I recently read the following statement from a positive thought/spiritual writer (bolding is mine):
“Knowing exactly what you want to do, with unwavering conviction, is the spark that generates everything.”
Why does this statement – even as I recognize there is truth in it – annoy me so much?
It is because there is something about this belief system that smacks of privilege. Something about it that feels inclusive to those who grow up with parents that believe in them, who are encouraged to follow their dreams and ideals, who are educated, indulged, nurtured.
What of those whose minds are not so sweetly and gently held in the hands of those that mold them? What of those whose minds are not so clear – whose purpose does not resonate by standing squarely in the centre of their third eye but instead dances in and out of focus?
What of those who are depressed, mentally ill, beaten down? What can they generate?
My father died very suddenly when I was 10 years old. One day he was there; healthy and whole, and the next gone forever. My world as I knew it, dissolved into chaos and impermanence. Nothing around me was real, nothing lasted, and nothing mattered. My father was 34 when he died; so young, so much unlived life. As I grew I was hyper aware that life can be taken in an instant. And so I wanted everything and nothing all at once – just in case. There was no clarity, no knowing, and no conviction.
Fear that people would leave me kept me from being authentic – which made people leave.
Fear I would die young kept me from saving for retirement and squandering my earnings instead.
Fear I would never realize my true purpose kept me from getting really good at one thing. Instead I jumped from one purpose to the next, one partner to the next, one way of living to the next, never committing.
Fear of death forced me to embrace it, make it my friend, welcome it. Living as if you are dying kills joy, kills love, kills life.
Yet despite all of this I moved – inched insufferably slowly – toward healing, toward God, toward sharing my gifts with the world; all the time questioning and doubting my abilities and direction, often succumbing to the voices of criticism and fear to the point of debilitating depression.
Yet still I found my way. In the midst of fear and confusion I saved my life (am saving my life) and in doing so am helping others to save themselves.
“Everything” came not out of “unwavering conviction” and “exact” knowing, but out of doing. Just doing. Purpose can arise from the less then clear mind; all that is required is – despite being filled with doubt – doing the thing anyway.
5 Replies to “Less then Certain”
You captured that so beautifully. This is similiar to my objection to books like Eat, Pray, Love. Written by white middle-age women of privilege who don't really chuck everything to find themselves even though they give that impression. I have just never been able to verbalize it so eloquently. I agree with you – the way out is through, one foot in front of the other, sometimes insignificant little baby steps. And it is the faith that you will find the knowing when you need it; when you have opened yourself to the learning that is your life.
Thank you Deborah. You speak for so many of us who were not of priviledge and who had to persevere to stay alive and sane. All the smart, 'cutsy' phrases that come along are annoying and I know they come from someone who has not truly lived and known the pride that comes from surviving well. It is a transendendent
thrust into the realm of the most high – the realm where Saints and Angels alike applaud our worth. We are the wounded warriors that transend into Warrior Healers, and no one I know has done this better than you.
So true about just “getting moving” sometimes. brings to mind that teaching of what they call the Three P's. Perfection, leads to Procrastination, leading to Paralysis. In Truth.., I doubt if we ever really make any “wrong” choices, or take wayward directions. They may appear to be that way…, yet always upon reflection ( usually a year or two later 0, I can see that was exactly where or what i needed in THAT moment.
Lovely inspiration as usual. Meegwitch brad
Thank you, thank you, and thank you again Deborah for this post. I love how you point towards defining privilege as a state of receiving unconditional nurturance and emotional support as opposed to coming from financial abundance and the comforts of material things. As a “white, middle age woman” that came from the latter, I have had to strip my identity, and face and heal through the impact of not having the former all the while beating myself up because I “should” know who I am and be clear on my purpose. Thanks to beautiful people like you in my life, I am finally (finally) connecting to what I am meant to do. I feel protected just reading your post. 🙂 Love and hugs to you forever and ever. 🙂
Deborah, your blog is truly amazing, you have have me in tears reading through this as you've touched my soul. I applaud you in your honesty in it's naked brutality. That is the truth sometimes isn't it, brutal. My heart feels like it has opened recently and I could feel you as you described your truth and opened yourself to be true to the world throughout this blog. That takes courage, much more than I think a lot of people have to look inside themselves. I am learning this myself, how to look at myself inside and I know it is not going to be pretty, but I'm still willing to go there as I know that if I do not I will not truly grow. You have taught me a great lesson today. I already knew you were a great human being and I am blessed just to know you. But the fact that you are an ordinary person that has had difficulties in her life just like many of us and you are willing to look down the throat of the dragon determined to conquer your fears makes you a divine being, one that I am proud to say that I know and can call you friend. You are a blessed being Deborah. 🙂