Okay, hands up time. You know that perfectly-imperfect me? She’s sometimes hysterical. And by hysterical, I mean annoying. And by annoying, I mean frustrating.
So here are the things I’ve learnt over the last few days.
I’m a generally cautious person. True, until it’s really not. Suddenly I look back at my adult life and see that, every few years, I just like to mix it on up. I do strange things like agree to lead an expedition in Africa, or leave a safe career to complete a Masters degree, or leave a city I’ve just grown to love to be on the other side of the world. Apparently, this safe, considered ego occasionally revels in complete uncertainty, no matter how hard the path may be.
I invest in myself. I really do. I do daily things for myself, back myself in a new career plan, study new things. It’s true, until it’s really not. When the stakes get higher and the need to trust in myself to follow through gets higher, my instinct is to bail. If I need to actually place myself into the framework of the role I’m headed for, I want to defer, delegate or just plain disappear instead of stepping up to the plate. No matter how much I believe I’m headed in the right direction, there’s still a part of me that would rather not risk it.
I am not materialistic. I love beautiful things but there’s not a thing in the world that I NEED that can be bought by money. The greatest things in my life are truly priceless. And yet this weekend, I’ve sat here questioning ‘appropriate’ use of resources, things that people can see, can quantify or qualify, over things that may just teach or guide, push or nudge me, just me, in a particular direction.
I am tuned into my gut feelings, my intuition. I’ve spent the last few years actively trying to undo years of actively tuning OUT my personal radar. After years of not trusting it and trying to deafen myself to the voices, I’m trying to hear the muffled cries of my gut reactions to life as it unfurls. I’m trying to hear the whispers of truths in the white noise of daily live. And generally I do well. Until something truly matters. Because when it truly matters, I butt right up against the most stubborn of blocks and the most persistent of inner voices. It makes for a pure hangman’s jury – one voice countering the other almost perfectly. Almost. And that 00000.1% can only heard in the very quietest of moments. You just have to know when you are truly quiet.
Over the last few days, I’ve seen how insidious the tendrils of mass culture can be, how much it takes to truly unburden yourself from fitting in to blossom out. I’ve felt the tear between established ‘common sense’ and ‘investing in yourself’. I’ve waved in the tension of the doing the right thing and doing the right thing with all the shades of grey that can exist between the exact same words with totally different meaning. My brain has oscillated between instinct and intuition, ‘intelligence’ and instruction and drawn two wholly justifiable, imminently sensible, completely contrasting conclusions.
What I’ve actually learned over the last few days is that you can tell yourself whatever story you choose. You can persuade yourself of any truth you choose. You can view any path with as much optimism, pessimism, value, relevance or anything else you choose. Your brain is a mighty beast and you can harness it to back yourself or back yourself up as you choose. But some decisions deserve a little more. Some decisions need your brain to speak in harmony with your gut reaction and in unison with your heart. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s scary. And sometimes it’s almost indecipherable. Almost. And it’s that 00000.1% that just might make all the difference you know you’re searching for.