Supposedly the last step to enlightenment is killing the Buddha, that is taking him off the pedestal and realizing he’s just a concept, just a thing, just a man like anyone else.
Now, I’m not Buddhist, but I think this concept is pretty applicable to what I often tend to think of as a strength but is a double edged sword- my idealized conception of how things “should” be, my perfectionism, my will that “it should be so,” my constant striving towards the sun, unable to be satisfied without reaching it. The sisyphean task, like atlas with the world on my soldiers, of attaining more and more without ever really finding reaching the goal meaningful before I realize there is some other imperfection to be tamed, some fence to be mended, some trophy to be won that totally dwarves the previous. It’s the drive not only to win first place at the local spelling bee, but also to be the smartest in the world, to conquer some area that I have no talent for out of sheer will, to be able to believe at some level: I am the best. I am perfect. Rather narcissistic and even blasphemous, don’t you think?
This sense of judgement of what is good and what is better. The ability to call a success from a failure; the drive towards result, result, result, with only have and don’t have, win/lose, a constant feeling of failure. Self induced, to be sure, but to give up this hard edge would feel like giving away yur sword and succumbing to being a zombie like the rest of the mediocre losers who have given up a long time, don’t push themselves, or exhbit an iota of self control. There’s that strong consciousness of not wanting to be like them, and to be validated as special, important, a winner, and most of all A SUCCESS.
I can’t really remember living without this voice. I thought that it was my secret weapon, but these days it is just causing me to gut myself like a defeated samurai warrior practicing bushido. Last year, I rebelled against it and stopped doing anything to try and thwart it, somehow, to feel like I had intrinsic worth, even if the only way I could do it was to subconsciously fuck up and still survive and thrive and be of value.
Recently, I joined Crossfit and it and the trainer I go to has had a huge impact on me for the better. I’m really eating a lot beter, doing exercises I had long avoided, and generally feeling like a better person. Of course, I have been weighing myself, tape measuring, and trying to find some kind of NUMBER to put on this change. I keep waiting for it, wondering, have I done enough yet? When can I stop being a fat slob and start being a self controlled normal human being again? When can I find something to tell me I am on the right track?
And my trainer said, “If you are looking for something to measure, track your eating, your weights, your process. It’s not about a number. Isn’t feeling better and doing better what it’s all about?”
And at that moment I had this big revelation that basically my whole problem in life, the reason I made myself acutely miserable for most of the past year and many other episodes during my life, the reason that made me afraid of any activity that had a clear pass/fail, the reason why I couldn’t ever feel godo about myself no matter how much I achieved was staring me in the face.
If it’s not all about the journey and not the destination, we’ll never get there. Or be here. We’ll never be happy. We’ll always be anxious or depressed, feeling useless or scared, plagued by every imperfection.
And the solution? To give YOURSELF real power.
To let me be the person that decides whether I am a success or a failure, and no the number on he scale. Or the money I make. Or who invites me to parties.
Giving myself that kind of power is scary. It has alway sbeen important for me to appear successful adminst my peers. It has always been important to be someone who was responsible and exhbited self control, aka perfect every moment.
As Joseph Campbell says, “Where you find dragons, there will be your treasure.” or something.
This is my treasure- knowing that I can and should, validate myself. That whatever arbitrary standardso f success I had were not helping anyone.
ANd most of all that is is just the tenacity, the ability to stick it through the workout, the way I feel when I tell stories I am that is telling eme all I need to know.
Success or Failure? Neither, not by a long shot. But hi, I’m Megan.
Best, love, NAMASTE,