I’m struggling to begin. This isn’t new. I tend not to like to begin new lofty goals, habits, patterns, things… my attention wanders. Actually, my attention is pulled away by things and people… specifically things and people that I feel obligated to, not so much that I actually deeply believe align with my best interests. I have ignored myself for years. To the point where I don’t feel like I actually have my own wants, desires, or opinions. Maybe that’s my starting point. My edge. Questions. Specifically, asking myself uncomfortable ones. And not answering quickly. Really taking the time to ponder the responses. I’ve journaled for a few years now and have gotten pretty good at the stream of consciousness stuff. Now it’s time to answer some of the questions that keep coming up in that writing.
What feels good and right to me?
If I had no obligations, what would I do? Where would I go?
Does this life excite me?
Am I filled with enthusiasm when I wake up in the morning?
How do I connect with myself and do what I find meaningful when I don’t know what I find meaningful?
That last question makes me ache a little bit.
I learned early that what I find interesting and worth pursuing isn’t actually anything that the world finds necessary and worth paying people living wage for unless they are SUPER FAMOUS. I love art, music, religion, spirituality, horoscopes, Tarot Cards, stories, the art of connection… This doesn’t translate easily to “good” careers. Doctor, lawyer, engineer… you know, “useful” and well-paid professions. There wasn’t ever any grand incident where I was told I was less-than for what I enjoyed… I was always just too embarrassed to even begin to discuss what I actually liked. I never, ever got the sense that it was safe for me to like and seriously pursue my interests. Discussions around the TV were often quite derisive of the concepts that interested me. Characters who were into what I was into were never portrayed as very “normal” and it was easy to see that something was “wrong” with them. In retrospect, I’m reminded of the idea that when you point a finger at someone else, you have several other fingers pointing back at yourself.
So I went with the flow. It isn’t hard to see the timeline that society tells us is the most “normal” for “normal” people who want it all. School, University, Marriage, House, Dog, Kids- all while maintaining the BEST CAREER EVER and making all the money.
Not on that path? Huh. What’s wrong with you?
The answer is nothing. Nothing at all. I was so misled. Could you imagine a world full of engineers? Blech. I honestly felt and still feel so naïve. So here I am, years down this path weighed down with so much shame because I could never, ever be the ideal. I could never align myself with the careers that were “perfect” and “normal” in my world. I’m trying to learn the best ways to move around in this moment that I am living in… Asking myself all the questions and not allowing my automatic, programmed and habitual replies to be my official answers.
But… it’s actually been quite scary for me to contemplate that my life as it stands might not be the best fit for me.
“I’m really lost and struggling with this right now. What advice would I give my very best friend?”
I wrote this in regards to the question about finding connection to myself and meaning. I was able to very clearly feel the response “Listen to your intuition.” I wrote, and moved into a little bit of a back-and-forth.
“What if I can’t feel or hear it?”
“Get out of your head and into your body.”
“Yes, but how do I connect meaningfully to my body?” Frustrated. I live in my body… how is that not good enough?
“Feel it. Move it. Touch it. Love it. Decorate it. Inhabit it. Show it. Feed it. Protect it. Cherish it. Own it. Be it. LISTEN TO IT!”
I was speechless and embarrassed. That’s pretty simple stuff but I realized I don’t actually pay much attention to my body. I have good living habits, sure- but they’re just that- habits. Routines that I do because at some point I understood that they were necessary. Is it possible that maybe I could do some of those things better? Instead of just moving my body, move it in a way that feels amazing. Instead of just feeding my body, feed it the very best food I can imagine. Instead of just making it presentable, decorate it. To love myself and treat myself as though I am the most precious thing in my physical world… what a concept.
What’s this feeling coming up as I write this? Is that… Judgement? Ah, yes. It is. “Who are you to do all of this for yourself like you’re some sort of Rock Star? Why not be someone worth loving and respecting first, then we can discuss treating yourself well. This is all very self-centered and conceited of you. Typical high-maintenance stuff from someone who doesn’t deserve it. Just be better and this good stuff will all be justified.” So all of these comments have come up at one point or another and I don’t believe that I’m the only one who has heard it. How has listening to this stuff worked out for all of us? I’ve gotten to the end of every idea that comes from a place of having to earn my worth and now I’m ready to concede that all that’s left is starting where I am and believing that I am worthy of connecting to myself right here and now.
So this is actually the best place for me to begin. My edge. To thoroughly question and then feel and understand what is the very best for me. To know that I am absolutely perfect right where I am and that I am worth treating well before I accomplish anything “worthy”. It’s been a lot of looking at myself which feels weird and indulgent, but I know that this is the path because it also feels right.