As I mentioned last week, I got to have some really amazing discussions with some very smart people recently. One of them, a fellow relationship counselor/coach type who wishes to remain anonymous, said something that really resonated: “What you are seeking is seeking you.”
She meant it as a positive, Law of Attraction kind of thing, but my mind, perversely, put it into a kind of horror movie context. Imagine that phrase in the same tones as “Remember, in space, no one can hear you scream.” Makes for kind of a different context, doesn’t it? Suddenly it becomes a lot more important to actually think about what you’re actually pursuing in life. In fact, we’ll be investigating that more on friday, in an upcoming entry “The Dangers of Desire.”
I promise, I’m not getting puritanical on you. Alliteral, maybe, but for this entry about life, I’m actually thinking less in terms of “attraction” and more in terms of “responsibility”.
A Briar Patch of Your Very Own
One of the other advantages to pattern recognition is that we can see, if we look hard enough, how we ended up where we are from the decisions and reactions to circumstances we put ourselves in.
I’m not saying that chance doesn’t have something to do with it – fortune is, thankfully, quite the merry agent of both success and failure. Listening to Dan Carlin describe how close the Mongols came to conquering and keeping all of Europe but for the Khan’s unexpected death can give you chills. Can you imagine a Europe or America without the Enlightenment? Or an Enlightenment infused with Asian cultures and philosophies?
Let’s take it closer to home. I’ve written my own horror stories based on What-if’s from my time in the military. Including the first time I ran the bayonet course, when I leapt into a foxhole and had the butt of my rifle catch on the edge. That jabbed the bayonet up under my chin, snapping my head back and leaving a helluva bruise.
Why didn’t it make a Gray-kebab? Because the first time you run the course, you run with a sheathed bayonet. You can be sure the second time, with a naked blade on the end of my barrel, I made damn sure I knew where my butt landed (both of them).
But people died in boot camp, and I could have been one of them. Would that have been an accident? Not really. I signed up, after all. I chose the infantry (I blame Uncle Alan’s influence completely). More than that, I wanted to impress the Drill Instructors as I ran, because I was gunning for the top spot in graduating class. Why did that matter? Because that carried with it a promotion and more money to feed my family, which was why I was in the Marines to begin with.
In short, if I had self-lobotomized with that bayonet, it would not be bad luck. It would be the confluence of a wide variety of circumstances all of which I’d had a part of shaping.
You Are The Person You Wanted To Be
Another way I’ve seen this put in various places is along the lines of “Wanna know what it is you really want to do? Look at what you’re doing. Look at where you’ve chosen to be.” The thought is that we always know, on a deeper, more visceral level, what our decisions are leading us towards.
Usually the next thing the self-help folks say is something along the lines of “So, to get what you want, just start moving in that direction and see how fast it moves towards you!”
I’m not gonna say that. I’ll explain more why on Friday. Instead, I’m going to suggest that you don’t change a thing. Stay right where you are. You’ve been working for years to get there, after all, what’s your rush? Don’t move! In the words of the zen master, don’t just do something, sit there!
This is where you’ve chosen to be. If they’re right, if you subconsciously knew that you were heading here…maybe you had a good reason. Maybe there was purpose, a need that you had to go through all that stuff to get where you are.
And maybe before going out of your way to change your life, you should make sure you know why you created the one you have in the first place.
To give another personal example, I travel a lot. The past two years it’s gotten almost ridiculous, and I understand pretty well how I ended up here. It’s partially because I do enjoy it, but it’s also a reaction to a time in my life when I thought I never would be able to. When I thought I would never see the world, and so I made a series of choices that led to the life I have now-where I woke up this morning in Los Angeles but am typing this entry in Las Vegas, for example, and that’s not unusual.
So, I chose this. I got what I wanted. But I also have seen, over the past two years of traveling, the problems in terms of health, in terms of relationships, in terms of family that it’s caused. I lost any real feeling of “home” by choosing to travel. It wasn’t my intended outcome, but it’s what happened.
Now it’s time to examine what purpose my traveling served, and what it may or may not serve in the future. I won’t go into it here, but it’s certainly something on my mind.
So what’s on yours?