Jealousy

I was reading the bios of some incredible women the other day, women not too much older than I, perhaps 5-15 years. One in particular caught my eye, she was beautiful, open-hearted looking, and her resume read like my aspirations. She speaks 5 languages, she’s worked all over the world in areas that I am interested in, she’s founded organizations, and, and, and. I found my heart beating fast and then that I was rereading the bio, looking for something that would make me feel better about myself! It was not a good feeling.

I looked at where I am, what I’m working on, what I’ve accomplished, and I felt so small. It made me feel almost lazy. It was the first time I’d felt this way in quite a long time so by the time I realized how far I’d gone into this relatively destructive dialogue I had already beat up on myself a little. After a rousing round of beating up on myself for not being further along (whatever that means) I went in for a rousing round of beating up on myself for having envy, and then a rousing round of beating up on myself for beating up myself and not just engaging in compassion towards all involved, and that is usually the end of the conversation. As the feeling of compassion both for myself, and all others, and life, arises, a peace settles in and around and I laugh at this all too human moment.

When I look at this incredible woman I see a manifestation of the same life that is bubbling up inside of me, another leaf on the tree striving to keep the tree healthy. I am heartened by the changes I see, the awakenings taking place, and all of the incredible beauty, intelligence, and integrity that are being employed in the service of realizing a dream of our future. When beholding each of these people it is a dream that daily feels more real. When I look at all the beauty that is being created, all the striving for better, I feel like we are already living our vision, and with incredible company.

But lets go back to the jealousy because there is something there. In reality, when a feeling like jealousy or envy arises in me it is not fundamentally about another person. When I go inside of that feeling its really about my own sense of urgency for a future I cannot hasten, some desire to arrive. It is at its root an impatience with where I am at this moment in my life. I think this is one of the biggest internal challenges for me right now, and it is truly a daily struggle for me when I’m dealing with boolean searches and the formatting of psychosocial instruments. One of the most important aspects of the learning that I am doing right now is practicing how to be present to the process when it is not fun, or exciting, or visible.

My vision hit me between the eyes on the day I began my program. Ultimately I want to be doing a different kind of doing than reading and writing in isolation, I want to be out there fully engaging in the world with people and processes. Yet that process and that being and doing, begins with my being and doing this right now.

When envy swept through my body and made my heart tighten it was a powerful reminder to me that a lack of presence can lead to a sort of violence. We need to be supporting ourselves and everyone in this world right now, with our words and actions, but actually most importantly with our thoughts. Thoughts create our reality, and what we choose to dedicate our time and energy to comes to fruition. In all honesty, this was the first time I’d felt like this in a long time, as long as I can remember. Well, let me think. Sometimes I feel a little jealous when I hear people sing beautifully because I long to sing the notes in my head so deeply. But in this case jealousy was just one surface manifestation of the deeper issue which was dissatisfaction with where I am in my process. So for now my resolution is to daily, in a meaningful way, reconnect with my larger vision and ask how to serve that through whatever my daily tasks are.

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2 thoughts on “Jealousy

  1. i experience these feelings too. of my three closest elementary school friends, one’s a practicing attorney, another’s a clinical psychologist who was recruited by harvard, and the third lived in new york until just recently working in publishing. one owns a house. two are married. one’s got a beautiful baby. we’re all the same age! (okay, i’m actually older than two of them.) sometimes i feel lame in comparison. but their accomplishments don’t devalue mine at all. even though comparing us makes me sometimes feel that they do. and i’ve done things they haven’t, and won’t.

    and each of us has our very own schedule, that we might not anticipate or understand or even like. and we all start at totally different places, imbued with different talents and abilities and skills, inclinations and limitations, dreams, fantasies, and fears.

    i respect and value you, and you inspire me. a lot.

    here’s to respecting and loving everyone for where they are, including (or, as applicable) especially ourselves.

    and to seeing each other in 2010.

    1. Thanks Sarah, it is comforting to know that all that we experience is human, and thus shared. What you are doing is incredible, and as you said, the paths we take are unique, while some are married, some have overcome deep and difficult personal struggles to arrive where they are in their lives happy with themselves. Sometimes I look at someone else’s path with envy, but mostly I look at my own with pride and humility, acceptance, and joy. I know you do the same, and that’s why we get to share our paths with each other. I’m honored! and I love you, and I’m excited to see you in the new year. Love D

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