For all of the people who extol its virtues, I’m pretty sure that there are relatively few people who actually live in that state of grace known as balance.
At least, most of the awake people I know don’t. We’re on a tear or we’re passed out. We’re Getting Things Done or cooked. We’re high as kites or low as…really, really low things.
Heaven forfend I offer prescriptions for anything, since I’ve got my own mess I’m wading through, my own silverware tangle to sort out, but since externalizing some of what I go through seems to be useful to some people, I figure I might as well keep on doing it. And Thursday’s observation is this:
If you do the work, it works.
It may not work as fast as you wanted, although it probably will happen in the time it should. There are plenty of cautionary tales for not wishing things on oneself sooner than one is equipped to handle them; enough baby actors have fallen backwards into a tub of sitcom butter and shown up 20 years later on Reality Rehab for us not to know this. But still, the Wanting gets so big sometimes, it can override everything: the good sense to take a breather. To spend time on “non-essential” (read: essential) activities. To sleep. To eat. To reflect.
I know, because I’ve done it. I’ve thrown over all kinds of things, including my good sense, in pursuit of the external. Which, after many years of coming up empty-handed, I’ve decided should really be called the Pursuit of Filling in Giant Holes with Air. Doesn’t work. Not even sure it should. After all, those holes? They’re your landscape, your badge of honor. Your map of Places Been, your souvenirs of Hills Conquered.
No, to paraphrase my wise first-shrink/astrologer, you don’t ever get rid of stuff; you just learn to recognize it, and do an end-run around it, more quickly. It becomes as if your shit isn’t there, but of course it is. It’s a part of you, your shit, which is as it should be. Otherwise, we’d all walk around the emotional equivalent of the Elective Surgery Squad, simulacra of our real selves. Pleasant enough (provided we don’t cheap out on the contractor), but lacking the je ne sais quoi of real, live human beans.
If you’ve been hanging ’round these here parts, you’ve seen and heard of my long struggle. Way back around this time in 2007, it became clear that things were unclear. I’d made a huge career shift the year before, from acting to design, and had experienced just enough success to realize it wasn’t where my passions lie. (Lay? Mignon Fogarty, where are you when I need you!?)
Believe you me, if you’re a highly motivated, high-producing type, there is nothing more terrifying than not knowing which direction to point your guns at. It’s terrifying to give yourself room and time and space…to just swing gently in the breeze. When I asked for help last December, it was with the firm conviction that a good four months of reflection would allow my Purpose to bubble up and reveal itself. Add the few months of anguish mounting to the point where asking for help was actually less painful than not asking, and you’ll see why I was a full-bore wreck around the end of May.
That thing about kissing frogs to find princes? Really, it’s about finding your thang, your path, your Joe-Campbell-style bliss. And Campbell, no doubt, would have agreed: fairy tales, like myths, are metaphor, coded for your protection.
I’m not quite ready to lay out the All New and Improved Communicatrix Offerings just yet, but my head is (mostly) clear on what needs to be done and, more importantly, my heart feels light enough to manage the task.
More soon. Much, much more…