The bravest thing I've ever done? It's happening now...

I'm in the midst of attempting a personal revolution. On a scale from 1 through 10, I'd give it about a "6."  Before I spill, though, a disclosure: the following are easily filed under 'first world problems'.  Meaning, I have fairly stable employment, health, housing, safety...and as you can surmise from the above picture, I've got plenty to eat.  Too much.  

So if you can remember back to that Psychology 101 class back in college, you might recall Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, stating that once certain basics were taken care of, we would be freed up to focus on higher level issues.  Note the fab diagram below:
Yes, part of hiking up this bitch of an incline means a bevy of things for me. Such as:

1. To Get in Shape/Get Healthy

Listen, I'm not looking to become the cougar on the block (um...ewww) or to make my new hobby running races for the cure to suburban boredom.  I just want to live a really long time, and so far, no sparkly vampires are offering me immortality (again...ewww).  I want to take less pills.  I want to play touch football on a green lawn in Cape Cod during the summer time (yes, there may be a few buckteeth Kennedy's playing along) without getting winded.  You get the idea.
2. Finish/Publish/Produce a Creative Work

I have this quiet little obsession, lodged quietly in the recesses of my brain: to finish the book I've been working on, to write a play, to complete a body of art work.

Something creative. Something mine. Something recognized.

That part's not the crazy part. The part that keeps me up is this notion that until I complete this aforementioned task, I am due to have reruns of mortal life.  In other words, my karma is directly tied to getting something creative out of myself and into the world at large.  And if I cannot do this, I will have to come back, to be reincarnated.

And that's NOT part of my current contract negotiations with the Big Almighty.  

I consider myself a Jewish-Buddhist, which my hot hubby is convinced I say just so I can sound 'cool' - ugh, he's so wrong, but whatever.  And I do believe in reincarnation....and for a while I had put on lay-a-way my order to be tall, naturally blonde and thin and French, with money, in my next life.

But I've returned that catalog item.  

Now, I want this to be my last life...and afterwards, when I'm on the other side giving wrong lotto numbers and dirty jokes to the Long Island Medium, I envision myself in perma-guardian-angel status.  Because as much as I love life - my life - I'm tired on a deep spiritual level.  And I can't live through Algebra and 80s fashion again.

So that's another thing on my to-do list.
3. Reverse the Dysfunctional Family Feuding Legacy

Hot hubby and I have a lot in common.  We are both only children.  We both grew up by the beach.  We're both Jewish.

And we both come from some of the most dysfunctional, selfish, narcissistic people ever created. If one of them is reading this, I mean the other parent/relative, etc...

Most of our parents have been married 3 times.  Yep. You read that right.  Hot hubby practically raised himself and I had the love and support of a great mom who helped me dodge my dad's cutting curses and thrown objects in my direction.  It was a bucket-full-of-fun.  

And to answer your next question, most of them are lukewarm in the grandparent department as well.  

I could spend a lot of wasted energy being pissed off and resentful.  But remember how I said in an earlier blog how I've had a lot of therapy? Well, one of my revelations has been to understand that people give what they can give.  And I can get my knickers in a twist of self-righteousness or I can not feed future cancer cells and get on with it.

As the Buddha said (in his 'Fuck moderation, I'm going for the full Buddha belly' phase) - "Holding onto anger is like swallowing poison and expecting someone else to die."

One of the ways I channel my energy into something more positive is to envision that my nuclear family is less, well, nuclear reactive than from what we originated.  Typical of many other Generation Xers, I see part of the function of our union is to reverse the wreckage of previous generations.  I want our children, grandchildren, and beyond to view marriage and family as a safe harbor - not something to spur on PTSD rivaling symptoms.  So while I don't get too anal about it, I admit I spend a decent amount of grey matter ensuring that our family life is as cohesive and functional as possible...and I try to add some whimsy while I'm at it.

See? All good goals. And I'm exhausted.

I have the suspicion that, deep down, there's a lesion festering underneath these seemingly healthy and lofty aspirations.  That, in spite of my decent self-image, humor, and hard work, I'm spite my best efforts...I'm not enough.  I am afraid that it's never enough.  Nothing is ever clean enough or Pinterest pretty enough or thin enough or accomplished enough. There's always more to do, more to create, more to be.

I want to be enough. I'd like to just be.  But I don't know how to do that.  And the irony is that when I see others who seem to walk around in their lil Zen state of existence, I am either envious or thinking they're 'wasting' their 'potential'. 

Is potential just another way of saying we're not enough - right now?  Do the people in our lives love us as we are in this moment or are they waiting to see us fully-grown?  If I never accomplished another goal, if my ass stayed the size of a Buick, would I be able to accept it? Would others? Would God?  

Ok, ok...the red wine's kicked in. I'm getting maudlin -even by my standards. Let me know how you see things. Right now, I'm seeing Maslow as the ultimate pyramid scheme.



09/27/2013 8:11am

Love your post, first of all. I had to sit a minute and let it marinate before I could come up with the perfect way to respond. While I was doing that, a metaphor happened. I'm going to use a tree.

I think the idea of "full potential" is misleading because this implies an end point. I've decided I don't like it. I don't think anyone has parameters for which they either meet or don't meet "full" potential. You don't look at a tree and think, gee, I hope it gets to its full potential. You look at a tree and hope it thrives.

Everyone starts out as a sapling. (go with me on this). Shit happens in the beginning that could potentially stunt your growth. As a young adult tree, you either use those negative things to block future growth, or you use them to fuel growth. (you have obviously chosen the latter route)

Are you better/more valuable/more acceptable/ed as a bigger tree? No. But you have more branches. Longer branches. So you reach more people. Your potential to affect others grows. Your shadow (imprint) on Earth is bigger.

But even if you stop growing now, look how far you've come! You're still a spectacular tree. You still matter. You impact. You affect. You cast a shadow. Your branches still reach.... you reached me today.

Thanks for a great post. :)

09/27/2013 7:01pm

I love that you are in the midst of you own brave thing as I write this and sounds like you are doing a great job so far. Keep up the good work and thank you for linking up with us at FTSF this week and hope you will join us again now, too!!

09/27/2013 7:17pm

I had to read this three times. I loved it and I was frightened by it. By the picture, first, because I have been both models. Am both. By the 3x marriages of parents. By 3x marriage of my husband and 2x by me. By not being enough, but also knowing that I'm enough. Trusting myself, that I am. Enough. I can't even express how much I love this. I love it much. Hard. And a lot. Also? Ours are all lukewarm in the grandparent department as well. And one of the things that breaks my heart the most is that I don't know if they would be anyway, or if it's because my son is not "perfect." (he's on the autism spectrum)
I'm glad you wrote this. I'm glad I read it.

09/28/2013 10:27am

Beth, Kristi, and Janine - thank you for your most kind and encouraging comments. I esp liked the tree analogy ;-)

09/30/2013 6:00pm

I always feel like everything I do needs to have a purpose. One that I define. It burned me out of many things because I eventually felt like my intended purpose was essentially dumb. With blogging, I'm trying a new approach. I would love to support other bloggers but I'm trying to "just be cool, man" about where it leads. It's a hard balance. I just checked your archives and you're only 2 months deep into this are doing spectacular! I think this may be your last reincarnation. :)


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