I’ve met many people who harbor fantasies about starting their lives over by simply walking away from the one they presently have. Their current version of themselves is either too messed up, too convoluted, too difficult or too boring to work through or to bear any longer. So they want out. They want to escape. Bye-bye you losers. See ya. When, with patience and kindness, I point out to them that they had a big part in constructing the life that they want to escape from and that, perhaps, the only thing they really know how to build themselves are prisons, they usually pause. It’s then that they either say ‘see ya’ to me or the real process of personal growth begins.
Then, too, I’ve met more than a few who believe that an internal transformation should be much like any other extreme makeover that they’ve viewed with regards to wardrobe, hair style and face paint (make up). They are searching for some service or some one to swoop in and recreate them internally, Version 2.0, while they sit back and semi-watch. After all, they’re paying for this to ‘happen’. Patience and kindness help me to bring them to the truth…which is that they can hire a personal trainer but they still have to lift weights, exert themselves and do the exercises if they want the results. Again, it’s either ‘see ya’ or the real growth can begin.
Realty trumps fantasy every time.
“Immediately” and “all at once” are holdovers from the magical thinking days of our childhood and from the fairy tales we were raised with.
I like to tell people that the growth they’ll experience takes place “suddenly, over a period of time”.
Awakening and awareness are processes.
Before we can even connect the dots to ‘see’ an over arching pattern, we have to be guided to where the dots might be and what they might actually look like.
This is not our culture’s strong suit.
As Americans, escapism and exploitation is in our blood. Our ancestors were mainly people looking to get away from oppression (or their past) or were people looking for new opportunities to ‘get ahead’. They left everything behind due to desperation or greed. It wasn’t particularly noble but it did require a certain kind of courage and determination.
Even in the ‘New World’, when places got crowded or conditions got tough, people simply pushed out West. We considered this our right and our national destiny. This was America, Version 1.0.
(Please forgive me if I don’t address the Native indigenous populations that were so brutally displaced and abused during this stage. We still can’t seem to reconcile our ideals as a nation with our actions as a people).
Soon enough, we ran out of land that wasn’t a steal. But the twin driving principles of ‘get me outta here’ and ‘how can I get mine in this land of opportunity’ had been firmly established in the national psyche. America, Version 1.0, has since been focused on other forms of escape (alcohol, sex, drugs, gadgets) and all manner of exploitation (charge whatever the market will bear and do whatever you can get away with are two of the fundamentals of capitalism).
But America, Version 1.0, is proving to be unsustainable. The evidence is overwhelming, much like the evidence of climate change, but the denial is fierce.
We need an America, Version 2.0.
It will take courage and determination to forge and fashion.
Fortunately, those are also in our bloodlines.