Many mornings I wake up feeling like the universe is against me.
The alarm goes off and as I walk from the bed to the bathroom, this looming fear that I’m already 20 points behind awakens. I haven't even put my contacts in yet.
For a while, I used this predawn panic as fuel - waking up nervous, emailing myself ideas from bed so I wouldn't forget them. Then, rush out the door to the coffee shop where I open the laptop - because what’s the use in getting up early if you're not back on your computer working again? Everyone knows morning is when we should take advantage of the chance to get ahead.
It feels like trying to beat back the rising tide with a broom.
Pressure of that nature may work for a while, but that brand of gasoline burns fast. Each morning it takes more fretting, more suspicion and more out-performing to keep at bay the judgement from the omnipresent, imagined committee we’ve allowed to determine our worth.
Why do we do it?
Well, strangely enough there’s security in believing the universe is against us. We kind of like being measured (whether real or in our heads) and believing there's a finish line we're supposed to reach at the end of each day. Because if we’re measured at least we know where we stand. If the only action we know is motivated by fear, at least we’re not alone. We willingly find community in suffering and worry instead of joy and gratitude. Connecting with others over The Good takes more work than finding a miserable companion.
This is why I wake up believing the universe is against me. Belief in a benevolent universe is more difficult.
Many of us were taught that good living is unequivocally connected to hard work. If our days aren't hard, if we aren't grinding against something, there's no progress. And if there's no progress, there's no worth.
Of course there’s value in hard work, but hard work isn’t synonymous with internal distress. I worry about the fragility of our identities if we don’t stop believing we’re running from some predator and start trusting that we’re doing a little better than we think we are.
My friend says it this way - when we wake up, what if we choose to believe there's no score? What if we accept that we are already qualified, good, whole and in a position to be kind and generous?
Then everything would be bonus. Every moment.
Whether confronted with favorable situations or challenges, when we make this small shift in our thinking and choose to believe more events in our lives are for us, not against us, everything changes. Each subsequent moment can be accepted as a chance to practice the best parts of ourselves because we’re not desperately grasping to make up lost ground. We’re free to do our best work and leave the predawn panic behind.