For as long as I can remember, my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up was long enough to be overwhelming:
theater production something-or-other
and also for as long as I can remember I’ve been getting the message that this list is a problem. that it means that I lack focus and dedication, and without a singularly focused passion I will never have enough drive to “make it.” Which is a shame, because “making it” was also the way to have a life that could accommodate all of these different interests without going broke or struggling to get by.
It’s also worth noting that when these beliefs were formed my most important priority was: “get attention in the form of praise” followed closely by “be the best” which is really the same thing as the first because being the best is just a way to get more praise. Just ask the Olympians, eh?
…and the combination of the laundry list and the be-best-goal was a recipe for… well, for nothing! those two things mixed together formed a delicious tonic that when consumed (and I drank it by the gallon) would render one motivationally paralyzed.
because (in case this isn’t obvious–goodness knows it took me a while) it’s impossible to be the best at everything. sigh… i know, it was tough for me too. how about a hug?
At some point this year during this process of perfecting imperfection I had started to let go of my need to do everything (and be the best). I would notice myself taking on more than my plate would accommodate and I would take a break and re-prioritize and not take the plate back to the table until it was balanced. And I was getting damn good at it too.
I noticed a few weeks ago that my plate was getting heavy again. Nothing was quite falling off the sides yet, but it was piled so high that it was starting to obscure my vision and I was dangerously close to losing my grip and dropping it (along with everything on it) to the floor. So, I started to look for a place to set it down and make choices about what was going to stay and what was going to go… I found a place to leave it and then… I got distracted.
And a welcome and delightful distraction she has been. But like is bound to happen when you meet someone who reflects back all of the glorious light in you (and then make out with that person)… it’s going to dredge up some of your darkness too. Of course I’m used to the “she’s going to change her mind and not want to do this with me” darkness and the “she’s going to find out that I’m too moody or some other quality that makes me unworthy of love” darkness. Those are predictable, and I know the positive self talk I need to practice to get through them.
AND, by the way… I’m totally up for this. This (although not always as much fun as the other parts) is the point; this is how we (I) grow.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the sudden return of the drive to be able to be the best at everything all at once and the sulky resentment for the last 10 years and what I chose to do with them and the reality that those choices led me here to a place where I’m several steps from where I want to be with some significant limits in the amount of risk I can take. Grrrrr… old self. Grrrr.
Really ego? I introduce you to someone who likes me for the me I am without even trying and you respond by telling me that I need to try harder? You can be a real jerk sometimes.
Okay, I’m sorry. I get it. You’re not a jerk, but you are a bit misinformed. Thank you for the protective service you’re trying to offer. I appreciate what you’re trying to do for me.
Little digression about how this manifested today: I’ve been doing morning pages again since July 2nd and even though it hadn’t happened spontaneously yet I knew that the potential to converse with my intuition was present in that process. So after a weekend home alone with a plan to clear my plate that left me even more overwhelmed with what’s on it instead… I decided i would use this morning’s pages to ask for some guidance. And, i got it! And it was loving and generous and helpful and everything one could expect their true self to be. She reminded me of the intentions I set for the year and that I’d manifested them all (new job, new home in la, someone awesome to hold hands with and kiss on) and asked me what i wanted next. And when i told her what I wanted next we went through all the things on my plate and cut what wasnt connected to the next big goals and made space for everything that was.
And then I closed the book, did my morning meditation, got spiderman (who is also requesting to be referred to as “golden knight” or “robot roscoe”) off to day camp, aaaaaaannnnnndddddddd completely disregarded the agreement I had with myself (boo!). Instead of narrowing my focus and giving my energy to the things that really matter I started trying to do it all again… and accomplishing nothing.
Bah! What is up with me?! Freakin’ dopamine and norepinephrine…
Luckily it was short lived. I’m a quick study… AND, in addition to Devon’s presence dredging up some old (and new!) shit, it’s also brought the most brilliant to-do list app into my life. So, I’m off to plan my life according to what I would be doing if I were living my heart’s desire each moment.
which I totally am.
(and I PROMISE we’re going to get to the topic of this month this week. P.R.O.M.I.S.E.)