Being Still

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The gem of not doing

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Today is a day of celebration as I calmly sat down to write a strategy that was due in 6 hours. The words had been bubbling inside me for the last 2 weeks as pieces of the information and ideas started to emerge.

When I start developing strategy, I have to first be able to connect and resonate with the client’s business. In my head, a picture starts to emerge. the faster the picture is completed, the quicker the work gets done.

However, this time, the pictures were forming in splotches-randomly distributed on my canvas, incoherent, making little sense. With the deadline looming, I still could not see the complete picture in my head. Something was missing but I could not put my finger on it. I had specifically blocked off a good portion of my weekend to write this document, since the picture was still incomplete, I decided not to flog a seriously dead horse. So to take my mind off it, I went for a massage with a dear friend rounded off by a great dinner. I also took the liberty to send a note informing my client that I needed more time.

The final jigsaw landed at 10am this morning, (the day of the deadline), from the client who announced a vital piece of information that had been deliberately withheld until it was announced publicly the very same weekend that I was supposed to complete the strategy. And in a flash the whole picture emerged and I completed the first draft a few minutes shy of dinner time.

There was time not so long ago, when I would have been a wreck if the same situation presented itself. I would have locked myself in the house and forced myself to stare at the computer hoping for some flash of inspiration, constantly berating myself for not being smart enough or good enough to ‘get it’. Then there would be this ensuing drama playing out in my mind, a scene where me the victim was exposed as a fraud- one who had no business doing what she did!
I am ever so grateful that most of that has passed. Although the neurotic dark side does rear its head ever so often, I have learnt to press the mute button or simply ignore it. You’d be surprised how much energy panicking, as well as beating yourself up takes. And when you are feeling low, chances are nothing inspirational is going to happen. Meditation and deep self reflection have certainly helped. Aging and the reduction in energy is another gift, where you tend to slow down and become more discerning with your time.
Most importantly with deep self reflection comes the ability to see things as they are- not see things through societal or parental lenses filled with expectations and rules that you did not make in the first place. You begin to have a sense of compassion and love for oneself. And to realise that it’s ok not to be perfect. We are allowed to make mistakes and even fail, but it does not make us a failure. It’s ok not to know everything, everyone and it’s ok not to be able to do everything- and why would you want to anyway?

I am now quite happy to say no to jobs, outings and people in order to preserve my energy for quality moments with myself or my loved ones. Moments where I am truly present for the other.

So next time when you have a looming deadline and nothing is coming, perhaps the best solution may be to do absolutely nothing……except breathe, reflect, relax and have fun.

The Mad, Bad and Sad

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For the last year or so I have been observing my ego in action with great admiration.  In my studies of certain segments of Buddhism as well as reading books by Eckhart Tolle, the ego is an interesting adversary on the road to full awareness.  Mine deserves the gold medal for doing its damndest to ensure that spiritually, my growth is arrested and can’t wait to celebrate my slide down-wards towards total unconsciousness.

It is said that the Ego needs your cooperation to thrive and I have been bent on with-holding mine and the ensuing tussle has been nothing short of spectacular. With every step upwards, there is an equal and opposite action to pull you down. The more you grow the dirtier the fight gets.

Case in point- I had realized that in my wounded state, I tended to be hyper-critical and judgemental about everything and everyone.  So in an attempt to heal from this, I proceeded to look for the good and the beautiful in every single person or situation.  In my daily practice, before the good gets a chance to enter my thought, they are preceded with a barrage of criticism…”ooh I wouldn’t wear that” or “why is he still in this job..” or “hello, is anybody home..”.  This would happen to a point where I though I was going mad as the commentary would be relentless. I could not stop it and felt truly powerless. The harder I tried, the louder and more vial and ferocious they would get.  It was as if there were two persons inside of me – and the battle was getting in the way of my breathing, my sense of calm and my meditation. I would be so upset over my thoughts that the lousy feeling would stay with me the whole day. And that made up pretty much a big part of my journey last year. A period of funk and restlessness.

A wise man once likened the Ego to a noisy neighbor who chatters ceaselessly but says things of no consequence. They will hurt only if you let them. And so after 12 months of unending barrage,  I stopped fighting and relegated myself  the role of observer. I withdrew from participating and observed the battle strategy of the ego. Instead of letting it upset me, I just listened and then ignored it. Like the noisy neighbor, you can’t shut them up but you can choose not to react.  You see it is easy to practice non-reaction when something occurs outside of you but much harder when it is in you and to some extent a part of you. How do you begin to disown oneself? Basically you can’t, you just have to learn to accept it, forgive and then perhaps one day you will be able to love it.

Stasis

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There is nothing worse than going through a period of nothingness. Nothingness is not the same as emptyness or no-thingness that great enlightened masters speak about when one is empty of all thoughts and is able to receive or be at one with the universe. No mine was more like a period of blah when nothing came out of it. Sure I went to work and did all the obligatory stuff but I had a nagging feeling of stuck-ness of being a a holding area with no clue as to what I was waiting for. During this perrod, I stopped writing, cooking, baking and more or less having fun. I spent most of my days tending my digital farm on farmville and increasing my bejeweled scores. So there I was waiting for this funk to end and then I realised, the funk was waiting for me to end it.

