Conscious Letting Go

Since the big move I’ve found myself, on and off, in a big mental hurry to return to the things I was doing before. I thought, I have to get back into an art space, I have to get a job, I have to find a winterguard to instruct, and I must do all of it immediately. I didn’t stop to think about how any of these things did or did not add quality to my life, until the past few days. I’ve done a lot of reflecting and mediation on the state of my job/career at this point, which I think I’ll save for another post. One of the biggest shifts, and one I did not think I would end up making, had to do with the winterguard part of my life.

I’ve made a decision, once and for all, to give up coaching.

For anyone who has known me personally at any point during the past five years, this probably comes as a surprise. I’ve raved/complained/joy wept about the winterguard and the kids involved in it. I’ve squealed for my students as they performed, I’ve gone home hurt when I felt like I didn’t reach them, and I’ve suffered some financial difficulty from making room for the activity. Why would I decided that such a passion driven activity wasn’t worth pursuing further?

I don’t think passion equates happiness. After all, crimes can happen out of passion. Google the word, and the second definition comes with some fairly negative connotations. Just because this thing was arousing such strong emotion in me, did not me that it was healthy for me or that it was serving me.

There was a three year gap between my high school graduation and my one year of performing with an independent group. I. Was. MISERABLE. I was pretty rusty compared to other members that had kept spinning right along, and they made it clear that I did not fit in with them. No matter how hard I worked, or how much my instructors praised my progress over the season, I felt so out of place that it just plain hurt. I was ecstatic when we performed for the final time, and the season was finally over. I went to the banquet out of politeness, and I was the first person to leave.

Two years later, I started instructing in my old high school program. At first it was great! I got to reconnect with my old instructor on a totally different level. We became friends. I got to translate some of the things I learned in the independent program back to my beloved high school program, which was really cool. I thought, yes! I can enjoy this activity again but in a way that rewards me, and rewards others.

Here’s the thing: after five years of instructing, I have the same frustrations and self doubts as I did during my final season performing. Not having an upcoming season to think about has been liberating. I have so much more head space to devote to other things. I don’t have to walk on eggshells consistently asking myself if I am good enough at this.

I thought for sure that I would miss it, that I would be eager to find a program to work with after the move. The thing is, I’m not. I didn’t see that coming. At all. This decision did not come without some serious back and forth, some serious ups and downs, and doubts abound! I’ve attached so much of my identity to this role, I’ve assigned such worth to the time I spent doing it. I’ve cited it as changing my view of what I wanted to do with my life, and I guess it still has. However, it has served it’s purpose, and I can walk away now.

I appreciate the memory for what it is. I appreciate the lessons that I learned, not only about teaching and co-learning, but also about myself and my goals. I wouldn’t change the experience that I had for the most part. However, I’ve become very comfortable with this chapter of my life being closed. I don’t want to go back. I’m done trying to force something to fit into my life that doesn’t seem to want to. I’m moving forward with things that enrich me, and respectfully leaving other things behind.

(I’m still leaving the patches on my yoga bag. That took a long time!)

 

 

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What the heck is manifesting?

I’m not entirely sure what the point of this post is going to be. I think it may turn out to be some rambling and probably some points that don’t make sense together. I think I mostly just need a place to put my thoughts about this down, and maybe I’ll be lucky enough for someone to see it and spark a conversation with me.

As I’ve been learning more about mindfulness practice and exploring what exactly my spirituality is/isn’t, one thing I come across from time to time is manifesting/co-creating. It’s actually been something sort of annoying to learn about. When I stumble on it in a podcast or a blog post, it doesn’t seem to be spoken about in depth. Then, when I turn to Google, I’m almost immediately turned off by an advertisement telling me to buy some sort of book or kit to help give me the life I want and deserve. More than a few times, my efforts to learn more have been stopped by the marketing. One of the reasons I started on this path was my dissatisfaction with the life I was leading, which included blind consumption. Buying a infomercial-y feeling kit definitely didn’t feel like a step in the right direction.

I had sort of given up on learning any more about it, until I stumbled on this post which states, “If we focus on what we lack, we will attract that.” That statement was pretty powerful for me to hear. Part of my journey is dealing with my tendencies to be pessimistic or cynical. Is it possible that these types of negative thinking, or thinking about things I don’t want to happen, has actually led to the manifestation of these things?

