Today, I’m grateful.
I didn’t learn an important lesson, no accomplishments, not even attaining a new level of progression with anything. There’s not even a long table filled with turkey, gravy, mash potatoes, and family. Well, that just covers about everything I could be grateful for. So, what the hell am I trying to get at here? Well, I spent the better part of the day today, just thinking… That clears it up, right?
I’ve been thinking about everything that makes my life wonderful. I have a loving and supportive family (friends included), just about everything genetically that makes up a “successful” person in our society, and above all my physical and mental health in tip top 25 year old, prime of my life, shape. I’m not trying to brag… it’s just hard to avoid the fact that my head is biggest and my looks are the best.
Through a lot of business and leadership trainings, I’ve seen more than one diversity workshop and when they list the type of person who gets to have their cake and eat it too, for the most part I’m in the winning category. Except for religion, which I’ve probably been closest to Buddhist and as far as privilege and power go, that’s like saying I’m Canadian. Yeah, it’s not a super power, but it’s like a cute kid asking for something ridiculous and silly. They’re still welcome at the table, even if not consider as a player. I read a book a while ago about a woman working in the development field and she was talking about being guilty for taking part in a privilege she had as a foreigner. It really spoke to me by helping me with how to go about digesting my position in life. Instead of feeling guilty or trying to deny the wonderful gifts that life has presented me, I’m going to embrace them and use them as my tool. Yes, that means big head beauty pageant. My privileges have really been a big driver in my life direction so far. Since the first time I recognized that not everyone grows up the same, when my dad and I first talked about how difficult life was been for one of my close childhood friends in particular, I’ve felt a deep inner need to use what I have and give back to help people, like my friend. Most of my life it’s been out of guilt for having so much in my life. In the past few years, I’ve readjusted that outlook to one of appreciation, for what I have and one of passion, for my path to helping others. It’s one hell of a time, on my 25th birthday, to think about all of my assets and how I can use those to accomplish my deepest passion of helping people. Then, through my study of Buddhism I discovered that after my job or extracurricular activities trying to help people in the physical relm, I want to learn how to free people spiritually.
I could talk about this for a long time, as I think anyone can about any of their passions in life. But to stop there would be missing out on why, today in particular, I feel grateful.
I started the day by watching a Jim Carrey (yes, Jim Carrey!) inspirational commencement speech I’ve seen a few times before. I love his movies, but off the set, especially in interviews, I always thought he was a nut, who was on the fence of rubbing me the wrong way. After seeing him talk at this commencement speech, I really related to him, to his story, and to the true Jim Carrey, underneath his façade of entertainment. (Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V80-gPkpH6M) I related so much to him with his relationship to his life and the inspiration he got on his path from his father. There’s something about the way that he can free people from their worries that inspires me. Jim, does it with the way that he portrays characters and acts out his silliness in a way that transports people to another place. He struck me when he said that he has made it to the top because where ever he goes people show him their best face; one of jokes, laughter, and purely undistracted happiness. My dad, countless times when I was growing up, did this when we were in a grocery store. When it was his turn to go up to the person at the check out line, who was drowning in the drudgery of their day, he would do something or say something to make them light up and reconnect with their humanity and true self. You could literally see that person’s face light up and all of a sudden they were the showing the best side of themselves. They totally forgot about their situation and the loathing they were stuck in, seconds before. The effects we have on each other is still, to me, the greatest human ability. The greatest part, is that it’s a super power we all possess. Like Jim, that’s something I want to keep running with. But, I want to take it to the next level and figure out how to do it full time. I want to be present enough to do it everyday and spend a lifetime teaching people how to do the same things to others. Even a few generations ago, that would have been a bit of a crazy idea, but now it’s been brought to the surface and seemingly on everyone’s mind.
I kept watching videos of Jim on different talk shows and laughed the whole time. I’ve always been a fan of his humor and I think it is very similar to how my brother-from-another-mother, from way back in second grade, and I communicate with each other. Even with all the laughter, I still wasn’t getting what I wanted from the videos. None of them were like his commencement speech. I went to the one place where I knew that Jim would get the best quality interview, Howard Stern. It was just taken this past summer, right around the same time of his inspiring commencement speech. I love listening to Howard because he has a way of keeping the rhythm of the interview going so that everyone is immersed in a way so the listener doesn’t have time to space out and the interviewee goes further and further into the interview and therefore sometimes can forget their usual façade, presenting a more true version of themself. By the end, they talked a bit about Jim’s spirituality, which was largely uninteresting, and then they ended with Howard asking if Jim thought he was happy. Jim told Howard that happy, sad, mad are all like the weather. Then, he ended by saying he was content. The part that really stuck out to me was the lack of passion in his voice. He wasn’t on a stage in front of cameras or an audience, so he didn’t feel the need to put on his performance face and he didn’t have his sparkle. I felt so… confused.
I just put my computer away and lied on my bed and stared at the ceiling. The part that confused me was that he went through the same cycle that I feel I go through in my life. There are times where I feel like I really connect with people and am making their day a little brighter and with that I feel more alive and focused. Then, like a passing wave, when I’m alone I feel like I’m back to my normal distracted self. I was so absorbed by learning about him that I couldn’t look away, I was totally immersed in his story and relating that to my own. Then, when it was all over I realized I have the same lack of concentration and immersion in this moment I had before I got on the computer. I tried to focus my eyes on a board on the ceiling, but couldn’t do it for much longer than a few seconds. I’m talking about really focusing, not just keeping my eyes in one place. Focusing my keeping my whole body and soul focused, like how I was during the video.
Then, instead of thinking about the past 25 years of my life, I shifted toward the future. I started to think that the one thing that Jim was missing and the one thing that I’ve felt like I’ve been missing for so long, which is starting with myself. Okay, back to the past now, I told you, my attention span is like a squirrel. I’ve always made excuses with my spiritual growth that at least I was using my time to make other people a little better, or I had something else more important to do. I realized that I won’t ever be able to make the difference I want to make in other’s lives if I keep putting them or something else first.
How am I going to spread love and the joy of bettering others if I don’t first invest that love into myself? Too often do I put my own spiritual needs to the side out of the fear of the difficulty and failure, masked in the excuse that I’m investing that time, instead, into something seemingly more important.
This might sound negative to you, but at this point, lost in my thoughts, lying on my back in bed, I have a big smile on my face. I’m smiling because I’ve identified something and now all is left is improvement.
The most important thing with my spiritual path right now is to build the foundation of love, with myself. I feel inspired to create some kind of daily routine to help direct this inertia of understanding. My Aunt also gave me two different books with daily reads and ideas to hold for the entire day. If that’s not a message from the universe, I don’t know what is. I also think about my choices for the future. At the end of next week I’m going to Thailand to stay in a Monastery for 15 days. I’m going to get a taste of my plans from September on, after my job with PoP is finished. I’m going to take however long it takes to build the foundation of the skills I need to continue my spiritual growth in myself and to then have the presence of mind to let that ability become me and ooze out of every pore of my being. Realizing my path and being so close to what I’ve been waiting to develop for so long frightens me and leaves me with a feeling of butterflies. I know where I’m headed, I know what I have to do, all that is left now is to take the risk, to relax, and follow my inner voice.
Now that, is something to be grateful for.