Are you the reason you're unhappy?
“When you grow, you will discover that you defended lies, you cheated yourself or suffered for foolishness. If you’re a good soldier, you won’t blame yourself for that, but nor will you allow that these mistakes repeat themselves.”
– Pablo Neruda
Part of the pain, I think, in growing in consciousness, in becoming more attuned to our actions, is to realize “the lies we defend” and in some form or another, discover that we have in fact cheated ourselves, as Mr. Neruda so poetically points out. That it wasn’t external circumstances or the infamous “other person” that constructed this present moment, and that we truly are the master weavers of our fates.
Like that of a tiny spider.
No, lamenting, it wasn’t the mailman, your boss or the dick neighbor who lets their dog sh*t on your lawn every day that got you here.
It was your own two feet that walked you to where you are today.
And while I say this with conviction, I also say it with compassion.
There’s no one to blame here, not even you.
After having exited an emotionally abusive relationship, I was/am invited to look at what we uphold in the name of fear, illusion and denial. When we lose connection to ourselves, when we forgo our own inner wisdom and truth, we suffer, needlessly.
What piece of internal wisdom might you be ignoring today, on this beautiful day? And why is it that we so fear that internal voice? Why do we wince, flee and even shun her wisdom or run for the highlands just to avert her grace?
Over the past few years, I continually return to this question, mostly in times when I’m at the brunt end of her loving wisdom. Looking at the lay of the land around me in moments like this often require a stiff drink of courage and a willingness to cry, a lot.
You see, I tend to realize I’ve strayed too far only when my body reaches the point of complete breakdown. When I’m run down, empty and my heart broken. When everyone else has retreated and I’m volunteering as a mercenary on the Titanic.
Dumb, so dumb, but it’s only until I’m in the freezing water that I realize I’m in too deep.
Only then, historically, have I realized I’ve wandered too far into the dark forest. And what, I wonder, was I doing there to begin with?
My own whispers as of late have been beckoning me to retreat and cocoon, to unravel the lies I’ve unintentionally built my life around and open up to a new path in my life.
My hands want to make, my heart wants to sing and my soul wants to up-level. On a deeper level, I’m feeling a call to initiation and as such, to lay to rest the falsehoods of my existence. To push the edges of what I’d normally share and express through being.
No trying, no proving, no winning anyone over. No more selling and I’m good at selling.
Simpler still, it’s about being present.
It’s about focusing on the space around us, internally and externally, and tuning into the heart whispers that we’ve learned to silence.
Sometimes they’re hard to hear. I talk about the unruliness of ignored creativity in my TEDx talk about innovation.
Sometimes they’re buried under trauma, pain, fear and a life of being outside of our bodies and inside our phones.
I used to tell a favorite person of mine that he was lucky to know his calling in the world, that I envied his position and thought it was foolish he didn’t do more to realize his dreams, given he was so intimately acquainted with them.
But what I discounted was what it felt like to stand at the cliff and hang glide into the sunset of your present life, piercing the clouds of heaven, into the darkness that ensues before the sun rises yet again.
I discounted the bravery and tenacity that it takes, the sheer and utter faith required to embark on such a journey. I thought I was the teacher, but really, in that moment, I was the student.
We all face our night.
Such is the path, it seems, of those who feel destined for something.
At some point, I’m realizing, we have to face our sh*t. There’s no more avoiding it; it’s just too painful. Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and bestselling author, shares that we begin to awaken, and look within, when our suffering has become unbearable.
Has your suffering become unbearable? Mine has.
Enough to release yourself from the image of who you think you are to become the person you truly are?
This is the work. Make no mistake, friend. This. is. the. work.
To see who you truly are, I guess, means cleaning away all the plaque that’s hardened around you, making your spirit difficult to sense. That’s the real block to creativity and life force as we know it, and it’s often times the last place we want to look or focus our attention on.
Our aversion to our work, whether internal or external, and the lengths we’ll go to delude ourselves, has [almost] no limits.
It seems that life will serve you a sh*t sandwich in all of your favorite hiding places until you just can’t hide anymore. Until the moment when stuffing yourself into relationships that don’t get you, jobs that don’t appreciate you and endless happy hours cannot hide, until truly, the smell of your own shit is just too unbearable.
Something in you breaks and you surrender.
And in these fragile moments of rebirth, a sense of calm and spaciousness rush over you. And maybe, if only for a second, you realize that the soul-sucking job/relationship/house/etc., may not be to blame.
That truly, there’s no blame…anywhere.
Your mind may not understand it, but your body hums this sweet, soft lullaby, tears streaming down your face, a combination of joy, regret and yes, sweet surrender.
“I created this,” you manage to spew out between drool-filled tears. “What’s in my enemy is also in me. And there is no one to blame here, not even me.”
And so begins the journey home.
“[...] If you’re a good soldier, you won’t blame yourself [...], but nor will you allow that these mistakes repeat themselves.”
In the thick of blame, of projection and of the anger at [insert what you’re mad about], you realize the lies (illusions) you’ve upheld and maybe can start to see how they guided you to this precise position.
And that to move forward, you must let go, and that to let go, you must lay down the burning embers of blame, anger and frustration, regardless of where they are pointed.
Lay down the smoking gun; the war is over.
Maybe you don’t like where you’re at so much. That’s OK.
After all, the lies didn’t seem so horrible initially because, well, your colleagues seemed to get along just fine sippin’ on that Koolaid. Your family, friends, heck, everyone you know (!) seems to be feeding into the American/German/Mexican [insert any nationality or religion] dream and you wonder, are you the only one unhappy?
Are you the only one who sees the world differently?
Are you the only one awake or sober enough to move forward in a new direction?
You might be. In your circle and world, it might just be you (for now), which makes your steps forward all the more important.
Because now you know better and there’s no turning back. You intuitively know this, which is why you resist.
Now you can attest to your hand in creating this life for yourself and there’s no one to blame, not even you. This can be painful to witness, but it’s also the beginning of freedom.
So forgive yourself for the moments spent sippin’ on that untruth, which is really the essence of our own misery, and get to steppin’.
We need you out there, buen soldado.