“Just Because”

 

Do you ever do anything just because? We used to. As a matter of fact, many of us used to do it regularly when we were children. As in, just because it felt good. Just because the urge arose. Just because something bubbled straight up out of us in the moment. No reason. No explanation.

Everything does not require a reason. An agenda. A goal. Not everything is an opportunity to get ahead or to spin ourselves in a certain way. Take giving for instance. Do you ever give just because? Not in order to receive anything in return. Not because you have to, or because you think you should. Not because you are expected to or because it makes you a good person in your eyes, or in the eyes of another.

But just because. Like a child who has created something, and was thinking of you in the making.

This is not easy to do. We all have our ideas, hang-ups, and habits around what it means to give. Maybe you do it as a way to keep people close. Or keep others from rejecting you. Maybe it is how you feel good about yourself, or somehow superior to others. Maybe you do it to satisfy what you will not give to yourself. Maybe you do it in the hope that your gesture will be reciprocated. All of it creating an ends to a means where the true spirit of giving gets obscured.

In the season of the often loaded nature of gift-giving, and amidst all of the confusion and unconsciousness that can surround why we give, what would it be like to get more clear on why and how you give? Would it mean spending less? Obsessing less about the price of the gift and what it means about how you feel towards the recipient? Would it mean opting out all together, or partially, or creating a new tradition as a way to choose something more authentic?

It has long been a source of sadness to me to know that the average family will spend to such an extent at this time of year, that they will spend the next year trying to pay off the debt. Only to clear it just in time to start all over again. This does not seem like generosity or love, but instead a kind of insanity based on some very warped ideas around what giving is.

Notice yourself as you make choices around giving. What qualities are present for you? Pay attention to the feeling you are having in the purchase, the anticipation of, and then the moment of giving. The thoughts and feelings you are having are an important piece of information; giving you clues about when you are coming from the “just because” place of a child, and when you are coming from obligation, resentment, conditioning, debt and the like.

Fact-Finding

 

As part of a training I am in, a group of us shared an experience of looking at a cup and saucer; naming out loud what was factual about what was before us. On the surface, it seems like such an easy, obvious and simple exercise. As in, it was small. But small in relation to what? You would be amazed by how many of the comments made were not actual facts, but instead interpretations. Going even deeper, interpretations based on who was doing the interpreting. It was eye-opening to see the array of projections and perspectives that could be laid onto an inanimate object; one that would ostensibly have very little charge in the life of a human being. It was after all, just a cup and saucer.

It got me to thinking that if that level of “story” could be imposed on something inanimate, what are we doing with and to ourselves and others where the stakes are higher, the emotions run deeper, and where the need for things to be a certain way is a whole lot more intense. Because this so peaked my interest, at the end of the day when we had to choose something to work on for homework, this is what I chose; to fact-find in my relationships with myself and others. And as is so often the case, I had no idea how deep this one would go.

For instance, when I am fact-finding, I see that person’s face has changed expression. I feel a tightness in my gut. I notice the thought that says I have done something wrong. This is different than assuming what that other person is thinking, different than ignoring the sensation in my belly, and definitely different than jumping to “I am wrong” as opposed to I am having a thought that says“I have done something wrong.” Just a thought, and nothing more than that. No, “I am wrong.” No, “That person is awful for making me feel this way.” No needing to be in a bad mood or think less of myself when I am staying with the facts.

Try it for yourself. When something is disturbing you, can you take a step back and label what is there as plainly and directly as you could say that the cup has a chip in it? As in, “I see…I feel…I notice…” whatever is there? And then hardest of all, put a period at the end of that sentence; letting it stand as is, with the facts, versus an assumption, projection, or interpretation coloring what is actually there. Easy to say, yet so much more difficult to do in practice given how many of our interpretations are based on the past, as opposed to what is actually before us.

It has been amazing this past week to stand in front of more than 40 college students, all doing whatever they are doing, showing up however they are showing up, participating however they are participating, and to be ever more aware of the spin I will put on what they are doing. Or not doing. And how often that spin is because I want things to be different. Further yet, where I need things to be different so that I can be OK. What a terrible predicament to put myself in. Basing my life on what others are, or are not doing; based not in fact, but in my need to perceive things a certain way.

When we are established in the Truth of who and what we are, and when we are established in the Truth of the moment, everything else takes care of itself. Not only that, but everything, absolutely everything, gets to be exactly what it is, as is.

