re: my… malaise.
While I was in Denver a few weeks ago and pretty much everything went the way I didn’t want it to go, a friend and coach suggested to me that I look at what, in my life, I was still not dealing with or letting go unmanaged. When she asked me, the answer was right there for me:
I can’t have what I want.
So then she asked me what I want, and I realized I didn’t know. Asking someone what they want is a pretty open-ended question and while I am pretty clear on what I don’t want, I haven’t spent a lot of time figuring out what I do want.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about what it is that I really want, and why it is that I so deeply believe that I can’t have it. And then, some time on Thursday, the conversation shifted:
I already have what I want.
The more I think about it, the more I see that this is a more accurate statement. I really, truly do not know what I could ask for other than what I already have.
What I realized is that my previous core belief assumed that I want solutions to all my problems, and that’s not so. Without problems I’d be miserable. I’d be bored to tears. I’d have nothing to do. I have constituted myself as someone who solves problems and there’s nothing that makes me happier or feel more fulfilled than having a big set of difficult problems to sink my teeth into. The best moments of my life have been when I have worked and worked and worked and finally solved something. These moments were brief, and followed immediately by thoughts of how I will do it better next time–not like there’s something wrong with the solution I came up with, but excitement that there’s still a level of performance and improvement I can reach for.
I have reached a point in my life where the problems I have chosen (and am choosing) for myself to deal with are really hard problems. Some seem hopeless. None of them are problems I can solve on my own. I’ve complained ad nauseum about them, but I realize now I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They are my problems. Some people have kids and some people have students and some people have pets and I have problems.
It's good to have goals – "problems" to solve – but if the problems are insurmountable, you're just setting yourself up for failure. It's better to work on a continuous series of problems/goals of moderate difficulty than to waste your time and energy tilting at windmills. That way you always have a problem to solve, but you get the psychological satisfaction of accomplishing a goal, rather than the sense of frustration and hopelessness that comes from a futile cause. *cough* affirmation *cough*
Hey, funny you should mention windmills. I'm just about to leave the house and buy some materials to build some slewing bearings for my windmill prototypes…
Very nicely written and keenly seen. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It's a powerful place to arrive at "there's no where to go – I'm already there!"
Just be sure you check in with yourself from time to time to see that you are coming from your stands and not from your obvious determination strong suit/winning strategy. I have one too, and know how often I set impossible tasks just so that I can have busy work to be determined about. It's easy to know the difference: if it leaves you more connected with others, it's the expression of a stand. If it leaves you isolated, frustrated, or in the place of "there's something wrong here", you're tilting at windmills.
Sometimes it's easy to be tricked into thinking that there is no more you can do/go in a situation. Feeling like your trapped in reality, caught in your perceptions of your limitations. Most people when in this situation can't see beyond their own nose, and feel that life is nothing more then what they've been presented with. They feel that you can't fight against it, that you can't go any farther. This is merely perception. Just because you're looking at a wall, doesn't mean there isn't a Ballroom beyond.
Look for ways beyond the wall. I would think to myself "Is all that I have all my means to move forward?" When most people think "All that I have is all that I am." Both questions are answered with No. Forget the limitations that society and circumstance place on you. They can be overcome. When in the little cave that culture and society and our own perceptions have chained us in, all one needs to do is break that chain by looking beyond the cave wall and see the Ballroom. Only then will you be able to really Dance.
I (selfishly) hope this realization means you won't be moving away any time soon…. ;o) ~hug~
Damn, you're a smart one, David. <3