Inching Toward Freedom

Are you a guilt producer?  Wait—what?  What’s your definition of a guilt producer?  Well, the way I see it, there are two kinds of guilt.  There’s the guilt that’s heaped on us by outside sources, like a mother, or kids, or maybe the church.  Then there’s the inside guilt, the stuff that encompasses all of the self-perceived faults and flaws of the soul—all committed by an imperfect self who should-have, shouldn’t-have done, the self that finds fault over every tiny little oopsie and risks annihilation by self-judgment.  Sometimes, guilt is buried so deep that we don’t even know that it’s there until we find we find our heads buried in a plate of spaghetti with meatballs.

I realize, of course, that small libraries could be filled to overflowing with volumes written on the subject of guilt, but in the interest of an 800-word-or-less blog, I’m opting for the Reader’s Digest version, aka, my own less-than perfect unprofessional interpretation of the subject.  I learn by experience, and trust me, where guilt is concerned, I’ve produced a ton of that.

Personally, I have managed to become fairly immune to the outside stuff, but it’s the inside stuff that can still catch me off guard—the self-produced kind of should-have, could-have, did, or didn’t do sort of guilt.  The origin of guilt is not important, except that guilt in any form or from any source produces the tendency toward self-punishment, the result of which varies according to individual tastes and preferences.  

My particular form of punishment often appears as crippling self-doubt that typically results in procrastination and lowered feelings of self-worth.  The sure-fire antidote to my self-induced suffering leads me down a well-worn path straight to the refrigerator.  It used to be the wine bottle, but I gave that up a few years ago.  Now it’s the spaghetti.  Or worse.

Over time, my guilt production level has dropped from a ten to about a two or three.  I’m not home free yet, but I’m making great progress.  The key is to recognize the devil when I see it, and nip it in the bud before I beat a path to the fridge and dive into the ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and side of caramel sauce.  It requires vigilance.  Guilt is insidious.  It sneaks up while you’re looking the other way.  Beware.

It is here that I want to let you in on a little secret that I have recently discovered and am working to incorporate into my awareness and make a permanent part of my life.  It’s the discovery of a lifetime.  If I were out to make money by selling a product or service on my blog, I’d be selling like crazy here—you know—“This amazing discovery will change your life, this little secret is the key to happiness, it’s all you’ll ever need to know, blah, blah, blah.”  You’ve heard it all.  Nope I’m giving this one away for free, right here, right now.  So here it is.  Free.  My gift to you.  Ready?  Hang on because here goes . . .

Be who you are.  Be true to yourself. Whatever you choose to do is fine.  You are perfect exactly as you are.  Do whatever makes you happy.  You are doing the best that you can right here, right now.  Listen to your heart. Do not allow yourself to be swayed by the opinions of others. There is no need to change or do anything differently because you are already doing what you are meant to be doing.  Every so-called mistake is an opportunity to learn a lesson and make a correction the next time.  There is no need for guilt because there is nothing that you have done wrong. You are now and ever will be free.

I know—it’s pretty hard concept to swallow.  It might even be a touch guilt-producing to think in such a way.  Ludicrous. Hedonistic.  Blasphemous.

Still—give it a try, if only for a minute, if that’s all you can manage.  It’s such a new way of thinking that it’s going to require practice, but you’ll never know the freedom inherent within a guilt-free existence until you try it out for yourself.  It might seem like an impossible dream, but like anything else, anything worth having is worth working toward.  By the yard it’s hard, but by the inch it’s a cinch.  Think of what it would be like to live in a world without guilt.  

It’s a lofty and magnificent goal, a gift you give yourself, and to others in your life.  You’ll never know until you try, and experience it for yourself—if only for a minute.  By the inch, it’s a cinch.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

The Road to Happy Endings

Have you ever found yourself sitting at a stop sign and not had a clue about which way to go?  Welcome to my club.  I’ve never been very good with maps (or decisions in general for that matter), so God bless whoever saved my bacon with GPS.  Many a time in my past I have sat in stall mode until I realize that somewhere a horn is blasting a hole in my thought process, and mild panic and a hasty decision force me to get out of the way, make a turn, and I end up lost, frustrated, and angry at the hand on the horn.

Past experience has taught me one important lesson—when the horn starts honking, pull off to the side of the road and let the honker pass on by.  Do not allow the influence of another to force or hasten an important decision that deserves careful consideration.  Sometimes it’s best to just hang out in void mode for a while, and allow the answer to reveal itself in its own good time.  I have also learned the hard way that impatience can derail the best of intentions and cause me to honk my own horn resulting in a premature unwise choice.  Patience is definitely a virtue.

I have come to a moment in life when I have pulled off the road, considered all of my options, made a decision to stop for a while and hang out in void mode to wait and see what’s next.  Now is the time to whip out my patience and sit in the quiet void in anticipation of what is to come.  The past is gone never to return. What’s ahead is still a mystery.

It is a scenario that I have experienced many times before.   I am sitting in a familiar place in my mind, in an empty theater staring at a closed curtain, awaiting the moment when the behind-the-scene work is done, the stage will be set, the curtain will rise, and I will finally get to see the long-awaited and much anticipated next act of my life.  

While I wait, I entertain myself with a rerun of earlier acts and think about what I liked and didn’t like, what worked and what didn’t, about what I would add, delete, rewrite or rearrange.  I contemplate future possibilities about how the play might unfold, how I might like it to end, if there is any way that I could change the dialogue or write a story that would be more to my liking, or make a difference in the outcome.  I am, after all the one who writes my own life’s script.

Oh but wait—I look around and discover that I am no longer alone in the theater.  I am surrounded by all of you, all of you who share in this moment of void, this time of empty uncertainty of unknowing, all of you who are anxiously awaiting the curtain to rise to reveal the next act, the next stage of the play in which we are all actors together.  It is a pregnant pause, as we sit together in the void, awaiting the moment when we can view the beginnings of a new act and watch as it manifests into the reality of what is to be.

What will it be?  What script will I write?  Will I write a happy ending?  What will the future be? What will I decide? I think I’ll just keep on hanging out in the void for a while longer and keep working on the rewrites until I get it right. I’m all about dreaming up happy endings, after all. I hope I’ll see you as one of the actors in the happy ending of my dream.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)