Once again, the minute my eyes opened this morning (at 4) my mind was racing. Thought work the past three days has been great, but perhaps it’s made me more sensitive to other painful thoughts. It’s like I’m in a batting cage: I hit one away and another comes. So I tried to find the meta-thought – why have I been unable the past two days to turn off. I keep checking e-mail and Facebook on my computer and on the phone. . . When I am confused by my feelings or behavior, I always simply ask myself, “What am I afraid of?” In this case, what am I afraid will happen if I turn off? “I am not enough” is the thought that bubbled up immediately in response to my question. I think my husband’s absence has brought this thought to the fore: not only am I creating a new business, I’m solo parenting right now. But it’s a fundamental thought, too. Here’s what happened:
I am not enough.
Is it true? No.
How do I react when I believe it? I become frantic. I imagine what people would think of me if I didn’t respond to their inquiry or comment right away. I scatter my energy over seven different things at once and don’t fully pay attention to anything. I become tense. I let the kids look after themselves, because they don’t complain. Then I feel ungrounded and miserable.
Who would I be without the thought? Present. I would be a presence – radiating out and attracting – instead of an absence – needing to be needed and searching outside myself for approval, which energetically is like a black hole. I would simply turn off the computer when the kids get home – no, I would turn it off before they get home. I would leave the house, go outside, and walk to meet them at the corner, instead of waiting for them to come home, just so I can “squeeze in a few more tasks” before leaving my desk. Because the kids deserve my total presence, not just the husk of a mom whose mind is elsewhere. Actually, so do I.
Turnaround 1 (to the opposite): I AM enough.
Proof: Guy. Elliot. Nathan. Mom. Dad. Jack. Sandy. To all these people (and one dog), I am perfect and irreplaceable.
Turnaround 2 (to the other): Enough is me.
Proof: Separateness is an illusion. Oneness is the reality. So there’s no way I could not be enough, when I am one with everything!
That felt very good, but there was more. It kept going. The next thought was, “I should know how to do this.”
I should know how to do this.
Is it true? It feels true.
Can you be absolutely sure it’s true? No.
How do I react when I believe it? Immediately I see myself shrinking in my mind’s eye. I become small and ineffective. I scowl and become tense and angry with myself. Then I push myself harder, past the point of diminishing returns, partly to punish myself.
Who would I be without the thought? Curious. Like a child learning something without any judgment of herself. Laughing when I did something well, no matter how small, clapping for myself.
Turnaround: I should NOT know how to do this.
Proof: Of course I shouldn’t! I haven’t done this before! If I already knew how to do it, it would either be old hat for me — why would I continue doing the same old thing? Or I would be repeating someone else’s work, and what’s the point of that when someone else has already done it? No, I am creating something unique, as I go. Yes, I’ve been prepared for it, but the path is new.
Ah! Relief! Freedom! That was it. Free from those thoughts that conflict with reality – the reality of oneness, the reality that we’re here not to “get things done,” but to experience joy – in rushed fresh inspiration for the day. Today I will be a presence. Today I will let everything be new.
Into my head popped Juliet’s incandescent lines in the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep.
The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.
Oh, Shakespeare! You understood! More than that, you remind me how falling in love effortlessly gives one the perspective I needed Thought Work to find today.
My challenge to you and to myself today is to be a lover. Really see the people and the things in your life today. As you experience them, remember how you fell in love. Allow yourself to feel those feelings again, as if for the first time! Notice what happens when you do.