Every day we slaughter our finest impulses…
“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.”
- Henry Miller
A month ago I announced that the next 30 days were to be My Truth Writing Month. Each day since then (OK, aside from a Saturday or two), I plunked my fingers to the keys and shot out daily wonderments. I have spent the past month diving deeper into thoughts, questions and topics flickering inside my head, sharing them with you, my friends known and unknown. While I’m still amazed I actually completed it, I’m more amazed by what I learned from the experience as a whole.
First, I didn’t know how much I could teach myself. Some of the topics I tinkered on came out spur of the moment. My writing more often than not was an evolutionary process, growing with each new sentence. I would start writing with one idea in mind and it would lead to a whole new discovery. I loved those moments. For example, in the Not Your Average Ashtangi post, it started off with me finding humor in how I came to discover Ashtanga Yoga and transformed into my acceptance of my own unique relationship with this disciplined practice. Or more recently when I wrote about a dream I had about my eight legged friend, it was through writing about the dream that I was able to interpret it’s meaning. I could feel myself growing and learning with each post I published. I didn’t know I could be more own teacher like that.
I also didn’t realize that people would read my work. Well I know my mom would and her friends who she pays to check my blog from time to time. But honestly, I was so touched that not only were friends reading my writing, but acquaintances and unknown friends as well. And some even took the time to express their gratitude. I’m not kidding!? They were thanking me! I should be thanking them for clicking on the link. They took time out of their crazy busy day to connect with me. I can’t tell you how amazed I am by people’s kindness and familiar curiosity. Which leads me to my third realization…
I’m not unique. What I blab about are issues that are on a lot of our minds. Which means, people have opinions. And I SO want a platform for us all to dialogue on these topics. I would love to have all my soul sisters and brothers sitting in a room on comfy pillows with cups of tea chatting away about all sorts of things. I think hosting a group, workshop, or satsang is in the near future is in order. For now, I’ll work on a comments section for the blog.
I also discovered, I can’t write late at night (which is what I’m doing right now). It’s grueling. The flow of energy is not nearly as fluid as in the morning hours and falling asleep with my laptop on my chest at 10pm makes me feel old, waking up with a crick in my neck. Plus, I’ve had to exchange reading at night for writing and I miss my book time. So in the future… morning is best, though final edits in the evening are acceptable.
Oh, and just so you all know, I’m not going to stop. I really like being totally 100% honest with myself and on the Internet, a place where there is so much bullsh*t to wade through a glimmer of realism is like candy to a baby. It feels good to be naked to the world and I am grateful that I live during a time where I can do just that. It’s insanely therapeutic. Through writing I’ve been able to keep this vessel clean. It’s like a daily purge of chitter chatter and an opening for new understandings. This is only the beginning.
In conclusion, I just want to say a few thank yous…to the writers out there that have either been participating in NaNoWriMo or your own unique writing challenge this month (MyTruWriMo), thank you. Knowing you were out there typing away on your laptops into the wee hours of the night gave me strength to do my daily screen time as well. I applaud anyone who takes the time to reflect and be creative every day and am proud that I could be a part of this dedicated month to writing. I also wanted to thank everyone who took the time to read my dribbles. I pledged to try and make them, “creative, diverse, inquisitive, insightful and honest,” and hope you all found that to be true. Thank you for taking a peek into my world and being a part of the journey.
With my endless love and gratitude,
Yes, you guess it…the cold. But I don’t hate the general coldness of winter. I rather enjoy bundling up, navigating through windy streets from between the scarf wrapped around my head and neck. I love the fires, tea 5 times a day, wooly socks, and extra quilt on the bed. Giving myself warmth reminds me of how much love and nurturing quietness we need during these colder months. Winter has such a yummy, comforting, settled nature to it that can make you feel simply at peace.
But it isn’t all snuggles and cuddles. Nuh uh, no sir. There is an underbelly to winter that I despise almost as much as overpriced educations. There is nothing I hate more about winter than the brutal anticipation of being cold. And there is one moment in particular that sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it.
