unpolished thoughts 1/16/2019
Have you ever stopped to think about how amazing your accomplishments are?
(Note: whatever you have not accomplished is irrelevant to this discussion.)
You have lived on this planet for decades, always learning. You do so many things that were once unfathomable to you.
You mastered gravity, language, and complex thinking. You possess more skills than you ever could have imagined in your youth, whether in your career, your leisure, your relationships, or your daily routine.
Every morning you get out of bed and do hundreds of things before going to sleep again that you once had no idea how to do.
Meanwhile, you have enlarged your world so far beyond its original boundaries.
Your home, your school, your hometown no longer define you. You have moved through the world and reshaped your idea of who you are based on your own discoveries. The definition of yourself that you inherited long ago no longer applies.
Even your biggest mistakes took place in the context of trying things you once couldn’t have conceived of even attempting. You have taken on so many responsibilities that never would have been entrusted to you in the past.
Yes, it’s true that in order to make all of these statements universal, each one of us would have to time travel backwards a different distance. Some of us took on new things much earlier than others.
But this isn’t so useful to dwell on. Comparison to others is also irrelevant here.
What’s important is the celebration of the successes you so rarely celebrate.
How much have you accomplished so far that you regularly dismiss, saying “yeah sure I did that, but…”
It’s only because we compare ourselves to others that we have any sense at all of the speed of our time travel.
Of course this is important on some level. If you won the 4thgrade spelling bee, you certainly were traveling faster than your classmates down that one particular avenue of life at that particular moment.
But what if you didn’t compare your spelling to someone else’s? What if, instead, you compared your knowledge of the written word to the experience you once had – when street signs and storefronts appeared as nothing more than mysterious hieroglyphs?
Do you see now what you have accomplished?
Again and again, you have taken what once made no sense to you at all and made sense of it. You have transformed the foreign into the familiar. You have performed so many actions that once seemed magical or impossible.
If you run for a mile through the wilderness without a stopwatch or a competitor, why would you tell yourself any story at the end besides, “I did it!”?
Perhaps you object to this line of thinking because your story moves backwards: what you once accomplished, you no longer can do. This might be the case for any reason, ordinary or extraordinary. Eventually, the reality of aging means this will always be true in some part of ourselves.
Does this makes it harder for you to celebrate what you have done?
What if you could travel back to the time when that part of you was in its full power, and feel that place inside of you awaken again?
It might not be active right now, but that part of you hasn’t disappeared.
To be alive, to be whole, you don’t need to possess every superpower, but it could be nourishing to know you have access to the sensation of each power you’ve known.
I once had an experience as a child that left me feeling powerless. That feeling still lives in my right arm.
But this morning, rather than feeling this wound as I usually do, I felt something different.
I traveled further back and felt this right arm when it was my prize possession. I was a star pitcher on my little league baseball team, known for an incredible fastball. Striking out another kid who was afraid of the sheer speed that I threw that ball used to make me feel like superman.
My right arm – and all of me – does know how to feel that way. I touched that experience again this morning, time traveling in meditation.
I tasted it again.
Whether it was your first steps on two feet, your first successful bike ride, your first kiss, or any number of other triumphs – at any stage – you have likely experienced yourself as powerful, adventurous, and in command of your world at many moments in your life.
Those moments are still inside you, even if they are quieter than your loud-mouthed trauma.
For this statement to be universal, some will have to search deeper than others, but again, that’s irrelevant.
What’s relevant is that you are human, alive, and moving through the world.
You are a maker of miracles.
You always have been.
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