As I prepare for my talk tomorrow at Inside Edge in Orange County, I wonder what will come out of my mouth, much as I wonder what will come out of my hands as I sit in front of the computer on a regular basis. If this weak hotel coffee doesn’t kick in soon, I may never know. Instead of the impulse to write, I have an impulse to flee to the nearest Starbucks for a Venti Quad latte.
The hotel is quiet. The room is comfortable. The setting is perfect for the day I have planned of a few client calls and the rest for writing. Suddenly, the perfect plan seems thwarted. I am fuzzy headed and wondering if I have anything to say at all. Deep down, I feel the reservoir. Sometimes it laps the surface, other times it is so far away I forget it’s there. Should I label it a reservoir of life or wisdom or truth or strength? Without enough caffeine in my system, I want it to remain label-less – for the moment. Or maybe forever.
My pattern has been to get extremely nervous before speaking. I am not this time which leads me to think I may be in extreme denial. Of course, that’s easier to believe that maybe I am actually ok.
Yesterday, as I ran extremely late for the airport due to mismanagement of time, almost missed my flight, then got here and realized I forgot my power cord for my computer, none of it threw me. Yes, I had frantic moments in my scurry out the door – especially when I ran inside for one forgotten item and stepped on Tigger’s toe as I ran back out. He yelped and I burst into tears. Leaving that dog is always dreadfully painful. It hurts my heart and to hurt him in my departure was too much to bare – in the moment. That’s all it really is – moments. What does any of this mean? What am I even saying? What have I come to? What can I convey tomorrow morning in my talk? Just how far away is that Starbucks?
As I will be exploring the yet to be fully distinguished theme of the life lessons from a fire, I wonder how not to wrap it all up in a neat little package (as that would be a big bunch of bs) and also how not to leave it totally unwrapped (as that would be unfair to the audience). I have decided to let myself go where it goes and to have sign posts along the way that I will cover. At this moment, I forget what any of them are.
You already know my determination to let myself be where I am in this process. I do this for myself (of course) and also for those out there who crave the permission to let themselves be. Funny that the permission we seek to be ourselves ultimately comes from ourself. Herein lies the rub. We are our own jail-keepers but we keep pressing or rebelling against some invisible force out there somewhere or deep down somewhere and keep the bars intact. That is just plain silly, isn’t it? I am not saying we don’t have external pressures and voices that assist in our staying stuck but really it comes down to us. We all know this intellectually but being it is a totally different ballgame.
Many of us go through life hoping to be changed. When we wake up still us, it can be a great disappointment. After 3 days in Shaman school, I hoped to be different. After giving a talk in a new venue that challenges my fears, I hoped to be different. After writing my first book, I hoped to be different.
I think we remain the same. This is not to say that massive overhauls such as getting sober don’t alter us. I am not the same person who binged and purged her way through life back in the 80’s. Writing my first book did in fact demonstrate that I am capable of writing and I know that going in to writing my second and third. But really, when you look at it, in so many ways we are really the same – just bigger, older, more wrinkled versions.
Yes, there are great teachers and great lessons to learn. There are great books to read and great courses to take. We will gain insight and knowledge and will even take on new behaviors. The field of self-help that has fed me for so many years is both our ally and our nemesis. It promises that the next hot thing – the perfect question, the perfect mantra, the perfect inquiry, the perfect ritual will be that thing that will have everything fall into place. I don’t know about you, but I have been attempting to have everything fall into place for a very very long time. And, when I look around, it’s not in place. Not at all. Not much is where it should be or how it should be. And, if it is in place for a moment, it falls out seconds later.
As I approached my gate yesterday, my mantra was, “I am going to miss my plane. I know I am going to miss my plane. I just know it.” Now, being a fully immersed practitioner in the land of self-help, we all know that is simply a “bad prayer”, a “negative thought”, absolutely not the right way to practice the law of attraction and certainly not an empowering context. The message below it of “I am such a f-up, I am such a f-up” put the cherry on the cake. I grappled with all of this as I donned my flip flops so I could run from security to my gate. Does the universe appreciate that I am running? Does the universe frown if I walk as I might appear cavalier? Does the universe actually care? Is there really a Being to whom I can pray to make my flight? Really? Is that how God works? Does he really have time for that? As God holds my flight so I don’t compromise my precious trip to California, somewhere else a child slips into a lake and drowns? Did they not pray hard enough? Were their parents attracting some age-old karma? Did they forget to say please or thank you? Really?
I made my flight. I did give thanks to something – but these days I question everything. And, now I question from a ground of being that I didn’t feel before. See, it was there before, I just was immature in it. I didn’t trust it. I am learning to trust myself – to trust my mistakes, chaos, forgetfulness, nastiness, laughter, joy, wisdom, strength, tears, love and more. There is something I can count on. I am not sure of what it is. I don’t know what to call it. Maybe it’s God. Maybe it’s gravity. Maybe it’s the wisdom that comes with age. Maybe it’s the knowing that this too shall pass. I was a chaotic mess getting out of the house. I cut it way to close as I headed to the airport. I parked in the garage for an inordinate amount of money per day as I had mismanaged my time. I ran to the gate with (fortunately) a few others which is most likely why the plane didn’t leave 4 minutes early as planned.
Tomorrow I will stand in front of an impressive group of people and tell them what I tell them. I will offer my heart and my story. I will bare my soul and share my strength. I will apply this to whatever we need to learn in life. I will wrap this into the topic of why we wait but I won’t sell out and offer a quick fix. I don’t think there is a quick fix – it doesn’t exist. It is only the moments where we remember to come up for a breath of air and a quick glimpse at the sky.
“Holy non-attachment” were the words that poured from the mouth of my friend’s companion as she told him about our fire. Spoken with twinkle and a cackle, I have to say there haven’t been many responses I have liked as much. Holy non-attachment, I say too. If you think this means I think I am without attachment, you think incorrectly. But maybe some of the Velcro has loosened it’s hold. Some of that Velcro held on to stuff but most held on to judgments of how I am about stuff – any kind of stuff be it physical, emotional or spiritual.
Holy non-attachment. Now that is something I can sink my teeth into.