When I was a graduate student there was an atmosphere of frenetic anxiety among my cohort when it came time to apply for pre-doctoral internship. The problem was that there were nowhere near enough internship slots for all of the students applying across the country and so there was a risk of not getting an internship and therefore not being able to graduate anytime soon.
I took a trip to the coast to escape the frenzy. As I was walking along the little row of shops there I was intrigued by a sign that read "sacred stone readings." I entered and met a woman named Violet who had a big velvet bag of stones. She asked me to focus on a question and select a few. I did so and she then asked me what my question was. I said, "Will I get a good internship?" Upon hearing this question, Violet put down the coffee mug she was holding, leaned forward, and looked me in the eyes with great intensity. She said, "Do you know what your problem is? Your problem is that you know what you know, but you don't know that you know what you know."
I don't think her statement had anything to do with the stones in the velvet bag, but it had a far greater impact on me that the rest of the reading. With her proclamation, she set me on a path of wondering about my untapped wisdom and what resources I might have that I don't even know I have. In times when I'm all caught up in self-criticism, Violet will interrupt me with her kind and dead-serious eyes asking, "Do you know what your problem is?"
Complex trauma can put us into biological and emotional states that narrow our senses and make it difficult to wake up to the reality of our own wisdom. If we can practice living according to Violet's proclamation, the world of possibility can suddenly expand and life can, maybe, be a whole lot more fun.
This week's belonging reminder:
This week's practice suggestion:
-The next time you are caught up in worry, fear, anxiety, or panic, imagine a wise friend or mentor arrives out of the blue just when you need them. Imagine that they ask you to focus on your question. Tell them your question. Imagine that they put down their coffee mug, lean toward you, look you squarely and warmly in the eyes and say, "Do you know what your problem is? Your problem is that you know what you know, but you don't know that you know what you know?" Maybe even ask someone to you trust to say these words to you. Really take it in. Notice what happens.