I’ve been doing an awful lot of deep work lately.
After receiving the gift of a very painful wakeup call that I could neither cover up, deny, or ignore, I chose to start facing the truth of who I REALLY am, both in all of the positive ways as well as the negative ways.
During this whole process I have been taking a hard look at the truths that have governed my life—again, both for good and ill—up until now. These are the truths that have driven me forward, often unawares. They truths have spurred me towards greatness, and also into very dark places.
My counselor recently had me do a writing exercise that addressed a deep wound that I have carried virtually my whole life. As I wrote, two of these deep truths spilled out of me. Without going into too much depth, I share them here:
1. WHEN THE TIME FOR TESTING COMES, YOU WILL BE FOUND WANTING…
2. … AND THERE WILL BE NO CONSOLATION FOR YOU.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that during recovery, “Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces (of our lives) are suddenly cast aside,” and new ones set in, and begin to guide behavior.
These two ideas and attitudes—amongst others—have guided my life for virtually 45 of my 50+ years. And I can see their pathology, the damage they inflict on my soul (and thus, the damage that they indirectly inflict on the people I love and care about). Even as I can ALSO recognize the strange gift that they have brought to me—hours and hours of pursuing and honing my craft and clarifying my vocation—I also wonder, “What ideas and attitudes COULD or SHOULD replace them?”
Just taking the opposite, maybe they could read like this:
1. YOU ARE ENOUGH. FURTHERMORE, THERE IS NO TEST; JUST LIVE YOUR LIFE KNOWING THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH…
2. …AND WHEN YOU FALL (FOR ALL OF US SURELY FALL), THE GOD-WHO-SUFFERS IS THERE WITH YOU, AND SO ARE OTHERS WHO LOVE YOU.
It will take a while to fully live out these truths. But for now, maybe the place to start is to just be able recognize them, and remain AWARE of them as I move through life.
All of us have these guiding ideas, emotions, and attitudes, and to the degree that we wish to experience healing in this life, there is a beautiful and spacious invitation to discover for ourselves what they are, and then seek to embrace their opposites.