When good things happen to you, do you feel lucky? Or that you’re reaping the rewards of your own hard work (mixed with whatever innate talents or strengths you posses, of course)?
I’ve been thinking about this question recently, since a few good breaks have come my way. Nothing major, just a few nice payoffs to some groundwork I’ve been laying over the last couple of years.
There’s a mental tic about good fortune I have that I’m sure others share…It feels too precarious, too precious, too fate-tempting, too big and scary to look at something and say, yeah. I deserve that.
We might pooh-pooh an accomplishment to friends; explain away meaningful project to acquaintances: “oh, that’s just a silly thing I’m doing.” Of course life is the unfairest gig around. It’s not exactly a meritocracy, but it’s not entirely a crapshoot, either.
Some things are just divine luck. Two perfect, beautiful, healthy children came to/through me. I did nothing. I just received them.
Sometimes I feel a bit guilty when I hear others complain about their marriages, or that their husbands don’t help them with their kids, that they’re not partners. Sure, my marriage isn’t perfect but I’m extremely happy and feel that we are a life team. Was I lucky to have met and married him, or was I smart to dump the jerks and pick a good one?
When a professional opportunity comes my way, I want to feel comfortable feeling that I deserved it. That I’ve earned it. That, yes, I have valuable talents, skills, and knowledge and that I’ve proven myself. I have worked hard.
There’s this quote that’s always floating around from Marianne Williamson. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but it’s certainly provocative:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I went to something called Yoga Trance Dance on Friday night. I was tired, I just wanted to show up, get the material for my story and go home and sleep (for my four hours of blessed uninterrupted sleep.) I knew that the secret hippie part of me might sorta, kinda, love everything about it, though, and I was right.
We danced. A bunch of strangers, hopping around barefoot, swaying to drums. The teacher called out silly things like “Dance because you can!”
“Dance for the world, dance for a cause you believe in.”
And then it wasn’t really silly after all. If you aren’t scared to let others see you dance, achieve, succeed, say what you want, do what you want, you’re just stuck there in a corner. Watching the rest of the world dance because you’re too scared, not that you might look stupid, but that you might look like you believe in the dancing.
I’m getting old, and any embarrassment or wall of irony I may have greeted the world with is just crumbling. I lose patience with people who take themselves so seriously, who are scared to say, or do, within the confines of kindness and appropriateness. I’m going to dance anytime someone lets me. I will talk as long as someone will listen.
And I’m not sorry, or lucky. Just blessed.