Bless me WordPress for it has been many weeks since my last confession.
I’m struggling to confess because frankly this dream I’ve concocted is a pretty good one. It’s somewhat trivial to complain about the little roll around my belly or the fact I’m saving up for my big trip so I’m not getting as much coffee or wine out. It makes me feel guilty to complain. That’s probably fair.
There are people with more and people with less than me and for the most part I can’t do anything about that. I can help when given the chance and maybe get someone through a bad patch but the scales are not meant to be even but only balanced. Balance is more complex than even and is beyond my ability to create. It just exists in its own right.
This will always be true and in a very real sense it does not matter. Life is not actually a competition nor is it yours to entirely figure out. We each have a puzzle piece, that’s it. No one has the whole thing nor even a full view. There will not be an end to the race where I either get an award or condemnation. The only thing that actually matters is how I feel about it.
I confessed recently that I was a bit off. Not feeling so great about things and it was suggested I “Help someone, you’ll feel better.” My ego momentarily flashed and it yelled inside my head, “Oh thank you so much. What the hell do you think I’ve been doing every single day for the last several years? I’ve been doing nothing but that every chance I get. That’s why I’m off. I’m not sure if I’m doing anyone any real good.” But I didn’t say that. I just smiled and thanked her for the suggestion. Then I questioned, am I actually attaching my self esteem to being useful-again? That’s always been my measurement based on the good old fashioned so called “protestant, American work ethic,” if I’m useful I matter. If I’m not useful then I’m taking up space probably better occupied by someone useful. Oh man. That story–again?
That’s a story of pure fiction. Nowhere does a human manual exist which says we must be useful. Actually if it existed it might say consider being happy, loving and kind. That’s the way to be useful. It does not prescribe how many hours per week we should work, how far we should go in our careers, the stuff we should “own” nor does it say if our children are in graduate school we will pass the life class. Because there is no class. Despite the books written referring to this experience as “Earth school,” it is not a school. School has measurable results, tests and it is possible to pass or fail. In life you cannot pass nor fail. You only live and there is only question. How are you feeling?
If you feel in love, happy, enlivened and willing then that’s it. You can’t feel that all the time but if it happens more than it doesn’t, that’s good. Everything else is a fictional narrative you made up entirely in your head to occupy you because life is long and your brain is over-evolved to do things that don’t need doing.
I’ve had to tell myself this a lot lately. I find myself with nothing really important to do once in a while and so I start making things up, problems to solve and tasks to be done. Then I say, “Julie. Stop. If it doesn’t need doing, don’t do it.” I freeze at that thought. Then I sit.
I ask myself, “How are you feeling about your life and yourself?” The answer is normally something like, “I’m feeling okay. I don’t seem very ambitious but I’m not sure if it’s a problem.” Then I laugh at that thought and see if it keeps arising. As one who spent her life speeding along a treadmill trying to earn my place on the planet it’s odd to say I don’t really want anything I don’t have, that I mostly just like being around the people I love and like, music is good and so are movies and that I’d like to continue learning but if I don’t happen to notice learning anything new today it will probably be okay.
There’s not much in that, is there? But I’m experimenting with it. If I leave myself open maybe when someone or something shows up which needs my full attention it won’t be hard to do that. It’s also possible that since I’m not thinking I’m important nor what I’m doing is a big deal I might be able to look around and see all the pretty dreamers around me in their dreams inventing enjoyable lives or maybe lives of crisis but inventing just the same. I’ll also notice they are just like me. Caught in their dream. It’s so creative what we do, isn’t it? It’s like we’re all writing plays and movies complete with complex dialogue every minute.
That’s fine so long as you know it’s just a story you’re making up. If you believe your story—that’s when trouble strikes.
Sometimes it’s difficult to take anything very seriously with this perspective but that’s not such a bad downside.
Thanks for reading if you got all the way to the bottom. Funny how many words I used (932 so far) to talk about nothing except: love.laugh.live.be nice. enjoy the hell out of you, even if you made you up.