And isn’t this precisely what we all most long for? The space to be, and to be seen, for who we are? As we are.

Purpose

 

One of the most life changing things I have ever done was to see my life and what I did as having meaning. A purpose. Even when I am uncomfortable. Even when I do not know what to do or what it all means. Even when what I am doing goes against the status quo, or what it is that someone else expects of me.

It wasn’t always like this for me. For many, many years I had no sense of purpose. That meant that I made destructive, trivial and nonsensical things important. Very important. It was all that I had. That meant that things like partying, how I looked, what other people thought of me, and what degree I had were where I put all of my energies. Were what I made my purpose. These things defined me. They said, “This is who I am, and this is why I am here.”

Then I became a mother. Unexpectedly, the experience culminated in what St. John of The Cross called “The Dark Night of the Soul.” A time of total upheaval. A time when everything I believed in and valued got called into question. It was excruciating. And it was disruptive. It felt like I was being torn limb from limb from the inside out. What prompted it? A vow to value the life of my children. A vow to live on purpose for them.

This heartfelt commitment put me on the path of purpose and meaning. One far greater than I had ever known. One that while being done for another, gave me back to myself in a way that I had never experienced before. But not before passing through all of the ways that I had made the wrong things be the most purposeful and meaningful in my life. But in the end, through committing to valuing and protecting the life of my children, I came to do the same for myself. And then, for the world. I would never be where I am today had I not made a firm commitment to show up for them. Relentlessly and tirelessly.

Showing up for another is some of the most powerful personal medicine on the planet. Showing up in this way has nothing to do with being a martyr. It has nothing to do with being co-dependent. It has nothing to do with sacrificing yourself in some distorted way where you ignore your own needs. Or where your over-doing somehow manipulates the other into giving you what you need. What I am talking about here is real, healthy, good old- fashioned sacrifice.. A kind of subjugating yourself to something more than yourself. And it does not have to be big, flashy, visible or institutionalized. As a matter of fact, at its best it shows up as needed. No questions asked.

Showing up for another means just that. It is a “come as you are party.” One where you bring yourself and what you have in the service of another. You don’t need much. Or anything specific. You do not need a degree, and it is not about being perfect. Nor is it about giving to the detriment of yourself. Or to the detriment of the other by doing for them what is best done by them.

Through your devotion to another life, you will find yourself at the center of perhaps the most meaningful purpose you will ever stumble into. It puts me in mind of a wise woman who when I was in the midst of doubting whether or not I had what it took to be the mother of a very difficult baby, said to me “She already knew what kind of a mother she was going to get. This is about you being the mother you are, for you.

And there it is. When we give ourselves over to something more than ourselves, at some point it takes a big U-turn and heads straight back for us. It’s a boomerang effect where what you receive is the equivalent of what you give. Only, that can’t be the reason why you do it. The powerful, fulfilling, and life-changing boon you will gain access to comes only when your intentions are pure. In other words, done in the service of another. Done in the service of real human needs being recognized, honored and met.

Try it for yourself. Make a commitment to show up for another. Give yourself over to it and watch. Watch how it helps you to get out of your own way. Watch how through the giving, you find yourself over and over again; beyond your self-imposed limitations, beyond your hang-ups, neuroses, failings, and self-preoccupations.

And isn’t this exactly the medicine of the day? One that considers more than our own limited agendas. One that has the power to propel us into the most purpose-filled lives we never could have ever imagined. One that prompts us to show up for another. What could be better? What could be more healing and satisfying than this?

A Witness

 

For many years now a car full of Jehovah Witnesses have made their way every so often to my home; taking the 3 mile trek down our dirt road to knock on my door. A section of the road, by the way, which has less than a dozen homes. Not much bang for the buck in terms of spreading the word.

Yet, they come anyway, and for the longest time that was OK by me. I got to know one of them, Patricia, a little bit. A kind, warm, grandmotherly figure. Part of me felt like it was really nothing to give them a few minutes of my time. More to the point, I do respect what they are doing (awkward and weird as it can be when they show up at your door). I also felt for them somehow; what it took to go knocking on stranger’s doors. Then there is the part of me that had a soft spot for them as my own great-grandmother, who I adored, was a Jehovah. And then one last part of me felt like to be the person I most want to be meant being open to these visitations.

Complicated.

