So, in the spirit of waking up with a song in my head, and never doing anything the way “normal” people do – this morning there were two. Yes, two, and they were competing for space in a way that I find rather telling, and amusing.
Two completely different songs, completely different messages. Both reflect the dichotomy of our culture. Perhaps the dichotomy of every age that of a certain group having/obtaining/amassing great wealth and a certain group not having/losing more. There is no definition for either group and honestly while this has some to do with money, power and success can be dropped into the sentence easily. In every age there are people who are incredibly generous and giving whether they have the “financial” or “emotional” means or not. Then there are people who hoard, hold on to time, talent and treasure with all of their being. In every age great greed and great generosity exist. And with that there are reactions to both from “hey let’s take this from them” to “isn’t this one amazing because of their generosity”. See, a dichotomy.
The thing that I woke up with though is that it’s essential thought: the things that we want are often not handed to us. We have to work for them. Work. Even if we work really hard that does not, necessarily, mean great financial or public success. It means simply that we’re doing the work we’re called to in and of this moment. And in there, in that, in the day to day doing our work, that is where the success lives.
One of my personal the observations of the quilting world is that it’s all relational. And by that I do not mean that in order to be financially successful and wildly popular that there are certain people you need to know. While that is helpful, it’s not necessary. Some people who work very hard, never achieve the financial/popular success. There are a couple of responses to this: one can be content doing the work; one can be jealous of the success of others, which has its own complications, making the doing of the work much harder than it needs to be.
One can be fearful of the work involved…
One can think that the work is limited (I only need to do this much work)
One can think that the work should get easier (mmmyeah, prolly not so much)
And in one sense fear is good, it helps us understand our boundaries and step outside of them in a good way. Fear gives us information and allows us to seek input that will help us move beyond that fear. It is why quilters take classes, to catch something of what helped this particular quilter to move beyond their fear.
And jealousy, an insidious, ugly, worse than fear emotions which has a lasting, limiting, dynamic impact our ability to work, pursue our dreams. Jealousy paralyzes. Jealousy inhibits. Jealousy brings on such comparative thinking that we are not free to pursue our path. That thing that someone else has, is that thing I want, in order to be happy and feel fulfilled and know that I am something. Jealousy is worse than fear. Jealousy is that comparative thinking, if only I had this, if only this was given to me, if only I had her talent, if only I had…
Jealousy robs. Jealousy is a self-induced prison, limiting our ability to pursue our passions. Jealousy robs us of good relationships.
So does being a doormat. Being a doormat has it’s own problems. Setting out to be always last robs us of being the full-ness of being a well-loved child of God, who has been given gifts to pursue with reckless abandon.
I’d like to say that intentionally being NOT jealous of others is easy. It’s freeing though. It allows one to focus in on our own work and just get it done. It allows us to see the struggle that others have, because we recognize theirs in our own struggle. We can walk with and along side others rather than being behind and ahead. We all have struggles on our journey to our chosen career path. We have plot twists and changes in where we’re going, particularly if we’re MOVING along the path. Being open and free by not comparing ourselves makes our journey bearable. We can rejoice with our friends. And do our own work.
Earlier this week I was momentarily jealous of a situation. And in a flash I realized I wasn’t so much jealous as annoyed with myself for not doing something. And then I realized the cost of doing said thing right now would have been higher than I could take right now. Peace once again reigned in my heart.
I’m off to pursue my quilting dreams with reckless abandon. Who’s with me?