Burying shadows

Woke up Saturday morning thinking about this passage from Dorian Gray..

“Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.”

And in a way, I feel as though I have been dying a little bit lately. So I woke up with Oscar Wilde in my head and I started to wonder, in the end, what’s worse: breaking the rules or obeying them?

You’ve probably already seen this post by Bronnie Ware (“Regrets of the Dying”) but even if you have, it’s worth another look. Obviously, Bronnie is talking about people who are literally at the end of their life. Still, I think the messages are equally relevant if you feel that a part of you is fading away.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence… many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

Rod Judkins‘ brilliant book on creativity, “Change Your Mind“,  identifies some other challenges to living a full life..

“Don’t give yourself the option of mediocrity and safety. If you have something to fall back on, chances are you will. In our life and work we often feel under pressure to do what is sensible…  to live a creative life you need to be liberated from being sensible… the pressure to be sensible is stifling and suffocating.” 

Something else that can be stifling is the idea that we need to “live true”. What does that mean? You may sense that something isn’t quite right, but how can you know what is your true life?

At one workshop with Charles Eisenstein last year we did a powerful exercise, which works something like this: You choose a subject over which you are having a struggle and describe it to your partner. Then your partner tells you two contrasting stories that explain the situation and what you need to do. Your partner then asks you what is the truth. It sounds easy, but it’s not. Your partner keeps asking over and over “what is the truth, right now?”, until the whole truth comes out. In my case the truth really came out the following day as though my subconscious mind had been working it through overnight. I woke up in tears and with an answer.