Only, at some point, it really, really stopped working for me. The visits that began to increase in frequency, with less and less time in between. How in the beginning I might only see them once or twice a year, but then how that began to shift to every couple of months. And then, at times, even more frequent than that. Patricia started bringing more people to introduce me to. One time they even tucked their literature into my own personal writing and reflections that I had left spread out on a table on my back porch.

It was enough.

I went through all kinds of thoughts and feelings on this one. Many reflections on boundaries, and what it means to set one. There were times when I felt angry about what was happening. At other times I felt trapped. There were the moments when what was happening pulled up other boundary violations and troubles from the past. And then, my own “personal favorite,” the moments when I felt as though there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t just be OK with this.

By the time they showed back up again, I had done a lot of work on this one. When the boundary I needed to set with them came out of me, it came out clear and kind. It came out effortlessly and with grace. It came out in a way where she and I were actually on the same page; with Patricia already having recognized that this was no longer working for me.

In the end, it seems as though beyond all of my struggling with this one, I just needed to name it with her. I just needed to say out loud that it no longer worked for me for them to come by. The whole exchange was so natural that as we parted, and I have no idea which one of us initiated it, we both reached into the space and clasped hands.

I cried afterwards. The reason for my tears was the recognition that a big part of my struggle with this was that I actually and genuinely liked her.

It is so much easier to draw a line when we do not like someone, or when we are absolutely fed up. But oh how difficult to choose for ourselves (and ultimately the other) when we like someone, or when the mind keeps saying, “What’s the big deal, it’s not really harming you.” 

This is what we are left to decide in the day to day with loved ones and others we encounter. Those times and circumstances where sure, we could let it go. We could put up with it. Sure, we could tolerate it for all of the reasons the mind will come up with. But at what cost? At what cost to the Truth within, and between us?

I do not know where the line is for you, but I do know one thing; clear boundaries set the stage for a sense of personal wholeness and well-being, which translates into more harmonious and satisfying encounters with others. Even if that means doing something that feels hard. For whatever the reason.

Permission

 

I have a writing buddy that I regularly talk with by phone. She is at the beginning of writing a book. I am at the end. Even though we are in different places in the process, it never ceases to amaze me that no matter what topic is up for either one of us, there is always much to be gained in a partnership that holds two ends of the same continuum.

Recently, we had gone a month without meeting due to scheduling conflicts and time commitments. We had agreed though to keep working on our projects, despite the gap in our regularly scheduled check-ins. When we finally did talk, what we both discovered was that neither one of us had done much. No submissions had been tended. No chapters edited. No calls or inquiries made. It was easy to see that both of us were feeling like we were coming to the call with not much to speak of.

However, standing in the reflection of the other, it was much easier to see the truth of what each of us had actually been doing, and giving space for. All of the ways that a lot had been happening for both of us. That we had indeed been “working” on our projects on some deeper, perhaps harder to see, below the surface kind of way. Recognizing this in both of us, my buddy proposed that we give ourselves total permission to continue doing the supposed “nothing” of the past month for another two weeks. That we give ourselves over to giving lots and lots of permission to what was already happening. That we, in effect, trust the process deeply enough to let the so-called nothing be a central part of all the doing that is required in getting a book written and published.

This is not easy to do in a world that demands productivity. A kind of “show me the money” mentality. A kind of “you are only as good as your last sale” attitude.  A world that applauds speed and how much you can generate in the shortest amount of time possible. A world that does not often recognize the slower, deeper and more invisible work of creating. A world that is too often blind in its ability to honor the pacing, rhythm and integrity of the process; favoring outcome instead.

Permission is defined as “formal consent.” A type of “authorization.” When applied to the process of giving birth to something, that part feels right. What I would argue with is where that consent and authorization come from. I say this because of how many of us have come to believe that permission is an externally generated bestowal we hope to god to get from another, or perhaps the culture at large. However, this belief has got it backwards. For at its truest and most life-giving, real authorization is granted from the inside out. It something you claim as a birthright. It is something you offer to yourself as a sacred and irrefutable fact of Life.

The permission to be who you are, expressing yourself as you express yourself in any given moment, is not only the greatest gift you can give to yourself, it is the greatest of what you can bestow to another. For in Truth, if each of us had the strength, the support, the inner recognition and the clarity of purpose to give ourselves all the permission we needed, all would be right not only in our own world, but in all the worlds at large.

