"God, I'm doing that thing again!" I exclaimed to my coach on a recent call. "Why do I do that thing?! And why can't it just go away? I don't get it. I see it, I know it, but yet, here it is again." We were talking about a pattern that I could see, that I know well, and that I couldn't quite leave. This strangely familiar and annoying pattern of thought and behavior had me wanting to crawl out of my own skin. "Maybe you don't need to know the why," my coach said to me. I knew she was right, but the egoistic analyzer of myself wanted to know the why.
Admittedly I get extremely impatient with myself at times when I have found an unhelpful pattern of thoughts and behaviors. I want them to be dropped immediately. And when they aren't, when I find myself stepping in the same pothole on a different road in my life I want to stand on the side of the road and give myself a scolding.
As you've probably learned by now about me, my mind loves problem solving. Finding solutions. Getting to the root of the issue. Unearthing them and planting new seeds. Most of the time this works. Many times I can find the roots of my patterns. I can see how they were planted, how I nurtured them, and how they continue to grow with my investment of energy into them. But as I dig deeper and deeper into my being I have found some patterns that have no "why."
The patterns with no "why's" are frustrating. Mysterious. Elusive. They make me feel unhindged because I can't quite get my fingers around them. Like a flirty butterfly that flies each time I think I've just gotten within arms distance reach. Often my mind tells me that I just haven't analyzed and problem solved enough. But I know better that is just not true. Sometimes there is no why. Sometimes why is not the point.
When I fixate on why, something interesting happens. I trip on the same pattern more than before. It somehow gains energy and the deeper and deeper I look for why, the more it takes me over.
There are some things in life that we just don't have the "why" for. And lately I've been thinking that perhaps that's the whole point. Our ego minds love to know the "why." Because the "why's" feel safe. The "why's" allow us to feel like we've got everything under control. And that with mindful attention and knowing the why, we'll avoid tripping in life. But I'm finding more and more that as much as the "why's" can be helpful, they can also be the biggest obstacle to freeing ourselves.
There are many things outside of myself that I have no "why" for in life. And I'm completely content with that. But when it comes to me, the idea of not knowing "why" in some ways feels quite terrifying. When I sit with it, not knowing the why feels like the Universe reminding me that I'm not in the navigation seat and just along for a ride. I may make suggestions along the way for places I'd like to visit, exits I'd like to leave for, and sites I'd like to stop and admire. But ultimately, I'm not truly deciding the final course.
When I allow myself to not need to know the "why" I feel immense pressure relieved. Immense pressure to figure everything out about myself. The reality is that the more I learn about myself the more I realize there is so much I don't know, but most of all, there is so much perhaps I'll never know.
Perhaps it is in the not knowing about ourselves that we start to truly meet ourselves. We stop treating ourselves as a solid entity that is so easily figured out. We stop attempting to predict and start showing up. We stop criticizing ourselves and start embracing ourselves. We see the beauty in the mystery rather than a problem. And perhaps we touch compassion for the first time with ourselves.
This week's Joy Tip Wednesday is about dropping the why's. About embracing the mystery of our souls...of life. And about learning to relieve the pressure so many of us put on ourselves to have everything about ourselves figured out.