take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…”
very nature of being born, we are subject to a variety of experience. Some of these we deem good, some bad, and
being pleasure-seeking beings, we are partial to those we deem good.
and its many faces/facets, I have oriented my understanding to be one
that says, Everything happens for our own good.
Even the bad things.
way of life that brings me fellowship, understanding, pleasure, laughter, and a
sense of being deeply understood.
my experiences, I’ve become sensitive, compassionate, empathetic, resourceful,
strong, and creative.
impetus to engage in my life more fully, playing in a band, flying a plane,
acting and singing in theater.
because they have led me to becoming more useful and engaged as a human.
the rocks of experience, shaping us, reshaping us, and winnowing us down to the
raw beauty of ourselves— Hey Universe, would
you lay off a minute, huh?
controllable, the most chaotic, disordered, entropy-laden reasoning for it all.
in my lifetime, it is to feel safe.
safety, I have built up around myself an armor, a buffer, a multi-layered
sequence of dance steps that I believe if I dodge left, you, it, experience,
failure, hurt, calamity will needly dodge right.
are to bowl you over like a rhino in a football helmet.
I believe or fear it to be– I also dodge whatever good that rhinoceros might be trying to hand me. And therein lies the rub, eh?
own self, need, and experience out of fear of what might happen if I let things
flow, I am scrubbing up against my own realization that I
am restricting myself for fear that bad shit might happen. I am hoping to control the all of my
experience so I am not harmed anymore.
to believe) about all those bad things becoming or being seen as good things –
don’t fucking think that I want or wanted them too. They were all still egregiously painful. And, as I mentioned, human as I
am, I don’t want pain.
believe I restrict my experience of benevolence. Grace.
design to be safe, I am restricted from the greater joys and rewards of life.
the whole of life’s experience, knowing that in my disarmoring, I am (also)
opening myself to unforeseen goodness?
were talking about my closest friendships.
I was telling her how I was scared to admit my full self to someone
because I feared that my full self, my full array of needs and personality,
would be too much for them to handle. I
explained to her that I felt like my needs were like a tidal wave, that letting
them out would be releasing one, and I couldn’t do that to any one person. Or to any several people. Better to keep it all locked up tight.
as a tidal wave, but as held by a man-made dam?
A dam has immense strength and power; the pressure behind it is exponential. The
power there, the pressure, comes from the restriction of motion, from the
forcible and intentional holding back of something that had previously flown
how one goes about dismantling a dam—and maybe for the purposes of my own
internal metaphoric dismantling, that might be interesting to learn—but
I do know that once the dam has been removed and the water again flows free,
it’s not a potential tidal wave of need anymore. Now it’s just the normal, everyday flow. The normal, everyday rise and fall of desire.
desire and need, they are free to be absorbed into the landscape, a part of the
whole, neither something to be feared or ignored.
of self, like humor or wit? My mentor
and I have been discussing and prodding at my relationship to my own need and
desire, to try to bring them out of the haunting shadows, to not treat them like
the disturbed family members you try to forget you have, til they show up on
your doorstep at Christmas with soggy string bean casserole.
they are, after being so keen to shut them out for so long? Or do I only now know the legend of them,
instead of the qualities themselves?
reintroduce myself to these qualities of self.
As a person who is so adept at self-denial and deprivation, to allow
that there might be a proper place for need in my life is… incomprehensible. Like someone who’s
been on a Paleo diet for years, touting the benefits, trying to recruit
converts, suddenly being told that in order to live they must eat cake. Because not only will it change their entire
metabolism for the better, but, hey, it’s fucking delicious. And you’re allowed to enjoy it.
thing – it’s not that at all. It’s not a
choice. Or an earned prize. It’s a basic human right.
drink fetid water your whole life because you’ve somehow made yourself believe pure spring
water wasn’t for you or that your imbibing it was a danger to the balance of existence… well,
self-denial like that causes a whole host of problems, not least of which is
So, the dismantling, the right-sizing of desire and need,
the introduction to them as they are, not as I’ve feared them to be. And why?
Because I have a suspicion that fulfillment, purpose, and wholeness are
on the other side of that shift.
