Rooting in Goodness
My culture applauds motion.
You must be moving, making, doing.
The measure for “good” is productivity.
You don’t have to have this said to you as a child to intuit it, to infer it, to read it on the wind and digest it with your dinner. It is in the things we say. It is in the way we schedule our time. It is in our satisfaction when we check off an item on the ToDo list. Productivity is good. To be good, you must be productive. Simple.
The problem with this whole cultural idea is that it assumes NOT goodness at the outset.
Yep, I’m going there.
When we need to be productive to feel good, to be considered valuable, to be good, there is an assumption that we are not already, good.
When we really lay that out there it is clear why we would busy ourselves so intensely. Who doesn’t want to be good? I guess I shouldn’t assume this is a thing for everyone, but speaking solely for me and all of the people I grew up with, we all really wanted to be good. And in doing all of the things we individually thought we needed to do to become good, we inadvertently let it slip that we were pretty sure that we were not, in fact, without a lot of work and effort, good.
There is this assumption that we must escape our natural state, who we are without goading, without discipline, without force. We must leave that bad old her behind in order to achieve “good.”
You may be nodding along like, “Yeah, and…” It is a deep cultural norm, the idea that left to our own devices we will NOT be or do good, the idea that if given real freedom we would all be eating fried Oreos and washing them down with classic margaritas (no salt, lots of ice) and reclining on a beach eternally – just me?
Just for the sake of potentially altering your entire reality, play along with a little thought experiment with me.
Imagine that we flip the script so that you are already good.
Just sitting there reading this interminable post, you are good. You were good when you woke up. You were good when you went to sleep last night. You were good before, during, and after yelling at your kids last night because they were singing the song about poop again. You were born good, and you are allowed to believe that, to even say it out loud.
What would you do then, if you believed that you were, are, and will always be good?
What would you give up and stop doing? What would you do that you haven’t allowed for years? What new experiences would you seek out?
How would you deal with stress and strain?
It seems to me that our biggest problems/worries/concerns/tangles/messes in life are likely far better addressed with a few minutes of standing still than with hours of busy rushing trying to be good.
If I am already good, then I can stop, take a breath, look around and really see.
I can see that in spite of all of the problems of daily life, I am okay in this moment.
I can see that a great deal of the drama around my troubles is how I let them get to me.
I can really see I have choices, including the choice not to act in this moment at all.
We spend so much time fixing, repairing, preparing for the worst.
So often a solution is already in the works. So often time is a key ingredient. So often what is missing is the perspective we can take or the awareness we can bring if we just stop moving for a minute.
If we are already good, we don’t need to measure, we don’t need to worry, and we don’t need to fix. We can stand still and let things develop.
We can take the time to see and address problems and troubles in ways that nobody else would – and we can see that perhaps this is why they arise in the first place, as a an opportunity to exercise our unique genius in real time.
When we can stand still it is infinitely easier to ask what we can learn from our troubles rather than reacting out of sheer panic.
If we are already good, we can stand still.
If we are already good, we can pause.
If we are already good, we can breathe first, last, and in-between.
Friends, we ARE already good.
YOU are already good: no matter what mistakes you’ve made, no matter what has happened to you, no matter what.
You are good. You are worthy. You are enough.
There is no committee to whom you need to prove it.
There really are no gold stars waiting in a desk drawer somewhere.
You just need to begin to believe it.
And I know that’s not a small assignment.
So I’ll give you a smaller one.
Stop moving. Breathe. Tell yourself: “In this moment, I am enough.”
I think you’re far more than that, but it’s a start.
With so much love,