Have you ever found yourself struggling - angsty, sad, frustrated, uncomfortable - with a situation or someone in your life...over a few days, a few weeks, longer...and, all of a sudden you start to realize you're receiving the answer to resolving that angst from multiple sources without solicitation and without context to your own internal struggle?
Over the last couple of months, I've been wrestling with an old demon. Crying, screaming, pushing at it to go away to make room in my life and in my heart for what I want.
It wasn't working. It never does. That war's been waging for many years and every battle ends the same. And you'd think I would have learned that lesson by now, learned that resistance is futile, learned that fighting against it would only lead to frustration and tears. Alas, it is a lesson I learn and re-learn and then re-learn again.
About a month ago, the messages started coming to me. Luckily, I was paying attention.
First, it was Anne Lamott who, on the last day of her 50's, posted this, in part, to her Facebook page:
"Mentally, the same old character defects resurface again and again. I thought I'd be all well by now. Maybe I'm 40% better, calmer, less reactive than I used to be, but the victimized self-righteousness remains strong, and my default response to most problems is still to try and figure out who to blame; whose fault it is, and how to correct his or her behavior, so I can be more comfortable."
Then, a week or so later, on the same day, April 16, I received two other zen stick taps.
Glennon Doyle Melton, also known as Momastery, wrote a little blog post called Life is Freaking Brutiful. In it, she said:
"I’m trying not to judge my own life by the world’s standards because my suspicion is that often – our bad is God’s good and our good is God’s bad. The last are first and the first are last. When we start seeing clearly- we learn that it’s always opposite day. In my life- the brutal ALWAYS transforms into the beautiful. And so after thirty eight years I have learned this about what life is offering me: IF IT’S EASY AND SHINY- BEWARE. IF IT STINGS A LITTLE – SIT TIGHT, GET CURIOUS, AND THEN LEAN IN."
Later that night, my brother, Franny, posted a link to a video of him speaking as the featured guest on a webcast about the distinction between a gift and a talent. Among many things, he said:
"My talent wasn't my gift at all."
"The talent you have is the means to getting your gift out into the world."
"I didn't think it was anything all that special. It was something that just came so naturally to me I didn't even really pay attention to it."
"My gift is only limited by my creativity."
I knew then, even though I asked him to define it for me and he told me no, that I'd know it and name it myself, what my gift was. Healer.
But it needed something more than just that...just Healer.
And then, right after that, I found myself re-watching Brené Brown's TED Talks on Vulnerability and Shame.
Finally, I met up with Vigo last week. During our five-hour long conversation he said something along the lines of "Open your heart, ask the question, then listen." I said I would consider it.
Wednesday night just past, I found myself responding, for the umpteenth time in the last couple of months, to the call to battle - the panicky fear, sadness, angst, discomfort. An old friend talked me down mostly so I could sleep.
But it wasn't until Thursday into last night that I was able to make all the connections and draw the conclusion and understand fully.
It is when I resist The Knowing that I am uncomfortable. No one else's behavior needs to be adjusted. My own thoughts are what drives my discomfort. If I am uncomfortable, I need to get curious, lean in, and remember my gift...that gift that comes naturally. My gift of being a Vulnerable Healer.
I opened my heart. I asked the question. I listened.
I'm think I'm beginning to understand.