I had all this rage in me before, and now it's not. It's been sucked in to become another glaze of malaise.
So what's bothering me. I was up until close to 4:30 working on a house that I don't really want to have anything to do with. Then I get on the phone with Amy, a coach. In discussing the house, I tell Amy my Princess Bride story, that as Sharleen and I sat there in the architect's office, I have this feeling of having a year of my life sucked out of me, and I finally understood the ridiculous machine in that movie.
So Amy asks:
“Do you share this with Sharleen?”
“Of course not. Why would I do that?”
“Does Sharleen knows how you feel about being here?”
“So why are you here?”
“Well, when I met Sharleen twenty years ago, I didn't have any clear vision for my future. She did, and I married her knowing that. So I don't really have any right to supersede that now. It wasn't part of the plan. That, and I think it's good for the kids here.”
In other words, I completely absolve myself of all responsibility for how things are in my life. Instead, I get to be a victim of my circumstances and the choices of a younger me, like I have no say in the matter any more.
So, now a step back. At the beginning of our call, Amy asks what I want to celebrate this week. I have what to celebrate. Two weeks ago, I made a promise to have seven clients by tomorrow. I was completely tormented by this promise. I decided I was going to call my fellow Kaps (members of the Kappa Alpha Society), most of whom I know for more than 20 years, and ask them to help me out, or work with me.
Other than a ride or some hospitality, I have never asked these people for a thing in my life. I didn't want to be seen as someone who abuses his relationships. So with tomorrow's deadline looming, and not willing to look that bad, I finally set down to make some calls at about 1:30 Monday morning. And by 3:30, I had had some pretty awesome conversations. I mostly asked for help rather than if they wanted to work with me. That was a big step for me. I also got to know these people a lot better. That was just amazing.
And then the next day I was in the fifth session of the Integrity Seminar at Landmark, and we were working on Perpetration Withholds, which is a fancy way of saying lying and then lying about why you are lying. It's like when someone says “No problem, I got it handled,” without any intention of ever taking care of it, and instead of fessing up, doubling down with a hundred excuses why the thing not getting done is due to circumstances outside of his control. In other words making a big mess where he could have just said, “Not interested. Why don't you ask someone else?”
So inside of this exercise, I took on my business, or rather lack of drive to generate it, and I noticed I have a conversation that I have to do it alone, and that I am alone in this world. And I started to get the impact. In my case, I tell people I got it when I really have no clue, and instead of telling them I really need help and don't know how to ask, I spin my wheels, run away, hide under a rock, do things I know how to do, but don't really further my cause, and so on.
So back to this stupid house. I don't even know what to say. So I tell Amy that Sharleen is right, I will never happy with it. I just want to Sharleen to do her own damn thing and leave me out of it. But she won't do that either. She wants it to be our project, she wants me to enjoy it and have some attachment to our home. Mostly I want to get her house built, so I can move on. And mostly, none of this gets said. Amy suggests I am doing my go it alone thing here, and suggests that I actually (gasp!) talk to Sharleen.
So I do. Sharleen and I both move forward suffering in our own way. It's enough, and Sharleen and I finally talk (and I recognise another promise to my wife broken). And we don't say anything we don't already know. And inside a raft of emotion and tears, we get clear that we're not designing the house she wants - she keeps compromising to try to make me happy, and she's scared that when it's done, I'm just going to leave - and I'm not doing anything useful at all.
So I notice I have this saying, “If you can't be happy, at least be useful.” And I notice I'm living into this more than I should. I take care of the cars, and the taxes, and the stuff that needs to be fixed, and some cooking and laundry and dishes. And I do enjoy and play with my kids, but somehow it's never good and never enough.
And I notice that maybe I am setting up a false dichotomy. Maybe I can be happy by being useful. And maybe if I'm not happy, nothing I do is of any use at all.
And then I am on a coaching call this morning (the tomorrow of earlier in this post) - this one is group format on the business of coaching - and we share what we have to celebrate, and I mention that I am actually starting to bring the possibility of vulnerability and intimacy to my life, and after an hour about asking clients for more money, we start to wrap up the call, and our moderator and coach of coaches, David Wood, suggests that I have only scratched the surface of vulnerability, and invites me to stand inside of “I don't know” this week. And I just start to laugh.
With Sharleen, and with myself, I have been using “I don't know” as an excuse for not being in action, and it had a lot of meaning. But I have never taken on “I don't know” as a powerful place to stand, as a place to be open to what the universe and my inner compass has in mind for me.
So that's where I am. It's been a roller coaster of a week, and it's nice finally to “not know,” being with what is, and isn't, and trusting that path will reveal itself, rather than being stuck in the “I don't know” that sucks the life out of myself and everyone around me.