Unrooted

If you are like me, you have spent most of your life seeking security and safety. I studied in school to get good grades, to gain recognition from my teachers and the security that I could go to college. I studied in college to ensure some learning so I could get a good job. I got a job to pay my bills so i could eat and sleep and have a level of recognition and success in order to get the next job that would bring a little more money…and so on. As i reflected on my path in life I realized that most everything I did was a means to the next thing – all of those achievements were meant to make me feel safe and secure, either emotionally or physically. A+B=C except that then I wanted D and so the journey continued and continued, Z wasn’t ever the real goal – because once I was in the habit of seeking and achieving I didn’t know where to stop.

And so here I am, having spent 36 years under the illusion that I was escaping the uncertainty of my childhood for a certainty of adulthood, but as the saying goes, an object in motion tends to stay in motion. I ended up with the good fortune of having an excellent career, working for two very successful companies only to find myself still looking for that sense of security, that validation that everything was going to be ok. By working long enough hours and hard enough i assumed my boss, my company, someone on the outside of me would make me feel safe and secure. Fear crept in, and even though I had a beautiful house, a healthy family and enough money to pay my bills and enjoy life, I felt unsafe. I was in fear. In fear of not getting recognition, of not doing a perfect enough job – I felt shackled and indebted to the company I worked for. I had created the illusion in my mind that my job was the only way for me to create a foundation, to be sure things would be ok – so I lived in fear. And then one day, I realized that it was me, I was the problem.

Only I could make myself feel safe. The critical realization was that the feeling will never be static, that to feel safe i had to accept feeling afraid, feeling groundless, that one is not the absence of the other. I teach it everyday, but I never fully realized it for myself.

The buddha taught that when we can understand that there is no final answer, no stopping place, no sense of certainty, that when we let go of our sparring emotions and accept the ambiguity and uncertainty of life, we have attained fearlessness. Letting things come and go just as they are – good or bad.

So, I have let go of the illusion that my corporate job brings me security and I have stepped into the groundlessness of beginning my own company, one day at a time. I have entitled myself to the idea that doing what I love with the intent to empower others I will be ok. I now get to spend 80% of my time using my strengths versus about 20%. And just maybe my leap will help others uncover their own source of happiness and freedom. If nothing else, I can look my son in the eye one day and encourage him to go for it, to follow his dreams and I can say I did it and the world didn’t end. I will take it one day at a time. After all, I can always get another job – but I may not have the courage to take the leap again…

What is your leap?

β€œThe everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions, and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes into oneself.”
β€”DILGO KHYENTSE RINPOCHE (taken from an excerpt from Pema Chodron’s -The Places that Scare You)

Check me out – http://www.spark-shift.com

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