Some ideas, statements and beliefs are harder and edgier for me to wrap my mind around than others. It’s likely because they go against some of the core stories that I’ve known or told about myself over the past 4 decades. It’s not that I am unable to reconsider or edit these core stories, but when I do, there is a deep loss and a lot of discomfort in the void of “If that’s not true, then what else isn’t true?” and “If my story is wrong, then what is the true or right story?” What else am I blind to? Who am I?
It’s scary to let younger parts of myself be confused and disoriented in the unknown. That’s why it takes so much fortitude to question our core beliefs. In the past, when I have made edits my core beliefs, sometimes I have later felt that it was a mistake and that the process left me too vulnerable to the person or community that was supposedly telling me the “truth.” I’ve willingly entered into abusive relationships and spiritual cults with my eyes open believing that I was on the right path. I can’t really know at this time the hows or whys of the twists and turns my life has taken, but I am more cautious and conservative at this stage of my life, even while still believing that I am a genuinely open minded person.
Something that has been rubbing me the wrong way for years. It’s very common in the communities that I surround myself with. It’s this idea of manifesting what you want in your life, of calling in your dream job, dream partner, dream home, what ever your dream may be. It’s the belief that if I use just the right language, allow for the just the right energetic flow to come to me, make just the right prayers, or live my life in just the right way then the energy of the universe will provide me with what I desire. I can see and feel how I am twisting a possible truth in a negative way, but my truth is that these types of conversations or advice annoy me. Looking at my life I think I can both make a case for and against this concept.
The law of attraction – I don’t feel like capitalizing it. Those three words irritate me so much. I don’t know if it’s the way they sound when certain people say them or what I hear others saying about the way the law of attraction has opened up in their lives, or maybe it’s the ungrounded, floaty feeling I get when I think about this concept. I think that a concept can be solid, but the popular application of and conversation around it can get murky and fantastical. I have a lot of critical thoughts when it comes to certain kinds of spiritual ideas, because I am committed to not falling for the spiritual banana in the tailpipe ever again.
I guess the two ideas that “Gratitude is my native state.” and that “Life is a gift I did not earn.” trigger some feelings in me. There are certainly moments where I do feel naturally grateful, and there are times when I push back against that sentiment. The distinction is that, to me, the statement, “Gratitude is my native state.” sounds a little too much like “I should always be grateful.” It takes some effort and concentration inside me to distinguish these two sentences. They are only separated by a very thin line for me at this time even though I can clearly see the difference. I have an emotional and painful reaction to the idea that I need to be grateful all the time, so that’s the point of challenge for me. Though I see how those ideas are completely different, they’ve somehow intertwined themselves in my mind.
The idea that “Life is a gift that I did not earn.” makes a lot of sense to me. There’s also a slight crossover in the pressure that I’ve felt to be grateful for my life. As much as I am grateful for my life, the overwhelmingly painful parts of my life have often seemed like a cruel joke where I am stuck somewhere that I don’t want to be and not allowed to escape without causing intense shame, trauma and dishonor. I do not like to feel stuck. I rage against stuckness like a bull though it’s very deep inside so you likely wouldn’t see that part of me. And yet I admit that raging against stuckness hasn’t ever been very effective in unsticking myself. I think it’s past purpose was to keep me safe.
I haven’t always appreciated the “gift” quality of my life, even though there are many days where I am in total alignment with that feeling/thought. My mind has gathered as much evidence to make a case for life being a curse or a gift, though I see the positive benefits of living as if life is a gift.
The part about not earning my life feels in conflict with a story of my life as an embryo. I don’t feel like my life was easily given to me. I feel like I had to fight for it. Like my birth mom had to fight for it. And like there were so many people that were upset, angry and against me being born. Unwanted, illegitimate, bastard, unbaptized heathen. How could anyone think these things about a baby? Maybe I’m wrong. As blessed as I am to have been adopted, wanted and celebrated by my parents, I haven’t ever quite been able to escape the shame and stigma of the places and people that did not want me to exist.
I had to communicate somehow in the the womb that I wanted to be born. Maybe this didn’t happen and it’s just part of a story I’ve had. It always gave me hope and strength to think that I was so determined to come into this world that I moved all kinds of obstacles out of my way before even being born. I guess the ability to make this happen could be the gift. I certainly didn’t earn my conception.
I do think that there are past lifetimes where I’ve lived with certain people that keep showing up in different future lives – that feels true in my bones though I can’t explain why or how. That can part of the gift too. A young part of me just doesn’t understand why life has to so often be so painful, vulnerable and lonely. Is it only our ability to believe that “Life is a gift we did not to earn” and that “Gratitude is our native state.” that allows for there to be internal peace? It feels like you have to believe or have faith if you want to experience peace. I’m as skeptical as I am hopeful, but faith is hard. I have faith in myself, beyond that, I’m not sure. My stubborn nature cannot handle being told I ‘have to’ believe in anything. I might come to realize the truth of that belief on my own, in my own time, and in my own way. I do appreciate walking along this edge and reacquainting myself with the stickiness of these thoughts in my mind.