I have these CDs of Anne Lamott talking about writing. I’ve probably listened to them no less than a dozen times. Between all the stuff about writing are these deep challenges about how we approach life emotionally and spiritually.
I always remember this line: “I know writers who have sold books to the movies, writers who are making six figure advances, writers who are being interviewed in all the right places, writers who are winning awards and who appear to be doing well by every standard. And they are miserable. Why? Because there’s not enough out there.”
Many of us have spent so much time, too much time, chasing after something we feel will—once and for all—make us worthy. Make us happy. Give us peace. Bring us contentment. Deliver our self-esteem. Ease our illnesses.
Relationships. Vocations. Callings. Visions. Successes. Incomes. Things.
Is it possible that we are running after something we will never catch? Chasing the wind? Perhaps this explains the epic levels of exhaustion?
I’ve done a lot of chasing in my life. The chasing is circular and cruel. It invites you to keep going, keep going, keep going . . . life is just around the next corner. Recently, I’ve started attending a 12-step recovery group called Emotions Anonymous, a program for people who are struggling with any and every kind of emotional issue. In other words, people who are chasing. People like me.
This group is helping me take apart my internal world with a pickaxe. Ugghhhh. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. :) I’m starting to see that the chasing leads nowhere and only ends up creating this big mess of sideways energy that keeps us swirling and overwhelmed, a one-way ticket on the burn-out bus.
I’m telling you about it because I suspect I’m not alone.
What if we gave ourselves the permission to be simply human—no more than human and no less than human? What if we gave ourselves the permission to build health instead of empires? What if we cared more about our emotional sobriety than our success?
Wow. I wonder. Perhaps, a bunch of people being still and knowing he is God. Revolutionary.