“Don’t be attached to the fruits of your actions” -Bhagavad Gita
This quote was in my screenwriting book that I have been slowly wending my way through the past month or so, and while the author intended to inspire his readers to write without attachment to money or fame, it struck me that it was a good reminder for life in general for me.
Lately, I feel like I have had so many areas of personal lack revealed to me in various ways, and it feels a bit overwhelming. I have always taken pride in being a positive, helpful, and overall just a GOOD person. Yet this shining image of myself has been systematically dismantled through several different incidents in the past several months, and I have been left feeling like I need to rebuild myself from the ground up.
One area that has been especially lacking lately is that positivity that I have normally been so proud of. I could sense–I allowed myself to dwell on things that weren’t edifying or helpful, and it caused me to spiral down. It was also made glaringly obvious by the effect that I was having on my relationship, to the point where my boyfriend said in frustration “you’re always looking at the negative things or what you’re not getting and never look at what I’m actually doing for you” which stopped me in my tracks and cracked the shiny surface of the image I had painted for myself on the mirror.
You see, I had always prided myself as well on being a good girlfriend, thinking snidely to myself that the men who didn’t work out in my life were “really missing out” on my amazingness. Yet here I was, clearly not being a great partner and definitely not getting myself any closer to the specific things that I told myself I needed in my relationship.
If you reread what I just wrote, it’s obvious that the answer lies in my pride–my haughty belief that I had things all figured out and it was my duty to lead others to the light that was so blindingly obvious to my own enlightened eyes. Instead of doing things simply because I believed that I should for MY OWN edification, I was very much attached to the fruits that I believed should come from my actions, and devastated when oranges bloomed where I was expecting apples, or when the seeds planted didn’t curl upwards in my own personal timeline.
I have to say, this has been a bitter pill to swallow. Here I am, almost 30 years old, thinking that I’ve come so far in life surrounded by all my golden wisdom, and then *BAM* the universe sits me down and gives me a good talking to.
As it so often does, the universe has also provided me with an opportunity to practice the lessons it has revealed—recently, my boyfriend learned that someone he knew was in a freak accident involving a being run over by a combine. Life support was unable to live up to its name, and the family pulled the plug on him.
Of course, my immediate reaction was one of support and comfort. HOWEVER, at the back of my mind was the niggling thought that “he has to see how loving and supportive I am, and now he’ll fall for me more than ever”.
How base is that? Here a person–a vibrant, individual soul–has had their life violently ripped away, and one of my concerns was how I can turn the situation into an advantage for my relationship.
I know, of course, that I am being harsh with myself, and there was a large majority of me that just wanted to be there and be supportive, but I am disappointed with myself that the former was even an INKLING in my brain.
I suppose, however, that this is what it means to be an evolving human being. Braving the inky depths of our deepest, darkest, hidden-most thoughts and feelings, and daring to strike the match and look at it head on. Fearlessly confronting the demons within, I believe, sometimes takes more courage than battling the demons without. Because at the end of the day, you have to sleep with the darkness inside–you cannot run away from it or hide or ignore it forever once you’ve opened that door.
I know, though, that this excavation is what it takes to get to a point of brighter light. You have to acknowledge the smudges on the lantern before you can gather the materials and strength to clean them off.
Everyone has their black marks that they hide from the world. It’s only those who can look at them full on, however, that will be able to grab their knee pads and scrub off that layer of human grime to reveal the true purity and love and light that is within the inner realm of every human being. If we don’t take those hard steps, we run the risk of believing that those marks are natural, acceptable, or worse yet, creating more on ourselves and those around us.
Tending to the garden simply for the joy of nurturing life, letting a child fly from the nest without judging their direction, or creating a piece of art without care of any critic is a place of contentment and fulfillment that is elusive; yet, it is entirely possible. It just takes self-acknowledgement and work and a whole lot of TRUE love.
What are your smudges you hide? What are you ashamed of? Don’t be too distraught to show them to yourself–for it is only when we recognize our own faults and failures that they can be made whole.
We, as human brothers and sisters, need do our individual part to brighten the light of the world as a whole, and then one day, maybe our children’s children can live in a world without fear. We need to exist for the pure joy of the moment, living in a way that others cannot help but be positively effected.
Life is meant to be mastered, with the premise that the levels will never end. Let’s all try to move up. At the end of the day, all you’re left with is yourself and the internal progress you have made. As it so often goes, that internal progress will manifest itself into physical progress—but don’t plant the tree in anticipation of the peaches. Plant the tree because it’s the right thing to do. And isn’t doing the right thing, honestly, lovingly, and wholeheartedly, the real reward?
Easier said then done.
But most of the joy is the journey, not the destination.
So take that step. And then another. And another. And sooner or later we’ll all be closer to what it truly means to live this privileged life as a human.