My mother has always said this to me when I just couldn’t get past an argument in which I knew I was right, but I couldn’t get the other person to see that.
I used to, and sometimes still do, HATE to hear these words of wisdom.
Of course I want to be happy, damn-it!
While reading an excerpt this morning from Anne Lamott’s Notes on Hope, I was reminded of my mother’s words when I came across this passage:
“We all know the horror of having been Right with a capital R, feeling the surge of a cause, whether in politics or custody disputes. This rightness is so hot and steamy and exciting, until the inevitable rug gets pulled out from under us. Then we get to see that we almost never really know what is true, except what everybody else knows: that sometimes we’re all really lonely, and hollow, and stripped down to our most naked human selves. It is the worst thing on earth, this truth about how little we know. I hate and resent it. And yet it is where new life rises from.”
She goes on to talk about the “finery of being right,” how comfy and cozy it is, like being wrapped in a warm fuzzy blanket. Then, when that blanket is stripped off the elements of truth hit our skin, sting and burn and strike us aware.
“Aliveness is sacred.”
With pain and destruction comes humanity and the ability to find hope.
And being right doesn’t promise happiness.
What’s more, truth in the world is more than black or what. The complexity of the world can not be contained in one Right answer.
“But all truth really is paradox, and it it turns out to be a reason for hope. If you arrive at a place in life that is miserable, it will change, and something else about it will also be true. So paradox is an invitation to go deeper into life, to see a bigger screen, instead of the nice, safe lower left quadrant where you see work, home, and the country. Try a wider reality, through curiosity, awareness, and breath. Try actually being here. What a concept.”
Take the time to be present, meditate, figure out who you are as a person. We don’t have to know everything. We don’t have to be the keeper of the secrets and the mouth that spreads those secrets. Just be in your moment and the truth will follow, and with that truth there will be hope, and with that hope – happiness.
I’m finding more and more about myself just through being a parent, but there is still so much to learn. The littlest things drive me crazy, and I don’t know why. What’s that about?
I remember being younger, probably about my eldest son’s age of 9. I was eating my breakfast cereal at the table of my father’s house. I can hear the sound of NPR in the background. Garrison Keillor’s soulful voice is saying something and the canned laughter tells me it’s time to laugh along – even though I have no idea what they’re laughing about. I can smell the leather and Old Spice of my father as he sits nearby. I feel the spoon enter my mouth with a heaping portion of Rice Krispies, but no sooner do I pull the spoon from my mouth when my father yells, “For God sake, Emily!”
Without realizing it, I had scraped the spoon over my teeth while trying to keep the milk and cereal from spilling from my lips. That noise of metal on teeth drove my father over the edge. His eyes would get big and mad and if it happened more than once I got a hand upside the back of my head. I never understood why this was so bad. They’re my teeth.
Now, as an adult with my own children, and my own stressful mornings I can feel the prickles raise on the back of my neck as I hear my son scrape the spoon over his teeth while eating his Special K. I can feel my hand raising, ready to make a mark on the back his beautiful blonde head.
Why do I have this urge to lash out?
Is it genetic impatience that flows through my veins and up my arm?
Or is it something else?
I heard about Shadow Work from a blog off the Tamed Wild website.
The term Shadow Work, was coined by Carl Jung.
There is a Shadow Work Coach named, Marisa (Riss) Cottrill who helps people get in touch with the parts of themselves that they have repressed. It costs over a $100 and hour, but then there are free options you can do yourself, so maybe I should research this more.
I feel like delving into my past is a good place to start though. I need to see if I am repressing something that is making me so impatient, irritable and anxious.
We are all trying, or should be trying, to constantly better ourselves and improve our futures. Maybe where we should start is in the past.
Looking back on where we went wrong instead of telling ourselves we are Right might be the right step to take towards happiness.