I went to a party last night and as I was looking around the room, noticing all sorts of things about the people there, that ever present humanness crept up and I found myself comparing my life to what seemed to me to be their lives. I say seemed to be because I didn’t know many of them and had no idea what was actual about them, only what I could make up by first impressions.
First of all, I think I was the only single person in the sea of sixty or so in attendance. Not that unusual, since I go all sorts of places on my own, but it was particularly striking to me because this is Valentine’s Day weekend and at times like this (holidays especially) I feel more acutely aware of my relationship status. So I thought about who I would be if I had stayed married some twenty years ago, and reassured myself that I wouldn’t be who I am today if that were the case.
That set off a sort of internal contemplation that continued through this morning, and I woke up thinking about how easy it is to get caught up in comparison games, wishing games, yearning for some state of being that doesn’t seem present in our lives. I called my friend Lida and admitted to her that I felt like a fraud–I have taught people for years about that subject. I truly know that there is nothing missing in life, we just haven’t taken the time to find the form it exists in–and we are blind to that form because the story of lack seems more true at that moment.
And it occurred to me that playing the comparison game is one way we get in our own way–we block the energy flow of being present and put so much emphasis on what we think we don’t have, that it sort of dams up the free flowing movement which carries within it the possibility of expressing the form we would love to experience. Not having it in a specific form doesn’t mean we don’t have it (that quality of life we yearn for)–but if we can’t see it, we don’t have the opportunity to appreciate it.
An example might help…..
If I feel I lack wealth in my life, it may be showing up in my bank account–the “proof” that I am lacking. But if I start looking around, I can find other forms of wealth–family and friends, opportunities for growth, the ability to do what I love to do, my ability to think and understand. Those are some ways I can actually feel wealth. And by recognizing those ways, it takes apart the dam and opens the flow to creating money in my bank account.
As someone who has grappled with a financial challenge over the last year, I see how I have been given the opportunity to keep looking for how I am in my own way, with fear, self-doubt, comparing myself to others, finding myself listing all my frailties and shortcomings and forgetting the valuable things about myself and my life, just as it is. If I keep that up, I’ll shrink my bank account even further!
When I start appreciating all the small pleasures in my life, I start expanding my sense of wealth. Today I had lunch with my grandson to celebrate his first birthday. And I realized that he is my eternal Valentine–born on Valentine’s Day to remind me that love takes many forms, and one of them is the unconditional love I feel for my sweet Ethan. Just looking at him gives me a sense of wealth beyond measure.
My father used to say, “our children are our investments and our grandchildren are the dividends.” How true! When Ethan smiles at me, he doesn’t know I’m single, he doesn’t care how much money I have in the bank, he isn’t even interested in my appearance. He feels my presence and responds to it. He feels my energy, the love I have for him, and he thrives in it. Are there greater riches than that?
The fact that I know this, that I can stem the tide of self-doubt and self-deprecation means I have some tools to use to stay on my path–carving out my life and continuing to grow in awareness and gratitude. The Life Entrepreneur in me won’t settle for anything less.