I focused for many years on money and thought a lot about not having enough of it. I also spend a lot of time in fear that I’m actually facing abandonment or rejection from those I care about. When these uglier realities have actually happened, did I really do that to myself? Why would any one will negative things to happen to them? Surely, all of this must be kind of hocus-pocusy, right?

The Law of Attraction suggests that focusing on positive or negative thoughts brings positive or negative experiences. Based on the idea that thoughts are made from energy, this suggests that like energy attracts like energy. So, the outcomes in life are directly tied to what one predominantly thinks about.

This is a concept that I’m going to begin working into my daily mindfulness routine. Perhaps it makes the most sense for it to happen at the beginning of my day. I did get three phone calls today about interviews; as part of my nightly journaling practice I’ve made it a habit to write down a short list of things that I want to make happen. Could it be that I’ve been practicing a form of co-creating/manifesting? I’ll have to focus more energy on this and see where it takes me.

I’m going to end things here with this quote.

“The law of attraction works universally on every plane of action, and we attract whatever we desire or expect. If we desire one thing and expect another, we become like houses divided against themselves, which are quickly brought to desolation. Determine resolutely to expect only what you desire, then you will attract only what you wish for.” Ralph Trine

 

Hello, icky habits.

I feel like I should start this post with a little bit of background. I was born and raised in a dead end town in upstate NY, and moved to Austin about a month ago. I’ve spent the past month unemployed, looking for a job, and spending an alarming amount of time by myself. As I embark on this path of mindfulness that I’ve decided on, I’ve been faced with a lot of room for improvement. My practice is a wee little baby one, really only just over a year. As such, I am nowhere near having any real say about what my mind, emotions, and especially my anxiety decides to do. Over the past month I’ve had multiple days where I feel confident and strong and feel as if there is forward motion in my life, and I have just as many days where I don’t put on pants and wonder how I have failed so badly at 26. Rationally, I don’t think I’ve failed my life at 26. Irrationally, I think I’ve made all the wrong choices without meaning to.

This pattern of self deprecation and defeat is something I’ve developed in my second nature. These are not habits I was born with, and I certainly did not have unsupportive parents. Somehow, through the course of my teenage years, I’ve developed this rhetoric of being less than. I’ve spent so many years nourishing this self sabotage that it is fully automatic; the slightest hint of negative emotion sends me into a tailspin. As a woman, I’m sure some of it has to do with the general encouragement to self-hate that surrounds me on a daily basis. As a recent MFA graduate, I’m sure it has something to do with getting my freaking life started already. Since my circumstances are what they are at the moment, I just have so much more fuel to feed this monster.

I remember growing up, we lived in a pretty rural neighborhood where there was always the possibility of animals getting into the trash, pool, shed… whatever was outside that they could get in. This was especially true if you didn’t take precautions. Maybe you didn’t lock the shed or put a lid on the trash can, and as a result of that neglect, there are intruders. Right now, my anxiety is a black bear fumbling through my yard, and generally just fucking all my shit up. It won’t move along if I keep giving it things to feed on. Sure, it’s going to come by sometimes and check things out, and a few times it will probably break a lock somewhere. The point is, a little bit of maintenance that isn’t repeated, let’s the nuisance of an animal do whatever he wants.

I think I’ve fallen into the trap of feeling like I’m done with this mindfulness stuff. As much lip service as I might have paid to it being about the journey, some reflection has revealed to me that… maybe I had a few “woohoo I’m so enlightened!” moments. As a result, I think I got a little bit lazy. As crippling as this anxiety and self defeat can be, I need to make this a growth opportunity. This is, for better or worse, a reminder for me that I need to be fastidious. I need to keep working at this, for my health, and not for any other goal.

Tonight, I’m going to sip some ginger tea, do some kundalini yoga, and a ten minute meditation. I’m going to start tomorrow with the same. I only get one lifetime to care for my mind and happiness, and I guess I need to stop being passive about it.


Screenshot 2016-06-07 at 10.57.12 PM
Hello, zafu.