“It is much easier to admire someone else from afar than to be my own (lesser) version of those qualities.” Brian Johnson Owning Your Inner Shadow
I’m finding that what it often means to be Michael is to come to the place where I do not know who I am, what I desire or what I want to do. Today is one of those days. I want to write but as soon as I do I lose interest and feel I should read a book but reading leads me back to writing and the oscillation convinces me I should be praying. Truly no worthwhile spiritual practice is neither started nor sustained with a “should,” only the faintest of desires can lead in this way, but today I sit with little desire and a lot of shoulds.
To be fair I’m foggy and exhausted. We welcomed our sweet son, David Asa Simmons, this week, an experience which I dreaded for much of my life. I used to fear being a shitty father but now I fear this less and fear more the possibility of being a good father.
I fear being a good father. I fear being a good husband. I fear being good at my jobs as a manager and a pastor. I fear being good or better put I fear being good enough. I fear who I am being enough. I fear what I’m doing being enough – that what, where, who and how I am right now being enough and that somehow “enough” won’t be enough, that enough is barely what I need to survive and surely enough is less than what others have. Enough seems insufficient when all around me I project onto others abundance and sufficiency more than my own.
Brian Johnson writes, “[Carl] Jung warned us that is would not be too difficult to get skeletons out of the closet from a patient in analysis, but it would be exceedingly difficult to get the gold out of the shadow. People are frightened of their capacity for nobility as of their darkest sides. If you find gold in someone else he will resist it to the last ounce of his strength. This is why we indulge in hero-worship so often.” Owning Your Own Shadow p.45-46
It is truly easier to project my own gold, my own enough-ness onto another person than to receive that same gold within myself. These days I’m hyper aware of the nobility of good fathers, good writers, good preachers, good bosses. Less consciously though just as impactful I’m aware of those who are kind, joyful, content and those who seem at peace with their sense of being enough – all of which are mostly projections of the “nobility” I refuse to accept within myself.
What is humility?
Humility is rooted in the Latin, humilitas meaning “grounded” or “from the earth,” the place in Genesis from which we were birthed, created and first found connection with God when he formed us from the dirt and breathed into us the breath of life. To be humble is to be filled with the breath God he has uniquely given to us – the tov meod (very goodness) of God. It is to receive the breath of God within and to breath life into the world from that place of deep contentment.
Having trouble accepting your good enough-ness? Take a deep breath.