The Triple D path to enlightenment is the best way I know of to achieve the ultimate goal of feeling totally free. Free to post on Facebook that you think organized sports are a cult that enriches no one but the team owners. Free to tell everyone that the trees have begun talking to you (they do, seriously!). Free to walk with pride through Target trailing toilet paper on your shoe because you know someone will take a photo, post it on the Internet and that just might lead to your personal 15 minutes of fame, pal!
The Triple D path looks like this: Disappointment leads to Disillusion which leads to Dissolution of Mind-made structures and ultimately gifts you with the giddy run-through-fields-of-sunflowers-at-sunset kind of freedom. This freedom happens when you release expectations that humans act any other way than how they act and that no matter how many times you try to like it, Moscato wine will always taste like melted Jolly Rancher candies who took up running with a bad crowd: dirty and wrong.
In the experience of disappointment, we remember that expectations are OK to have but they may or may not be fulfilled. The other humans involved get to have a say in the interaction. They get to choose whether or not to meet those cherished expectations which frankly is a bummer, I get it. If they decide to say no or do whatever the hell they want like anarchists, Disappointment helps us with Its sledgehammer crush of our dreams to remember where our personal power actually lives, or at least where it should, right inside of us.
If, haha I mean when, we are disappointed it only means we placed expectations of a specific outcome on a situation or person or thing. We thought the course we took would fix us. We thought the new job would satisfy the restlessness. We thought losing weight would mean nothing but glorious clothes shopping forever more but we were dead ass wrong about it.
One of my granddaughters, Ashlyn, is playing out examples of this when she says, “I’ll say this and my Gigi will say that and then we’ll la-la-la off somewhere probably to Chik-Fil-A and get ice cream.” I’m only paraphrasing part of that sentence but that’s exactly the kind of internal tea party scenario set up that leads to tears. My other granddaughter Avery plays out these same conversations but remembers to add with a wise slow shaking of her tiny red-haired head, “And then Gigi will say no.”
Poor Ashlyn is doomed since she doesn’t yet know I, like most people who are free or no longer give a fuck, make a habit of going the opposite direction of any tea parties I might be expected to attend. Her Gigi can smell an expectation/demand/hidden agenda a mile away and that smell is reminiscent of a dead mouse found recently on a chair requiring it, the chair not the mouse (the mouse was respectfully carried back out to the woods) to be dragged outside immediately and burned to metal and ash. Most people do run from hidden agendas. Disappointment lets us know we had those agendas in the first place.
Typically when something or someone disappoints us it can trigger a deeper experience of disillusion. Disillusionment is an awakening experience in which we see our idolized heroes as the flawed human beings they were all along. In addition we can wake up and see through teachers, religious leaders and anyone in authority who are holding themselves above their students/clients, trapped in an ego story of their own and possibly leading you down the road to ruin where you can end up at the least, seeing an empty bank account and at the worst, bellying up to the bar and being served a freshly mixed batch of grape Kool-Aid.
Disillusionment wipes away the pretty cotton candy webs of external and internal deception from our eyes. Sometimes Disillusionment does that with a sweet old antique handkerchief with delicate pink embroidered roses and a classy monogrammed initial in one corner. Sometimes It does it with a swift right hook that knocks you on your pockets and sends little cartoon birds flying and tweeting in circles above your head. This is also called getting smacked across the back of the head with the Cosmic 2×4. My wish for all of us is the antique handkerchief but if you choose not to listen to the early warning bells then things can go south for you pretty damn fast. Consider yourself warned.
Eventually, we do wake up and stagger to our feet. While we’re standing there wobbly and slightly askew we can enter into the zone of Dissolution and Mind really hates this part. Hates it like I hate standing in line at the post office listening to Billy Bob loud talking on his cell phone about the Republican party and “Obamer care” or when somebody serves me literally anything with raspberries in it or when I hear a cat yarping up a hairball at 3 am and hope to high heaven it’s not going to land on anything I care about keeping.
When Dissolution happens to my clients it’s delightful, when it happens to me not so much. For clients, I laugh, shout Hallelujah and remind them that I have a strict no refund policy for exactly these moments! It sounds cruel but it’s true that in our greatest misery, we surrender most easily. When Disappointment has given us gas, Disillusionment has dotted our eye is when Dissolution can really get to work. In those times of existential crisis which can be identified best by listening for the pitiful wails of, “But what’s it all even for? What the fuck am I even doing?” or the ever so classic and my personal favorite, “What’s the meaning of life anyway?”, our stories begin to dissolve our own ego structures and our identity starts to shatter like so many cell phone screens just after the warranty has run out.
This is the point where we blame the teacher, the spouse, the family dog. This is when we most want our money back and we want to run far, far away. This is when the siren song of binge eating pizza and watching The Office reruns for 72 hours straight really sings to us like a Broadway musical star.
We melt turning into sloppy goo the same as the Wicked Witch of the West when she got zapped with a bucket of water. Which makes me think did she never bathe, like ever? What was she using all those years, dry shampoo and extra strength deodorant? Anyway, we can feel as if we’ve been tossed up in the air and we’re frantically grasping for something to hold on to. Our mind is scrambling to form another structure to wrap up and hide inside of which is why blaming others is so handy.
Wise folks know to hire a coach or get a therapist who can handle existential crises. Over time we learn to wait, to let ourselves spin and tilt and cry and question, and anchor in the only reliable tools that work: conscious breathing and extreme mindfulness. Not running away from pain but not drowning in it either.
We know our stories about who we are, are being rewritten but we don’t know what the new identity will be and we’re ok with the in-between. We know the wanting to die is the death of the ego (that said please call 911 or a suicide hotline if you think you may be at risk of actual suicide!) and that with every ego/personality death comes a pause and then a rebirth.
We become more comfortable in letting Mind have its complete and utter freak out knowing that the dissolution of our stories sets us free again and again. We can learn to trust the process, say Yes and Thank You and This, too. The life cycle of a butterfly is a tired old cliché but like most clichés, we keep it because it works so well. If you are in a dissolving stage of your life splayed out on your kitchen floor crying for all the children and animals in the world it’s OK. If you are dumbstruck by the failures of someone who you want to admire but they just stumbled big time allow yourself to be dispersed and brought back together. If you just found out your most loved best friend from kindergarten sister from another mister secretly voted for Trump and your mind goes blank with shock and horror, allow it.
You’re dying. And in this sense, midwifing your own death through breathing and mindfulness eases you right on into the rebirth.
Your new united self will bring with it a deeper capability to understand human nature and to experience open and unconditional compassion. On the days you want to save all the children in the whole wide world, center yourself in Love, donate to causes you trust and save the child within. From that space, wait to see what real world action to take if any.
On the days you are paralyzed by the buffet of options for action and activism sit back and allow yourself to be moved toward places where you can be the most effective. Being moved instead of scrambling to move is the feminine way and it takes courage to sit in the messy brokenness and breathe into it.
Eventually, you end up looking into the soup bowl of your life and seeing it for the mess of unidentifiable chunks and strange broth that it really is. You wind up loving it all the more for its interesting mix of bits and pieces. You are finally, for a time, able to stand on the razor’s edge and love the wholeness of everything as it is right now with no pressure to change any of it.