There comes a time in your journey when you decide that enough is enough and that you refuse to participate in your own reality that you have carefully created for the last 3 decades and proceed to recreate or redesign a new path, a new you. So you sign up for classes get the body into some semblance of a shape that is further away from a circle to more of a pear, you buy new clothes and then in all smugness, sit back and congratulate yourself on all that you have done.

And then comes the real kicker when you realise that  it’s all window dressing and you still have not addressed the real issues that made you a circle in the first place. Reading Geneen Roth’s book Women, Food and God was a real eye opener about how we can never change until we realise what led to us being us. What were the chain of events that led to a belief that have defined our whole being? I thought that I had actually done that- gone on the self awareness exploration, came up with some real big issues whichI never realised that I had, looked at it, observed it, meditated on it and thought….Ok it’s done, lets move on…in the vein of a real project manager who managed the project and slapped on a deadline and decided that it was time to move on. Except your ‘self’ never works to a timeline and instead of a neat little linear line of a project, this one is non-linear, goes through different decades when it decides which needs more attentions and zig zags it’s way across your emotional terrain. Just when you think you’ve hit the emotional jackpot, come a triple whammy minefield.

So the joke was whilst I was waiting for the universe to give me an answer, the universe was waiting for me to get off my behind and really work at my issues of self discipline. That is the real issue – the real problem behind my failures be it losing weight, getting more projects, writing my book, etc….But is there a reason behind the lack of discipline or is it just plain laziness, a trait I was born with as part of my life lesson that I have chosen this human incarnation to learn from. And so I guess until that answers comes to me I guess I will just go with what I know and hopefully eb disciplined enough to wake up early every morning, exercise, have breakfast and be at work by 930 and then finish by 6 so that I can have some semblance of a life.

One more time

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It’s been many months of crazy busy work which has been great for my self esteem if not my personal life. Am finally feeling that all the years of confusion, of doubt of what I should do and what does my destiny lie ahead for me, have fallen neatly into place.  I have discovered first off that I am a teacher. Plain and simple. All those years of wanting to save the world or to help in some way but not knowing how to do it without subsuming me seems like a bad joke now when the answer was there all along. It was me that refused to see it. I had perceived being a teacher as having to go get a teaching certificate and going into a classroom to teach. But now I released that being a teacher does not confine one to a classroom. I can share my knowledge with just about anyone and unbeknownst to me, my job actually is the perfect foil for this. Everyday when I interact with my clients I help them understand and navigate their world a bit better. One client calls me Yoda in jest and I must say I was a bit chuffed with the association. But before my ego swells up to the size of a elephant, I need to constantly remind myself to stay grounded. It really is not about me but about the other. What do they need, what problem are you helping them with. It is also about stepping aside and just being a friend, a listener who is there for them in a moment of need.

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My letting go has been quite stalled of late. The tidal wave of old patterns have swamped in and engulfed my life. As a result I have been all out of sorts and trying very hard to breathe it all out, staying afloat with all the affirmations and mantras that I can muster.

But a funny thing happened whilst I was busy keeping my head above water. In one desperate moments when I was just too tired to fight and tired of this repeating pattern in my life, I took a deep breath and stopped swimming.

Not only did I not drown, I noticed that I had choices in that moment of calm. I had choices!!!!!! I could choose to fight the waves and exhaust myself, or  I could choose to chill and not to hyperventilate when contemplating an impending deadline but just to face each obstacle in the here and now without trying to out think or out imagine a present that had yet to happen. And from that choice came trust. A trust that things will be fine and I am sure it will be.

 

Separation

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I have been pondering over the thought of separation which in essence is what this blog is all about. Or is it really? Yes on the surface, letting go is all about giving up things that stall my evolution or progress. This past month, I have separated myself from beloved dresses and certain toxic thoughts to great relief. For as I throw or junk or let go, I am purifying all things stuck be it in my closet or in my cells or in my heart. Letting go has created a vacuum where a great weight used to occupy – One that was slowing me down and colouring my perception of the whole. It made all things too personal, too about me.

The vaccuum allowed me space to think and feel the emptyness, devoid of negativity; it gave me permission to invite whatever I wanted in and more recently, I have chosen to invite happy in. There were days when I even puckered up the courage to let love in and hope that it chooses to make a home here. How nice to have happy and love settle into domestic bliss where, fear, doubt and lack use to be…..

What’s really strange or rather ironic is that once happy and love have decided to stay, you slowly realise that this letting go and the need to separate is actually preparing me to embrace a state of one-ness – where there is no such things as separation. If we are all one, then when I am happy, someone else is affected by my happiness too and when I am hurt and act from that, then someone else gets hurts and so begins the chain reaction until hurt walks into happy where each one either neutralises each other or happy wins the day and starts another chain reaction.

I have spent a good part of my life living in separation, living from a dark place and not understanding the consequences of my actions – I have no doubt I have taken prisoners along the way. But that’s all in the past and to dwell on it would mean a descent into further separation and perhaps isolation.  I am now choosing to separate myself from that, to review it without judgement and move on.

If I embrace the reality of one-ness, then everything is an extension of me- the flowers that bloom so beautifully unafraid to shine to feed the bees and colour the world with their magnificence – that is me or rather I could be that. That beauty that is unafraid to shine to help others realise their own beauty. Wow what a concept – no, what a mindblowing reality.

I guess for me, all that is left to do is just be, in a state of allowing happy and love to spread their seed all over from inside out, until I am nothing but happy and love.