I've got a friend.
He's aggressive, crude, crass, and very hedonistic. In some ways, I admire him, because he's willing to be a demand for what he wants, and ensure that he gets it.
In other ways, he's selfish, destructive, uncaring, callous, and aloof.
Sometimes he's a party to have around, but other times, he's a complete disaster and a liability. He'll stay up late with you, go on wild adventures for no reason other than you asked, and get into all kinds of crazy antics.
One of the things I love about him is what a badass he is. He's one of those guys that, when you see him, you already feel like there's a little bit of danger to him. You kind of want to protect yourself from him, but at the same time, you're also a little bit excited about the lack of control and the adventure that awaits. Adventure is always a little bit scary, and this guy brings adventure with him.
If you haven't guessed it yet, this person is me. Or at least, he's a part of me.
He's a part of me that I keep at arm's length, always and forever. I call him the Beast.
<cue lightning strikes and thunder in the background>
The Beast is my badboy. He's the hedonistic, destructive, adventurous, exciting, sexy, scary, selfish, daring part of myself.
My relationship to the Beast, for as long as I can remember, has been to jail him and control him.
I keep him locked up (very effectively), and when he is out, I control him like you wouldn't believe.
Sometimes the pendulum shifts though, and instead of keeping him in the cage, the jailor decides "Fuck it, I need a day off", and throws the cage wide open. That's when the beast roams the streets, creating excitement for some people, and eating other people.
It's basically just the other side of the same coin. On the one side, the beast is known to be scary and capable of vast destruction, so we have to keep him locked up and under control. On the other side, we simply get fed up of all the control and throw the gates open and thereby prove true the story that he needs to be controlled in the first place.
And in truth, it feels pretty good when I let that cage wide open. I'm certainly more relaxed, at first, because I've let go of all the control. And partying is usually a lot of fun. At first. But then, there's the cleanup the next day. And I have to confront the aftermath of what I've created (sometimes when I'm lucky, all that means is a hangover. Sometimes I'm not lucky).
And after a while, partying loses its sheen, because I'm a man with a vision and commitment, and I actually want to create during this ridiculous cosmic lottery that I won called "Being Born".
My coach pointed out to me my tendency toward trying to create the next action to take, as opposed to taking a look at my relationship to the Beast, and addressing that.
Taking the next action, might look kind of like this:
"Oh wow, there's my desire to go and party. And look, it's showing up in the middle of the day. Better squash that thought immediately. Let's find something to work on" (the Beast meanwhile, roams around his cage making noise, as I continue to do my best to complete copious amounts of work and ignore what's showing up). This is the type of action that's consistent with controlling and jailing the Beast.
Or it might look like:
"Sweet! Letting go of all this control actually sounds pretty rad. Let's fuck off for the rest of the day and open up that cage". This action is consistent with the other side of that relationship — open the gates, and deal with the problems later. It's Miller Time!*
You can, hopefully, see the cyclical nature of this. One leads perfectly into the other.
So instead, my real work lies in taking a look at this underlying relationship, deconstructing that, and then creating something entirely different.
The first step for me in that journey is simply noticing what happens when the Beast shows up. When he rouses from his slumber, what happens? How do I react? What feels automatic for me?
This is hard work for me, because it doesn't really feel like hard work. It feels more like navel gazing.
For me and my people, that's always something we struggle with in transformational work. Everything is meant to be really hard work involving a lot of doing, so any practice like simply noticing our thoughts and what shows up feels a lot like cheating.
I'd much rather figure out how to build a better cage, or how to justify the carnage left in the Beast's wake — but I know both of those roads very well, and I know where they lead back to (right here).
It looks like the theme for me right now is signing off without a clear moral or message. I'm alright with that if you are**.
It's nice to see you again.
* I do not condone drinking Miller. Drink good beer instead.
** I'm also alright with it if you aren't.