Saturday, September 26, 2009

Less then Certain

I recently read the following statement from a positive thought/spiritual writer (bolding is mine):

“Knowing exactly what you want to do, with unwavering conviction, is the spark that generates everything.”

Why does this statement – even as I recognize there is truth in it – annoy me so much?

It is because there is something about this belief system that smacks of privilege. Something about it that feels inclusive to those who grow up with parents that believe in them, who are encouraged to follow their dreams and ideals, who are educated, indulged, nurtured.

What of those whose minds are not so sweetly and gently held in the hands of those that mold them? What of those whose minds are not so clear – whose purpose does not resonate by standing squarely in the centre of their third eye but instead dances in and out of focus?

What of those who are depressed, mentally ill, beaten down? What can they generate?

My father died very suddenly when I was 10 years old. One day he was there; healthy and whole, and the next gone forever. My world as I knew it, dissolved into chaos and impermanence. Nothing around me was real, nothing lasted, and nothing mattered. My father was 34 when he died; so young, so much unlived life. As I grew I was hyper aware that life can be taken in an instant. And so I wanted everything and nothing all at once – just in case. There was no clarity, no knowing, and no conviction.

Fear that people would leave me kept me from being authentic – which made people leave.

Fear I would die young kept me from saving for retirement and squandering my earnings instead.

Fear I would never realize my true purpose kept me from getting really good at one thing. Instead I jumped from one purpose to the next, one partner to the next, one way of living to the next, never committing.

Fear of death forced me to embrace it, make it my friend, welcome it. Living as if you are dying kills joy, kills love, kills life.

Yet despite all of this I moved – inched insufferably slowly - toward healing, toward God, toward sharing my gifts with the world; all the time questioning and doubting my abilities and direction, often succumbing to the voices of criticism and fear to the point of debilitating depression.

Yet still I found my way. In the midst of fear and confusion I saved my life (am saving my life) and in doing so am helping others to save themselves.

“Everything” came not out of “unwavering conviction” and “exact” knowing, but out of doing. Just doing. Purpose can arise from the less then clear mind; all that is required is - despite being filled with doubt - doing the thing anyway.