I reached the fuck it factor. It’s a period of time where you can’t see a clear path and sort of give up and say, “Fuck it, I’m tired of trying.” Huh, it’s not the first time I’ve been there and I imagine won’t be the last either.
This time, I watched my old favorite The Matrix and Morpheus reached out of the TV and reminded me…
“There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” (Morpheus to Neo)
It may sound like what we’ve all heard before, that we humans know what is right and true plenty of times but don’t actually live out that knowledge day in and day out. I.e., I know I shouldn’t lie, but I did it anyway because I was pissed off. Or, I know I should eat right and exercise but I went to McDonald’s and sat in a chair for three days just because I felt like it. Ppht, not what Morpheus meant. Come on, I don’t know a single soul who doesn’t struggle in some fashion between knowing and doing “the right stuff.”
New Testament Paul is famous for saying “Why do I do that which I do not want to do?” I have an answer for Paul, it’s because we have feelings, dumbass, and sometimes they rule our decisions. It’s called being human. Henry Cloud says, “The fool tries to adjust the truth so he does not have to adjust to it.” I’m not talking about that. I don’t choose to lie regularly. I don’t sit in a chair 24/7 with a “Big Mac on my breath.”
I do have moments. Minutes, hours, days, whatever…of trepidation, or confusion or agitation, nervousness, or panic. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a part of being alive. It’s something to learn to walk through rather than lament feeling in the first place.
In the context of the Matrix, Morpheus made a great point about choosing to go in a specific direction, without really knowing the end game, or what the path might spring on one, moment by moment. Neo knew the way to go at a heart level, but didn’t know he was “The One.” If you are not a fan of the The Matrix, or learning from stories, I don’t know what to tell you, except that you are missing out.
I think I’ve mentioned this before about the path of forgiveness. If my son says, “I’m sorry I yelled at you Mom,” I can forgive him immediately. When an offense is colossal, it will never be that easy. It’s a path I walk with forgiveness at the end of it. The beginning is the choice to forgive, with steps along the way. Just like the Big Mac days, there may be days of anger or confusion on that particular path. It doesn’t mean that the path has been left altogether. The “right path,” to me, is a general direction, with specific individual paths en route. Forgiveness is just one example.
Later in the Matrix, The Oracle says,
“You’ve already made the choice, now you have to understand it.” I’d agree there, because it is more to the point of being aware that some paths need divergence at some point. And if we double check our understanding of our paths at certain crossroads, we can change for the better. Not staying stuck if a path no longer serves your heart or current understanding of your life is a part of maturity, right?
I like this quote shared by Eileen Ní Shuilleabháin (on her Facebook page) concerning the need for a path of self-compassion in the midst of it all.
“Ultimately, self-compassion is a series of choices, a moment by moment conscious turning away from that which will harm your spirit toward that which will nourish and sustain you.
It is choosing, in any particular situation, and over and over again whether you’ll treat yourself well, or beat yourself up, whether you’ll deny yourself, or treat yourself as lovingly as you’d treat your child or your most precious friend.
Self-compassion means looking at yourself with kindness, with a conscious awareness of your sufferings, and in time, with a deep appreciation for the way you have transformed them.”
-Daphne Rose Kingma, Loving Yourself: Four Steps to a Happier You
Lastly, my favorite Morpheus quote about Neo, “As long as there is a single breath left in his body, he will not give up.” That’s a path I can get behind.