... and I'm stunned every day now by how awesome my life has indeed become.
Just for the record, here's a quick survey of some grand things that awesoming brought me this year:
- Friends who like me so much they sing songs about it (I truly never imagined this would ever happen).
- The relatively painless finishing of my PhD (also something I feared could never happen). Here's the dissertation I wrote, in case you're curious.
- The presence of mind and persistence to write my first ever subversive comic metaphysical novel.
- The willingness to record my own tiny little album with just me singing.
- The great good fortune to have a severe case of mutual falling-in-love with a very handsome mad genius from another dimension.
Yet despite the fact that things are INCREDIBLE right now, in the past year I managed to accomplish a lot of suffering. So much suffering that on some days I felt down-right embarrassed that I had a blog and a book on awesoming.
The source of my suffering? I was staying in a situation that obviously wasn't working because I feared change. It's a lesson that I wrote about in the first chapter of my book: we have to always be willing to let go of what worked in the past and open up to what is needed in the present if we want to experience joy and flow.
Clinging to comforting-but-stultifying set-ups is a deadly path. Last year at this time I knew this well enough to write about it but throughout the year I had to go through another cycle in the continuing spiral that it takes to really learn these kind of things.
Thankfully I now have a bit of a rest from that part of the spiral - I'm enjoying the flow and freedom and awesomeness that have come out of my willingness to confront the painful truth of the situation and to take action to change it from a place of love, surrender and acceptance.
It's my experience that spiritual awakening (or awesoming your life, as I like to call it) is an ever-deepening process of letting go of control and learning to trust in the creative movement of the world - the Tao, or God, or the Universe. Whatever you want to call it: it's the sweet spot.
It's the thing that can't be talked about but which can be accessed via intuition and reverence. I can so easily keep myself from receiving the gifts of that power just by getting wrapped up in my beliefs about "how life should be" and "what I should do." I invest these beliefs with all the sticky power of my ego and end up using them to bully myself. The more I do this, the less free I feel - until! - the pain of clinging to my beliefs exceeds my tolerance. Then, only then, I become open minded. "Maybe my life doesn't have to be this way - maybe this isn't what I have to do."
But even once I'm open-minded I still don't know what the hell to do with myself. At that point, I have to call directly on powers greater than me. I rely on a wonderful quote from Jung's The Archetypes and the Unconscious to remind me how to do that:
“There are problems which one simply cannot solve on one's own resources. Such an admission has the advantage of being honest, truthful, and in accord with reality, and this prepares the ground for a compensatory reaction from the collective unconscious... If you have an attitude of this kind, then the helpful powers slumbering in the deeper strata of one's nature can come awake and intervene, for helplessness and weakness are the eternal experience and the eternal problem of humankind. To this problem there is also an eternal answer, otherwise it would have been all up with humanity long ago. ... The necessary and needful reaction from the collective unconscious expresses itself in archetypally formed ideas.”
It's rather pagan of me: lately when I pray I like to pray directly to the archetypes within my own soul.
"Dear Archetypes," I begin, "I have abso-zero-fucking-lutely idea what to do about the conflict I feel within myself between wanting to (stay in / leave this relationship; achieve more / have more free time; eat endless piles of chocolate / enjoy better health). I've tried everything I can come up with to solve this problem and I just can't through my own power. I need your help, I need you to do it for me."
This is an embarrassing prayer to have to make. It means admitting that I'm really not all that capable. It means humbly putting myself at the mercy of larger forces - coming to the honest recognition that I don't know and not moving from that stark recognition, not rushing to fill in the void with a mind-created "solution" of my own. That staying within the humble not-knowing is the most subtle and difficult thing of all.
But I find when I'm able to do it that Jung is exactly right: in a few days, something "slumbering in the deeper strata" of my nature wakes up. Something moves and shifts within me. I get inspiration; I see possibility; I'm no longer stuck. The archetypes within me float me an idea. I apply the idea. The idea works.
I like to think of this as the work of becoming obedient to my own soul (being as the archetypes are aspects, or faces, of the soul). D.H. Lawrence liked to say that that's what real freedom is: not the freedom to do whatever you want (since most of what we want to do is rather silly ego-stuff) but rather the freedom to obey the dictates of your own soul. D.H. Lawrence was cool like that.
So anyways - yes. I'm happy to offer at least my own anecdotal testimony that the principles espoused throughout this blog and my book work as advertised. I wake up in the morning feeling sweet and happy, have some moments of sheer ecstatic effulgence throughout the day and go to bed satisfied and grateful.
Since I know myself, I know that sooner or later I'll get myself into another sticky situation and have to do more of that difficult deepening surrender work in order to experience this kind of ease and flow again - but that's okay. Awesoming is a dynamic process. And this year, I think I'd like to write more about that dynamism as it happens, to share my process more vividly with you as it unfolds.
And now I'm curious about you. What have your own awesoming processes brought you lately in terms of pains and joys, insights and gifts?
image: [scrappy annie]