Nov 29, 2013 / 5:00 am
After being lost for periods of time, we sometimes find our way. Or maybe I should say we find “a” way. A path, a route, that at least begins to lead somewhere other than the stuck place in which we find ourselves. It might not be the end of the story or the journey, but it relieves a pressure that had been building around inaction.
When a new adventure comes along to dislodge us from the mud, we can get excited, as though we’ve been freed for life. All our questions seem answered and all our problems seem to fade into the past. It can feel like a high. But we must be careful here. I’m not trying to be a negative party pooper, but I want to present an honest pitfall. When we see our new path or adventure as final, we will inevitably crash hard when it is no longer new and has its own issues. Then we will either become depressed or tenaciously search for the next new adventure, change, fix, etc.
Do I think new adventures should energize us, excite us, and allow us to see some areas of life with fresh eyes? Yes, I do. It is only natural and understandable and is an aspect to the journey of our lives. Their are losses and gains; let downs and successes; endings and beginnings. Embracing the reality of these continuums allows us to fully enter them honestly, instead of seeing them as false gods that evaporate in the weeks to come.
Finding a way to stay grounded as your new adventure awaits is key. Instead of only thinking about the problems it solves, try and also fully immerse yourself in the actual adventure. Don’t just envision the path and never really go down it, but get busy on it. Stay focused on the tasks at hand and really take them on. Allow the new adventure to be a learning experience about your self, life in general, and whatever it is you are doing.
I think when we understand life adventures to never be final, it opens our eyes to all the adventures within adventures. When our eyes are fixed on finding the final adventure to end all travels we miss all the smaller paths that build a much fuller map and experience of life. Feeling energized and revitalized by change and adventure is a wonderful thing - let’s not kill those experiences off by asking too much of them.
Nov 22, 2013 / 5:00 am
I’ve written elsewhere that you have to change to change (http://jasonmccarty.ca/2011/you-have-to-change-to-change/). Pretty simple, right? But yet we all struggle with this. Even the smallest and most mundane things we would like to change can feel difficult.
The thing about change is this: we don’t want to.
We all like to think that we are willing to do what it takes, especially when we are struggling. But are we? Sure, we say, I’m doing this and I’m doing that, I’m reading this and I’m reading that, I’m trying to figure out this and I’m trying to figure out that. But when it comes to change, I believe there is a fundamental reality that we must find our way through, and that is overcoming the fact that we don’t want to change. We must confront this. I don’t think it is always obvious because sometimes we might feel we are working hard to change.
The thing about change is this: we are not usually doing the very thing necessary to change. We are not actually changing.
Change is hard work. Do we all want to “get better” or “grow” or “find peace”? Sure we do. Many people WANT to change. Sometimes we think that if we have finally gotten to the reality that we want to change and have accepted this desire for change, that change will begin. We hope that is enough, but soon realize it isn’t. Some get down on themselves because things are not changing just yet.
If change required us to do the things we are willing to do initially for change, then we would have changed already. But change requires us to do things we DON’T WANT to do. This can be many things and seen through many lenses - it is a truth within almost every philosophy of life.
If you are looking to change something in your life, what is it that you have not been willing to do? Have you been hoping that the desire for change will carry you through? What deals have you made with yourself to get out of doing what you actually need to do? Now, what is it about the thing or things you need to do that feels so hard, so unfair, so fill-in-the-blank?
Change is hard, mostly because we don’t want to.
Nov 1, 2013 / 5:00 am
Why do we live in a world where honesty is a scarce value? What does honesty mean to people? What are we even talking about when we discuss honesty?
The way I am using the word has more to do with authenticity and congruency. I am not talking about truth telling and lying when someone asks you a point blank question regarding an action of yours. I’m talking about being one’s self, expressing one’s feelings, not having to hide one’s world, their reality, in that moment.
It’s as though there is one way of being in the world socially and if you are not there or feeling that in the moment, you must do what you can to conform, to hide your actual feelings, your actual thoughts, who you are. This is horrible. Why have we created this type of existence for ourselves when it doesn’t help anyone? Sometimes I find the human race to be extremely lacking in its implied logic toward living. We are rational beings but I don’t know if we actually use it.
