Aligning, Re-aligning, And Aligning Some More...
It's been a long day and I am lying in bed and I can hear my husband, God bless him, starting to snore beside me... but this does not stop me from yelling out in a panic. Awareness comes in it's own time... it's not always convenient. "Holy crap!" I yell slapping the bed for exclamation. "That's it!"
He begins to rouse.
"It's the same thing... that's why it's bothering me so much.. it's not the now, it's the always... it's always been the same thing and I... and I had completely forgotten. I had completely forgotten these things ever happened... How do I do that?"
"What?" he asks groggily.
"What did I just say to you?" I ask, as if he should remember, even though it has been at least 30 min since I have said anything at all.
He looks at me questioningly.
"I just don't want to make the cakes."
"Yeah..." he sighs.
"How did I even end up making them, when it's been at least 12 years since I sat there and said, I don't want to make the pies... and it's the same damn thing... over and over... I'm still in the exact same place..."
And that's a lie and I know it. I'm being extremely hard on myself right now; and maybe sometimes I have to be to motivate myself through it. I am not in the same place I was 12 years ago. Things have changed and I have grown and my life is a complete 360 from where it once was. But there's definitely another cycle coming up here. I may have worked through this problem ten times, but there's definitely more to do.... more to see... more to understand.
I try to explain...
"It's been at least 12 years since I sat in that bar in WV telling a stranger about the horrible waste... the wasted time, the wasted energy, the wasted food, the wasted talent, the wasted materials, the wasted me... I told him about all of the values I felt being compromised and all of the good I would rather be doing with my time... and before he left, he looked at me and he said, "Whatever you do... stop making those pies. There's more for you. Promise me? Don't make another pie..."
And of course I said yes at the time, but then, I swallowed it down and I made some more pies.... and cakes... and pastries... ethnic fusion meals... and ... cakes again... It may have gotten fancier, but it's all the same thing. And I am still saying the exact same thing... Waste of any kind really goes against my grain. Respect and compassion are huge values of mine... I value the people, the effort, the resources, the environment, the quality, the time. I hate wasted food, wasted money, wasted people, wasted resources, wasted energy, wasted anything that could be used for good!
That conversation was the second time I admitted what about my profession was so unsatisfying for me. Let's be honest. I love to create. I love to create anything. And I also like to work hard (call me crazy, I know). The problem was never "what" I was doing, the problem was in the end result... it had less to do with "what" and more to do with "how" and "where".
I knew it before I had even started that casino job. Before I began that job, standing on a Vancouver beach mourning the death of my lover and talking to yet another complete stranger I had told him, "I know it's a good job and good pay and a great opportunity, but I just don't want to go work in that casino. I don't want to contribute to the waste of consumerism... I want to help people. I want to offer something that matters." I had seen the bigger picture and I had recognized deeper truths in this world. I knew about the waste before I even got there, but I didn't know what else to do... it was all I had ever done, so I told myself later that I was just discovering it. It's what I do.. I "forget" what I know... I justify what I think I should do... and I bury what is right for me... until it forces its way back out... and it does... assuredly... again and again.
Why? Because there's an underlying fear. A fear of not having enough... (and if you know me, you know I have never needed much, evident in the cardboard furniture and other Macgyver-ish substitutes that have adorned my house over the years LOL)... a fear of not being able to support my family or keep a roof over my head. At times I am willing to compromise my values in order to keep that fear at bay. Are there places that I could cook and create that would be more about loving and helping and less about waste and consumerism... yes, definitely... have I found a way to support my family in such a place... not yet... but I am working on it... keep an eye out for future developments. Are there worries that hold you back? Are there certain fears or beliefs that keep you from fully honoring what you truly believe is important? And have you explored your options as to how to align that? Or have you been acting from the fear that none exist?
Before I even started cooking I remember standing in a college dorm room and shouting at my college roommate, "I don't know what the hell major I should be doing, but I'm thinking this isn't it... I'm tired of wasting all this time... I just want to help people... I just want to live and love!" So maybe that was the first inkling... and I did try to listen... in a rational and overly thought out way. Somehow I thought cooking would be an artistic form of nurturing that could still make me a living... and maybe it could be a form of nurturing... like when I used to cook for the soup kitchen on the weekends... but not in any of the places that I have ever done it for a decent pay.
Do you ever do that? Realize something powerful and swallow it down? Pretend you didn't see it? Or, accept how important it is to follow but overthink it and analyze it and squish it into a little box where it somehow seems to make more sense in the world? Are you ever afraid to be "wrong"? To admit that there may be a better path than what you originally thought?
I wonder how many of us do...
And if I knew it so so long ago, why am I again pretending it's a new discovery to me now?
There's a lot of talk about alignment and how to get in it these days. I don't think alignment is found in a single session or a single course or pamphlet or book or audio meditation or any of these things. It's a process. A process of not only learning who we are and what we value, but how to be it and how to honor it in a world where it doesn't always seem to fit. It may take some trial and error. It may take some uncomfortable change. It may take a lot of letting go of things that you really at some point thought were the answer, but in the end they don't fully line up. And that's okay! Release the fears of never getting there or not being able to make it work and allow yourself to grow into it... at whatever pace it takes! I don't think it's a ripping off a BandAid type of deal. It takes time. As long as you are growing into it, allow that.
How do you know when you're out of alignment?
Let me share some symptoms when it's at it's worst: fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, strong dislike around a certain situation that you don't completely understand, frustration, sadness, depression, feeling like you have no control, anger, stress. When you are doing something, anything, in your life that goes against a core value of your deeper being, you are stressed out by it... it is uncomfortable and no matter what you try to do to "fix it", if you haven't taken the time to acknowledge it, it doesn't feel any better. It doesn't feel like you have what you need within you to cope with it because on one hand, you may not recognize the value within yourself that is being compromised, and on the other hand, that value may seem so simple to you that you're unable to understand how a situation of this type could even exist. You may doubt your own perception of it. Or you may doubt your ability to create change in a world that seems to demand you follow suit. And it may not seem like there is any help available because it seems like you must be the only one who sees or cares.