A Mighty Kindness
If you are at a scary place, these four words can be a lifeboat: Begin, Believe, Behave, Become. I wish I could remember where I read this simple, powerful phrase that acted as a guide to Unraveling myself, as Susannah Conway would say. What I didn't know on the beach in Santa Monica 15 years ago when I read this revelation was that you don't just do these steps once and then find yourself healed - you do them over and over and over. And therein lies the magic; the joy you seek is in the process of having the courage to begin again a thousand times- because you finally start believing you're worth it. Sometimes you can behave your way into believing you're worthy of love, fake it till you make it actually works in many cases. Believe and Become work together like a feedback loop: When you believe you are worthy, you start behaving like a person who thinks they are worthy, which makes you believe more strongly that you're worthy, and so on. The vulnerable/uncomfortable part comes when you encounter an unforeseen obstacle, a failure, an unkindness. Then you must begin again. But this time, you know it will be alright, and that knowing gets stronger every time you slog through these four B's. After rinsing and repeating - you become compassionate toward yourself and other humans who are imperfect. You become what Rumi calls 'a Mighty Kindness' in the poem Zero Circle:
Be helpless, dumbfounded, Unable to say yes or no. Then a stretcher will come from grace To gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty If we say we can, we’re lying. If we say No, we don’t see it, That No will behead us And shut tight our window onto spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything, Besides ourselves, and only that, so Miraculous beings come running to help. Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute, We shall be saying finally, With tremendous eloquence, Lead us. When we have totally surrendered to that beauty, We shall be a mighty kindness.