(Ed. note: I finished this more than a year ago. Why I continued to not publish it, I’m not clear on (see the part on “not good enough.”) )
Goal missed. Being kind to myself, priceless.
A little more than a year ago, I said I would write three posts in the next two months. I failed to keep that commitment to myself and to you, the reader. I have a couple of choices. I can beat the snot out of myself for missing my goal, or I can be kind to myself, admit I’m human with all the warts and freckles, and move on. I’m choosing the latter.
A question I’m asking myself right now is what was more important to me than keeping my promise to write? The simple answer is I’m a procrastinator. And, I’m lazy. While I’d rather be busy than sitting around doing nothing, that’s exactly what I chose: Do nothing.
There still is a part of me who thinks, no one will read this. No one really cares. But, taking the elevator down one more level, the answer is still: I’m not good enough. As I examine my life, I know that’s a worn out fable. Not true. Absolute lie. So, what’s the payoff to me to keep holding on to it?
By continuing to draw on that very old excuse, I get to stay small. Invisible. “As I was walking up the stairs, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today. I wish that he would go away.” (From the film, Identity) I also remember a quote often attributed to Nelson Mandela, but which really comes from Marianne Williamson:
“ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Who are you not to be?
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking, so that others won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us: it’s in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
My desire here is to liberate myself from the fear. To manifest my greatness in all the glory I was meant to share on this planet. And yet, knowing this, there is still an undercurrent of fear which often shows up in my life. Play small. Stay in the darkness. Why? Because if I let my light truly shine, my arrogance might overwhelm me. I might become a real braggart. I might get to the point where even I don’t like me. What may also be true, is I might become more humble. I might like myself even more. I might banish the “I’m not good enough” to a place where I am able to acknowledge that part of me, but realize it’s an old story which simply isn’t true any longer. I might, I might, I might.
Where do I go from here? That’s such a powerful question. Not only does it apply to my writing, this writing, but it’s a question I really want to look at daily. Where do I go from here? What’s the next step? Where am I going with the time I have left on planet Earth? Who do I want to travel with? How do I want others to see me? How do I really want to see myself? How do I want to be remembered when I’m gone? So many questions. Alright, I’ll do my best to answer some of them.
I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference. Sometimes, that difference might be about work. More often, it will be about how I made a difference in my own and other’s lives. Will I bless others and will I allow myself to be blessed? Not just on the surface, but deep down in my very core. Imagine, I ask myself, how would life be different when I live a life of purpose? Will those around me see me? More importantly, will I allow me to see myself? I’ve done that to a degree over the last 13 years. Perhaps, now, today, it’s time to ramp that up a little more. Be bigger. Be bolder. Be as magnificent as heaven intended. I want to make a difference.
I want to see myself as a man of integrity. When I make a commitment to do something, I do it. No excuses for why I didn’t do it. Just get it done as said. I’m usually pretty good at this. I falter. I’m not a saint. Yet, some of the simplest things, like writing three times in two months, sometimes present the biggest stumbling blocks. Why is that? Why is it easier sometimes to do the harder things and the easier things present the greatest challenges? All good questions to struggle with moving forward. Like a shark; move forward, or die.
I want others to see me as a good teacher and a better student. I’ve always been the latter. Only recently began working on the former. I’ve had great role models from which to learn. Persons who lead workshops. Persons who teach kids. Persons who run successful businesses. All these persons I’ve either studied or been allowed to learn from. All great teachers in their own right. Seeing the light turn on for a student is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life.
To be seen as someone who cares about others. And to be seen as authentic. No BS. Telling it like it is; with compassion. I had a great lesson in this recently. A man I know and was spending a weekend with, along with more than 40 others, was just triggering the anger in me over and over. He also triggered another friend of mine. I would have been like a gunfighter of old. “Let’s meet in the street at noon and have a gunfight.” What I saw my friend do was to approach the man creating the trigger with compassion. I was in awe. What I hope for myself is to have learned something about the compassionate way the man was approached. If I am able to do this part of my life better, what a more fulfilling life I will have for myself! (Unfortunately, the guy creating the trigger continued throughout the weekend to behave exactly the same and nothing ultimately was resolved.)
So, in the end, as I publish this, finally, I’m recounting Nelson Mandela’s words: powerful beyond measure. While today has been a sad day, it is the day after Robin Williams’ alleged suicide, I’m choosing, at this moment to think about how powerful his life was and how lucky I was to be witness to some of it. Not his private moments, but his public ones. The moments when seeing him on screen I thought, “What a great talent.” There must have also been great pain there, too. I can only hope his choice was powerful beyond measure for him. For me, it’s just a day to grieve.
How Am I Changing: I can choose to let my imperfections show; the writing doesn’t always have to be perfect, the relationships don’t always have to be the way I want. And, it’s OK to grieve publicly.
What about you? Is there something you want to change? How about finding something small to start? It’s just an idea.