living life on life's terms

Becoming Authentic; Doing the Inside Job

When I think about an inside job, the initial images that come to mind are of a dishonest key employee who arranges for theft of assets from the company. The bank teller assists a heist by giving away vault combinations and then shares in the clandestine loot. It is marked by betrayal of confidence. But there is another kind of inside job. It comes with a rude awakening that our character flaws, excesses, shortcomings, and barriers we have built to insulate us from pain are keeping us from experiencing the wholeness of life. We recognize that incessant efforts to shape and control external events have mostly just resulted in tire spinning. And there we are, looking like Pogo Possum who says; "We have met the enemy, and he is us".

Perhaps the inside job of employee betrayal may not be so different from the inside job which robs us of authenticity after all. For it is the false self (ego), insecure and driven for comfort that tells us to avoid anything which threatens our status quo. The genuine, real person dwelling within yearns for connectedness and mutuality but is stifled by external clamor to be important, separate, self sufficient, and superior. And so we continue to betray ourselves and steal away the treasure of love given freely by God.

Years ago, crushed by the weight of my own grief and misadventures, I leaned heavily on the wisdom of my mentor, Lyle A. He was a crusty old curmudgeon who believed strongly that the 12 Steps of AA provided the best model for healing, recovery and living life on life's terms. I was working hard to rebuild my finances, reputation, and credibility with limited success and went to Lyle for direction. He heard about enough of my whining, blaming and excuses when he told me to forget the whole thing and to go bury myself in a bottle of bourbon. He said that I had missed the whole point. Happiness, joy, fulfillment and healing were an inside job. Until I could figure out a way to do some major interior remodeling, the exterior would continue to fall apart. I was relying on my own resilience while Edging-God-Out. Lyle was right of course. It took a long time and more bruises and missteps, but eventually it did the work and I let God take control.

Yogi Berra once quipped that 'it gets late early out there'. And it does. The time for working on the inside job is now. Though I always heartily recommend the 12 Steps for Everyone, and good resources like Breathing Under Water by Richard Rohr, whatever path you take must bring you to your silent center where that wee small voice can be heard calling you The Beloved. It is the only way to wholeness and healing.

A Recipe for Living

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.” ~ John Quincy Adams (Sixth U.S. President)

Life is unpredictable. Just when things seem to be going our way the rug gets pulled out from underneath us.  Good times become hard times.  Health issues crop up. Money once plentiful gets tight.  People leave us or die. When times get tough it is important to remember that everything will change. The ingredients needed to face these situations are courage to straightforwardly deal with them as they happen and perseverance in our efforts to overcome.

The fact that change will always occur can be as comforting as it is disturbing.  Happiness, joy, celebration, friendship, and abundance are every bit as certain as their counterparts.  When we begin to understand that God is not punishing or judging us and the power of love will conquer anything...courage and perseverance are not so hard to muster.  Life happens and God is never distant.  Like the Prodigal, we can take stock of what is happening and accept the unconditional embrace which is always waiting for us.