No, I’m not talking about my weight or the size of my belly. I’m looking at what’s “extra” in my life, what I can quite happily do without. I’m finally getting that the extras don’t bring abiding happiness.
I’m 70. Maybe I have 20 years left on this planet. What do I want them to be about? The answer comes clearly – I want to make a huge contribution to the consciousness of the world … without ego, without “look at me”. If I’m stuck in my “stuff”, putting lots of energy into fixing my problems, that energy is not available to flow outwards as love.
So, what do I need to let go of?
1. The question “How am I doing?” It’s been walking beside me for decades. This morning, I wanted to shower, stretch into yoga poses and do my physio exercises before driving a friend to breakfast at the Belmont Diner. I know approximately how long each of these activities takes. After showering and shaving, I could feel the pull of the alarm clock. But I didn’t look. I’ve lost the essence of so many minutes by not flowing with the present moment. Not today, thank you. I’ve used the question to analyze my weight, my spiritual development, my “progress” through the day. Enough.
2. External standards of appropriate behaviour. “I should write a blog post every day.” My goodness, who made that one up? Sometimes I’ve gone to bed without writing anything, with the plan to create a post the next morning, and then a second one in the evening to “catch up”. Catch up to what, may I ask? And in association with that, I’ve declared that I need to keep frequent track of how many views my writings have scored on WordPress. How many likes on Facebook. Well, that’s just dumb, although I would have answered differently a few days ago. What a colossal waste of energy.
3. I love sports but I need to figure out why. I say that I love the Toronto Maple Leafs but is that just an echo from the 1960’s when the Leafs won four Stanley Cups and I went to all the parades? Does the belonging I feel as a Leafs fan hold a candle to the belonging possible when a group of people are actively spreading love across the planet? No. Why am I reading endless articles analyzing the successes and failures of players and teams? Seems stupid.
What’s true is that I love the transcendent moments in sport, when one player does something amazing. Those great plays remind me of how “above and beyond” each of us can be in our daily lives. If that’s what drives me, I can watch the half-hour highlight shows on TV, where athlete after athlete breaks beyond the norm.
4. Being afraid of strong female leaders. It’s all part of the historical Bruce: “I’m less than. I’m not good enough.” Powerful people surround themselves with powerful people. I want to be a powerful person so bring on all the “out there” movers and shakers I can find.
5. Beer. It just makes me tired and woozy. I then don’t have the clarity to “be with” the other person in a deep way. I feel good for awhile but the beauty fades so easily. I’m looking for something far more durable in life.
6. Small talk. Critical talk. Participating in them just makes me shrink. Maybe I’ll say a thing or two about politics or local issues but a drawn-out discussion verging on argument just takes me away from what’s important. If the group is hot and heavy into the topic, I can stay quiet and love them silently from a short distance. It can be a one-way flow, not always a mutual sharing of spirit (but I love it when that happens).
7. Too much energy in … not enough energy out. Being happy is not about accumulating experiences, such as Oscar-winning movies, gourmet meals and lush landscapes. They’re fine. And so are cool things that people say to me. But the real joy is in what I put out there to the world. Am I big enough often enough to spread love, peace and freedom far and wide? I think so.
Getting down to the essential Bruce
Shaving down the hard edges
Finding that well full of sweet water … and sharing it