“Keep it quiet, keep it inside, don’t be angry, don’t be sad, don’t be conflictual, don’t be too happy, don’t upset everyone else who is pretending everything is okay or just right. Don’t mess up the facade we’ve all got going on! Okay?!” This is what brings many clients into my office. There is no space in their lives to express their true feelings, their true being in the moment. They have beliefs that say they are not allowed to express themselves honestly, that they’ll burden others, that expressing “negative” feelings is wrong, weak, or immature.
While the world wants to silence your sense of being, you must work hard to not allow it. Just because your process hasn’t arrived at some sort of knowing or resolution in that moment doesn’t mean it should be held in until you do. Honesty requires openness. We must open to the world, to others, in order to express our honest sense of being. Where are you? This is a good question to ask yourself or those you love and care about. Not just how are you, which is also good, but where are you? It asks others and ourselves to situate ourselves, to grab hold of our current state.
But are we willing to be honest? Are we willing to fully express ourselves even though it’s not a neat and tidy package for consumption? Are we willing to confuse others? Are we willing to be misunderstood? If honesty was a more valued way of being in our culture then there would most likely be less misunderstanding as we valued the experience of openness and expression. See, I think we avoid this because we feel nailed down by our expressions, as though we can’t feel differently or think differently tomorrow. It’s as though once it is said, we have to stick by it forever. Why is this? Well, I guess it goes along with holding a fixed facade of who we are. We are always calculating who we are, showing the world like its a ongoing piece of art we just can’t put away. But we are so much more fluid and complicated than the simplistic false self we think we’re giving the world. Therefore, we might as well give that up and be honest.
What keeps you from being more honest, more authentic? Again, I’m not talking about being a liar or truth teller in the traditional sense. That is a simple form of honesty. The honesty I am describing is much more fundamental and one we all struggle with but could use more of. Lastly, I hate when things become moralistic and I don’t think we should all be this way just because it is morally correct or a value given to us from a belief system, but because it creates a relationship to our world and to others that is more authentic and freeing, allowing us all to be ourselves.
Oct 25, 2013 / 5:00 am
You are standing on a street corner and wondering how you got there. Nothing looks familiar and anxious energy starts to rise. You aren’t even sure when you got lost but you are quite aware at this moment that you are indeed lost. People start to look different. Directions all look the same. All previous problem solving skills cease to work and the brain shuts down. You don’t know what to do.
What do you do? You pick a direction and start walking. Further and further down the chosen road you begin to realize that you are even more lost. That choice seemed to be the wrong one. So you go back. When you arrive at what you thought was the corner in which you found yourself, everything looks different. It isn’t the same corner. Where is that corner? You at least knew that corner but now you don’t. You make another choice.
As you walk down the newly chosen street you begin to think and wonder about the nature of getting lost. Why does this happen? How did this happen? “I always pay close attention,” you say to yourself. This doesn’t make sense. Reality itself becomes questioned. The dizziness of uncertainty begins to make you walk faster but the faster you walk the less you notice. You never fully acquire a sense of location of where you are. The search for what is known continues to deepen your lostness.
You eventually put your head in your hands and walk into a coffee shop. You sit down. You pull out a notebook to see if previous thoughts or descriptions of your surroundings will shed any light on where you are. But the writing is in code and makes no sense. You begin to weep. Sitting there, quietly to yourself tears fall in slow motion down each cheek. Being lost is like being mad - the distance from what is known, what feels real, is an emptiness like no other.
You stand up. You feel different. Energy is gone. You begin to walk. Your brain is mush. The system is shutting down. Everything that has worked for you no longer does. You are now completely and utterly lost. You wonder when things will begin to make sense again. There are no answers to those questions. You must now wait for clarity as you wonder. History and the lives of others tell you it will most likely come, that it is supposed to come in the middle of our darkest times, but it still isn’t here.
Patience now has a whole new meaning.
Read more Falling Forward articles
- Welcome to your life Oct 18
- Seasons of our lives Oct 4
- Why is parenting so hard? Sep 20
- The blank page of life Sep 6
- Why you want to stay stuck Aug 30
- When counselling is part of the problem Aug 23
- Can you accept the world as it is? Aug 2
- The power of walking Jul 26
- The legacy of aging Jul 19
- Why are you dying? Jul 12
- The shades of our experience Jul 5
- Why are you angry? Jun 21
(Click for RSS instructions.)