By Kat Larson
I’m a boss. I couldn’t hustle harder if I tried. I literally fly around work in a cape blazer- which by the way, I am convinced this is the best fashion invention of this century by far. At work I’m recognized by my 3.5 inch platform pumps, all black everything, and crimson red lips. I go in, work hard, and get the hell out of there. Did I mention that I love what I do? When I leave I get to come home to a husband I adore and a 6-month old son that makes me melt every time I see him. I am on top of the world and filled with gratitude every day.
What I hate is how many times I just said I in that paragraph. I am a firm believer that we make our own happiness, but happiness comes with a cost. It comes in the form of priceless life lessons that we can’t possibly buy at Nordstrom or online. We need that human piece. At least for me I know that’s true. I need friction. I need people to bump up against and test my spiritual fitness, to test my humanity and make experience what it means to live humble, not just claim or aim for it. I don’t get to just talk about it, I have to be about it if I am going to reap the benefits of the pain and challenges we all go through as human beings.
Cape blazer or not, I am no super hero. I am just like everyone else. When I buy into the delusion that I am something other than that, I am less at peace, less connected with others. I am more entitled- believing I deserve something better or that I am something better, which is not a fun or comfortable place to be when I get honest with myself. It is really easy to have the pride hurt and the spirit crushed when I am building my worth based on things that are simple illusions.
If I don’t have other people to bring me back when I am floating off to that entitled place, I would inevitably stay there. I would stay in a state of self-pity or grandiosity believing my happiness was based on getting something I want or think I need. Realistically, how often do we always get what we want in life? I don’t think anyone can answer that question with any real conviction, but surprise- things don’t always go according to plan right? So we can either stay stuck or learn to deal and move on. I choose the latter.
I probably wouldn’t be writing about this topic if I weren’t tested on it so strongly this past week. My boss approached me at work and told me I needed to step down two positions to a job I was last doing over two years ago. I think at first I was in shock and I just accepted my fate with some grace. The longer I sat with the idea the more uncomfortable I got. I really didn’t like what happened at all. But this is my job, its just what I do. Ironically the higher we climb in life, the more often we are tested and asked to do things we don’t always want to do. Knowing this didn’t make me any happier though. So I was stuck in between a rock and a hard place: I wasn’t happy, but I am also a professional women so I knew I could really go around and blow up with my co-workers about this. If I didn’t get honest with myself and others, I wouldn’t have the chance to find the gift or opportunity for growth in the process. So today I finally admitted how much it sucked to myself out loud. And the opportunity I was looking for literally plopped into my lap.
So here’s how it went down. After 8 hours of work with no break I find myself in my office, with a patient that hasn’t used drugs for 6 days, but is still being heavily medicated for withdrawal. She is telling me what she doesn’t like about me, whys he has a problem with me, and how I can be doing my job better. Wow. Again, when I am thinking I am above “all of this” and better than “all of this” comments like that are going to throw me off my game. I heard her out. She talked for a good 45 minutes about how horrible I was and how awful I made her feel. She gave me a lot of power. And I almost gave her a bunch of power over me and my peace as well. Then she asked me a question about the serenity prayer. She said “you know the last line of the serenity prayer, ‘the wisdom to know the difference’, how am I supposed to know the difference?” At that point I had the say the serenity prayer out loud, which she believed I was saying for her, but I was really saying it for me. I was accessing power in that instant so that I could find serenity, acceptance, and wisdom in that moment.
I allowed myself to be fully present for this interaction. I was not trying to change the person in front of me. When she was done talking she allowed me a few minutes to respond. I told her it wasn’t her job to know the difference. It was just her job to be willing to learn and to ask for help. I might as well have been talking to myself. I told her the truth- that I was a human being and I get my feelings hurt too. I also told her that it was my faith in a God that allowed me to look at someone, that just got done telling me how much she disliked me, with love and compassion. She cried. I smiled. We found peace in that moment and we went our separate ways.
I know peace isn’t permanent, but it’s an authentic experience that can’t be created or easily replicated. I don’t think happiness is about finding peace and living life to its fullest. My happiness comes from acknowledging the fact that I have my own missing piece somewhere in my spirit and living comfortable with that. There are times it’s a huge uncomfortable void that I don’t really want to show up for. There are days where I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and it’s a gift. I am better able to recognize that gift when I am okay with constantly adjusting for the changes that life brings- stagnant is uncomfortable. I am best able to enjoy that gift when I am sharing it and my truth with others. So what is your gift going to be today?