I was speaking with my BFF on the phone last night, and as usual, we were sorting out our troubling thoughts. We’ve always had that kind of relationship where we go deeply into ourselves while the other holds the container of deep listening and connection. Since grade 10, we’ve referred to it as “solving the world’s problems.” (It took years before I realized I was the world. But that’s for another blog post…)
I brought up this persistent belief that I am not acting like a grown-up. Ergo, I’m not a grown-up (–is really the troubling thought here). But we ran out of time (after speaking for over an hour and a half, standard for us) so I decided to write it out to her this morning. This is what came out:
“This not feeling like a grown-up thing. So the obvious things are that I don’t have a career in full swing (so my beliefs here are that grown-ups are BUSY and MAKE MONEY) and I don’t have a partner (grown-ups are in COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS). Ha—so funny to write this stuff down so I can see what I’m thinking. And maybe too, grown-ups don’t spend much time with their parents (as I write this at the dock with my parents up at the cottage!!). And here comes the proof: in reading Conde Nast Traveller magazine, there were all these articles written by people travelling with their partners and/or families (by which I mean their children, not their parents). So it was all covered there: they had money to do these awesome trips, and they have partners. See? These are grown-ups, my thoughts tell me. I’m not like them. Hmmmm…. ”
And after I pressed “send” more information came to me, so I went to my computer and continued to write for myself, which is now for you…
…there’s also stuff around clarity/confusion, as in, grown-ups should be clear about their life direction and shouldn’t be unsure like I feel. I guess this mostly relates to career, but I can see it in many areas of my life, really. This lack of clarity around ‘my path.’ (And now that i write that, i’m not sure this ‘path’ metaphor thing really works for me. If there’s a path, then I can be on it or off it. Is that true? Causes me stress, that i know. “You can’t do it wrong, that’s not possible,” says Byron Katie. That rings more true. Anyway, back to my stressful thoughts on grown-ups…)
oh and here’s some more: grown-ups are able to get a lot accomplished (related to the BUSY and MAKING MONEY ones), aren’t lazy, are very capable, (write with capitals at the beginning of sentences…) as i write this, i can see my little-girl self looking at the grown-ups around her and what messages they were giving her, and her believing them, so feeling like she was a sub-par human and had to grow up to be a responsible, not-lazy, accomplished, capable person. wowza. amazing to look back and see how young i was when i started thinking this way and i just haven’t stopped. i can see that, without questioning these beliefs, i could think this at 90 years old, on my death-bed, and feel like i never learned to be accomplished. !!! loyalty to a story… (and living out this story looks like becoming an accomplished athlete, an award-winning pianist, and getting the highest marks in the class. all before the age of 15. and it goes on. and, feeling unaccomplished. not good enough.) so this is how life gets lived. until it doesn’t. until i have the ability to see and question this story and i DO.
so as that little girl, i can see where i thought that reading a book on my bed (which i did with great frequency) was being lazy and not-accomplished (i still only allow myself to do this at night before bed…) and playing just for the sake of playing—not to accomplish anything—was undesirable. staring off into the middle-distance, creating possibilities in my imagination, was being unproductive. hmmmmm….all i can think now, when i stop and look at this in my mind’s eye is, IS THIS TRUE? oh wow… no. so no. that was being one with life—i can think of no better way to describe it. letting life live me with no thought to contradict it. open. available. limitless. identity-less. alive. in love. with life itself.
and as i continue to look, what i see is that we have it backwards: the full, encompassing turnaround is that parents are the children, and the children the parents, showing those lost, ‘accomplished’, questing, never-enough adults the way back home. to a place where nothing is needed, nothing is missing, nothing needs doing (which doesn’t mean things don’t get done), letting life create through them so that life is beautiful, a mystery of the very best kind, showing up as This is good, and Look at this now! and How ‘bout this?—spectacular, right? as life dazzles with its generosity, its creativity, its benevolence and compassion. as i am ‘back’ in those moments, i feel myself as a partner to life: so allowing, no defences because they’re not necessary when there’s total awareness that it is all good, all so good.
Byron Katie stopped me once as we passed each other in a room, to tell me she “really enjoyed” my presentation on The Work. She looked me right in the eye and then asked—with what i can only describe as sheer passion-gratitude—“Aren’t we blessed?” with a great deal of emphasis on “blessed.” She paused for a moment as we looked at one another, and then left without saying anything more.
Taking myself back to my childhood through inquiry, this is the image that comes to mind. Katie so clearly expressing what is totally evident to me now: all is good. All life. Is good. And “good” doesn’t even begin to capture it. I can now realize why she says, “God is everything. God is good.” The final story, she calls it. A-men.