Well, folks, we're approaching the end of this A-B-SEries (get it?) of letters. (In case you understandably forgot or are new here, last summer, I committed to writing one email for each letter of the alphabet, and, as you can see, we're on the letter x). What will happen after z? Who knows? I certainly don't.
And at different points in my life, not knowing something could be scary, or exciting, or a relief.
Math was never a strong subject. It wasn't even a weak subject. It meant nothing to me. The only memory I have of math class is a picture of me smiling while holding up a test graded A (or maybe it was C). I was wearing blue-tinted sunglasses and a metal ball chain choker. Sugar Ray and Hot Topic were popular then, and if there were a way to cheat in math, believe me, I would have done it.
It's no surprise I don't remember much of a subject I neither cared for nor excelled in, but I do remember that we were always solving for x. The unknown. X was an unknown variable. The unknown variable.
Being the metaphoricist that I am--I really need to find a way to turn metaphoricizing into a doctoral thesis so I can become Sharon Brooke Uy, Doctor of Metaphor--I've come to find that every last soul who comes knocking upon my therapy door is hoping to gain tools or be directly told how to solve for some unknown. Maybe their x is how to maintain (or find) inner peace, or how to handle a life transition without anxiously burning down every bridge along the way. We left math behind, but we're still always trying to solve for x.
At the risk of beating the dead horse that is this metaphor into oblivion, I humbly present a few ideas for solving for one's spiritual x.
1. Illuminate the known. I think sometimes we focus so much on what we don't know that we forget how much we do know. And there's a lot of information to be squeezed from what already exists that can trickle into clarity and insight. Also, to be unintentionally cryptic, we focus on what we focus on.
2. Substitute. Okay, so I had to look up ways to solve for x, but I would have gotten there eventually. Maybe. At the end of a session, whether we're doing parts work or just ending with a mindful moment, I invite the client to release the old and call in the new, the more beneficial. Like letting go of fear and replacing it with courage, or maybe acceptance. Make trial and error fun again.
3. Let x be x. I know we're not supposed to have favorite children, but this one may be my favorite. Is it because I'm lazy? Perhaps. But if we let x be x, then we don't have to do anything, or solve for anything. We just put the spaceship in cruise control, kick our feet up on the command console and glide along with the rest of the (extra)terrestrials.
Rather than viewing the quest to solve for x as a finite destination, we can find solace in accepting the perpetual existence of the unknown. After all, just as the universe is infinitely expansive, so, too, are the possibilities that await us. And instead of seeking to conquer the mysteries of life, we can learn to dance in harmony with them, recognizing that one of the beauties of our human existence lies not in having all the answers but, in, as Rainer Maria Rilke so beautifully urged, reveling in the questions themselves.
- as always, with love and thanks,
Something to listen to on shuffle:
Solve for X, a playlist. I highly suggest releasing any expectations for any sort of coherence (musical, thematic, lyrical, etc.).
Some things to read:
- Speaking of sound synergy, this article on the longest performance ever (we're 23 years into the 639-year show).
- To balance out the aforementioned idea of longevity, a reminder that death will probably come sooner than we anticipate, so do this before you go.