Do It Alone, in Groups

Do It Alone in Groups — we are alone, all the time, and our life is our responsibility. Nonetheless, others who care about us are great resources for living life differently.

do it alone in groups

One of the more interesting concepts to get your head around is how the individual work we propose fits in with our constant “nagging” about building intimate relationships. Since the two things seem to be opposites, surely you must have to choose.

Well, no.

We’re back to the idea of things being more than black or white. We’re back to the idea that we could be doing two seemingly contradictory things at the same time, and far from being at cross-purposes, it may be the tension between the two poles or goals that causes the whole thing to work in the first place.

do it alone in groups

Idea one: the walk of life is a solo walk.

We want to endlessly remind ourselves that we are born alone and die alone — these are tasks we can’t assign to someone else. It’s also not really a stretch to understand that the rest of life is a solo walk, too. After all, where you are right now is a direct result of your walk — no one dragged you, for example, into your present relationship (or lack thereof.)

I’m sure that there are ways of understanding life beyond the ones I focus on, but my understanding is that I am here to figure myself out — and in that process to take responsibility for how I am seeing, interpreting, and living my life.

No matter how often I am tempted to list off the things I think are “making” my life miserable, in the end, I know that what makes the circumstances of my life miserable are my interpretations.

It’s always and only me that is messing with me.

So, I work at watching myself as I upset myself over my interpretations. I know I’m heading down the garden path when I start thinking or saying, “This isn’t fair,” or “Why are they (the ever mysterious and evil “they”) doing this to me?”

Other times, I confuse myself with what I actually want out of life, and then simply whine about how “tough” life is.

In fact, I am designing my life, all the time, through the choices I am making.

We create scenarios, or what I call “dramas,” and we’re completely in charge of both the script for the drama and the cast of characters that we draw to us to play the roles we assign to them.

An example: I once worked with a woman who fell out of love with her husband, and promptly fell into love with a carpenter who was building an addition to her house. The woman was unwilling to deal with the reality of her confused life. What she wanted was for her husband to agree to live with her as “a brother,” and her carpenter friend to leave his family and spend his time with her. Until all of this happened, until everyone else changed, and happily, she insisted, she’d not be able to get on with her life or career. So, she decided to wait for everyone else to sign on the the script she had written.

I suspect she’d still be waiting, but ironically the husband and the carpenter talked, went out for a beer, bonded, (ah, male bonding…) and decided that she had the problem and that they weren’t going to solve for her. They dumped it back in her lap.

She was furious, as she had “planned” this thing out! They were to just do what she wanted them to, and keep her out of it. Remember, she had the hots for the carpenter — and she wanted “the men” to make it easy for her to forget that her horniness was the entire issue.

Then, I had the audacity to refuse to solve her dilemma, so she terminated therapy. As she walked out the door, she told me that her plan was to go home and wait to see who was going to give in and fix things for her.

Her drama is entitled: “Here I sit and wait and wait, and no one is making me happy.”

What happens next in our lives is determined by what we set in motion and what we are willing to see and understand. That’s it.

Now, sure, stuff does happen that’s out of our control, but all that means is that we have to figure out what we’re going to do with the hand we’re dealt. Whining about the cards dealt is simply a waste of time.

do it alone in groups

Rule two: You need an intimate friend or two.

We’re been here before. An intimate friend is one with whom I am willing to be open and honest — someone with whom I engage in clear communication. And the communication is about who I am today, what games I’m playing, where I’m stuck, and what I’m figuring out.

Talking to ourselves, and to ourselves alone is the short road to delusion. This is so because we are so good at lying to ourselves. We set up a situation and assume that we can get away with it, and someone walks in and we’re caught in our story. We begin blaming those around us, or making excuses, and dig ourselves a hole.

And all that was ever necessary, way back in the beginning, was a conversation with an intimate who would challenge our assumptions. And then, of course, we would have had to have listened to our friend and acted differently.

Unless we really needed the drama we were about to set up.

If we are choosy, and we should be, we will end up with a short list of friends who are excellent at commenting on what we’re doing — how it appears to them. We can solicit feedback — and in listening to it cause ourselves to pull up short and see what we’re missing.

In other words, in intimate friendship, we avail ourselves of a slightly or widely different perspective.

Not to the exclusion of thinking for ourselves — as an additional stream of information. In intimate conversation, we more quickly see how easy it is to head down a familiar path leading to a big crash — having missed that we’re “doing it again.”

This wisdom comes in the form of intimate communication — and we then, on our solo walk, we can chose to do things differently. As opposed to being clever, cute, and declaring our wisdom — while still doing the same, old, tired, dumb stuff.

This requires honesty, as we choose to be vulnerable with a friend, to listen to what they have to say. It equally requires that we stop shooting ourselves in the foot. A lot to ask, it seems.

Or not.

This week, examine your walk. How self-responsible are you? How much of your life are you still blaming on past events, accidents, the behaviours of others, bad karma or whatever other crap you’re spreading?

How much of your life seems out of your control, dictated by the choices of others? How often do you remind yourself to look deeply at the life you are creating, right now?

And how often do you stop your hustling, and sit down with a friend, and open up, and let them know what little or big drama you’re setting up right now? How often do you invite them to comment, and how often do you listen? How often are you tempted to say, “I know that?” without noticing that your behaviour would indicate you really don’t “know that?” How willing are you to be teachable?

And most important, how willing are you to behave differently?

In the end, we walk alone, building a life, making a difference, (if we are wise) or building nothing, carping all the way. In the end we either trust a few people, or we scare ourselves into silence and isolation. In the end, as we always say, you choose.

So, choose consciously. Choose wholeness. As you walk alone. In the company of friends.

Make Contact!

So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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