Thursday, February 27, 2014

Own the Fear and Do it Anyway.

"The easiest way to avoid wrong notes is to never open your mouth and sing. What a mistake that would be." ~ Joan Oliver Goldsmith

In pursuit of happiness, I have been carving out time in my day to write. Writing clears my brain much like yoga does. Gets me out of over thinking and allows my fingers to quickly spill thoughts to ease my mind-wandering. 

But, what I've written hasn't felt share-worthy. Overly critical of myself and protective of those that I love, my writing has been my exclusive therapy. The past few days, I've spewed all the feelings that I have been afraid to say, even to myself. Everything taboo. Everything that people say you shouldn't write about until after anyone who can verify the story is long gone. 

One writing, however, stood out, pulling at my heart. About to post it, I shelved after a good friend read it and gave less than enthusiastic feedback. I felt derailed. Taking risks, something I've never minded doing, suddenly felt too impulsive. 
“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” ~ Miguel Ruiz
I know that I should not heed what others are saying or simply not saying, and listen and abide by my own intuition. I don't really know how to do this consistently. Just like you, I take other's words and paste them on the wall of my heart-- good or bad. 

The only way I know how to not to take things personally is to look. Look at the person who is speaking. What do you see? Not on the outer shell but in their soul? Are they wounded? Are they clueless? Do they speak from bitterness? Are they in a circumstance unfamiliar to you? Or do they really mean well? Which is usually the case, and then I distort it and make the entire thing... about me. 

Everyone has their story. And, our stories tend to define us. If we can see compassionately through someones words or lack of words and realize they are simply telling us a narrative that is their own, then that spark of equanimity might blaze through and ignite freedom in us.  
"Always do what you are afraid to do." Ralph Waldo Emerson 
Learning to own my fears and still do it anyway...that is the start of living. Correctedness is not an absolute. Writing, the effort, results and how I identify with it, isn't my primary aim. It's always been a process of personal growth to share a story and then give it away once it's done. 

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that?"  Writing myself alive, again. 

"The only way to fail, is not to write." Gail Sher 




Image: artist Lisa Congdon

Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to make a million mistakes and not ever get completely discouraged.

What's your super Power?

I'd like mine to be kindness. The Dali Lama says "my religion is kindness". When we are so focused on our own agenda, it's hard to move from a place of compassion. When we think that we are out of time or energy or lacking in our most basic of needs, we are less likely to stop and offer a moment of compassion for someone else.

As super human as I would like to think I am, I am simply human. One of my favorite quotes right now, pinned where I can see it... where I can be reminded of our sameness, says:
"I tell you these stories because these things happen to everyone. It is not about being starched or polished or cute or polite. It's about having ears that stick out. About breaking yet another glass. It's about seeing something for the first time and making a million mistakes and not ever getting completely discouraged." 
I would love to tell you about my completely well behaved children and my stellar parenting skills and how that keeps me from making any mistakes. I cannot. When one child is good, the other tends to mis-behave. My parenting often needs more than polishing. I could use a magic fairy with the power of do-overs!

When I'm frazzled, my compassion quickly evaporates. Willful son #2 throws himself on the floor and says, "I'm not going to... walk the dog, wake up, go to school, eat dinner, clear his plate, go to chemo..." This is his mode of operation these days. ... I mean who could blame him?  I don't want to do any of those things either.  One of our first responses to life is our desire for pleasure. And, none of those things are fun!

This leaves me less than compassionate and somewhat disheartened.

If you're a seasoned parent, you most likely have about half a dozen tricks up your sleeve to get a child to do what you need him to. Once I've tried all those, my super power wanes. I feel my voice rising and BOOM! I am no longer sweet, loving yoga mom. Snow white's nemesis, the evil queen, comes roaring out!

To keep from stumbling over the edge into the valley discouragement, this week I am exploring new parenting strategies, but mostly I am returning to me.

What would make me kinder, more compassionate?

TIME. The lack of or need for more time is the universal challenge. It creates unnecessary stress that spills from me into the lives of those around me. I feel the clock constantly ticking. Even now, a client due to arrive in 10 minutes and I want to.... do a million things.

It just isn't going to all get done. And, that has to be ok.

