Friday, October 5, 2012

Hastily Shucked Humility

In the stew of my life this week, (instead of lamb) I was offered beautifully grown patience chops to prepare and enjoy but I cooked them too fast and high on a restless heat. 

The hastily shucked humility added just barely in the nick of time was covered finally in a timid sauce of vulnerability and honesty yielded what can only be called a bitter meal.

A friend of mine reminds me that pain is the touchstone of all spiritual growth. When I talk to you about it, I can see that you're growing despite any awkward tears or feelings of frustration. However when dealing in my own life, I recoil from pain as if from a hot flame. My knee-jerk response is to flee the situation and hide. Hence the bitter meal.

I am lucky that there are people in my life who challenge me to remain where I am (even if it is in pain or fear) and simply be honest about it. Sounds good, right? Sure, it's a real hoot.

Specifics are not important. I have been talking about The Alchemist a lot lately. If you haven't read it, check it out. It is a thin volume that is a teaching story about committing oneself to ones own Personal Legend. Sometimes the journey we are on seems bleak, even when it looks easy from the outside.

This business of remaining true to our Personal Legend is no small feat. It isn't something you even really decide it is simply where your feet have been headed since you were born. Maybe that sounds too out there, maybe not. For me it is a constant struggle to let go and let what is happening simply transpire without trying to fix it as I think it should be.

This of course is on a personal level. On a political level, I am not quite there yet. I am not sure I want to be. I am open to growth, though. I am open to the prospect of learning how to practice patience and humility and vulnerability and honesty.

It was a week of stumbling haphazardly and gracelessly and then dusting off my skinned knees and continuing to do the rest of what needed to be done. It turns out that the more I remain functioning from a place of love, the better use I am to everyone around me. I know, not exactly news but still true. The more I focus on what I can do for other people, the less self centered I am and the less self centered I am, the better for me and those I interact with.

"Believe more deeply.
Hold your face up to the light, even though for the moment you do not see."


  1. It is a lucky thing for sure, to have people in your life who challenge you to remain where you be honest about, whatever. I think those are the people who can help to keep us from our "glossy" selves. Also, I like the contrast that comes when you point out how seemingly bleak journeys can sometimes look easy from the outside. This reminds me of how we sometimes compare ourselves to others and how that can either help inspire us, or contaminate our thinking. I also took notice of your mentioning how it's a struggle to let go and let what's happening just happen...where is the line between letting things happen and not being apathetic? And I like the quote at the bottom of your post...I'm not seeing who said it - is it there and I'm missing it? I like it because it touches on having a sense of being okay with not knowing. I'm wondering now, is it okay to have a sense of certainty without being certain, as learners in life?

  2. Thanks for your words, Monica. The quote is from Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. What I get from the quote is that so often we do not see. Sometimes we don't even know we don't see. In this instance, I am leaning on the above quote because I was not seeing and was flailing. It is a question of faith, albeit an ambiguous one. Perhaps it doesn't matter what the faith is in, so long as it's there.

  3. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom Jessica, sounds like we have had a similar kind of week. I agree with your friend that pain is the touchstone of all spiritual growth and I agree with you what a hoot!! It is certainly a difficult task to feel your pain and it sounds like you have some truly supportive friendships that allow you to feel your muck so you can get to your joy!! Sending you some light & love Mama. Glad you are on this MSW journey with me.

    1. I am glad you are on this journey with me, too! Onward!

  4. You've got a lot of good material here Jessica! One thing that I think applies to some of the stuff here, especially about being challenged to remain in situations despite pain and fear, is the concept of "going through the process." This is an essential portion of discovering new treasures of wisdom and growing, by not running systematically and chronically from our fears, but instead becoming willing to face any situation with the innate confidence of one who has ultimate belief. No bonsai tree reaches wabi-sabi (timeworn elegance and quiet refinement) without first experiencing inclimate weather, drought, and resiliance through the passage of time.

    1. Oh yes, I like the bonsai metaphors. I think you should do a blog post parable about how to care for trees and why. I would get a lot out of it, I think and so would the rest of us. This business of going through the process is so easy to read about, not as easy to walk through and yet, you're right. It's better when you make it through the other side. Stronger, more well rounded, more humble. Thanks, Nathan.