My suggestion? Find a permission buddy. Someone you make a pact with to show up as you are, while offering them the same. Someone whom you can trust to bring forward ideas, thoughts, emotions, wonderings, concerns and more. A mutually agreed upon consent and authorization that gives the space required for a human being to be in a process, whatever that looks or feels like, where that effort is seen and honored, and where the end game is merely a by-product.

Can you imagine what it would feel like to not only give yourself total permission to be as you are, doing what you are doing, but to also be so blessed as to find that with another?

A Way In

 

Years ago, when I first started making changes in my life, I was looking for a way out. A way out of feeling awful in and about my body. A way out of negative and self-debasing thoughts. A way out of unbearable emotions. A way out of un-supportive and dissatisfying relationships. A way out of work that did not feed me. A way out of all of the habits that I had picked up along the way in an attempt to handle, medicate and get away from all that I was feeling. And while the impulse was to bring ease and greater balance through these habits, an attempt on my part to feel better, this band-aid approach of covering over what didn’t feel good, always left me somehow worse off.

My yoga teacher once said that the first impulse on the path is the urge to feel better. Different. Other than how you are currently experiencing yourself and life. Even if you do not have a clue about what the “better” or “different” is, or even looks like. Even if you do not know what it will take or how you will do it. Looking back, I can most definitely vouch for this sentiment. For it is not easy to be a human being, and there can be much that we are looking for a way out of. There is so much to feel. There are so many physical sensations to move through. So many thoughts and so many encounters to be with. Given the sometimes overwhelming nature of what it means to be alive, it is only natural to want to get away from certain aspects of living in an attempt to feel better.

Enter the choice to commit yourself to self-discovery and self-awareness. The intention and the subsequent grit you must exert to get out from under unhealthy patterns, conditioning, beliefs, attitudes and more. And while it is easy to believe that the way out is the name of the game, at its very heart, any attempts you make in this regard are always about, a way in. But because the suffering can be so all encompassing, this is an easy thing to miss, leaving us to believe that the point is to get away from something, when in fact, we are really trying to find our way back in to something.

And while it can seem like the way out and the way in are two sides of the same coin, which they are, it matters tremendously which one you choose to focus on. For if you try and find a way out of yourself and what you are experiencing, that is a vastly different orientation than trying to find your way back into yourself. The first approach contains within it the underlying belief that there is something you need to get away from; a kind of separation from something, but without giving you a place to land. The second approach implies a moving towards; a kind of finding your way back to something that already exists. A homecoming, if you will; a place that continues to be there whether you choose it or not. A way in that awaits your notice.

Which side of the coin do you tend to live on? Are you trying to get over, away from, or past the experiences of your life? Or do you find yourself moving in and towards something? Watch yourself as you go through your days. Catch the moments where you feel at odds with something and watch your attempts to get away. And if you can, wonder what it would look and feel like to find a way back in towards yourself, as opposed to looking for a way out. Maybe it means softening something that has gotten too tight in body or mind. Maybe it means a gentle smile to yourself as you acknowledge what you are up against as a human being living in a vulnerable body and a mind that just won’t quit. Maybe it means forgiving yourself; making room for all of the reasons and all of the ways that you try and escape yourself and the life you have created.

And maybe, more than anything else, it becomes a decision on your part to choose to recognize that the way in is far more interesting and far more valuable than all of the things you are trying to find a way out of.

Authenticity

 

Be yourself. Just be who you are. Sounds good, right? Like a great hashtag or something catchy printed on a t-shirt. Who wouldn’t want this experience? But the truth is, this will absolutely be the single most difficult thing you will ever attempt in your life. If you even make the attempt.

Maybe it seems downright ludicrous to even be discussing being yourself as on some level who or what else could you possibly be? As it turns out though there are lots and lots of facsimiles, cheap copies and low-grade versions of ourselves that we take on. We do this for all kinds of reasons, but the result is always the same; our real self left out of the equation, MIA, downgraded, degraded, ignored, drowned and left for dead. Being who you actually are is not for the faint of heart; those unwilling to take responsibility for themselves, or those favoring an easy way out. Instead, it is for the whole-hearted. The bold-hearted. The brave-hearted.

Why? Because if you make the choice to be who you are, you must pass through all that you are not. This part alone is why so many of us stop. Or do not even begin. It is just too painful. Too arduous. Too complicated. Too confusing. Too demanding. Too provoking. And right along side that, too magnificent, too out of the box, too empowering, and too liberating to bear; with either side of the equation feeling like too much to be with. And so, we choose lessor versions of who we are.

