I coined the term, "celebrating in the dark" to give language to what it means to find joy amidst stuff that is actually really hard and often quite unwanted.
This week I had a "celebrating in the dark" experience around becoming that ole Green-eyed Monster. Everywhere I looked it seemed like people were better than me. I was wearing this invisible, but sure-feels-really-real set of lenses that made me see everything in terms of "them vs me." Their success versus mine. Their level of self-expression versus mine. Their bank account versus mine. Envy was really getting the better of me.
Ugh. Not fun AT ALL.
And then, thank goodness, I attended a workshop led by my Zen teacher, Cheri Huber.
During the workshop, Cheri said something that really made me sit up and listen. I'm not sure I got it exactly as she said it, but it went something like this:
"We are each a cell in the body of the Buddha. Everybody's contribution is unique and necessary. Whatever we bring is perfect. That's why comparing ourselves to others is silly. It is like comparing a cell in the spleen to one in the heart. EVERY one is essential and plays their perfect role."
That statement was to my green monster what that unexpected bucket of water was to the Wicked Witch of the West. My monster simply withered away. I could see that comparing myself to anyone is absolutely silly. I am living my life. The only life that is here for me. There is no other better version of me in which I'm kinda more like her and kinda more like him and a little more of this and less of that. I'm just me.
It became so obvious to me that I really love my life and I love who I am. I am incredibly fortunate in a gabzillion of ways. When I am present to my life and simply living it, there's nothing wrong at all. In fact, there is so very much RIGHT.
But yowza, when that ole "something's missing" monster takes over my body, watch out.
So here's what I'm going to do: since I suspect that monster will return, I'm going to be ready. With bells on. Green ones maybe.
I'm making myself a poster with a photo of Mr. Envy (see him above?) and also a photo of me. (Probably me riding a fat-tired bike on the boardwalk, just having fun.) Then, I'm going to put that quote of Cheri's on the poster. I'll hang that poster where I can see it often to remind me that when I'm green with envy, I just need to remember that I am in exactly the right place in the world, doing exactly the right thing, having exactly the right experience. I'm simply the best me I can be. And no one else can fill those Sherry shoes.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? Yep, it's that black and white. (Er, at least in this moment!) The Green-eyed Monster gave me quite a gift this week.
And speaking of that ole "monster" … I realize I don't need to be afraid of him and try to kill him off. When he shows up, I can simply see him as a green light — to remind me to love my unique, one-of-a-kind life.
Green-eyed monster illustration © Can Stock Photo Inc. / bertoszig