myself and each person I relate to as openly as possible, to trust that everything is really ok, and know that the gift of this life is fucking BEAUTIFUL in every way it manifests.

For now, I'm just letting myself be a beautiful mess.

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