Right here, right now
October 20, 2012
Deep in our chests
October 9, 2012
Here’s what I’ve come to believe:
Buried deep in each of our chests is a question that our whole lives get lived around. We ask it in the way that we live, in the things that we notice (or don’t), in the feelings that get triggered in countless situations, countless times each day.
And there’s an answer we’re looking for. An answer we want desperately much to be true.
There’s also an answer we’re afraid will be true – the reverse of the answer we hope for – whose arrival we vigilantly watch for.
Not lovable, we watch for it to say.
Love doesn’t win.
There’s nothing bigger holding us.
You’re way too [silly, tender, serious, much].
You, specifically, are frustratingly flawed.
And here’s the most important thing, the thing that shoots right to the heart of trust and to the barriers that keep us constantly distanced from it:
We’re waiting to get the right answer to our question before we’ll open, deeply, to trust.
We’re waiting for the answer that will say, in effect, “Yes, Dear One. Life is worth trusting.”
I want to suggest something in response to this that’s more radical than you’ll likely hear all day. A spin-your-world-a-whole-new-direction (or at least it has mine) idea.
Which is this:
Your biggest, most fundamental, life-orienting question? You don’t have to answer it before deciding, whole-heartedly, that trust is your Way.
You don’t have to know if you’re loved or loveable.
You don’t have to know if God exists.
You don’t have to know if you’ll ever heal from that stuff that happened to you.
Or if you’ll find your true love.
Or if true love exists.
Or if you’ll ever be a parent.
Or if your dearest ones will die too soon.
Or whether you’ll have a chance to mend that core relationship.
You don’t have to know.
You don’t have to know.
Because here is how I see it.
Your alternatives are these:
1. You can live as though, in some fundamental way, all is truly well, and your task is to learn to lean into that truth ever more fully. To soften and open into the possibility that even the most awful things you’ve known, and the most awful fears you can imagine coming true, can be woven into a story of hope and healing and waking up to something GOOD.
You can watch for this process happening around you and participate, consciously, in the strength and the speed of its unfurling.
2. You can live as though you expect life in general, or your experience of it in particular, to be tragic, and orient your whole life around protecting your heart and your body and your mind from having to feel the full brunt of that.
You can work to protect others from the brunt of that, too.
You can keep walls and guards up around your heart.
You can watch for people to intentionally hurt you and each other. And for ways you’ll hurt others, too.
You can reign joy and hope and anticipation constantly in so that you won’t be so disappointed when the inevitable awfulness strikes. And try to reign in the hope and joy and anticipation of others to protect them from disappointment, too.
You can resent and be defensive around and condescending toward (and secretly jealous of) folks who are leaning into trust.
You can constrict your life tighter and tighter around your driving question and your fear that the answer you’ll ultimately get will bad. Just really, awfully bad.
But either way – regardless of what the answer to your driving question turns out to be – option one strikes me as the far more desirable alternative. The life that actually feels worth living.
And the choice to choose it not dependent on your biggest, deepest question getting answered.
So at the risk of being wrong about life’s goodness, and before any of us is sure one way or another, I say why NOT cultivate trust?
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We’re exploring this and MANY questions in Trust Habits this month. Doors remain open and you are warmly welcomed to join us.
Trust at your screen
October 1, 2012
You know that feeling you get sometimes when something annoying is in your space (a gnat, the neighbor’s music, the sound of a chainsaw nearby), but you’re only barely conscious of it?
You start to get fidgety with unconscious frustration, and then consciousness rises like the sun: slowly at first, light barely streaking the sky, until POP! The orb lifts from the horizon and soon it’s all brightness and ferocity. Impossible to ignore.
I sense this happening for many of us in relation to the Internet.
Or more specifically, in relation to the effects the Internet has on our thoughts and feelings and ways we spend time.
We’re getting fidgety at how regularly our screen time leaves us feeling gross: ashamed inside the comparisons we’ve made, strung out by the hours we’ve lost compulsively working or checking or surfing, overwhelmed by our world, with its crowds of voices, its troubling news, and the apparent break-neck speed of it all.
And the sales pages! There’s just so many of them! So many promises speaking to so many of our wants and needs. We want to be joyous and trusting and courageous and wealthy and creative and prolific and fit and cooking well. Yes. We really do!
But as a whole, this crowd of shiny products and the pages that sell them leave us feeling the impossibility of our lives incorporating all the good, all the growth, all the learning and fantastic-ness we wish we could have yesterday. It leaves us not seeing the wonder and the miracle of the lives we actually know, and instead a hollow, dingy backdrop to the lives we wish we had.
So I love reading pieces like this. And like this. I love voices that name this experience and help us both understand it better (hello, consciousness rising!) and begin to forge an alternative path to the one many of us, myself included, take unthinkingly. A path marked less and less by yuck and shame and deflation, and more and more by trust. By the possibility of sinking into our physical lives – warts and all – with gratitude, welcome, attentiveness, and a pace that truly sustains us.
More and more, I’m coming to see the forging of this alternative path as a core competency all of us must develop as we face the years ahead. And all the more so those who lead us.
After these years of Internet’s infancy, and the crazy adolescence many of us have experienced with it (tossed about by our emotions; finding impulse control a challenge; feeling often like we’re back in junior high with yawning needs to be loved, to be cool, to fit in), it’s time to consciously move to greater maturity with it.
If you’re interested in reading a free little book I wrote and drew about this process, click here to grab a copy.
(Subscribers, you should have received yours last week; let me know if you didn’t and I’ll fix you right up!)
Here’s to us! With all my heart I hope we collectively grow into a new, and more nourishing, relationship with time spent online.
P.S. Trust Habits has begun. If you’d like to dive deeper into what trust means with a gorgeous group of kind souls, come join us! The course is self-paced, and there are links in every lesson to the lessons already sent.
And if the thought of this makes you feel gross, go spend some time outdoors and forget you saw it! :) Right now, without any other class or thing, you and your life are enough.