One of the problems of not having a safety net is that it's hard to tolerate uncertainty. I see this all over my life:
- I want to be perfect at my job. Now.
- i want my relationship to distract me and console me. Now.
- I want my child to show signs of well-being and social and emotional excellence. (Now.)
This is not how things work.
But when the choices look like Bluebeard's house: the castle on the hill, rooms and rooms of stuff! (Just keep quiet about the weird hair and the missing ex-wives.) or...who the fuck knows what?
You start to think the beard is okay. You start to think it's the only way.
I skipped the state of the union tonight. Not because I'm with John Lewis, although I am with John Lewis. But because I was on a conference call planning a storytelling retreat for people who want to sing and connect with nature and confront the grief and joy and uncertainty of what it looks like to write a different story, where we are not faced with just that house.
What I'm trying to say is that this morning I met with a client. it was our third meeting and we were meandering. I was brought in as a coach to help with a number of issues and we kept hopping from one thing to the next and I had a moment where I was like "Where are we going with this? Maybe I am not the right person to help here..." I mean, I know that can happen. Not every coach is a match. But that wasn't what was happening. What was happening was I was having a little tiny freak out because the wandering in the dark woods that precedes discovery always seems to take too long and then you're like "What the fuck. I must be doing this wrong. I am going to end up a bad lady with cats on string leashes. But at least I will be a badass bag lady. My cats will have glitter collars and ride on my shoulders and..."(See, even in my paranoid nightmares, I am kicking ass. That was not true five years ago. This is progress.)
The point is that the meandering has to happen. The uncertainty precedes discovery. We have to tolerate it: the self-doubt, the wondering if we are going to get discovered or revealed or exposed..
Because, and I really believe this, if we stick with it, and stay open to our hearts, we get these moments where the uncertainty changes and crystallizes. It happens so much later than I would like it to happen almost every time. But it happens.
Like today, when 15 minutes before the end of our session, we saw the central piece. The thing I can help her work on that will ripple out through so much of her life.
She looked at me. "I didn't think we were going to make such big leap today," she said.
I didn't tell her about the bad lady freak out. I did say that the meandering has to happen and then we get here, because although knowing about the uncertainty doesn't seem to change it, naming it helps me remember the next time that i have more choices than living in Bluebeard's house and being a bag lady.