Last evening I had a most interesting conversation with my neighbour's nephew. He is facing a chronic progressive illness. Like most of us should this happen, we search for the 'right' answer to fix this. There is the thinking that I was doing something wrong, now I just need to do something right. 'I brought this on so I should be able to make better.'
I've been here. Become more spiritual, eat better or change your diet completely, give up bad habits, exercise more, banish negative thoughts. There are a myriad of teachers, programs, books that are prepared to give you the right answer. Oh if it were only that simple. This man is discovering this. He's taken on several practices, jettisoned much crap or is working to morph it. While his head space is better, his disease isn't. Yet. As we talked he spoke about his difficult relationship with his mother, his life of fears, of wanting to be famous and successful and not measuring up. This is the crackerjack stuff. The deeper work of a lifetime. Acknowledging it cognitively is a start but it doesn't 'cure' what ails you. It's a process. A delightful (if we let it) process of coming to love ourselves and how we ended up in this place. That is so counter to finding the fix!
When I asked if he loved himself, his energy became very quiet. Eyes looking inward, tremor increasing. "I'm working on that." Yes he is. And that is the deep, deep layer of this journey. Truly knowing you are enough. Accepting your past without recriminations. Letting go. Forgiving those who have wronged us. Forgiving ourselves. And to laugh - certainly at ourselves.
A we spoke, I realized I had been traveling this road a good while longer than D. My journey has entailed been many side roads and wrong off ramps. But always I found my way back to the road home, .... until the next detour! Ha! This too is part and parcel of the journey. In the end I could only offer 'Stay the course. Look at where it's taking you. If you don't like it change. If you do, carry on!' There is no right answer. Only the best answer for you.