Part Two has been brewing for a while.
As I first wrote in early December, I have been preoccupied, if not actually Occupied, by Imposter Syndrome for about 6 weeks now. I wrote part one near the beginning of the descent, and I had planned to do part two in the next post.
Instead, the limiting belief about myself got even worse.
And, it seems I just hadn’t fermented enough in the stew of suffering and self-doubt.
Fermentation is the fifth stage of Alchemical transformational work, and there’s no blustering through it, no way to speed it up. Some things just take time.
Things got really intense during the holidays back home with family in Ohio. I experienced severe anxiety at times, sadness, and even some despair.
Thank goodness there were some really sweet moments in there too. Even, and perhaps especially, in the midst of crisis, it’s good to be with family.
Our extended family is going through some stuff right now and we have all been challenged.
Then again, as best I can tell, Everybody on Earth is going through some stuff right now.
It seems like we‘re all at about Defcon 4 on the Freak Out Meter on a day to day basis, and then, Life Happens on top of it, and boom, it’s a full on nuclear reaction!
Of course, part of my own little Chernobyl is built on the pernicious shadow story that I am an Imposter and the fact that I am having a really hard time right now just seems to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt
My shadow whispers to me, “dAVE, dude, you are supposed to be such a grounded wise guy! You’re supposed to be the solid one! Everyone is depending on you. But look at you you’re a mess! Just look at you! You are a Fraud!”
What helps me in these hard times, which my beloved Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi affectionately refers to as a “cranial-rectal inversion,” is to do my practices.
I meditate, I do yoga, I walk many miles a week, I read poetry, I get enough sleep, I tell people that I love them, and I remember my mission:
I heal the world by listening with my whole body, telling the truth, and asking for help.
I am really digging my mission these days. It’s changed many times since my weekend in 2010, but this one is really working.
Listening with my whole body means using more than my ears. It means listening with my heart, with my gut, and with my skin. It means listening beyond words and sounds and ideas. It means giving my attention all the way, and for a moment, letting go of the tasks and the doings and even the time of day.
Telling the truth means pulling back the curtain on my imposter and exposing him. It means writing this post. It means when my friend asks me how I am doing I don’t just say “Great” or “OK” when that’s just not accurate. Telling the truth means saying “I am having a hard time” which then opens the door to a conversation of depth and connection, or at least the potential of that.
Asking for help means reaching out for support. It means calling my mentors and asking if we can talk today. It means admitting that I am overwhelmed and I really need someone to take on some of the load. It means taking the I out of the Imposter, and remembering that this isn’t all on me, or even about me.
When I tell myself the story of “I”, it feels like I am alone and there is no one who can help and no one who will understand, or that there is no one whom I want to burden with my struggle. I feel alone, and then the shame and embarrassment of feeling shitty just heightens the feeling.
When I tell myself the story of “I”, it feels like I can’t handle this, this world, this life, this This.
What I am learning is that the story of “I” is at the very foundation of the Imposter syndrome. Which means the healing medicine is to inhabit the story of We. We are in this together. We can handle this. We can support each other. We is the opposite of alone.
Next time, I’ll dig a little deeper into We and the way in which staffing NWTAs has helped me to learn to let go of the I in Imposter, and jump on the We team.
I admit this post feels unfinished, and I am letting that go too. It’s the best I can do for now, and that’s enough.
Blessings to you all,
King Bee, Fire-Tender