She was making good money and working long hours. And was not happy.
storage, and moved to India for 6 months, studying at an ashram, with no need
for income or work, except inner work.
years later, runs a private practice counseling others toward their own
finding my middle-ground between financial independence and creative
“continue” to simply push the boat out of the harbor. A boat isn’t meant to
stay moored, and you’ll never find out what its strengths or weaknesses are, or
what your skills as a sailor are if you don’t leave the safety of the dock.
be my last day there.
of that notion, earlier this year, I not only put in for my own promotion at my
job, but when I was told, “No resources for that,” I went on an active job search,
engaging the help of friends to revamp my resume, made networking dates, and
went on many interviews.
would have taken.
me up a ladder and on a path that didn’t feel like where I wanted to go.
move in the direction of an executive director or program director position… I
began to find out more about what that kind of job and life would mean. And it
would mean more hours of my life than I want a job to be.
That the trajectory on which I am positioned and was looking to be headed was
not one that ended in work-life balance. In a non-profit, there is rarely such
a job or jobs that generated more income with fewer hours. Leaving me the time I
need to create.
pencil? Have I worked on that essay my aunt suggested I submit to publications?
When was the last time I could really call myself a poet, despite my Master’s
degree in it?
that would be in that direction. Then came the High Holidays at work… and the
play… and a halt to any developmental thinking.
there can’t be a different place for me where I’m at, and after too many days
crying at or after or on the way to work, I am making a leap … not of faith,
but of action.
secretary. I’ve adjusted more margins and input more data than there are guidos
ever do. I am quitting without a job lined up.
every day since my decision, am having and have had coffee with people to
bounce ideas off of and to network with. I have closed the browser window when
I find myself looking again at jobs that say “Administrative” anywhere in the
to lean into the discomfort and the growing edge of change. To watch when I’m
teetering into despair, into habitual job search words, … into a Netflix binge,
and to push myself onto the high ground again.
than all my previous “quit with no plan” moves, is that I feel supported by my
current office and all the people I’ve met there. This doesn’t feel impulsive, even though there’s “no plan;”
everyone at my work supports my move, and though they’re sad to see me go, they
have every faith in me that I can do whatever it is that feeds me.
isn’t a “here’s my two-weeks’ notice” email, as I’ve done a dozen times prior.
This is actually slow and supported in many ways, and I feel it that way.
notice that my brain is coming up with ideas that might be viable that would
have been totally out of the box, and therefore dismissed, before. I’m not
looking for another 40 hour a week desk job. I am finally willing to look at a
closer to the center of rational than I know. I’ve never been willing to have a
few jobs and put them together for a living, because I thought it was too hard,
or too undisciplined, or too “artist.”
I’ve been afraid to try to cobble together a living, because that “sounds” so
regular pay-stub with the paid-time off and the health insurance. I’ve had the
computer log-in and the number to the copy machine guy memorized.
find something new.”
want is lying and wasting both people’s time.
made a good impression, and knew that this newly offered position was not a
fit. But I got the callback anyway.
second interview. “You never know.” But, see, I think you do. When you’ve given a fair and first chance at
something a worthy go, I think at that point you get to say whether you’re
interested to go further.
for the second.
always a co-signer of my machinations, either, mom was the right call. She
listened, and then she asked what advantages this job could have over my
current one. They were few.
morning: You could meet a nice Jewish guy.
hearing this very short list, she replied, “First of all, you are [insert some
really nice and positive characteristics, like, smart, beautiful, brave and
wonderful] and you don’t need to take a job you don’t want to meet a
available, I’d still be interested in that, and I do know it’s still open. But
this offered job would be a lateral move, adding a 3 hour commute for what I imagine is
similar pay and responsibilities that don’t really align with my values or my
do. But what I could do was be honest about my goals, tell them that I was still interested in the first job, be very
flattering and kind about their
organization and say if other opportunities came up there, I’d be interested to
have that conversation.
accepted to say, “Hey, I’m not interested in you, but if you have any friends
you think’d be good for me, let me know!”
interviewed me for the second position, got her voicemail, and told her exactly
what my mom coached me in saying.
outside of my own limiting self-beliefs and self-sabotage to coax me and just
sort of shuffle me along on the path I know I want to follow.
students have a cute ritual when their parents drop them off in the morning:
Push on the Tush.
classroom, feeling safe in their surroundings, the child is ready for their
parent to leave, and wants to have a ritual for that separation. So, the parent
stands in the doorway, and the kid gives him a push on the tush. And out the
but needing a little encouragement, I reached out to a person I knew could hold
and support me, and then give me a little push.