Showing Up

The wave I was riding a while back crashed. I found myself tumbling for a while into a familiar abyss sinking slowly down until I finally started to remember who I am. I have since resurfaced, regained my breath and am now back up looking for the next big one.

This analogy truly describes how I see the ups and downs of life. I will catch an awesome wave and everything is great and inevitably the ride always seems to end. Admittedly, I will often bail or wipe out before it does for various reasons I am still working on but each time I learn a lot. Each time the ride lasts a little longer and is a little sweeter. Well this last time I wiped out pretty hard but resurfaced with a very profound insight.

The epiphany is something that is probably totally obvious and long known to others but I now see it fully beyond just an intellectual concept. The “it” is the knowing that though it may appear to be true there is no perfect person. There is no one Being who has mastered reality here. It is just people doing the best they can often trying to deal with the sometimes extreme pain and confusion they have experienced. The ironic thing is that those experiences which cause so much pain are often the very things that seem to make a person so powerful and interesting. Like one’s will being tempered in the fires of life.

I know it sounds ridiculous to believe in a perfect person but for me it was a necessity to think like this. I needed to believe that there were people that found a way to overcome their traumatic conditioning, had found a way to control their ego desires and frustrations, and could maintain their cool despite what happened around them. That there were people that attained self-mastery. When I realized that this was not true it shattered me. That supernatural possibility was what I strove to become so as to fix myself and to attain my highest potential. I feel it is still possible but the bar isn’t so naively high now.

I now have a little better understanding of what the limitation is here as a human. I bet Jesus was probably often depressed and Gandhi was probably a dick from time to time but what made them great are all the times they pulled it together and showed up. I can now give myself permission to not need to be perfect or beat myself up when I fall short. I can allow myself compassion and understanding when I do. I can just surrender to being human rather than try to be this perfect being that never loses his temper or doesn’t drink or always says the right thing. I can be free to be me and not apologize if it upsets someone else. I can be quite and hold my center without trying to help others feel better. The caveat to this is that I still show up when it really counts and pull it together when people genuinely need me. Like those electric moments of deep release and vulnerability that permeates the environment. When a strange silence fills the air and time seems to stand still. Those times when there is an opportunity to shift the very core of something or someone in a positive direction.

The best part of my realization is that I have also found it much easier to allow others their attempts at this perfection without wanting to ridicule them in the times they fail. I have increased my compassion for what I used to think were people faking it. I can let it go easier when I see through what I used to think was a façade but now simply understand that most of them are genuinely trying to be that and how wrong it is to discourage it or have ill will towards that person.

I can now let go of my illusions I have about the many great men and women who seem to have it all together realizing it is just them pulling it together when it really counts. I now know it is impossible to do all the time but still hold out hope for all of humanity that it happens most of the time.

I am reminded of something I discovered long ago and will leave you with this.

Attaining enlightenment is easy the difficulty is in maintaining it.

May you be free to enjoy your life and always show up at your best when it counts,

Jason