Sometimes it is just that easy.
Other times it is not.
I keep dreaming about a friend of mine who is going through a particularly challenging time. She shows up in my dreams four or five nights per week. In the dreams, I am trying to support her through her difficulties and sometimes I am able to. Other times, she rebuffs my efforts or my efforts go unnoticed.
I think it is my unconscious working through 1) a feeling of powerless that I can’t make her suffering go away, and 2) a feeling of guilt that everything is rosy in my corner of the world at the moment.
I wish I weren’t so prone to feeling guilty. Maybe I tend towards guilt because it is a somewhat safe feeling: it lives in the daylight and I know what I am dealing with. I imagine it is a good cover for deeper feelings that reside in the shadows.
Here is where I want to skip to the happy part: turning feelings of guilt into feelings of gratitude. But I am aware that I am stepping over something significant: those deeper feelings that reside in the shadows.
What’s underneath the guilt? Fear, I suppose. Fear of having little say when it comes to mortality. I have no choice but to walk forward into the future, into the unknown.
Sitting with that awareness, I don’t find myself overcome by despair as I had expected. Instead, I think of this description: One’s life is bookended by being born and dying.
Some bookshelves are longer than others, but who is to say which bookshelves contain more books? What if living is about the books on the bookshelf rather than the length of the shelf itself?
And with that idea comes gratitude. For the experiences and the relationships that I have had and continue to have, for the life I am creating and the impact that I am having in the world...all of it being written down in books that sit upon a shelf of undetermined length.
I can live with that.
What book are you currently authoring? Where might you be able to put down guilt and pick up gratitude?
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.