It’s a term a friend of mine, who belongs to the Jesuits, uses when he’s admitting to something he might prefer not too. It’s a term that keeps popping into my head every time I’m about to confront something I don’t want to. Those two words have been hanging over me since I first read them. First as something that he said and I liked, but didn’t apply. I feel a mix of awe, delight and dread every time I read it. It’s the dread that bothers me.
I used to think I was selfish and self obsessed. Check that. I am selfish and self obsessed, but not in the “what are you going to do for me?” kind of way. It has more to do with being constantly vigilant to my thoughts and motivations. One of the hallmarks of existentialist thinking is the study of the self, so that one could better understand what it means to be alive, to live in this world. This isn’t a new idea, in truth its a kind of recycling of Buddhist thought. Though Buddhism focus more on the development of compassion — something I lack. One could say I haven’t made the leap to compassion yet. Mostly because I lack compassion for myself. I’m also willing to admit to the fact that lacking self compassion is a way of dodging honesty.
I am not a good person, at least not all the time. Maybe ninety five percent of the time. I have dodged obligations and taken advantage of others peoples kindness. I judge people who I have no right to judge, because I am not as far removed from them as I would like to think. I don’t put in the work required to keep up the relationships that mean a lot to me. All while decrying that “They don’t call me either!”. Sometimes the I up the tensions in bad interactions with drivers or pedestrians who are put off by me and bike. I claim to have an innate ability to bring out the worse in people. Its true, but because sometimes (yes just sometimes) I push the interaction toward this seemingly inevitable outcome.
I’m not saying these things to be self defeating. I say these things because the are true. I’m not judging. Just accepting.
Friday, after another day of answering phones and dodging one of those obligations I eluded to above I became tired of accepting this as the state of my life. So I looked over the edge of the cliff and jumped.
The next four days will attempt to demonstrate, more to myself than anyone else, how I’m diving into the practice of rigorous honesty. I talk of how by exploring our limits in sport we explore our limits in life. Its time to stop dodging how that happens and look for some concrete examples at how it starts.