Photo: Reuters/Lisi Niesner
Have you ever been wrestling with demons in the darkness only to discover, when the light comes on, that the demons are not who you thought they were?
Since I fired Ambition, I have been in a funk. No passion, no pressure, no juicyness. Anxiety became my new companion along with Discontent and the more I did nothing, the more I wanted to do nothing. Art seemed frivolous. The word pond was dry. My days felt meaningless.
I was looking for a way to get busy again when what I really needed to examine was what happens when I’m NOT busy. Because in that dark place live a host of demons. And a few miracles. Stillness can bring contentment, but only when I have acknowledged, accepted and had conversations with the void.
How many times have you asked someone what they are up to and gotten the reply “I’m really busy”? Of course they are! We live in a world of delicious distractions. Not that doing things is bad but that overdoing can become avoidance.
It did for me.
So much so that when I slowed down I was miserable. I had lost touch with my inner landscape and I didn’t know the way through the darkness. Ambition fueled the busyness, but wasn’t the demon. In fact, Ambition kept me from them. The real demons were grief, fear, lack of confidence, shame…the list goes on. Adrenaline, mental chaos and weekly money dramas were all covering the real orphans who only wanted to be heard. But I wasn’t listening. I was busy being busy.
Stopping, though not a pleasant experience, turned the light on.
Now the hunt for a new boss looks like a team would be a good idea. Maybe Ambititon along with Compassion, Patience and Mediation. I expect I’ll continue to have bouts of busyness. Work needs to get done and bills need to get paid. But the new team will be responsible for building good boundaries around doing…for having daily check-ins to see which orphans need attention…for keeping the light on to see clearly.
Bravo Stella! I sleep with a large Tanto (Japanese Knife) under my pillow in case I need to fight off demons and dragons in my dreams. This knife, too sharp to remove from its scabbard, provides an empowering symbol of defense. Upon awakening I sometimes find the knife (still in its scabbard) resting on my chest… possibly to meet the demons of the day!
On better nights (and days) I try to meet the demons directly, with the vulnerability to embrace them, and then to move on… one less fear to hinder the path…
One of the goals of Buddhist meditation is to see the demons as ‘guardians of the ‘threshold. In the meditation one meets the demons, works through the fear with detachment… then one crosses the ‘threshold and move into dialog with ‘the void… the ultimate goal to befriend?… no longer to fear? no longer to be defended?… to embrace ‘the void, and to live from that space of expanded awareness…
Once again, Bravo! The journey beyond fear takes one across so many thresholds, and past so many demons…
Thanks for your reply Raven-man. I hope that scabbard is sturdy!! I really like that “guardians of the threshold” concept. Reminds me of David White’s encounter with the guardian of Braga.
I fired drama in 1983 when 6 months into a second marriage I was missing the excitement of daily fights and uncertainty that was the fodder of my previous marriage. My guardian angel slapped me upside the head and in a few weeks of angst we finally won the day. My marriage is still strong and wonderful. Celebrating 32 years without drama…
Thanks for sharing Jo. I love to hear success stories!
Keep on meditating and writing. I like your work. Photos are lovely—art.
Thanks Erica! Hoping to get back in the writing groove soon.