I’m kind of kicking ass at this “learning” month. I finished the book on emotional intelligence, I am following the Chopra Center’s 8-week path to happiness, I am listening to a series on Sounds True, I signed up for several courses via coursera, and in general… I am treating life like a course. I am taking copious notes and marveling at the things I learn every moment.
(little celebratory dance would go here, if i were willing to do that sort of thing…)
So, there’s that (yay!)
…and there’s also some darkness. I noticed it starting to creep in this past weekend. At a high point in the weekend I had written an intention on my arm (because in the Chopra center happiness thing I mentioned above it suggested that you write your intention somewhere you’ll see it often… and as I looked up from scrawling it on my arm in sharpie I saw they provided a template for me to print, write on, cut up and paste around the house. oh well! arm it is!)
|my intention: be happy for no reason at all. still working on it.|
… and when I saw it a morning or two later my exact thoughts were “fuck you! be happy for no reason at all? how about be happy when there are lots of reasons to be unhappy!”
and then I laughed at how clearly I wasn’t “getting” it and went on with my day…
Besides that outburst, here’s how the darkness manifested: I found myself becoming (nearly) enraged at a (near) stranger’s request. What the person wanted was something I thought she should have been able to do (aka: figure out) herself and I was beyond irritated that she wouldn’t at least try (and then report back her efforts therefore justifying her request for assistance-eesh, I am demanding). The theme continued and I noticed myself becoming (thankfully slightly less) annoyed at people who couldn’t or wouldn’t just do things themselves that I knew I was perfectly capable of figuring out myself with minimal effort.
I had to look within and ask myself what this annoyance was reflecting. What is it about people who appear helpless that triggers me into such rage? Well, if I were to imagine how I would feel about my helpless self I would be pretty disgusted. I wouldn’t be perfect if I couldn’t do everything myself and if I weren’t perfect then I couldn’t be loved by others… and since that’s the worst possible thing I could think of I avoid it at all costs (and clearly others should too).
Woah. I thought I was past that perfectionism thing. Seriously, I did. Okay, you can stop laughing now… I thought because I no longer stayed up all night on projects or skipped on sleep to do as much as I could for other people or beat myself up for a stutter or missed word that I had cured my perfectionism! I guess not so much… on the surface maybe yeah. I don’t act on it as obviously, but apparently I haven’t forgiven myself for not being perfect yet AND I haven’t forgiven myself for even expecting that I would be.
Lots of work ahead.
In addition to my irritation at the helpless of the world I also find myself irritated at the seemingly perfect people… I am spending A LOT of time reading, watching, listening to the people of this world who have chosen to give their life to the spiritual and self-love communities. And a lot of those people are VERY positive ALL of the time… (apparently I don’t forgive myself for that part of me either, but that’s for another post).
So imagine my relief when I start listening to the “Teaching What We Need to Learn” series on Sounds True and hear that not only are the teachers speaking about what we (me) need to learn, but what we (they) need to learn. Hallelujah! (and duh!)
I can’t describe how ecstatic I felt when I heard Daphne Rose Kingma, author of The Future of Love (a book about non-traditional love relationships) admit that after her book on the contrasting topic became a best seller she found herself thinking ‘now maybe I have earned the lifelong love relationship I yearn for…’ (paraphrasing). If I wasn’t buckled in (to the car), I would have leapt from my chair in joy.
Thank you Daphne, and to all of the speakers in the Teaching What We Need to Learn series… for being open, honest, and vulnerable enough to share that even the most revered and heralded teachers in this industry are teaching on the work they are needing for themselves.
38 once asked me if I thought people could teach something they haven’t mastered yet. I answered yes then, and I am even more sure of it now… not only can they, but the should, and it’s probably the best teaching they’ll do.
I’m loving “teaching” you about self-love while what I’m really doing is “learning” it. Thank you for the opportunity!