Life is so much more peaceful when I get out of my own way. Release agenda. That, ironically, was my intention for 2014: To be present by letting agenda go. When I am more present, unworried over past, present or future, kindness has room to bloom.

Still the same amount of time as you, all I can do is smile, breath, and go slowly. Keeping the evil queen in check while I practice my super powers, again and again.

Day 2 #30daysofwriting #writeyourselfalive #writeeverydamnday

Saturday, February 22, 2014

30 days of Writing: Writing Myself Alive

6:45am, Day 1 

30 days of writing #30daysofwriting #writeeverydamnday #writeyourselfalive. Founder of Rebelle Society offered this challenge as a way to reconnect with yourself, a science of the soul experiment. Read all about it! with the full details of the how to’s or to join us on the crusade. 

I’m generally great at the start of a project and 95% of the time, seeing something through to the very end as my duty. When I make a decision to do something, and it involves someone else, follow through is an absolute, a promise. No turning back. Going all out, giving more effort than was required. 

I will admit: I am a cheater. Follow through on a personal goal or commitment made to myself for myself is only less than half the time. This was not always the case. The great shift began post divorce. I recognize that I place unnecessary intense pressure on myself, as most women and single mothers do, regarding finances, time allocated to my children, and obligations I’ve made to everyone else. 

When it comes to me, it's hard to justify time to do things just for the fun of it. And, when I do, this bizarre guilt creeps in. Knowing I have to take care of me and do things that make me feel alive while still feeling the gnawing that I could or should be doing something else, for someone else is a tug of war within that overwhelms me. 

A powerful choleric, pitta by nature, I have more ideas than I can possibly accomplish in my lifetime. When someone shares an problem or need with me, like a cartoon bubble above my head, I can see at least a dozen solutions on how to solve it immediately. I usually discern, though that people don’t want to be fixed or told how to succeed. Humans tend to want to figure it out on their own, or they want you to do it with them or for them. 

The energy to do it? I have very little. As delegator, I would be most happy if I had a mini empire with a vast number of wonder women to follow through with all my wild schemes and visions of personal utopia. Anyone want to join me? I have a few ideas...

I know I should give myself some slack. Just to prove it to myself, I'm jotting down a little overview of this past week:
3 yoga private sessions, 3 Thai yoga massages, 3 public classes
1 chemo treatment for son #2
1 shopping spree with sons #1 & 2 to buy supplies for school, movies (for couch potato time after chemo) and fruit on a stick from a mamak stall
3 grocery runs (I have a weird rule of only buying what I can actually carry home, which means 2 bags at a time. Then, I’m only buying what we need, not want.) 
2 AcroYoga practices with friends
5 hours in the car 
21 handstands in the kitchen
1 parent/teacher meeting
30 pushups a day in my bathroom
0 yoga asana on my mat
7 half hour walks with Eddie, the dog, aka son #3
10 15 minute walks with Eddie
5 letters of gratitude for the #365 days of gratitude via sent via snail mail to extraordinarily beautiful souls
45+ hours online: class planning, emails, skype calls, proposals and planning for future travel, workshops & retreats, Facebook, Twitter, Meetup… 
42 hours of sleep
12 hours of homework with son #1
1 order of pizza take away
0 hours of TV 
0 hours of taxes
44 minutes of cumulative reading from a real (as opposed to virtual) book in various places: car, bathroom, dining room
4 minutes noticing the sunrise view from my condo 
And, now 60 minutes of writing of which 22 minutes spent with a cuddling son #2

When I break it down like this, it seems doltish to be hard on myself. (I am avoiding the word "stupid" as I preach to my sons to never call themselves stupid. For years, they both thought it was a "naughty" curse word and would tattle on anyone who said it.) 

Son #2 wasn’t surprised by my list. He said he thought I spent most of my day on my computer posting about yoga, classes, and stuff so I can earn money to take care of him. Someone hand me a tissue, please.

My commitment to this project? I will begin. I am not a fan of the word TRY. I cringe when I hear it. There is no try, only do, as Yoda says. You might as well say the Truth: you’d like to but you will most likely not. 

The blog will only feature the highlights as I travel, but there is no trying to do it. Simply, consider it done. 

Writing myself alive.