Wake Up to Grow Up!

27 Sep

A friend of mine said to me during one of our brief, little mid-day electronic meeting of the minds, “Ignorance is bliss.”

A comment had been made to her in jest about self-actualization (a fancy term for really knowing yourself in a way that begets complete fulfillment and an understanding of values and underlying hopes and dreams–eureka, so to speak; it’s something that few really accomplish because it requires a level of vulnerability that many aren’t willing to open themselves up to)….or at least working toward it.

“Ha!” I scoffed,  “Ignorance is bliss until you discover that you’re standing in the same spot you’ve always been, wondering what happened with your life.”

How often are we unwilling to stare in the face of our inequities. To face the cold, hard, ugly monsters inside of us. To sit at the bottom of what can feel like a dried up old well one second and then be swept away by a gushing, uncontrollable current that is our inner river the next. Sure, ignorance allows us to avoid these extremes.  Maybe. Or perhaps it’s our ignorance that keeps us stuck in these patterns.

Becoming unstuck means unearthing the rubble that has piled up around us.  Removing one stone at a time, turning it over to view it in its full context, and then deciding what we’d like to do with it. Polish it up? Throw it away? Replace it with another stone? Crack it open and discover that it might contain some hidden gems?

What this requires, however, is a willingness to wake up! When we are suffering we’re choosing to live unconsciously. We’re putting on our blinders.

What would happen if instead of running away or pushing against what’s happening for us, we observed it? The discomfort, whether physical or emotional, can be approached non-judgmentally.  Waking up is just that– opening our eyes to view our circumstances in full effect, in 3-D, in all their layers and textures. Waking up means committing to learning about how and why you react or respond to others and situations the way you do.

I’ve exclaimed “WAKE UP!!” in exasperation to others I’m feeling particularly frustrated with. Not the most compassionate statement to make in the heat of what could be a conflictual discussion, however, it holds some weight. It’s not typically received well in such a situation either, resulting in the blinders coming right back down and a defensive and self-protective posture coming up.  But used in the right context,  it can be like the lights coming on!

Waking up means we can be conscious, mindful, aware, and willing to engage in some self-exploration.  Don’t we have to do these things in order to grow up? When you hear parents say almost sadly, “My baby’s growing up…” do they not often mean they’ve seen their children navigate big events and transitions in their lives, that they’ve matured and see the world differently? That should never stop.

Ignorance is blind.

I think it’s time we wake up to grow up!

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