When the hell am I going to have life figured out?
When will I stop feeling like an imposter?
When will I stop needing validation?
When will I have the courage to do me? Fully? Completely?
For those who are infinitely curious and always looking to evolve, you already know that answering these questions is the work of a lifetime.
I must admit the questions can be draining, but I realize they are part of the process. Part of becoming who I am destined to be.
Where these questions have tripped me up until now is that I would beat myself up over my inability to answer them. My not having arrived yet.
Why can’t I be like that woman who knew she wanted to be a doctor her whole life and doesn’t have to engage in these endless existential battles? It would be so much simpler. (I knew there was something I never liked about her…😜)
Why do I find myself digging and digging for clarity? Slowly peeling away the blurring layers of conditioning, like watching those old Mother’s Against Drunk Driving commercials, where the beer glasses would cloud your vision, but in reverse. (Sorry for the abstract 90’s reference, I’m getting old. But the point still holds.)
The irony is certain aspects of my life seem so clear. It’s annoying, really.
If I want to stay healthy, the recipe is pretty straightforward (difficult at times, yes, yet simple): eat right, drink lots of water, exercise, get 7-8 hours of sleep, meditate, and put the friggin cell phone away from time to time.
Even the recipe for love and relationships is relatively elementary: treat others as they want to be treated, be truly present for them, listen deeply with compassion & without judgment, and err on the side of generosity. Easy peasy…
But when it comes to my life’s work, the impact I want to have in the world and who I am destined to become, I can’t seem to nail down the step-by-step process. Where is a top 10 ten list or magic pill when you need one?
Throw a guy a lifeline, won’t you?
I have beaten myself up for so long for not having things figured out. When I ask myself what I want, why can’t I answer the fucking question?
What do I want out of KarmaDharma? Long term? Short term?
How much growth? How to grow sustainably?
What kind of services? How to be most of service?
Who is our next hire?
What do I have to learn next?
That’s when a good friend asked me, “what if that process never cleans up well? What if it is always rife with a little discomfort? What if the fog never fully lifts?”
Will I be okay with that?
After getting over being pissed off at the slap-in-the-face, yet totally loving and legitimate nature of the question (not to mention that I’m usually the one dropping these bombs on others…), I realized that it would be quite alright.
In fact, upon further reflection, that is exactly how I have always learned and evolved. And probably always will.
For reasons unknown then, the image of Fawkes, Dumbledore’s pet phoenix in the Harry Potter series, burst into my mind. (I guess having a 12-year old daughter obsessed with Harry Potter movies might have a little to do with it, but let’s keep the mystique of the epiphany going here.)
Fawkes the phoenix, apart from embarking on lots of cool life-saving adventures (sign me up!), would grow old and on Burning Day, burst into a ball of flames and then rise from his own ashes as a young phoenix only to start the cycle of life all over again. Yet his wisdom, experience and essence were never lost.
I realize that my life consists of one phoenix cycle after another and, by (now conscious) choice, will continue that way until the day I die.
A sort of continuous reincarnation within a single lifetime.
With each new cycle eliciting a higher level of consciousness, guiding me a little closer to home.
On the fitness side of my life, having gone from barely working out, to CrossFit, to Spartan races, to Ultra trail running and now off to do an Ironman, Jody teases me with
- “I wonder who you are going to be this year?” I smirkingly answer; good question. Sort of wishing I knew myself.😬
- “When does it stop?” she asks, I knowingly answer never.
- “When is it going to be enough?” I answer it already is, but there are new things to be learned, new limits to test, new benchmarks to set, and new boundaries to break. This is not emanating from a need for more but from knowing that better is possible.
I somewhat unwittingly realize that this evolutionary circle has also been taking place in my professional life.
I find myself running towards the uncomfortable friction, sparking the cleansing flame, and burning away that which is no longer serving me is getting me closer to my truth and my calling. From this, the next iteration of myself is born. The phoenix rises. Again and again and again.
I can finally welcome this driving need to dig deeper and deeper within myself to see what I am made of and how I can be of the greatest service to the world.
There is no doubt that this process of continual rebirth can be exhausting at times, both for myself and those around me. Sorry! 😢
A lifetime of growing pains certainly has its challenges. But the flip side is a life of stagnancy and the life that could have been.
That is a hell fucking no for me.
So how about you?
Are you struggling with where you and your organization are at this moment? Fearful you should be somewhere else? Further along? More clear?
Perhaps next time this hits you, you could say What the Fawkes? drop the judgment, and address the things that need to be burned away to make room for your next growth cycle.
Let me know; I’d love to hear from you.
Be well. Be of service.