Tag Archives: journey

Destination Perfection

It is 3:22am on a Saturday night/ Sunday morning and I am certain I am the luckiest girl alive.  Because luck does not look as one expects, I am learning. I did not win the lotto, or the cake walk at the the local fair today (thank heavens), but I am remembering, at this quiet, precious moment between days that the whole wide world has conspired in my favor. I cannot do any wrong thing.

My friend Paula Shaw’s raspy, dramatic, and always convincing voice often rings in my head, saying things like “Just go! All roads lead to Rome!” or “It’s hopeless. But not serious.” Today I’m reminded of her missile metaphor.  She explained that launched missiles, with all their technology and precision are almost never moving on target.  The only way a missile knows how to reach its destination is to move in that general direction, and when it’s far enough off course, it recognizes this and corrects.  So in fact, it is always moving in an ongoing zig zag, rather than some imagined perfect arc.

I am reassured by this. I can follow all my human little longings and mind trips and insecurities and hiccups down a river of sad or shame or give up… but even these rivers belong to life.  And life always takes its course in the direction of perfection.

Example A.

There are, let me check, 20 hours and 31 minutes left in National Novel Writing Month.  The official goal of this is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  An absurd and absolutely doable task, that more than 100,000 people in the world will accomplish this year.  I will not be one of them.  I am at just over 15,000 words, for a variety of reasons.  Namely, 1) my life is fuller than full, and 2) I cannot turn off my inner editor.

Fuller than full is pretty self-explanatory.  I have four jobs, have moved three times this month, had friends visit and competing priorities. The editor piece is interesting. With the exception of a few moments, I have successfully wrestled my inner critic into submission. (Woo!) However my internal editor (there is a big difference) and I have something of a love affair.  I love, love, love polishing as quickly as I create.  I have not yet found faith enough to follow the rough edges of the story unknown far into oblivion.  My editor chimes in at every turn and pulls me back into a course that feels “more inspiring” to follow and then my inner Taurus must go back and fix the story accordingly.  I knew this whole novel-writing business would be one big giant personal process.  I was right.

The great success here is that I am not beating myself up terribly for my un-winning. I have, in fact, altered the rules to fit suit my needs and am extending my personal deadline to the 1st of the year.  50,000 words in two months is fine with me.  And no, the slick little progress bar on the right there will not accommodate, so I will post my own word count updates there instead.  (And I do invite you to hold me to it.  Peer pressure can be used for good, you know.)

In sum: I aimed high and decided to do this thing.  I am missing the goal, and still the whole thing has plopped me exactly in the middle of myself with great success.

Example B.

It was 11:15pm this evening, now yesterday, and I was at a choicepoint.  Do I spend my whole Saturday night alone at home with the novel writing or take a break and see some live music/ have some actual human interaction?  Such choicepoints, as mundane as they seem, always feel at the time as though the fate of my whole existence is at stake.  But what will I MISS if I choose this?  Which choice is really coming from CENTER? Blah blah blah.

I hemmed and hawed.

I’m in a groove with the writing again, so the kindest thing would be to stay here and do this for myself.

I wrote 2,000 words today and deserve a break. Live music! Go enjoy yourself.

I have a sore throat. I should sleep.

I have a sore throat. I should drink whiskey.

I went with the live music and the whiskey.

And now I’m here.

This “here” is not exactly the same as the “here” I would be experiencing if I hadn’t made that decision.  The learnings would look different. (And my lips wouldn’t be tingly.) But I am absolutely, beyond a doubt certain of the fact that I would have gleaned exactly what I needed to know to steer myself on the course I am choosing for my life, no matter what I did.  Whether “less drinking, more sleeping” is my renewed intention or “less hiding, more contact” – my course is correcting itself in the direction of my perfect evolution.

The world is conspiring in favor of my growing up.

I cannot do anything wrong.

Choices and events that bring me pain and suffering are powerful motivators.

Choices and events that bring me joy and fulfillment are powerful indicators.

In this season of thanks and gratitude, I am feeling mighty grateful for this knowing.  What a relief(!) to relax into this grand paradox – this faith – that I am always on the path, despite myself.  I won’t remember this most of the time, and it doesn’t even matter.  Is this not the most wonderfulest thing ever?  Call it god, call it life, call it fate, call it what you will… I just know I have this great gift of choice, and no matter what I do, I am being lived.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Lisa’s Big Give

I don’t have TV, so I sometimes watch shows online the day after they air. Somehow I got sucked into the vortex of reality TV (kicking and screaming) and have been keeping up with Oprah’s Big Give.

As far as reality TV goes, it’s pretty standard in the whole “how can we create as much drama as possible” bit – the first and last 10 minutes of each episode being particularly appalling examples of our human potential, in my opinion. And still I get sucked in, poo-pooing all along but not turning it off.

They’ve mastered the art of alluring the ego in these shows. It’s “reality”, so they’re just like us – we can imagine we’re in the seat and go flying right along with all the emotional turbulence. And it works. For those of us (me) who watch movies and TV to step out of our skin for a while and vacation in the exciting world of somebody else, we feel every bump and triumph as keenly as if it were our own, while still having the luxury of a second seat in the judge’s box. I’ve noticed all these shows have both participants and watchers. There are the players on the journey, and there are the people watching the players and commenting all along the way on how they are doing.

It’s the quintessential metaphor of our cultural and egoic conditioning. The judges decide what’s acceptable, what’s better than, what wins and what goes home. And just in writing this – in really getting this – the compassion I have for myself is deepening. When I watch this stuff the judgment never feels good. This is what our culture does to us every time we step out the door. And we’ve been in a cultural immersion program since birth, so we don’t even have to walk out the door – we only have to breathe and we’re doing it to ourselves. I do it day in and day out – and I’m usually so in it I’m not even seeing it – which makes a lot of sense, seeing as how the show isn’t fun to watch even when it’s not me. I’m doing it right now.

In this particular show, the cultural repercussions are about subtle as a Vegas sign. From a nice diverse pool of 10 original participants, all but the three richest, prettiest and whitest have been shown the door. In this system you don’t have a chance if you’re not equipped with the right gear. And I spend so SO much time bemoaning the places where I’m not equipped. The many places where I wasn’t blessed with, or nurtured into the impossibly perfect form for brilliant physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual success in the particular place I happened to be born into.

As I write tonight, the judge watching me is taking the form of my teacher Cheri Huber, who is shaking her head and saying “I’ve been telling you this in a thousand different ways, in seven different books, and here you are writing this like it’s some big new discovery. And then writing it as if it’s yours!” I assure you that in my regular, daily reality Lisa show this most compassionate Buddhist teacher does say such things, and I unquestioningly believe – I get hurt and defensive, but walk off stage without hesitation, really thinking “she” is teaching me to be better than I am.

Tonight I’m writing anyway. It is mine to discover, and I’m doing it. And the resolution is like a salve. There’s more to reality TV than the participants and the judges – there’s us watching it. I’m turning it off.

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