014. KEEP ON PEELING / by Cara Hines

Sometimes, no matter how far we come…no matter how many layers we peel away or how much we think we’ve evolved…old lessons show up in new packaging. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Perhaps they’re new lessons in old packaging. Well, in any case, sometimes life throws at us (or we throw at ourselves) something that feels like a redo; like a test we have to retake but with the questions phrased just differently enough to confound us and create a new challenge. This isn’t a bad thing unless we think it is. Like everything else, the only meaning it has is what we give it.

Parts of tonight felt like stepping back in time to very old lessons; lessons I thought I’d learned a long time ago and didn’t need to repeat. I might just be more obstinate than I thought. Actually, I might be more optimistic/idealistic than what’s good for me. I typically see the highest potential in all people and situations I encounter. And that potential is just as much fantasy as the stories we tell ourselves to keep us from living into it. I create scenarios in my mind that don’t exist and that never culminate, in which everyone I meet rises above their current state of doing and being, and that includes me. I trick myself into thinking that’s what everyone wants. It’s not. It’s what I want. It’s my own expectation. I find that I’m so attached to the idea of everyone evolving beyond their present station in life, it’s incredibly painful when I discover they’re content with status quo, with living inside an illusion, even if what they’re choosing makes them miserable and harms others in the process. And I am incredibly frustrated with myself when I realize I’ve chosen to give this optimism over to someone who can’t possibly recognize its merits.

It’s another living example of how our attachments cause misery. How many times do I have to touch that fire to see how hot it is? Always new layers to peel, I suppose. Always.