One of the elusive promises that has pulled me forward and inspired many of my explorations has been the one that if I just find the right Answer – especially about who I am and what I’m “supposed” to be doing here in this lifetime – then I will get “there” and life will finally be easy. Because life has often felt hard to me. I have mostly struggled to overcome the frustrating, enraging, and heartbreaking burden of what have felt to be my fatal flaws. Not to be too dramatic about it.
But it’s more than just the answer to what the hell I’m doing here. It’s also about believing that if I solve the problem of my anxiety and it goes away, or my moodiness, or trusting that life is actually going to work out just fine for me, that I will get to that “place” where I will be happy. And I can just park there. I will finally have it figured out.
Saying this out loud sounds silly, and my mind wants to mock me for admitting it. I know it’s not reasonable. But I have still held it secretly as being the answer to my life’s questions. There is an Answer. I just need to keep looking for it, and when I find it, I’ll be free.
One of the more interesting results of my month-long experiment with intensive neurofeedback (read about it here) is that – having felt the release of a fundamental pattern of anxiety that has been part of my baseline and background for as long as I can remember and whose absence felt absolutely life-changing – I was still…me.
The ground underneath me feels different than it ever has. I can still feel the shift in feeling that “quiet” inside now, as opposed to a constant internal hand-wringing that only varied in its relative intensity. That relentless head chatter of doubt, second-guessing, self-consciousness, criticalness, fear, what-iffing, blah, blah, blah, has quieted down to a stunning degree. I keep looking around for it, peeking under my emotional cushions, wondering if it’s really gone or if it just wandered away and will leap back into my life when I least expect it.
The interesting thing is that, in spite of this never-before-experienced level of calm and peace, I still am, fundamentally and somewhat annoyingly, me. I still am emotional, indecisive, moody, and conflicted. I am still a flawed human being. I know this comes as a shock. It is sort of a shock to me, to really get it – that we are still who we are, no matter what. No matter what insights we get, no matter how much “better” we get. There is no “there,” there is no place where we park and stop moving, or growing, or evolving.
If there is no end to moving, growing, and evolving, then there is also no end to feeling conflicted or scared or stressed, since that is all part of moving, growing, and evolving. And we each do it in our own familiar and predictable ways.
This insight has actually been a relief to me. This idea that there is an “answer,” that there is an ideal place that I should be able to get to once I get rid of all my neuroses, problems, traumas, and resistances kept me moving forward, but it also kept me feeling like a failure, because that idealized place felt so far away.
Now I know that I will always feel a little bit anxious, sometimes scared shitless, sometimes peaceful, sometimes angry, often contented – I will feel all of it, and that’s okay. The pressure and discomfort from the negative stuff will continue to compel me forward into more growth experiences, and I’m intensely curious as to where those will lead me. Unlimited growth and possibility – because there is no “there” where it all stops. How great is that?