Since we were children, we were asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For many the response was “a teacher!”, “or firefighter!”, or as a child in Wasfia Nazreen’s video on how she climbed the seven summits on seven continents endearingly says “chocolate!” (10:04). From the time we were children, we were programmed to think about what we do for work. Now as adults in this doing-obsessed society, pretty much all of us have adopted the perspective that we are only valuable to the degree of how successful, productive, or perfect we are.
The Grand Canyon reveals millions of years of geological history through its eroded layers of red rock. It is 1 mile deep, 10 miles across, and 277 miles long. This immense canyon was formed by six million years of erosion from the Colorado River. Dang.
Over the past few years, I have become increasingly aware of my personal Grand Canyon. It’s massive alright. The only difference is this canyon was formed by 28 years of erosion from a river of fear, perfectionism, critical mind chatter, judgment, and comparison. Mmmmmhm. That river is made up of my continual auto-pilot reaction to experiences, thoughts, and emotions. I can’t say it’s pretty, but it’s real.
Initially, awareness of my personal Grand Canyon only made matters worse. I saw the river and just added to it with self-sabotage. I would get down on myself for having negative thoughts, I would feel disappointed when I saw perfectionist tendencies show up, and I would get angry when I felt fear. The irony is that I was adding more and more water to my river and further eroding my canyon in the direction that I knew would just cause more suffering.
I decided to re-route my personal Grand Canyon. It was formed without my intentional choice. It’s as if I woke up one day and BOOM!... it was there. In actuality, my river has been carving my canyon for my whole life. I just wasn’t aware of it happening…. Until now.
With awareness comes choice. We can choose where to place our water and every moment is a new drop. Each moment we get a fresh chance to choose where to route our river. Heck yes, it’s far easier to put drops in the well-eroded auto-pilot reaction Grand Canyon. But that’s just because it’s a habit.
It starts with one drop and we can choose to put our drop on fresh rock. Each drop we intentionally place in the direction that truly serves our higher purpose accumulates. Eventually, we form a puddle, then a tiny stream, then a creek, and eventually a river that will have the power to carve a deep path.
I choose to carve a new internal landscape with a path of acceptance, groundedness, playfulness, and trust. I must admit, re-routing my personal Grand Canyon has been no easy task. It takes persistence, it takes forgetting and then re-remembering again and again, it takes patience, and it takes support. All I can say is, hands down… worth it!
I see you tired of the pain of unrequited love, wandering in the dry desert of your relationship, surviving off of scarce cactus blooms of love miles and miles apart. I see you absorbed in the object of your affection – continuously wondering what he/she is feeling, thinking, and needing… at the expense of alienating your own soul. I see you every day trying very hard to be beautiful for others, forgetting to be beautiful for yourself. I see you feeling unsafe to just be you – to talk like you do, dress like you do, sound like you do, dance like you do. I see you terrified to receive the message that you are somehow not enough for the world...