“Cuando crezcas, descubrirás que ya defendiste mentiras, te engañaste a ti mismo o sufriste por tonterías. Si eres un buen guerrero, no te culparás por ello, pero tampoco dejarás que tus errores se repitan.”
– Pablo Neruda
“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.”
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”. That it wasn’t anyone else or external circumstances that got us here, 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 shit on your lawn everyday that got you here.
It was your own two feet.
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 Sunday? 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.
My own whispers as of late have been to retreat and cocoon, to unravel the “lies we tell ourselves” and open up to a new path in my life. I’ve felt deep pulls toward expanding myself creatively, trying new artistic mediums and pushing the edges of what I’d normally share and express.
And it’s scary.
I know that the path I’m on leads me to a new place; it’s about embracing a new way of living and stepping into the work I believe I’m here on earth to do.
But 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 ignore.
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 that he doesn’t do more to realize his dreams, given that he already knows what they are.
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. We tiptoe around the work, trying to be and do everything else but that one thing we truly feel called to do in the world.
For years, I have wished for an extension of time to do nothing. To travel, read, study and reflect. To train in the spiritual nature of things and to get down to business with myself.
At some point, and sometimes in tandem with the external building, I’m realizing we have to face ourselves. There’s no more avoiding it; it’s just too painful.
Years ago, in a business course I took, a friend commented on another student’s journey. He simply said, “Your fear no longer serves you.”
Your fear no longer serves you.
I think it’s when we reach this point that we realize it’s time to grow up and out of the self-made prisons we’ve wedged ourselves into. For me, it’s been about learning to let go. And intuitively, I realize, that this next leg is going to require me to pack lighter. It’s the moments like this where we’re invited to wrap ourselves into our night, so that we may emerge as butterflies do.
To see who you truly are, I guess, means cleaning all the gunk, debris and sticky plaque that’s hardened around you, making your spirit difficult to sense. That’s the real work. 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 will go to delude ourselves, has [almost] no limits. It seems that life will serve you a shit 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.
“Si eres un buen guerrero, no te culparás por ello, pero tampoco dejarás que tus errores se repitan.”
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.
After all, the lies didn’t, maybe, 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] fuckin’ 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.
Now you’ve seen 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.