Personal Growth

What A Complicated Mess We've Made

The ultimate transcendence in this random, meaningful game.

·     ·     ·

I don’t know where to start. Never could I have predicted after nearly thirty years of existence, fourteen years of schooling, thirteen years in the workforce, and countless books, tapes and seminars, I’d have a mind this empty.

In a way, I’m lost.

And another, I’m home.

·     ·     ·

Freedom, though a given in our Constitution, never was something I felt I had. Though I’ve never been to prison, the context of my life was enough of one. 

Something was off about me. In a given situation, I’m the one who’s weird, annoying, awkward, arrogant, says too much, says too little, thinks too much, thinks too little, or just flat-out doesn’t belong.

As you can imagine (or have experienced for yourself), this can weigh pretty heavy on a pair of prior-dislocated shoulders. Much like Alcoholics’ Anonymous however, I didn’t really bother addressing myself until I actually hit the floor.

·     ·     ·

Once I bottomed out, I did a lot of work. I began addressing the things I created in order to look good for others, the ways of being and acting that were total and complete bullshit. 

The things I wanted because it’s what rolled off the tongue, gave me significance, or got the attention of those I desired to be acknowledged by. 

I let it go.

Then came the things I disliked about myself — or even hated about myself — but either ignored or threw lipstick on. 

My insecurity. My lack of confidence. My fear of loneliness, insignificance and being ignored. 

All of it — I let it all go.

And finally, I dealt with the things that I just flat-out could not say. 

The things I was prepared to go to the grave with. 

The deepest, darkest secrets that I would rather die before telling.

All the lies. All the deceit. All the sneaking around. All the cover-ups.

One way, and another, it all got out.

·     ·     ·

And so it left me in a weird place — a place I wasn’t very related with, but still felt like a familiar one.

It brought me back to the beginning — before I really knew anything, and simply experienced it all.

Playing in the front yard. Riding on the lawnmower in my dad’s lap. Running up the stairs to my parents’ bedroom. Donning the costume of the main character from every Disney movie and acting out the scenes at my grandparents’ house.

They were all acts of creation — a response to nothing.

This was back at the genesis, before my identity was formed. Where the only thing I knew, the only thing I wanted, and the only thing I could say, was all the same.

I love you.

Before something was wrong, before I didn’t fit in, before I was on my own, this was it.

It all arose from love. The wonder. The curiosity. The joy. The discovery.

All grounded in love — for others, and for life itself.

·     ·     ·

What’s important to get is the “identity” was constructed, not assigned. It was put together as a response, as a means of survival — not an act of authentic creation. And this identity, this machinery, was embedded and turned on by one person and one person only.

And the person who made it up has the power to shut it off — but first they have to claim it.

Once I got that I made it all up — everything about myself and my life that robs me of my self-expression and experience of being alive — I am no longer helpless on the other end of it.

·     ·     ·

Who I truly am is perfect, enough, and missing nothing. The identity is simply the roadblock to my expression and experience of who I really am.

The identity may cause some success, but it hardly generates lasting fulfillment. Love — not for the superfluous warm and fuzzies, but for the sake of getting that close to one’s humanity — is the access to a life worth living.

I can notice when the identity is at play, robbing the boy of all his joy and wonder. This isn’t something I can think about, for thinking is far too subjective and easily collapsed inside the survival mechanism.

I have to look.

I’ll know when I’m looking if I’m detached from the situation — seeing it from a number of differing angles, eventually landing on a new opening. 

If I’m frustrated, upset or hurt, I’m not looking — I’m thinking.

·     ·     ·

My life isn’t about what’s happening with me internally. Thoughts are incessant — they’re non-stop and will always be there. Sometimes they’ll be good, sometimes they’ll be shitty, sometimes they’ll be just downright fucked up.

Feelings and body sensations are of a similar accord. However, none of them bother who I actually am — they bother the identity. The identity gets confronted and then makes up a conversation to attempt to rid itself of the thoughts, feelings and body sensations ,  usually via something ridiculous and rooted in self-preservation.

Knowing this, I can get responsible for the conversation that leads me to being an asshole or a coward.

The map is not the territory. Life’s going to keep on happening and all I have are my interpretations — it’s my choice whether or not I want to honor a shitty one.

It’s here that we can see how love is a matter of communication.

·     ·     ·

“We love the things we love for what they are.” — Robert Frost

In the opening scene of Love Actually, the caption reads, “Love actually is all around.” You just have to look for it.

And in the Christmas classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Grinch had a lesser heart because all of his conversations were about what was bad and wrong. Once he discovered his humanity — with a little help from Cindy Lou Who — and began honoring that, love was all around.

·     ·     ·

So what are we left with? Well, not a whole lot. I don’t know my ass from third base, but I know the only thing in between me and a life that I truly love is my own self-imposed constraints. The Beatles got it right when they said, “All you need is love.”

“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.…and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” — 1 Corinthians 13

Love is the context for life — but you must choose it. For always looming in the distance is a disempowering conversation liable to take you out.

It’s time I get responsible for why I’m on this planet. Whether I know for sure is irrelevant.

I’m saying love is why I’m here.

And lucky for me

All of us, rather

It always goes the way we say.

·     ·     ·

Thanks for reading!

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The Battle For Life

The Battle For Life

I’ll be straight with you: there are some days I am just flat-out insecure. I seek validation and praise like a five-year old requesting his drawing be tacked onto the fridge. I often do this by virtue of writing (pretty easy to distinguish this based on my tone), posting on Instagram, or sharing my accomplishments via trumpet-calls and humblebrags with the people I most admire.

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As with anything pure, once commercialized past a particular threshold, virtues barrel right into cliché. They devolve into tips, hacks, quick wins, or something to apply to improve a situation. They become something inherently selfish meant for consumption, as opposed to the contribution they are meant to be for others. They become the exact opposite of what they actually are in essence.

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Thank You

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The 5th Gear

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What my ordinary game kept us from was reaching the apex of why you play the game in the first place. The magic, the beauty, and the honor of charging side-by-side toward a goal much greater than a single person, that you have no guarantee of reaching and an even better chance of getting heartbroken in the process.

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Keep Dreaming

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The dreams themselves may never be realized, but the dreaming (and subsequent chasing) often produces results imperceptible to the imagination. “It’s better than I could’ve ever dreamed of,” is the ultimate goal. And you conjuring up the scary shit your ordinary self says you cannot have and gunning for it anyway is the source of someone else being able to say those words.

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