Free to Flow

Has it ever struck you that those who most fear to die are the ones who most fear to live? Life is flexible and free, and you are rigid and frozen. Life carries all things away, and you crave stability and permanence. You fear life and death because you cling. You cannot bear the thought of losing a relative or friend; you dread losing a pet theory or ideology or belief. When you cling to nothing, when you have no fear of losing anything, then you are free to flow like a mountain stream that is always fresh and sparkling and alive.” – Anthony DeMello

This week has, professionally at least, shaped up to be a week of disappointments. A high profile presentation that should have been a whole lot better than it was. A project proposal that has turned into a high level bureaucracy fight, requiring me to go speak eloquently in my project’s defense, only to let my own frustration and irritation undermine the effectiveness of my communication. An open management position that some are urging me to apply for despite the resolving clarity to me of how futile the chances are of actually getting the postition. A longer term project that I just can’t seem to wrap up the details on. Mediocrity. Sigh.

I’m in what Pema Chodron refers to as “The Big Squeeze.” The vise grip formed by the difference between my aspirations and ideas and the reality of my own performance. Seems like I am doomed to either fall short or not even try. There is no third choice.

My fear of failure is my fear of death. The clinging to ideas of what I should be, my aversion to disappointment, rejection are what keep me from being free to flow in my life.

So despite my temptations to quit and do busy work in my cube for the next ten years, I choose to fall short. I’ll apply for that management position, I’ll seek another opportunity to give that mediocre presentation and make it better, I’ll fight the quixotic bureaucratic fight, and I’ll persist on that long term project and finish behind schedule.

Today I embrace my own mediocrity. I hope that I always aspire to a little more than I can do. Rejections, failure, disappointment. Bring ‘em on.

I’d rather be faithful than good. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

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