Talking to my therapist yesterday, a lot of interesting ideas came up. The one that’s stuck with the most is that I’m not OK with the idea of not knowing what I’m doing; that I’m a failure for not having a large drive to do something or a clear vision. Just realizing it reduces my anxiety a little.
It’s bizarre how you can live in a cloud and become so accustomed to it that you forget you’re even in one. Sometimes we consciously create these clouds to help cope and deal with the difficult emotions and problems we face in life. Reading self-help and spirituality books, I know the “right answer” is that we should live our lives in a way that we never build up these clouds, but you know what? Fuck that. Us mortals down here need help, we’re going to isolate ourselves and the feelings we don’t want to confront. If you don’t think that’s the case, I can probably tell you what kind of cloud you’re in.
I sometimes day dream of a day when I *really* become myself and can deal with life and emotions directly in the light.. but it’s just that: a dream.. and a harmful one at that. Rather than viewing myself as whole and complete and REALLY me, I see the difference between who I want to be and who I am. It causes dissonance and anxiety… “Am I feeling what I’m supposed to feel?” “If I get an emotion I don’t want to have, does that mean I’m failing at self growth?” “Someone that’s really spiritually grounded would never feel this way” “When am I going to finally grow out of this?”
Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. If you spend your whole life in a cloud, you have no way of knowing what it’s like not in a cloud. You don’t really have any notion of what it’s like to exist outside of one, so you couldn’t even define the perfect version of yourself if you tried. You might say “well, it’s one that never hurts and can deal with anything.” That’s heaven or Eden.. stasis, not a place on earth. If you really think about it, that’s probably not what you want. If you’re on the path of learning and growing, you know it goes on forever. Learning and growth require pain and dissonance and hurt and challenges.. but it’s the path we choose to walk. If you didn’t, you’d be heavily medicated and watching Netflix 12 hours a day. In a way, that perfect version you envision is the exact opposite of what you really desire and want.
So maybe the point of the game isn’t to remove all the clouds we’re in, but the actual work of removing clouds. It’s a subtle, but important difference. The goal isn’t to be perfect, but to move toward it. As mentioned, we don’t even know what direction perfect is. So really, the goal is just to move; to improve your vision.
The point of hiking a mountain isn’t to tick a box saying you climbed it, it’s the act of climbing it. Even if you think you’re doing it just to say you’ve done it what you’re really proud of is all the work that put you in a place to climb it. Be it actual training or just physical toughness, when you say you’ve done it you’re asserting that you’re a person that’s capable of doing it. Otherwise just ticking the box without doing it would give you the same thrill. The cloud in this case is that “you’re just doing it” and not acknowledging all the work that put you in that position; that you’re proud of yourself.
Clouds are always deceptive and it’s hard to realize you’re in one.. especially if it’s one you’ve been in your whole life. It’s so normal to you that you don’t even realize there’s another way. For me, the best way to work through it and get outside of them is opening yourself up to others. By talking and sharing experiences, you learn other ways of looking at things. You learn that you can move out of the clouds. A friend might have an off comment about how you always land on your feet and it makes a world of difference! You had no idea people saw you like that. Some of them are pretty easy to get out of, but some exist deep down within us and can only be released in proportion to how vulnerable you allow yourself to become. To me, that’s where intimate relationships (romantic or otherwise) come into play. To allow yourself to be that vulnerable requires a deep connection and trust with a peroson that has to be built up over time. Surely, no easy task.