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After my 40 days in the desert of Lent, I have encapsulated my learning to be just this little idea. That in the separation of self from circumstance one can actually be free.
The entire idea got underlined for me the other morning, when I dropped a full jar of jam on the floor while putting it into the fridge.
Once upon a time, I would have castigated myself for being clumsy, or not paying attention (I was talking with my husband at the time). There would have been the mind juggling to see what I would be late for or miss out on. I probably would have negotiated with my husband so that he cleaned up the mess. Or more likely he would have volunteered and I would have walked away feeling just a trifle guilty and not a little glad. Thus, a whole lot more nonsense and wasted energy would have gone the same way as that jar of jam.
Instead, I looked at the shattered glass which miraculously found its way into every corner of the rather large room, and felt – absolutely nothing about how much time it was going to take me to clean it up.
The mess got cleaned up, I went back to my work, to enjoying my clients and their progress. There was just no story to tell about it.
How this came about
This year I decided to approach Easter a little differently, by putting myself onto a Lenten journey.
The question I asked myself was: How am I shaped by what I see or hear; and where does it take me?
While I can’t say in any way that I know what is ahead of me in my later years, I can say that I choose to live this part of my life more consciously than ever before. To this end, I chose to spend the past 40 days in the deliberate giving up of fast decisions and knowing the answer.
Asking for help; speaking what matters to me. Most people think I do this already, but I have noticed that I am very good at hiding things from my own self. To say that I am as often ‘wrong’ as I am ‘right’ has been keeping me in a place of self-judgement. Thinking that “I already know about [fill in whatever you want here]” keeps me safe, and stuck.
I feel like I’ve been here before – several times in fact, if I think about it. Usually when something outside of me shakes my world a bit. This time though I’m committing myself to keep on shaking my own world. To shaking my self loose from my circumstances.
I’ve noticed that these last many days have put many of my past experiences into new context. I have ‘integrated’ stories now, rather than ‘victim’ stories, or stories where I can ‘justify’ things in a rational way.
Integrated stories are the kind where I can look at an event, at myself, and at everyone involved and feel only compassion and appreciation. Seems hard to believe that this is possible. And it is. It certainly takes work and time, and some deep honesty with oneself.
What is so incredibly cool about integration of this sort is that there is a ton of room for me to have more things happen in my life, to have more experiences and to have an incredible amount of freedom to choose!