As I ready for an enormous expansion of my work in the world, I find myself tempted by the ghosts of my past. Insecurities I thought I had healed. Unfounded worries and fears. Afraid it will not produce the fruits I am hoping for (by fruits I mean gathering and forming a community while supporting members of that community in coming to their own wholeness). While sitting in meditation this morning I was confronted with an unexpected ghost….one I definitely thought I was done with:
(Ugh! Lauri Lumby being excruciatingly human again!) At first, I was tempted to condemn myself for still hanging on to this old demon. The demon that makes me cringe every time I am compared to someone doing “similar” work. Or when I see someone I judge as undeserving getting ANOTHER publishing contract. These thoughts have made me feel so petty, jealous, and like such a baby. “Lauri get over it! Who cares that ___________ keeps publishing books which all say the same old crap!? Who cares that _____________ is Oprah’s flavor of the week! Who cares that _________________ has absolutely no education or experience in this field and yet keeps getting publishing deals and speaking engagements on the topic?!”
But then, in my meditation it hit me! There are many authors with whom I do not have these kinds of reactions or feelings. Instead, I celebrate every time they publish a new work or book another speaking engagement or public interview. Bill Plotkin, JK Rowling, Cynthia Bourgeault, Jean Yves-LeLoup, Barbara Marx Hubbard (who sadly recently passed), Rabbi Michael Munk, Tau Malachi, Mary Sharrat, Maggie Stiefvater, Dennis William Hauck, are all authors whose work I cannot get enough of and I hold a party every time they publish a new work. My demon of “professional jealousy” does not show up at all for a single one of these authors. This realization made me pause. Why do I have (what I have interpreted as) professional jealousy over some authors but not for all?
If I had to identify ONE THING that all of the authors above have in common…..it would be INTEGRITY. They write within their own field of expertise. They ARE experts in their field. They are writing from their heart and their soul. They are not writing with the intention of appealing to the masses (though for some their work does). Instead, they are writing what THEY want to read. Their works are intelligent and wise. They are impeccable with their word and they are staying in their own lane. And most of all, they are not trying to blow smoke up anyone’s ass!
Then it hit me. What I have been judging as professional jealousy isn’t jealousy at all! Instead, it is ME seeing through a lens clearly. What I have called jealousy is actually my superpower of discernment seeing what is truth and what is falsehood. What I have called jealousy is simply my ability to read people and their truer intentions. I’m seeing the person behind the persona. The truth behind the lies. The reality behind the illusion. The capitalistic drive that tempts people to leave their integrity behind in favor of a big fat check and the possibility of fame.
Now, before you call me an asshole with a capital A (which sometimes I am which is why Denis Leary and I are friends!), I am also aware that what I am seeing in my discernment is ONLY FOR ME! What is true for me is not necessarily true for others. We are all on our own path and if the words of _______________ speak to you, then cool! Their work just doesn’t speak to me. I want grit. I want depth. I want to be challenged in my growth. I want to grow. I want to learn. I want to expand my knowledge in the areas of my passion – human development and spirituality. And I want to be entertained (Thank you Maggie Stiefvater!.). I also recognize that as human beings we are all at different stages in our journey and that we all need resources that reflect our current stage of development. I mean, let’s be real…..I had a book of Tau Malachi’s on my shelf for 10 years before I could read it!!!! The same is true of my copy of the Sefir Yetzirah.
I’m just glad that as I ready for this next stage of expansion, I can now set aside my own self-judgment over what I’ve been calling professional jealousy and OWN my ability to see through a lens clearly.