So as I have been exploring the feeling that I've been fighting life, more feelings have been coming up, more "AHA!"s. The biggest lately is how I have been trying so hard NOT to live my own life. For, like, my whole life.
I love Byron Katie. I especially love listening to her do The Work with other people. I just love her voice, her compassion, her love towards these people as they dig and examine. This is one of my favorites.
Anyway, something that really made an impact on me when I was listening to her book "Loving What Is" was her discussing that, in her eyes, there are three types of business in the world. (And I'm paraphrasing here because it has been a few years since I listened to this part!) My business, Your business, and God's business. And that whenever you are feeling stressed out, ask yourself whose business you're in. Because you can only do anything about your own business. So when you sit there fuming that so-and-so won't do this, or certain that if so-and-so would just take your advice and do x her life would be so much better, you're not in your own business. And when you're not in your own business, you're over there trying to live someone else's life, and there is no one over here living yours! You're giving up living the only life you DO have power over.
This popped into my head while talking to a dear friend recently, and it took awhile before I realized that, more than likely, it was popping into my head more for myself than for her. Because it dawned on me just how much of the day I spend NOT wanting to live my own life! And it isn't really obvious things either, it's things like checking facebook or message boards or blogs or whatever, immersing myself in other people's lives. Or so I think. ;) Checking out of mine for a bit to try out theirs. Not saying there is anything inherently wrong with experiencing bits of other people's lives by what they share. But the days where I feel drawn to KEEP checking, to go do something for a bit and then get online again, to check "one thing" and then get lost, those are the days I'm resisting living my own life. Which happen much less frequently than they used to, but they still do happen!
This finally clicked for me when I was pondering yet again my inability to read fiction since having kids. My problem is that when I read fiction I DIVE into the story, the story becomes my life, and when I get interrupted I get pissed. Mean and nasty and just not a person I want interacting with my kids. I have to finish the story, and even then it lingers within me for days, weeks. I even get a made up soundtrack running through my head. I'd need a weekend to myself before I could even dream of opening a Harry Potter book past the first two that I have already read. So I have just given up on reading fiction. I have plenty of non-fiction how-to type books that I have been enjoying reading, and it's not even like I get the chance to sit and read a ton of that, but I don't mind being interrupted as much then because, in general, there isn't much to get swept away with. But for whatever reason this inability has been tapping me on the shoulder a lot lately, maybe because it held this revelation for me. :)
I know that when I read voraciously as a child it was a way to escape, to go somewhere "more beautiful", or maybe safer, or at least somewhere where I generally knew the problems would be resolved by the time I got to the end of the book. It was a way to run away from my own feelings and fill myself with someone else's. Someone more perfect. Who maybe does what she/he "should". Or who can at least resolve things and move through conflict and on to the other side. Someone whose life I would love to take on instead of my own.
So it was just recently that I saw the parallel between these "safe", "perfect" worlds I used to escape to and the places my mind goes now. And it's not even necessarily those internet worlds, it's the "should" worlds. It's the place I go when I see that the kitchen is a mess and I start to beat myself up about it. Because I suck at cleaning, I can't get on top of it, or whatever. I am in my business but I am in my "perfect" self's business- you know the me in my head who always is on top of things and takes care of everything and everyone that needs to be taken care of. Who is always showered and wears clean clothes all the time and makes sure the socks and underwear make it to her family's drawers instead of sitting in the laundry room in a basket for them to fumble through. The one who makes the amazingly tasty nutrient dense meals three times a day PLUS snacks and always has the surfaces cleaned off for the kids to cook with her. Yeah that one.
So I see the mess but I don't really see it, what I see is that it SHOULDN'T be that way! It's like standing on the edge of a lake screaming about how cars should NOT be in lakes, blaming whoever put mine there, going on and on about how if whoever hadn't done whatever I wouldn't be in this situation that I shouldn't be in! At that point I'm not living my life. I'm trying to live my life the way I think it should be. And I could be there for years! But if I would just stop, take a deep breath (or ten), let the shock sink in, maybe cry a bit, and ACCEPT that this is where I am. My car is in the lake. THEN I have the possibility of actually doing something about it and getting it out!
So lately, when I find myself stuck, wanting to retreat and escape into some other world, be it an internet based one or my own "should" world, and I realize that's what I'm doing, I've been either saying "I don't want to live my life" or asking "Why don't I want to live my life?" and in general it kind of shakes me into reality. And most of the time I chuckle at myself, love myself for trying to "make life more bearable" or whatever, and then affirm that I DO want to live my life! I DO want to participate in what is going on around me. I DO want to experience and be real joy, which is a place I can't be when I'm trying to be somewhere other than where I am. And then I ask "What feels good about this situation? Follow that." Yes, it is my new mantra. And I'm loving it. :)
I am so grateful for my life. I am grateful for the opportunities to grow, to be joy, to be love, to figure out what I want and to follow my heart. I am grateful for my husband and my children and our families and all the wonderful things that have found themselves into our lives both past and present. I am grateful for this past year, both despite and because of the fact that I spent quite a bit of it being conflicted about wanting to live MY life. I was getting to see the glimpses of what living my life actually meant, and it is because of this past year that I am where I am now. I am so grateful for the amazing people in our lives, who stay, who come and go. Who no matter what they say or do, give us the opportunity to see love in the world. If not mirrored in them per se, at least they give us the opportunity to realize where we do feel love by contrast. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience life! And I am grateful for the opportunity to completely open my heart and BE gratefulness. And I am grateful for all of the people out there in the world, being mirrors, letting me see glimpses of you, and in turn see glimpses of me. Thank you.