Allow me to introduce myself: I am a relentlessly practical person who lives in my 'left-brain.' As a former attorney and current Cybersecurity engineer, I have a tendency to interpret the world in terms of my logical brain — to see things objectively and interpret them according to logical meanings, eschewing 'spiritual' elements that cannot be easily or scientifically explained. Over the past 4-5 years, difficulties in my family relationships have shone a spotlight on the difficulties inherent in that approach. Additionally, from time-to-time, I have found myself longing for creative release and have sat down many times to attempt to write a novel, only to be stymied by my critical brain.
Working through a coaching process and various different 'personal growth' approaches, I have leaned more toward the spiritual — building a daily meditation practice, taking up Dahn Yoga, attending spiritual retreats and taking counsel from my more intuitive friends. Doing this, I have experienced great improvements in my interpersonal relationships and have been able to support each of my children through chaotic teenage years. All the while, I have celebrated the effect of my meditations and other actions to calm my mind, provide deeper focus and allow me to understand and channel my emotions.
At the same time, I have always struggled and continue to struggle with "getting out of my head" — calming those thoughts that constantly interrupt my flow and that inner critic that gets in the way of doing creative projects. Despite expending significant efforts, I find it difficult to address these issues in the spiritual ways recommended and so, I have decided to let go of this struggle and utilize the tool I know I have — my logical brain and desire to "solve" the problem.
The corner I have turned this week is the decision to embrace this approach rather than fighting against it. Not only is it who I am, but, from conversations with my more intuitive friends, I've come to realize that it is somewhat unique. That by having confidence in my own unique perspective and letting go of the desire to reconcile the two seemingly incompatible sides of my personality, I have something individual and useful to contribute to my community.
From this different perspective, I can see my mental processes in a completely different light. The reason my thoughts seem so jumbled is that I have many different interests that I think about concurrently. When I can rise above and see beyond the short-sighted canopy of my daily routines, my brain becomes superheated with thoughts in different threads - metaphysics, Adlerian psychology, thoughts about spiritualism, brain chemistry and physical makeup/function, fitness and nutrition, etc.. I find myself processing all of these threads at the same time, noting how they cross and interact and expanding the web of connections out to my full capacity. At these times, I stress out over the fragility of the fabric. How am I going to remember all of these thoughts? How am I going to turn them into something useful? Paradoxically, it is this thought that collapses the web, leaving me confused and disappointed. In these times, I feel significant anxious and my body responds physically through clenching my abdomen and other indicators. While I can reduce the intensity of those feelings through various physical and spiritual techniques I have learned, I don't feel like I've ever adequately gotten to the basis of this anxiety — until now.
Up until now, my tendency toward self-judgment has interpreted this confusion as a bad thing. I see my jumbled thoughts as evidence of disorganization. I adopt the purpose of my meditation as clearing my mind and work on "letting go" of this process so that I can free myself from the anxiety I get. I definitely feel better, but the experience can be dulling and I experience generalized disappointment. I think this is subconsciously due to the loss of this intricate web that holds great potential.
I had an eye-opening conversation with my daughter last week that helps to bring all of this together for me. My daughter is exploring colleges and we have had long conversations about how her persona is unfolding as a part of this process. At one point, during a discussion about my education experiences — I had reasonably good grades, embraced the competition of the University of Michigan (without knowing that there was anything else) and went on to Law School — she asked me point-blank, "Why haven't you built anything?" While this comment seems harsh (frankly, I feel that I have built a lot of things), it is her recognition in the moment and context of that conversation of the tremendous potential that I still have, waiting to be unlocked.
What if my logical processes, when applied to personal growth, are a strength to be emphasized, not a weakness to be avoided? What would it look like to bring this particular "superpower" to bear on helping others? How can I refine these abilities to be more personally fulfilling while using them to guide and encourage others? This is my challenge right now and pursuing it feels natural and comfortable to me.