Leaving the Mud of Confusion

AA Journal - New Dimensions - Legacy Mud

After the first message I sent about Legacy, Matt (Popkin) reached out with a question.

Why now? he asked. 

If you first had the idea for Legacy seven years ago, why launch it now?

I sensed this question was less about me and more about all of us, when it comes to our highest visions for our lives. 

Why now? Because I can.

Finally, after all this inner process and confusion, I actually can.

Like most men’s burgeoning legacies, it grew from the mud of confusion.

* * *

Here’s one of my driving beliefs behind Legacy:

 

Deep inside each of us, I believe, lay a capstone work: a culmination of everything we care about, talents to express these values in novel ways, and passion to bring it to the world. As men, one of our most painful experiences is to be stuck in limbo. I don’t embody my potential yet. Nor can I picture how it will look.

If you’re lucky enough you take a sabbatical, and bake for a while in the heat of your interests. One day, you come out cooked. An entirely new you experiments by offering your revelations in service to others. You enact your leadership in the world. Out of the vocational closet, your friends tell you how you’re getting on. Gifts are honed and your development quickens. Word gets out that you’re good in your niche. It is a very satisfying time.

But in the meantime, life in the cocoon is painful. When a person goes through a metamorphosis of a somewhat spiritual nature, their old sense of who they were collapses—your ego, and everything it cared about, turns to mush—before reconstituting itself on the other side. Cliché, sure, but think about what happens to a caterpillar: before it emerges a butterfly, it is what?

One of the hardest things for me to trust, as I wandered my metamorphosis years, was how my relationship to the outer world changed. I became wary, sensing a need to limit the influence of crowds. Dating, sex, women… all seemed messy, conspiring to thieve my time and devour my process. Direct competition for a limited source of attention! But I couldn’t deny it: I longed to get intimate, and, of course, it was the muse quality of a woman that most elevated my spirit. This was, all in all, a disconcerting change in character. I became less gregarious, yet grew more entwined with beauty.

The churning of the mud.

* * *

How does a man make light of this ‘integration’ process?

 

If you are in the ‘cocoon’ I’m describing, what you will need here is space to unfold. Silence, solitude, and right support. But your oldest inner patterns will scupper any growth throughout the cocoon phase. Lack of vision, or visionary mentors, and you fail to illuminate your horizon. False dichotomies keep you in black-and-white thinking: away from creating in the nuance that mature work requires. To work from your heart means being earnest, innocent—at times naïve—and can make a man brutally sensitive to the world’s cynical critique. For me, to stop teaching (the easily masked topic of) seduction, and to wax more lyrical about intimacy and love, made me much more vulnerable to the world’s current snark.

Perhaps the most painful feature of the cocoon is that, because so often our sense of masculinity is sourced from our alignment and success at work, this identity-level uncertainty leaves us not feeling very masculine at all. Unendingly, in this yawning state of decomposition, we feel our dignity fragile, our head hard to hold fully aloft. The beliefs roll out from here:

    I can’t show up in the world because I’m not masculine enough yet.

    I can’t have a woman because I’m not accomplished enough yet … 

       … I don’t want to be seen in my process …

          … I want it all figured out before I present myself …

             … However do I grace the world when I don’t yet know who I am?

                  It is better to grind at this purpose in purgatory, until done.

 

If this post feels like churning through quagmire, it’s because it mirrors the process.

Not being enough yet—not feeling ready yet—is the most pernicious thought that stops our Legacy. Upon a sense of incompleteness, we spend our days not in giving, but in receiving, absorbing, consuming. We prioritise personal process over leading others. Flashes of inspired work remain incomplete. Sure, scraps of your brilliance might seep through the cracks, letting the world know you harbour something truly wise. But it’s not enough to blow wind into your sails.

You turn inwards again, hacking away at the process. From outside, it seems like you’re living the dream. But inwardly, your self-development plans get in the way of living fully. At least, that’s how it often felt to me.

* * *

So why now?

 

There are certainly ways to accelerate, and gain more depth, through this metamorphosis process. Just having maps and language for it help a lot. But when does a man stick his butterfly head through the crack, and smell the royal coffee?

In my story, the mush, the mud, reconstituted itself, and a new stage of being was born. Enough ‘mystical’ revelations of inherent self-value… enough clarity on the story of my lineage and the meaning of my mythology… enough ease in my work’s simple execution… When the old influences and limitations are shed, you close in on the burning inspiration of your gift.

I guess it all occurred amidst a thousand conversations. Enough collapse in limitations, fears, dichotomies, perturbations—enough incubation. Enough guidance to help me orient amidst a decomposing mind, enough intoxication on Rumi’s wine, enough shedding of the baggage, enough commitment, focus, time.

Enough love, to be true.

While our visions are often seeded by transcendental waves and crashes, the route to embodying our Legacies—I feel—happens on quiet, country lanes. A steady shedding of resistance. A silent rise of vigour, conviction. Really taking it in, that you’re another year closer, to death.

* * *

Is this you?

 

If you, like me, sense a great vision for your life brewing inside you — but you’re some way off being able to articulate it — and there’s confusion along the way, and deeper aspects of yourself to explore…

      … maybe you’re already in the cocoon. 

      … Maybe you’re ripe to join me for Legacy.

 

Take a strong read through the page. Together, we’ll cover all the work mentioned in this email, and more.

If you want to be one of the six first-ever Amorati to do this, then apply.

~ Jordan

* * *

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