In the last year, I’ve been super focused on staying grounded in my body and as in tune with my emotions and feelings as possible. But I really got blind-sided the other day talking with a long-term acquaintance about his latest book project.
He’s one of those “spiritual luminaries,” the ranks of which I’ve SO longed to join for SO many years. (That is, up until recently!!) And at one point he started talking about how terribly pressured he feels about the need to wake people up; how busy he is and how consumed he is with his work; how he feels his family life is suffering because of it, and yet how he feels he just can’t stop the juggernaut no matter how exhausted he becomes.
It was not a new topic between us. And everything in me wanted to rise up and say, “Well, what do you expect? You’re burning the candle at both ends and not enjoying yourself, and totally buying into the spiritual sacrifice program, thinking that you must fix/save the world. And with that as your foundation, what else can you expect?”
I didn’t say it though. I didn’t say anything, because it was crystal clear to me that he was so overwhelmed and “in it” there was no space available for honesty. He wouldn’t hear it because he was “on a mission,” being driven to succeed. His message—his books, his podcast, TV shows, and workshops were all that mattered. And it was all so VERY important because it was all being done for the greater good.
After the call, I sat at my desk, basically shocked at the amount of anger coursing through my body. I was furious at him. And because my reaction was so strong and so unusual I did the most important thing I could have done at that moment.
I didn’t try to gloss my feelings over and jump back into work. I stopped and did some somatic tracking to get into my body and then dove deep into my feelings to find out what was driving my reaction.
Realization #1: Because transparency and mutual growth are of vital importance to me, (and supposedly him!) the total lack of space to be square with him hugely upset me. That it was a repeat of a dynamic I’d experienced growing up in an emotionally dishonest and hypocritical family didn’t help.
Realization #2: I was judging him. He was a well-known spiritual teacher for heaven’s sake.
Brilliant. With truly wonderful and important information to share. But he should know better! He should practice what he preaches! Sheesh!
And then came number three. The BIGGIE.
Realization #3: I’d basically been sitting there on that ZOOM call staring at myself in a mirror.
Like him, I’ve been on a mission. Like him, I’ve spent years being driven by the desire/need to help wake people up. (As I have been helped by so many others.) And for years it felt like a good thing that my passion was driving me where I thought I needed and wanted to go.
Now? As much as I’d like to think otherwise, I have to admit that “being driven” doesn’t sound so attractive. Seeing it so clearly mirrored in another, it surely doesn’t look so attractive! It also implies something else is doing the driving. Like I’m being herded. Prodded. Manipulated by something outside myself.
Having just written a whole book about interdimensional intelligences and how they can insert themselves into our mental/emotional/spiritual/physical energy fields, driving thoughts and emotions according to an overarching agenda so they can feed on them … I’m deeply questioning the whole dynamic.
I’ve been so conditioned to believe that having a driving purpose is the sine qua non of a meaningful life, I’ve never even questioned it. It’s like life itself is meaningless without some sort of important task to accomplish.
It’s ridiculous. But I and pretty much everyone I know have been programmed to believe this. If only I had a dollar for every person who’s walked up to me and said, “You’reso lucky to have a purpose in life! A message to deliver!” And I believed them! I felt the same way. I’ve practically broken my own arm patting myself on the back for having created a mission-driven life.
And yet now I’m beginning to think I haven’t seen the whole picture, and that I’m not as much in the driver’s seat as I once believed.
In and of itself, having a passion for something is a magical and marvelous thing. And I am indeed grateful that I do. But working myself half to death over it? Driving myself to 14 and 16-hour days at the computer, seven days a week? Obsessed. Besotted. Myopic?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized being driven is a condition that completely lacks grace. You know … the easiness that comes from being comfortable in your skin doing what you’re doing in the moment, right where you are, in no hurry to get anywhere because where you are is perfect.
Maybe where you’re at isn’t comfortable. Maybe where you’re at isn’t pretty. Maybe it’s not “successful.” (Whatever that means.) But it’s perfect, simply because that’s where you’re at. But being driven? Instead of grace there is chronic dissatisfaction. Nothing is ever enough. I’m not ever enough. The whip is always out, driving home the message harder, faster, longer, more more more …
How many tender moments with people I love have I missed because I was working? How much perfume from how many roses have I missed inhaling as I single-mindedly rushed past? How many sunset walks on the beach have I passed up to get “just one more chapter” finished?
My oh my.
No wonder my workaholic missionary mirror pissed me off so much.
It’s an old saw that you best teach what you need to learn the most. And it seems the saying is true. I’ve been touting the same message in all my books ever since 2012 and have, apparently, not quite gotten the lesson:
Trust life. Your own will come to you.
In other words, relax. What you are equal to will arrive. What you need to experience most in order to grow and become more YOU, you will experience.
Life’s whole gig—life’s purpose if you will—is growth and more and more life. It doesn’t skimp. It doesn’t withhold. Life doesn’t plot and plan to get things done and then leave things out by mistake. It doesn’t drop the ball.
Life delivers. In full. Every time. Guaranteed. What you put out comes back.
So, let go. Don’t try so hard. Don’t worry so much. Don’t strive. Push, Struggle. Shove.
It’s kinda like the old saying about “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it wasn’t yours to begin with.”
I think I need to set my books free. I think it’s not a message and a mission and a purpose I want so much as to be passionate and filled with life up to the brim, so much so that it just naturally spills over and shares itself.
What a concept.
It’s not that I wouldn’t work. It’s not like I wouldn’t still be making an effort. It’s just that I’d be showing up without the lash marks on my back. And a LOT less sweaty. And with a bigger smile on my face. And relaxed. And … much, much more free.