“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” -Eckhart Tolle
There’s a story that’s been often repeated in my family about my cousin Devin’s fourth or fifth birthday. His parents had hosted a party with neighbors and friends and when the time came to open gifts, little Dev was likely overstimulated and tired and caked out. Devin opened his first gift, took a cursory glance and complained “This isn’t what I wanted!”, tossing the present aside. And so, much to his mother’s chagrin, it went with each present.
At a certain point in my healing, it occurred to me that this story is the perfect metaphor for a pattern I was enacting time and again.
I thought it was my job to be good enough, to prove myself, to earn and keep love, to fix, to please, to manipulate (physically and emotionally) myself into a better version, to solve your problems, to solve my problems, to make it happen. I thought if I just did it all right, life would reward me. I would arrive at a place where I felt secure and confident, happy and at peace.
But there were so many moving parts to wrangle and I could never get them to line up to my satisfaction. Even in those brief moments when everything was going according to plan, I couldn’t stop and take it in because I had to keep it all moving along. I made myself sick, quite literally, trying to get and keep it all together.
Ruling the Universe is fucking exhausting.
And one way I know I am slipping back into that ruler/victim place is that I begin to struggle against what IS.
This isn’t what I wanted! It shouldn’t be this way! I should have figured this out by now! She shouldn’t treat me like that! This is way too hard!
Life rarely shows up the way ego thinks it ought to. We can rally against that and keep behaving like giant overtired five-year-olds or we can choose to grow up.
Growing up spiritually means accepting 100% responsibility for our own happiness. It means making the choice, over and again, to move in the direction of Love or in the direction of fear.
We can always, even and especially in difficult situations, choose to see Love instead. We can choose to relate to our circumstances as if we had chosen them.
Waking up to Love is the best thing there is but the ego will always tell you otherwise.
It’s like the Universe is saying Look here! A sea of diamonds for you to adorn yourself, my beautiful one! And you are standing at the window of Bob’s jewelers obsessed with a cubic zirconium you can’t afford.
I have missed so many gifts hidden in plain sight by seeing only what was not going my way.
This isn’t what I wanted!
Life is full of challenges and things we don’t understand. We don’t have to wait for retrospect to get the lesson. It’s always Love. We don’t have to miss the gifts.
We can commit to seeing with Love, all the time. We can commit to relating to our lives as though we had chosen every single person and thing in it.
We can equally commit to forgiving ourselves and others when we inevitably get confused, fall short, forget.
I have reminders that go off on my phone a couple of times a day to help me practice. This week, I am working with the thought from A Course in Miracles: I could choose to see Love instead as well as Eckart Tolle’s message at the top of the page.
This is a simple, effective way to course correct throughout the day. It has changed my mind this week.
If you’re anything like me, you will need to recommit many a day, when life is running smoothly. And many, many times a day when the going gets rough.
Sometimes I get all this isn’t what I wanted! about walking this spiritual path. I want to just get it already forgoodnesssake.
It’s painful sometimes, this deconstructing of belief systems that I’ve cemented around my heart. It’s scary to step into the unknown, to wait in the dark, to ride along rather than push. Sometimes, I just want to slow it all down.
I want to be an open channel for grace more than I want to stay small but sometimes I just want to watch Scandal and eat ice cream while everyone sends me messages that they will love me forever and I am a good person and I haven’t messed up my kid.
No matter. It’s all pointing back in the direction of the real, the unnameable, the thing we desire with our whole selves. The big Love.
And that, for sure, is exactly what I want.