December 17 – Lesson Learned
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
(Author: Tara Weaver)
Oh, kismet, my friends, this is truly serendipitous! I’ve just come from my appointment with the man – my therapist. And despite the past couple of years of reading and thinking, I learned something so stunningly simple during our session that it shocked me.
Today’s session was brought to me by the words LIES and AUTHENTICITY. That’s right, lies and authenticity. You see, it suddenly occurred to me, after a little bust up with the rental units during the week that left me feeling like a twelve-year-old, that I have lived my entire life as a LIE. A LIE! I figured that pretty much everything I’ve done or wanted to do – whether the running away, the (sometimes perilous) play, the decisions to do all manner of things – have all been in reaction to everything and everyone. Did I really want the tattoos? Or am I playing at dress-ups? Was I a tap-dancer, or a loser who didn’t want to be like every other loser? How can I trust myself if everything I’ve done has been about resistance and opposition? How can I trust my thoughts? How do I know what part of me is authentic?
Oh, mindfulness. Fuck I hate that word. It brings to mind hours of meditation in fisherman pants, silent retreats, kundalini sex, monks in the forests wearing orange and begging for alms – in sum, everything that I’m not.
“We live our lives as though we’re trying to meet KPIs”, the man said earlier. “We fill every moment, finishing this, managing that, and we fail to listen to ourselves, we’re too scared, in fact, because when we do, we don’t trust our thoughts. It’s a Catch-22. If you listen, you don’t trust, so we don’t listen.”
Recently I was chatting with a pal at work and asked him what he’d done the previous night.
“Oh, I had a long bath,” he said.
“Nice, and what did you do?”
He looked puzzled. “I had a bath.”
“Yeah but (crazy fool) did you read? Did you take in your laptop and watch tele? A movie?”
He’s clearly more puzzled now. “I just had a bath.”
WHO THE HELL JUST HAS A BATH?
A few years ago, JJ and I flitted off to Penang, the hellish holiday location for people who can’t JUST HAVE A BATH. I booked myself in for a four-hour luxury treatment. My God. If you’re not the type to just have a bath, this is akin to descending into hell, slowly, for a long time, basted in mud and wrapped in foil. I took a book to read during my half hour mountain-springs-Swedish-whatever bath.
But what I learned today is that the very few times when I have sat and contemplated my actions, without a book or knitting or sewing or… when I’ve just let myself think instead of running towards my thought wall, well, those are the times that I’ve been most authentic.
For years I’ve asked: WHAT AM I GOING TO BE WHEN I GROW UP? WHAT’S NEXT?
Well this week, during a moment, I realised, hell, I’m doing it. I love publishing – I’m good at it, I know it, I love writing, I love my husband, I love my dogs. What the hell else is there?
Fuck, I think I’m happy!