Have you ever hit a period in your life during which you experience seismic shifts in your inner life, but none of that seems to show in your outer life, or, alternatively, you don’t let it show in your outer life? Has your mind swirled with waves of words you can’t quite grasp in order to name and describe the experience? Have you been filled with self-doubt but exhilaration at the same time? Have you felt lost?
I have. All of those things have been churning around inside me for weeks now, and I’m still having trouble putting things into words…Or, at least, organized words to share with the world. In recent days I have been writing a lot in a paper journal, trying to sort and process it all.
Honestly, I’ve been feeling pretty wretched about it. I’ve been berating myself because I can’t make sense of myself right now, of my directionlessness and indecisiveness, and if I can’t, who can? Shouldn’t I have my life more together by now? Really.
After a blogging buddy recently wrote and raved about Elizabeth Lesser’s Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, and that came to me as I was lying in the floor in child’s pose on my yoga mat over the weekend, desperate and tearing up because I felt like I was cracking up for a moment, like I was playing out the story of the Sisyphus in my daily life, I impulsively hopped in the car and zoomed off to Wal-Mart, praying all the way they’d still have a copy. They did have exactly one copy on display, which I took as a good sign, grabbed it up, bought it, and went home to read. I’ve since been reading and digesting it in small bits.
Anyway, to the point, in my reading from said book last night, I hit upon this:
“We’re all bozos on the bus, so we might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.” — Wavy Gravy
“I believe that we are all bozos on the bus, contrary to the self-assured image we work so hard to present to each other on a daily basis. We are all half-baked experiments–mistake-prone beings, born without an instruction book into a complex world. None of us are models of perfect behavior. We have all betrayed and been betrayed; we’ve been known to be egotistical, unreliable, lethargic, and stingy; and each one of us has, at times, awakened in the middle of the night worrying about everything from money, kids or terrorism to wrinkled skin and receding hairlines. In other words, we’re all bozos on the bus. This, in my opinion, is cause for celebration. If we’re all bozos, then for God’s sake, we can put down the burden of pretense and get on with being bozos.” — Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, p. 28
It was good to be reminded that I’m not the only one who has, or currently is, fumbling around in the metaphorical dark for a light switch, or digging through a cluttered glove box for a road map because she has no idea where she’s going.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we all just stopped acting like we are what we are not.
I mean, think about it, how much of our lives are spent trying to look like we have all the answers, that we’re just peachy, darling, when really we feel like a train wreck on fire? How much of our lives are spent in an endless, often futile, quest for others’ approval? How much time do we spend comparing our lives, our bodies, our homes, etc., to everyone else’s? How often are we ashamed because things in our lives or our minds or our souls are not in perfect order?
Our culture is even set up to keep us pretending!
We have to please and gain the approval of our employers, or no paycheck. With no paycheck, we’d have no shelter, no clothing, and no food. Meanwhile, many of us daydream about doing something else that has meaning for us while we slave away in a job that doesn’t fit, but often–and I’m no exception whatsoever, not in the least– we’re too afraid to go that route because there may not be a paycheck in it for us.
If we admit weakness, we call each other childish. We tell each other to just snap out of it, to grow up, or that this is just the way it is. Other people have it all together, and so should we. There are people going through much worse. There are lots of these sort of things we tell each other and ourselves.
But, really, there are at least times, now and again, when we’re all bozos on the same bus.
I admit it: I am definitely one of the bozos right now, but instead of kicking and screaming and railing against being on the bus, I think I’m going to start sitting back, observing, and thinking, because I have company…Probably interesting company from whom I can learn. Also, kicking and screaming isn’t going to help, clearly.