I met a wise woman last night. A horsey lady with ropey curls who listens as you speak and says it how it is when it’s her turn. I was explaining to her how I’d gone for an interview for a real job in a fancy building and didn’t get it. The whole experience had been anxiety provoking and I feel disheartened, lost.
After dissecting the interview many times, with each role play I notice how the panel has slightly different responses as my imagination tries to draw lines to meanings that I am totally unable to know without feedback.
I admit to this friend that my fear of failure or not doing enough…of really not being enough is under it all. I’ve played out another run around the sun being particularly busy with self improvement, studying a second degree, cramming for a soaring GPA as a reflection of my self worth.
She simply said, ‘What about your relationship with your self?’
I do a jolt and feel a wave of dull anger. ‘What do you mean? I’ve been candid enough with you to point out my flaws. I’m ‘enlightened’ enough to know what they are. I am f$%kin self aware… I do yoga…I talk to animals…I even talk to a God of my understanding that I sometimes call Spirit/Source/Magic/Energy…whatever I feel comfortable with at the time.’ It’s basically laughable, I have some relationship with someone in there, don’t I?
She responds, ‘So you are stuck in all this doing, because to actually just sit in the shit with your uncomfortable feelings is harder’.
My jaw drops as I exhale. Truth can do that. There is space as her words echo in my head.
How do I do that? Just be in it. In what? I don’t know if I like the sound of any of it.
My mind jumps to rapid fire questions, ‘How did you learn? Do you write it out? Did you do a ….’. My voice trails off as I realise that doing courses is just another distraction from getting quiet enough to be in the warm pool of your own excretement.
She continues to speak of learning from her animals, and sitting with her herd. She works in equine therapy and teaches horsemanship skills.
I’ve tried to take it all in. But the reality, my mind is busy with its usual parody of thoughts. I share my primary fear ‘ Time is ticking by, my kids are nearly teenagers and I’m still lost out on the prairies whilst trying to make it to respectable 6 figure Successville.’
She slaps her hand down on the table with more force than she intended. I see a glimmer of fear and frustration cross her face, ‘Money? Now that’s an entirely different topic all together’. She shares her journey of deconstructing fears around having money or not, and how learning to give when she is holding on too tight has somehow with practice, taught her to relax. I think, far out yet another paradox.
I shift in my seat as I feel that familiar ball in my lower belly. The conversation rounds back to its original purpose. I’m left pondering, what does a relationship with ourselves mean? And is it different to a relationship with God or whatever we name the energy bigger than ourselves? Ouch, my head hurts. Maybe this is all too hard.
‘Ok, what about writing?, she says. A calm comes over me, ‘yeah I love that. Somehow I can feel through that’. With her gentle enthusiasm, she lights the way when I am in the dark. ‘Ok, do that. Just write and see what happens’.
As the conversation turns and I watch as this beautiful warm woman shares her own frustrations about warped love and family. With her large penetrating blues, at one point she admits she’s dyslexic and thus not intelligent. And I scream inside, ‘No, that’s just school conditioning! What you’ve shared with me in the past half an hour, I haven’t found in any university hall’. Again, all these measures we busy and beat ourselves with, no wonder this relationship with self feels so strange in comparison.
As the music jams on and a cleansing rain shower dumps down, I feel a rush of gratitude for this perfectly vulnerable, resilient woman with a lion heart. I want to thank her because this morning I’m tapping away, slowly finding the stones to step on.