I once had a practitioner I was working with say to me, “You are honest and you are transparent, but you are not always authentic.” She hesitated in the delivery of this observation, cautious and wary of my reaction. But I knew instantly and exactly what it was she was talking about. More than that, I knew it to be true. Instead of feeling hurt or defensive, this comment brought light to something that had always lived just beneath the surface.

That being, the regular and daily ways where I was most decidedly, not myself. Not authentic. Not true to who I was. Not true to my experience of being in the world. Maybe it was in the ways I pretended to like something when I did not. Or be interested in something when I was not. Maybe it was in the way I would smile that tight, forced smile when I was really upset. Or said yes when I knew the answer was no. Maybe it was in all the ways I pleased, placated and performed to appease another, to belong, to fit in, to feel safe, to avoid rocking the boat.

To be yourself is to choose and to choose and to choose again. Each and every day in ways large and small. In ways easy and seemingly impossible. In ways obvious and in ways hidden. Given the magnitude of this, how do we begin given all of the habits we have gotten into around who we need to be? How do we begin given how tied we are to what others expect of us? We do it by getting clear, courageous, and firm with ourselves, not others, that this is our one and only life. Our one and only chance to be our one and only self.

And then, we begin to practice. Every day. How might that look practically? One idea to try is something you can do while lying in bed right before sleep. Go back over your day. Not obsessively or critically, but in a curious-about-you kind of way. Locate a moment where you were definitely not you. Put a little circle around it in your mind. A red one. And then place that red line through the middle of it. This is not a judgment or a punishment. It it an awakener. A marker to help you remember what it feels like to not really be yourself. Something you want to become aware of so that you can catch yourself before you go in too deep.

Next, find a place in your day where you really felt at home in yourself. A moment where you were genuine, true to your feelings, authentic. Put a circle around that one. Let it be whatever color feels most true to you. Notice how that moment felt. Choose to remember it in any way that makes sense to you. And then, build from there. There is absolutely a very distinct feel to the real you. One that you want to memorize, get comfortable with, call in, and grow as often as possible.

As silly as it may seem, we really do have to consciously choose to build our way back into the truth of our authentic selves. One experience at a time.

Longing

 

Longing: a strong desire, especially for something unattainable.

Sometimes I am unexpectedly brought back to dreams and longings I had as a child. Feelings which some might categorize as idealistic. Maybe even naive. And yet, somewhere deep inside of me knows that those yearnings are something to be on the lookout for. Something I can trust.

I don’t know about you, but there are so very many things that I long for in this world. And maybe it will turn out to be true that these strong desires of mine will never be attained. Somehow though, I do not think that matters.

Lately, I am caring less and less about that part. Caring less and less about how I might look attempting to do something that may not happen. Embarrassed less and less by how foolish, naive or ridiculous even I might appear. Less and less afraid to go all out; willing, instead, to take the risk that I may not be met.

I am feeling this way because I cannot bear the thought that I will leave this world without at least trying. At least believing. At least taking a chance that what my heart longs for might just be possible. And so I pray for the courage to not only open to these longings, but to take steps in the world on their behalf. For they want to be born. Allowed a chance to live. Allowed a chance to be felt, seen, recognized and experienced.

Here are some of the things I long for:

A world where it is safe to be fully and completely who you are.

A world that protects children.

A world that puts real human needs first.

A world that loves the planet and acts accordingly.

A world where corporations are in service to Life.

A world where we can believe different things and still get along.

A world where telling the truth is the gold standard.

A world where any and all of our most basic survival needs and rights are fully and lovingly met.

A world where those doing the most valuable and precious work for the good of all are the ones most heavily rewarded.

A world where we lift one another up.

A world where individual expression and group affiliation are in harmony.

I could go on, but how about you? What do you long for?

It is so easy for us to be embarrassed by our need, conditioned to limitation as we are. So easy to feel laid bare by our desires out of the fear that they will never happen. So easy to feel stymied by old hurts that imprinted us with the wrong information. So easy to be cautioned into submission by what will they think? Or, who am I to be so bold as to long for…?

But what if the whole point here is less about the actual getting, and instead all about what becomes possible when we decide to go for what we long for? It is a daring and bold thing to hold the reality, the rights, and the responsibilities of being an adult right next to longing. A kind of head meets heart. Experience meets hope. Maturity meets innocence.

