I’m back from the land of self-doubt, relentless emotional pain, buried resentments. I’m leaving the land of Let Me Tell You What To Do Because I Know Best. I’m leaving, in other words, the Land of Fatal Distractions.
I’ve journeyed right round the houses and have come back to myself; a kinder and gentler self. One who has integrated the traumas of the past and who is enthused about the Now. I must thank you for hanging in there with me for — what is it for some of you? 25, 35 years? It takes me a while, but I do get there in the end. And that, perhaps, is my strength.
Instead of trying to help you achieve your dreams, I can see now that I serve people best by becoming what you already knew I could be. I show my love best not by helping you out with daily tasks or giving gifts, but by honouring my own talents and foibles; by being happily honest with myself. (I’m really quite hysterical! I crack myself up when I watch how my brain works sometimes. I’m glad I can see the funny side of myself now.)
All the things I’ve complained about and worried over — nobody understands me; nobody listens to all my good advice vis-a-vis Byron Katie, or Demartini, or ZPN, or German New Medicine; you know what I mean. Well, I had an epiphany today that turned everything around. I put my own name in instead of yours, as in:
- I don’t understand me.
- I don’t support me.
- I don’t follow what I know with deep certainty is true.*
- I expect you to live in my values while ignoring them myself.
Wow. I think the one that got me the most though was recognising that what I thought was my strength — being able to see right through to your soul and to know what you could accomplish — was actually my most Fatal Distraction. Focusing on you means I don’t have to focus on myself. It’s the most well-intended distractions that are the most insidious.
No, my highest priority is to become my best self. When I was looking at you, I was looking in the mirror and didn’t even realise it. It was both extremely humbling and exalting to suddenly see the Jen you’ve always seen and supported. To see that I’m as wonderful as you are. You don’t need me to help you; you need me to just be me and let you get on with being you.
And so, I’ve come back to Jen. That enthusiastic, driven idealist and believer-in-dreams. Doing what has to be done to get there and using a bunch o’ creativity while I’m at it. I had Big Ideas and was going to Change the World. Well, I’ve still got Big Ideas, but now maybe I’ve got the wisdom to see I only needed to change my world to get them done. I’m ridding myself of the distractions that keep me from being the Real Me. Every single thing I do, I ask myself, “Distraction? or Action?” (Some are more difficult to shake than others, like coffee and crosswords in the morning! Gotta be able to incorporate those into the Action side of the table…)
As far as support goes, it has always been there, whether in your beautiful smiling faces on Skype, Hangouts, FaceTime, or WhatsApp; or your outpourings of love and encouragement by way of telephone, email, or cards. In my new, safe, peaceful, warm apartment, I’m going through the boxes of papers I’ve dragged from one side of the planet to the other, and I see all the things you’ve sent me. You’ll never know how much those — and you — mean to me. I’m glad I didn’t clear everything out before because I needed to see those things.
Thanks for hanging in there. I guess that’s what love is all about, isn’t it?
*Rob Brezsny, a favourite of mine and author of Pronoia, put this Sufi aphorism from his book on his site today: “You can’t be sure you are in possession of the truth unless a thousand people have called you a heretic.” So…I only have about 950 people left to piss off. 😉