“Here’s a tissue, you can put your gum in this…”
“Shit, I forgot again, I’m sorry.”
I fell into the chair, as I disposed of the gum I should have left in the grass on the way in to her office.
We live in a funny time, in the future, to some degree.
I remember being sick as a dog as an elementary school kid one day. With both parents working, they had no choice but to send us to our next door neighbors house when we had days like that.
I laid on that couch all day, going from Tom and Jerry, to the Flintstone’s, to the Jetson’s. And then eventually to soap operas.
“Meet George Jetson…” The weird music then introduced the whole family, as they performed a variety of futuristic walk-up activities.
“His dog, Elroy…”
I’m not fact-checking myself, maybe I butchered the dog’s name.
Regardless, late 1980’s / early 1990’s me loved that show. And couldn’t possibly imagine a future that had such cool, crazy stuff.
And now, in many ways, we are the Jetson’s. Living with such rapid information, such rapid technological advancement, such rapid, dare I say it, disconnection.
Back to the gum, and the chair, and the future we live in.
This chair I plopped into has become familiar over the past few months, as I’ve begun working through a process (with a very talented therapist, I might add) called neurofeedback.
I’ll share that story another time, but the part that matters is this.
I feel like I’m in the future every time. There are little sensors that get placed on my forehead, my neck, the top of my head, my temples. It’s like a real life experiment, like I’m the experiment.
It’s been a wonderful journey of self-care.
But the connecting the sensors to my dome part always takes a good 10 minutes (or so it seems, counselor’s offices and casinos are the only two places in the world where you have zero idea what time it is).
And it leaves space for conversation as we get going.
Work was top of mind for me that morning.
“So…how’s it going?”
“Ummm, I mean, it’s good.”
“That sounded uncertain…”
Counselors are the best.
So I unpacked my comments, and walked her into a big decision I was facing. The details of that conversation remain in that chair, but as I asked her the specific question on my mind, my brain waves likely turned into a tsunami when I heard her answer.
“It’s a simple distinction, but it’s one you can always trust. Is this for the ego or from the heart? In my experience, I can feel in my body the difference between those two motivations. I imagine you’ll be able to as well…”
I may not have gotten it word for word, but that’s what I heard. That’s what etched itself into my brain waves and heart strings.
For the ego. Or from the heart?
Honestly, is there a better clarifying question out there when you’re approaching any of life’s proverbial forks?
The ego is such a finicky and feisty little thing, massive thing actually, at least it is for me. Always trying to prove, impress, conceal, deflect, defend, guard against, protect, fight, outsource.
Sometimes being aware of the work of the ego is almost more annoying than the denial that came before you knew how much he was running the show.
Because, he’s a sneaky, relentless, ego-maniac.
“There it is again, showing up in fear and intimidation.”
“Oh, I recognize him there, begging for someone to tell him he’s OK.”
“Yep, his fingerprints are all over that desire to perform.”
The thin disguise of the ego is a cheap veil, doing its best to shield those deep, inner, tender parts from the big, bad world. But in so doing, it covers up the very parts we’re all able to connect to, understand, and embrace.
The heart, on the other hand, is that mysterious, often submerged, but never subdued, wellspring of intuition, consciousness, and well, duh, love.
The ego likes to project itself as some lovely creature, but in reality, it’s the most insecure person on the block. Hoping no one will be able to see through the flimsy charade.
The heart is actually the lovely creature, even when it appears unloveable, especially when it appears unloveable. The heart is the domain where desire lives, where energy is created, and where knowing can be, well, known. And felt. And experienced.
It’s where we find something deeper and truer than the pandering and placating of the ego. It’s where we find the whispers, who refuse to get in a pissing match with the pithiness of the ego.
In this constantly-connected, fear-inducing, panic-stricken, performance-based, frenetic-paced future world we’re living in, when you’re facing a decision, or just having a conversation, maybe start with the simple, internal assessment of: is this for the ego or from the heart?
Our future Jetson families will all be better off that way.