Cockroaches and Inventory
One of the most valuable things I have ever learned is to inventory. It is a process where I can evaluate myself as objectively as I can. I can see where I am doing well and where I am not. I can see where the defects of character are kicking my ass and interfering in my relationships with others.
It is not fun to do - let me be clear. I dread it - not because of what it will reveal - that is the good stuff. But because of how uncomfortable the process makes me. My ego HATES it. My ego will throw up every excuse to not do it. And I have to battle to even keep the idea on the agenda let alone sit down and put words on paper.
I used to do an annual housecleaning inventory. Then I got married and busy and became a mother and I stopped making that a priority. I still do a spot check inventory but the annual “take stock in what is rotting inside of Erin” became less important and it became easier and easier to listen to my ego.
It isn’t that I don’t look at myself - I do it all the time. Being an alcoholic makes me one of the most selfish people ever. I am completely oriented towards ME! But somehow, this same trait gives me this amazing shield from having to really look at me and how and why I do the shit that I do.
Inventory is like shining a bright like in the kitchen at 4 am in Florida. The cockroaches hate that. And like those roaches, the parts inside of me that want to remain hidden, hide from my inventory search light and are masters at scampering into the dark edges away from the light. Seems like a lot of work to go chasing after stuff that I do not really want to see anyway. Feels like a lot to ask of me especially when I am soooo busy and who the hell wants to find cockroaches???
So why do I do it? Because I happen to inhabit a body and mind that is a mess. Some of which is directly due to being an alcoholic and some of which I can attribute to a difficult childhood. How do I even know that? Inventory, my friend. Inventory.
We all take stock of ourselves all the time. But an inventory is different. It is formal and set. It is a commitment to sitting down pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and writing it down. I have a friend who was meeting with a person about her inventory and when she asked this woman where her “writing” was, the woman told her that she was “mind writing”. WOW. See the lengths we will go to to not write this shit down!?
The ego hates being told on. The ego really hates being told on on paper or screen. There is something in the time and commitment it takes to write it down - in this process that makes it real and hard to avoid anymore.
You are probably wondering, well if it is so hard and so easy to resist why should I bother? Well I don’t know if you should bother. This is not some preachy thing that I am doing that you should be doing. It is just an idea. If you want to find out what is warping you or kicking your ass and you want some insight on how to do it differently, inventory.
If you want to know how to do it, stop by any 12 step meeting and ask anyone with some time and they will be more than happy to show you. Alcoholics have to inventory or they die. They can show you the way. I promise. Never has there been a group more dedicated to looking at themselves - where they are warped and flawed. Never has there been a group more in need of work than us.
I know as a baseline that I am selfish and self centered. My problem is self. It always has been and always will be. So why inventory? Because self manifests in a myriad of ways that I am too consumed with self to see. Inventory is the way that I practice clear seeing so that I can see how I am fucking up my life instead of believing what my head tells me...that it is really all your fault.
So why not just believe my head? Isn’t it better, if I am not to blame and it is all you? Nope. The best news that I ever got (although it did not seem like good news at the time) was that the problem lies in me. I am the problem and spiritual growth is the solution. Inventory is the path. Join me on the fearless path of flipping on the kitchen light and seeking out those cockroaches that live in the periphery! The payoff is a life untainted by pesky insects that otherwise interfere with my pristine and stellar life. All I have to do is be willing to move through the discomfort of looking...I am rewarded with a vermin free kitchen and a mind clear of scampering thoughts that create an undercurrent of maladaptive behavior in my life. Pretty rad deal, I think.