I generally tend to think I know myself pretty well. Apart from having lived with me, lo these many years, I’ve spent a good bit of time exploring what I do and why I do it. Between 12-step programs and Vipassana and therapy and lots of reading, I’ve pretty much come to see myself as the #1 Expert in Me.
Which is why it was surprising the other day when I espied an entirely new pattern. (Not that the pattern was new—it’s not—but it was new for me to see it.) Surprising and also exciting, because seeing is always the first step towards relating differently.
So here it is, the thing I realized: I have spent a huge part of my life trying to get people to give me things they don’t want to give me. I don’t have to keep doing this.
Like most transformative insights, this one sounds obvious. And simple. What makes it significant is the way it reordered my internal landscape. I felt it as a visceral shift. A relaxing. An ahhh, ah hah.
The best part is the awareness that I don’t have to work so hard. My life is quite challenging enough, without this added pressure. Also, that massive energy I’ve invested in trying to wrench things loose? It’s free to be deployed in other far more fun and productive ways.
There are likely lots of reasons that this pattern took root, many of which no doubt wend back to my teeniest tiniest childhood. On the one hand, it strikes me as important to recognize this—to see that the pattern is not my fault, that there are causes and effects. On the other hand, you know what? It doesn’t really matter why. What matters is how I act on this new knowing and how it acts on me.
I don’t expect this pattern to disappear in a day or even a year. But I do expect that it will slowly fade, become quieter and less demanding. What I have now is the permission to let go of a tremendous weight. Already I feel lighter, if not entirely free.
© 2012 – 2014, amy gutman. All rights reserved.