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Who is Driving My Bus?

I love what I do for “work” even though I actually don’t use this word much. Over the (many) years of aligning my profession to my vocation, I switched away from looking at work and passion, or career and vocation, as two separate things. Sure, there are the occasional tasks and moments that are not as juicy as others (at times, grading some assignments is not as much fun as facilitating a deep and evoking group process). Overall, though, vocation and passion are my drivers and my vocabulary. For the most part. Except when I forget, or disconnect, from the place within me that knows the truth, the authentic way of being, the heart and soul guided driver of the bus.

“Those who take the world to be simply literal or only a fallen place miss the fractal renewals playing at the edges of reality. For in this world of stories even the hard facts can turn out to be fiction, while the most outrageous fictions can come closest to the truth. This world is both a matter of fact and the stuff of fiction.” – Michael Meade

And when I do, when I stop driving the bus of my life and of my authentic true trajectory, things start happening and life becomes… shall we say, interesting. Then, someone else hops to the front, gets comfortable behind the steering wheel, and takes off. Here we go…

It happened recently, and not for the first time. I think I know the pattern by now, which has to do with someone else I have been talking to, getting an exciting offer, a contract, or an opportunity – and I begin to hear that inner voice whispering, “Hey, I want some of it too. Why only them? You are just as good, you know. Maybe even better. What’s wrong with you?”

After listening to this voice for a few days and trying to turn away from it (it doesn’t work), I finally realized that someone else was driving my bus as of recent. These are familiar voices and personalities, because they have been on the bus for as long as I can remember. They have probably been there even longer, before I was even aware of them. They are the ones I greet with the timeless words of Simon and Garfunkel, “Hello darkness my old friend / I’ve come to talk with you again / …”

So, time came to have a conversation with the voice. By now, I’d like to think that I know that when one of them manages to grab the steering wheel before I notice it, and take over, there is something this voice (an aspect of my personality, really) needs. We obviously need to talk, old friend. You got my attention and I am finally present. What is going on with you?

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” – Franz Kafka

Voice: I don’t like you.
Me: Why is that? What happened?

Voice: You are not paying any attention to me.
Me: What makes you say that?

Voice: You are focused on everything else and everyone else and I am left all alone here. I am not important to you.
Me: Oh, my. I am sorry. You are. Totally. What would you like to do?

Voice: I don’t want to be neglected any more. I want to know you care about me. I want to play. With you.
Me: You know, I think you are right. I got too focused on all the other tasks, and preparations for my trip, that I did ignore you. I see it. I am truly sorry.

The conversation continued for a while, in the same spirit, with emotions and tears, until we finally got to a place of understanding. I am back in the driver seat, with extra attention on this lifelong passenger who is now comfortably cuddled on one of the seats, staring out the window.

Until the next time I forget. I know it will happen again. My hope is that I will become aware of it faster than this time.

Published in reflection