I watched an interview today and wanted to share my thoughts on the notion that we all have a dream and that it’s good to have a dream, and well, just plain bad if we don’t have one. But not only that, our dreams are only valid if they serve a greater (higher) good.
The interview focused on a particular woman’s difficult journey in her life from poverty in Africa and then her making it to the United States and onto having all of her dreams fulfilled. Now don’t get me wrong this beautiful woman had me at ‘I had four children an abusive husband and was poor.’ My heart was all the way in and I was moved to tears about her brave and beautiful story.
So it surprised me when I heard the interviewer and the interviewee agree on the concept that having your dream is so much more important if it serves the greater good. Your dream is only valid if it brings good back to the community and this is the real stuff of humanity.
Now I know I’m stepping on sacred territory here and the holy ground of Purpose, Goals and The Meaning of Life. Just what is wrong with having a dream and a purpose and having it be for the greater good? Serving the community is good right? Yes of course, having a dream and the greater good etc, but if I may be so bold as to ask the question does my dream have to serve the higher good and have a grand purpose in order for me to have it?
I’m sharing this because I teach or know a number of beautiful and talented women who struggle so much with the Purpose Dilemma. These days there are countless workshops, seminars, online webinars, multi-level this and that for us to buy into to finally figure out our purpose in life and then I-Can-Relax finally. We are told that we are here for a purpose and it’s our job to find this out. Oh my that’s a slippery slope if there ever was one.
This Purpose Search is a beautiful search for so many people these days and I write this to inquire into my own search to purify the Purpose/Dream/Work that I do from any infection of Sacrifice and Guilt that might be lingering around.
Women were liberated from the kitchen only to be thrown into the work world and quickly learned how to sacrifice themselves there as well. I think the notion of ‘it must serve the greater good’ cripples people and stops them dead in their ‘I have a dream’ tracks because dreams and goals really are the beautiful stuff of life and they need to be purified and cleaned of the guilt, shame and sacrifice that has been put on women. Yup, I said that.
I think this sacrificial mentality is the food and the super-glue of the ego that keeps people (okay mostly women if I’m being honest) in the jailhouse of ‘purpose’ forever and this jailhouse is a House of Guilt. Guilt that I’m not enough, I need to do more and I have to make up for something I’ve done wrong. This jailhouse has so many women inside who are peering out through the bars wondering ‘how can I serve the world?‘ so that I can get rid of this guilty feeling inside me.
I recently watched a powerful talk by Gabor Mate, a medical doctor and addiction specialist, and he said that his addiction was his work because he gets so much adulation from doing his talks that it is intoxicating to him and therefore he says it is addictive. Good for him for saying it out loud for others to hear.
Listening to your own inner wisdom and what you need and want is the right thing for all concerned, and it doesn’t have to be that the right thing for all concerned is the right thing for you.
I think it’s another cover and a set up by the patriarchy to rob women’s voices again. Make it all about other people, ‘for the good of all’. I have to have a dream that is huge and for the good of everyone else first. Not only that but I must work really hard and push myself past my natural limits to get this dream.
What if I want to sit on a beach forever sipping Marguerita’s, is that for the good of all? Or do I need to have this grandiose idea of how my life is going to change the world.
What if sipping margaritas on a beach gives someone else permission to simply relax and enjoy and maybe that’s enough and maybe I just don’t need to be concerned about what other people need do or need not do. Maybe God’s on that.
A few years ago I went to a workshop seminar in Los Angeles with a ton of women, it was fantastic it was exciting and very inspiring. And then the Sacrifice Bomb went off. The leader (a very famous woman who shall remain nameless) said that we all need to take more action and put-our-money-where-our-mouth-is and contribute more to make a change. We then broke into groups to begin to plot and scheme what good we should get up to and where we should spread our hard earned energy. My group had a couple of women who were Mothers with small children who were just as eager as the rest of us. I proceeded to watch these beautiful women began suffer over the next 3 days trying to be even more than they were being as Mothers and caregivers. They felt they were not doing enough and the sacrificial guilt was oozing out of them.
It feels like another way to make myself over-responsible for the needs of others before me, which is the wound of so many people; the Over-Responsible Self. Women, be aware. Trust your own voice and know that in order for you to really have a voice you are going to think you need to do it for someone or something else. It’s an infection inside of women and mark my words our strings are being pulled. What does it mean to you to be Selfish? I see that word breaking down into SELF-IS-Holy. Put your own mask on first, that’s all.
Yes, do it just for you, no-one else, try it and see if you can. Break the taboo and infection of first of all this will benefit others and I will be rewarded justly if I sacrifice myself for others (and get out of guilt jail). If there is another ripple affect of your doing and loving of yourself then trust that God’s on that. It’s not your business.
Yes there are starving children. Yes there are millions of poor people and silenced women. Yes there are many many problems in the world. Why then do you have the right to have what you want? I shouldn’t complain when there are starving children in the world. What? Why the hell not. Complaining is the way we figure out what we want and what we don’t want. It’s the gauge for our choices. ‘ I don’t like that, I like this, no wait I don’t like that anymore I like this.’ Now answer me this right now. Are you responsible for the starving children in Africa? Can you sit on a beach in Mexico and enjoy yourself and not have to cut off an arm so it (your arm) can be in Africa while the rest of your body sits on a beach?
When we follow that little inner fire tiny step by tiny step not worrying about how this tiny step will heal the world then we might be able to move forward being fuelled by our own energy and not a punishing thought of ‘I should’. This is a movement of energy not a thought construct to whip you into doing. Now it’s very likely that this sacred energy is going to be helpful to someone else somehow, but if we start there then we are cutting ourselves out of the enjoyment part and we are triggering an Over-Responsible Self and this can be very painful. (Side-bar here it’s painful because it triggers you back to when you were a child and you felt responsible for your parents, your family, your overwhelming emotion creating guilt inside and felt alone etc, okay moving right along.)
I know a lot of women that have done a shit load of work by raising kids, having full-time jobs, keeping a house hold running and taking care of their husbands (had to slip that in). They are tired and they want to sit on a beach in Mexico and just breathe. A lot of them are dogged by the belief that they need to feed the world, save the starving children, free the people etc, because we are fed this bullshit from every direction.
It doesn’t mean that if you are one of these women and it just so happens you are freeing and helping the people and that makes you really happy that you should stop, that’s not what I’m saying (because this is my business also). I’m saying simply that having simple pleasures in life and not feel guilty for having them is a beautiful thing. Now, all of you, go and save those poor children and if you don’t fifty life-time lashes for you.