Can you imagine?

Being The Difference

 

“I will act as if I do make a difference.”  William James

How often do we live our lives as if what we do, does not matter? Resigned to the status quo of our own limitations. How often do we believe that the problems we face in the world are beyond us? Someone else’s issue or doing. And how often do we feel so small and so insignificant that it seems like our actions would never amount to anything worthwhile? Noteworthy. Impactful. Or resounding.  And so, we do nothing. Or worse yet, we blame and complain.

To know that you make a difference is to know that you matter. And to know that you matter is to know that everything you do, and do not do, counts. One way or another.

The ancient yogic seers named the time we are now living in as the Kali Yuga. The Iron Age. They predicted a time of great difficulty and struggle with the prevailing attitude being apathy. As in, lack of feeling, interest in, or concern. Indifference. A kind of inertia of action. A resignation of the mind. A numbing of the Spirit. A disconnection from the Truth of our very existence.

Do not allow it. We cannot afford it.

And while the pull can be great, the cultural conditioning intense, the personal wounds deep, the time is now ripe to step beyond the old apathetic patterning. Everything, everything is calling, cajoling, pleading, begging; Please, step forward. In whatever way you can. Please, Step Forward.

If you resonate at all with this, but are unsure of what it would look like in your life, try saying to yourself each and every day, “I will act as if I do make a difference.” Watch what happens. Watch what happens when you open yourself up to this level of Truth. Watch without agenda. Watch with a curiosity around what might be possible when the irons of the age of apathy are lifted.

Powerful Questions

We live in a world of ready answers. Quick fixes. Immediate solutions. Left brain knowledge of a particular sort. Despite all of this, too many of us do not seem to be doing so well. What if this was because we are looking at it all the wrong way? What if it is not the answers to be sought after, but the questions?

Given how many of us currently live in a conditioned, answer-oriented way, this would be a brave choice to ponder. A bold stroke to choose to pause, to not immediately know. A radical act to live by more questions than answers. And yet, what if cultivating the practice of crafting meaningful questions was at its core life-changing? Powerful. Informative. Healing. What if learning to ask more questions would be the very thing that would help us to not only find solutions, but to frame the larger and most essential issues of our lives in more all-encompassing and effective ways?

I once heard someone say that to wonder about something gives rise to the voice of the soul. Can you imagine? Can you imagine sourcing something truly all-knowing when attempting to solve the dilemmas of your life? If so, what could you specifically wonder about in your own life? What could you wonder about for the life of the world? What could you stop trying to pound out an answer to, and instead, hold a well-placed question to?

Try this. Locate some issue you are struggling with. Something that seems to defy an “answer.” Something you have been working very hard at that just seems to yield no satisfactory solution. Despite your best efforts. Despite even lots of outside help.

For instance, instead of hammering away at that entrenched physical issue, trying to run down the answer, could you ask, ” What is it that my body most needs right now to heal?” Or how about for that “fork in the road issue,” asking “What is it I most need to know at this time to choose wisely?” And for a relationship issue, how about, “What is mine to do/not do here?”

Ask a question, and then, let it go. Drop it. Take the intensity of solving for the answer out of it. Instead, whenever the issue in mind presents, wonder to yourself about it through your question, and then let the whole thing float away as easily as a helium balloon gleefully released from a child’s hand. No need to figure anything out.

Learning to let go like this does take effort. But it is a different kind of effort than most of us are used to. Instead of a pushing and a tense striving, this approach is more of an effortless one; once you get the hang of it. A kind of letting the answer find you instead of working to make it happen. This might not initially feel good to that overachieving part of the mind that will say you aren’t doing enough. It might even feel as though you have given up, or entrusted your life to the wrong things. And that if you aren’t the one in charge, who will be for god’s sake?

And that is exactly the point. If your long-term efforts at finding the answers have not gotten you to where you most long to be, is that not information enough? Is that not feedback enough that perhaps another way might prove more fruitful? That this is not a matter, as the rational mind might say, of just needing to find the “correct” information. Perhaps it is time to entertain the knowing that maybe your efforting has been on the wrong end of the equation. Perhaps your efforts would be better served in learning to surrender, have patience, and practice trust. Which by the way are all very, very significant and meaningful qualities to develop while one waits for an answer.