As you've probably gathered about me, I'm a seeker. I constantly am looking for ways to improve - improve my skillsets, my happiness, my relationships, etc. That seeking has served me at times, and I'm grateful for my inner drive for improvement and has also frustrated me as I often have a hard time being fully present and still - not anticipating the next possible obstacle or area in need of improvement.
Perhaps that's why this post from Elizabeth Gilbert rang so true. I will leave you all with it as we wrap up to enjoy the long weekend. Enjoy!
"Richard knew that I had a lot of trouble processing failure — my own failures, other people's failures, the failure of life to turn out sometimes the way you want it to. He always tried to work with me on that issue. Richard knew why failure was so hard for me, too — it's because I'm a ceaseless striver. It's because I have unreasonable expectations for myself, for others, and for life itself. It's because I think life is some kind of code that we should be able to crack — and I mistakenly believe that if I do crack the code of life, then there will be no more suffering or confusion or strife (for me, or for anyone around me). It's because I'm somebody who STILL labors under the delusion that there is always a right way to do things, and that I should always be able find that right way to do things...and also: I should always be able fix everything and control the outcome of everything — if only I work a little harder, and learn from my mistakes, and try a little more!
It's madness. But God knows, I try.
But controlling the outcome of everything is impossible. It's just as impossible as fixing everything...which is just as impossible as always being able to handle your own weirdness...which is just as impossible as always knowing how to cope with the holy sacred madness of other people...which is just as crazy as the idea that there is one right way to do things — or that we are MEANT to know how to do everything right, or that the word "right" even means anything...which is just as crazy as thinking that you were ever appointed manager of the whole freaking carnivals in the first place.
But I still try. I never fail to try to never fail.
So when I do fail — or perceive that I have failed — it cuts me deeply.
RIchard used to say that I walked through life with a giant letter "F'" stitched to my chest, in memory of all my failures. He called it my "Red Badge of Shame". He used to say that, unless I learned how to stop carrying that shame-badge around everywhere, I would make myself sick, and I would ruin the beautiful gift of my life...and wouldn't that be a pity and a waste?
He used to tell me all the time: "Let it go."
Now, there are some people who say, "Hey, just let it go!" and you want to slap them, because they say it so lightly. They say "Let it go" as if this act is simple — perhaps even fun. But whenever Richard said to me, "Let it go, Groceries," I only ever wanted to weep in beautiful surrender.
Because this was a man who really understood what "Let it go" means.
This was a man who'd had to learn how to "let go" of decades of the mistakes and disasters that come from having been a drug addict and alcoholic. This was a man who had to let bankruptcies go. This was a man who'd had to let his history of arrests go. This was a man who had to let go of all the times he'd betrayed people, or lied to them in order to feed his addictions. This was a man who had to let go a long string of wrecked relationships. This was a man who had to let go of the sad fact that he hadn't been a responsible father to his boys when they were young — and that, no matter how close they all were now, he could never get those lost years back.
This was a man who'd failed so big-time that after a while there was no place left to put all his failures, nowhere to hide from them, no possible way to fix them, no vessel big enough to contain them...and finally he had no recourse left but to hand it all over to God. As he explained to me, "It was either that, or die of shame."
And when Richard finally did let it all go — whoosh! — the universe indeed came rushing in, and yes, filled him with more love and light than he could contain. Luckily, some of that extra love and light spilled out onto me. Which made him one of the most life-changing and holy people I've ever met.
Richard understood that the only place you can safely release an infinite amount of sorrow and shame is out into the infinite source of creation itself. Only the infinite can absorb the infinite, after all."