Blog

Stories from a life in progress.

The world upside-down

Earlier this week I talked to my counselor about the four books and all the ideas that are eating up my brain, about service and sacrifice and the need for discipline and intentionality, about wanting to do some good, and how hard that feels and that I'm not even sure where to start ... big unruly piles of thinking have been stewing between my ears, and I was trying to pull it out and start combing it into order.

There was a moment when I looked frankly at my counselor and said, "I wish I didn't believe that the world is full of scarcity, and I can't expect much out of it."

She looked frankly back, and asked "why do you believe that?"

"I don't know.  I've always believed it.  Without ever saying it, I always believe it."

She paused for a moment.  "Can you imagine who you would be if you didn't believe that was true?"

What?  I mean, what?  I avoided answering her for the rest of my session, because, just, I don't even.  I can't imagine that.  I don't.

I wrote it down, though.  I knew I was avoiding it because it's a big important scary question, and I wasn't ready to risk the flood of scary intense emotion that was hiding on the other side.  I could hear it, feel it rumbling like an earthquake, and I wasn't ready to let it in.  I wrote her question down so I could peep at it later, carefully and by myself.

I've been peeping at it since.  Just tiny peeks, as though through my fingers, at the idea that the world is actually a full and generous place, and I could believe in that instead, and it would change who I am and what I can accomplish.

It's a big scary change.  Scary and exciting.  It makes me start asking questions about what I could do and have, things I've always pushed aside because I couldn't face the pain of looking at impossible things.

You mean, I could make a new living for myself and do what I'm good at?  This is possible?

I could pay off the rest of my debt and build some savings again?

I could make more friends and belong to community, really belong?

I could be married, maybe?

I could travel?

I could have a life including more joy, contentment, peace?  I could stop feeling vaguely guilty or ashamed of myself a lot of the time?

This is possible?  This is true?  No really, this is actually really and possibly true, because the world is not a mean and scrappy place after all?  There is richness and generosity here, there are good people and there's good work to do and I can be a part of it?  Even ME?

I'm working on imagining it.  I'm making myself try, and my eyes are star-dazzled at the possibilities.  Maybe I've been wrong, just wrong, for a very long time.  Maybe the world isn't what I think it is, and maybe I'm not either.