What I have learned at Southwestern College is that each quarter brings with it new experiences. Sometimes they are wrapped in neat little packages with cute little bows, and sometimes whatever I receive I’d like to send back and pretend it was addressed to someone else. That being said, sometimes the most painful experiences lead us to the exact place we are supposed to be. Yesterday I received a grade I wasn’t expecting. I’d had this huge aha moment reading Ken Wilber’s Up from Eden but apparently hadn’t done a very good job of conveying just what that was. When I saw it I then realized that the next paper I was turning in that day was more than likely also written incorrectly. I tried talking myself into sucking it up, and letting it be. But I spoke to my professor, and she allowed me to rewrite it and resubmit it. In my second paper I was reflecting back on reading The Chalice and the Blade which focused quite a bit on power. It was only after having my meltdown that I realized that I derive most of my power and self-worth from my achievements.
In a nutshell, because I hadn’t received the grade that I wanted or expected, I was ready to let my whole “aha!” moment slip away, like it hadn’t been as powerful as it really was. I was allowing my truth to lose its value based on someone else’s requirements. If my paper wasn’t as great as I thought than I wasn’t as great as I thought either. And the scary part is that this is how I’ve functioned for most of my life. No wonder my life is unnecessarily scary and unpredictable. It’s only as good as whatever I do next and how well I do it and whether or not someone else approves of it. In reading Tolle’s A New Earth and The Power of Now I was easily able to connect the dots that I am not my house, my car, my job, my checking account. To this list I now have to add that I am not my achievements, and I am not having an easy time of it. It’s not like I’m sitting here ruminating about my past and “oh, if only I’d figured this out long ago.” But tearing down the walls of this reality I’ve constructed is going to take some time, and part of me thinks that if something is being torn down that I should be preparing for what is to be built next. But maybe there is no future building required. Maybe whatever remains is exactly what I need.
Sometimes I question whether or not any of what we are studying has anything to do with counseling, and it quickly becomes evident that the more we know ourselves and our avenues for change, the more prepared we will be to go out into the world and help others create the change they’d like to see in their lives. And when we are in the thick of it, even our failures can become the seeds of possibility.