As I type the title of this post, images of “A Christmas Story” come to mind when nine year old Ralphie, in elementary school, had to write an essay about what he wanted and why.
Perhaps this is a similar situation – getting back to the basics and needing to demonstrate to a higher power I’m able to clearly communicate and distinctly understand why I am pursuing something I desire. Let’s hope I won’t “shoot my eye out” if I get what I want.
Somewhere, in my life, I feel I’ve gone astray. I want to say I’m in the “wrong” place but then that’s a judgment and as Oprah quotes what Maya Angelou told her, “when you know better you do better” or as the yogis say, “I’ve become conscious.”
What led me here? Where did I get turned around, away from being my most authentic self?
It could be a myriad of navigational mishaps from: growing up with controlling parents, listening to society at certain times, living a demanding, fast-paced corporate lifestyle in a cutthroat culture, or pursuing success to have financial security.
The vast majority of my life has been spent in some sort of competitive situation; getting good grades, playing sports, obtaining a “respectable” job, establishing a career, positioning for promotions, etc. I learned very early that in order to stay on the path of accomplishment, maintaining focus is key and emotions are a distraction. In other words, put the feelings aside and get to work!
To operate in that mode the above G.P.S had three settings: happy, angry, ambivalent. And because I believe moods are as contagious as a sneeze left uncovered, I really only let happy surface.
Vulnerable, scared, sad, betrayed, threatened, and disappointed were all expressed as anger. Anger usually lead me to a martini and then some wine to at least numb me into ambivalent. Once ambivalent, then happy wasn’t far away and could be disguised as “everything’s fine,” meaning I’ve disconnected.
So this is the cycle I tumbled into; successful but detached.
Until about six years ago and parts of me started screaming: I’M SICK OF THIS!!! I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE! THIS IS NOT A WAY TO LIVE! SCREW THE MONEY! I’M PHYSICALLY EXHAUSTED AND CAN HARDLY FUNCTION OUTSIDE OF WORK! I HATE THIS LIFE!
In essence, everything I pushed into ambivalent began boiling up like a geyser. But like any steadfast, highly motivated, consummate professional, I held that in for another four years (1,460 days, 35,040 hours, and 2.1 million minutes) until all that pressure began to literally burn my insides, resulting in a few medical concerns being diagnosed as “stress” and the script to my life then read, Enter: YOGA…
Honestly I started going to learn how to relax and to get back in shape. Surprisingly, besides the physical practice, I’ve met these amazing spiritual teachers, these yogis, who are patient, kind, humble, smart, compassionate, loving, honest, funny, graceful, generous, empathetic, passionate, strong, optimistic, and diligent.
As a lifelong reveler in even the smallest rebellion against leaders and people in positions of authority who I found to be hypocrites; it’s these yogis I WANT to emulate. I constantly find myself responding to them with awe, inspiration, curiosity, and the utmost of respect because they lead by example and now I want to right my game.
I feel hollowed out in the sense that I’m impatient, skeptical, fault-finding and generally untrusting. I could definitely be convicted, and imprisoned, as a criminal for the way I’ve brutalized myself in striving for perfection.
I’m not blaming anyone, any influence, or coming up with excuses for the past because there is still free-will and that’s on me. But being in my mid-thirties I think this is a pivotal time to enact an enormous and permanent change to the way I’m living my life.
All I know is I want to carve out a compassionate and loving space to live in. Beyond that, I have absolutely no idea how this is going to go. I’m only stepping forward knowing that I can’t go back to where I was.
As great as setting this new intention feels, my mind races off in the analytical, proactive, detail-oriented way it’s trained to go: What’s this going to leave me with? By letting my guard down, am I going to become someone who everyone takes advantage of? Am I going to end up sounding like some crazy New Age person feeling everyone’s energy and reading their auras?
What if my friends don’t like me anymore? Are they going to judge me as a granola-guzzling, hippy-dippy, weirdo?
Am I going to push all materialism aside and end up living on a farm in the countryside, shunning electricity, because urban life is too toxic?
How am I going to learn all this stuff? Some of these people have been practicing since their teens and twenties. I’m behind! I’m old to be starting this now! What if it’s too late for me? What if I don’t evolve to being any better? What if I fail?
So, off to class I go…