Envision this…you’ve finishing up the most amazing morning shower. The bathroom is filled with steamy goodness and your body is clean and happily coming awake. You turn to reach for the nozzle when all of a sudden your body freezes with dread. It knows what frigid horror await it. It’s cold out there, drastically colder than inside this porcelain steam room. You tell yourself you need another rinse, just one more minute. You reach for the nozzle again, “God damn it, this is going to suck,” runs through your mind. “Do it fast…like a band aid,” you reassure yourself it will be over sooner than you think. With a deep breath, you turn the handle and swing open the curtain. The second the water shuts off, goosebumps take over. Your strategically placed towel is in arms reach and you quickly begin to dry off. While drying your legs and feet, your torso is exposed and it feels like some asshole is rubbing ice-cubes down your back. Frantically you maneuver the terrycloth towel up and down, side to side, like a matador preparing for her bull. You look around and wonder how is it possible to feel this incredibly cold in such a steam-filled bathroom. You swear the look of anguish you see through the fogged-up mirror is causing premature wrinkles.
After what feels like an hour of being stranded naked on a glacier, you find refuge in another cozy heater. In one fluid swooping motion, you dive into your toasty bathrobe. You look in the mirror and aren’t bothered by how “mom-like” you look, warm and bundled in your frumpy robe. In fact, you give yourself kudos for choosing the sexy coffee cup pattern that later became part of Brad Pitt’s wardrobe in “Fight Club.”
Just be thankful for what you’ve got. Diggin’ the scene!
OK, so it takes more than reciting your unspoken truths one evening to magically make your symptoms disappear. The truth is, self healing takes patience. And who has time for that? Sadly, not a lot of people. Or, at least, they don’t think they have the time.
I was one of those people. I would ride BART to work when every aching muscle in my body was begging me to lay still. I pushed through meetings and phone calls, because I was a dedicated employee. In order for me to stay home if I was sick I needed to know my boss approved of me taking the time off. I wanted someone else to tell me it was OK to go get well. It was so incredibly difficult for me to not care what the company I worked for thought (which was probably to stop infecting the office with my ailments and go feel better) and to do what I needed to do…heal. But I didn’t have the confidence then. I cared too much, which you’d think would be a good thing, but in fact it was to my detriment. It was a worrying sort of care. I worried how my actions effected others rather than just owning my actions and taking responsibility for my life. I think it comes from a scared place, fearing what would happen if the norm was disrupted. The times I did work up the courage (or got asked to go home because my coughing was distracting people’s phone calls), my boss greeted me with such kindness and care, I wondered why I was creating such a problem for myself. I have found that problems aren’t as real as we think they are. They are not as debilitating, life numbing, or insurmountable. In fact, even when you put forth a little awareness towards the “problem”, you might find it just vanishes. The wall breaks down as if it was never there to begin with. So where do these problems come from…fear, I think.
So here I am, giving myself the time to heal. I am fortunate in a sense that by not working I have more time to pay attention to what needs healing. I have the time for loving self care and I am extremely grateful for it. In such a crazy, hectic world these moments to focus on self are few and far between for so many of us. But I might argue…it’s a choice. It’s a choice how much time you give to YOU. And it’s a choice how much time you give of yourself to other. I’ve met plenty of people who work part time BY CHOICE because time is more valuable to them than money. When I first heard this, I was like, “why didn’t I think of that.” Brilliant.
The thing we also have to realize is healing doesn’t happen over night. One day off from work is only the beginning. It doesn’t do anyone any good to religiously mend your wounds with a nightcap of Nyquil. You are worth the time. And though you might be surprised to hear it, your boss knows you are worth it too (that’s why they hired you). So take it. Have patience and let yourself heal when you need to. And if someone has a problem with that, well…that’s their problem and hey can take it up with you once you’re back in the saddle.
“Why is patience so important?”
"Because it makes us pay attention.” - Paulo Coelho
My body is cold and achy. It’s time to submerge into my hot bath-time haven. My throat is sore and tight. It feels like I swallowed cotton balls with little glass crystals in them. I hate being sick. Some circles might identify my symptoms as early signs of the common cold. Smaller circles would argue I’m experiencing a healing opportunity. Apparently, I have either said something I shouldn’t have, or haven’t said something I should. As a new member of this small circle, I’m putting on my Inspector Gadget trench coat and am taking a look at what needs healing. Have I said anything recently I shouldn’t have? Have I wanted to say something, but couldn’t.
With my seal bark of a cough a complementary echo in the tub, I begin to surrender into the steamy waters. I want to forget, to not think about anything and just sink into the lavender oil scented bliss. However, my mind is ticking…what haven’t I been honest about?
As I soak in waves of stillness, I discover there is quite a bit I haven’t been totally honest about, letting my brave face do all the talking instead. In the name of healing, here it goes…the false truths and the unsaids…to others and to myself…
- Quite literally, I’ve said nothing to my Nana. I’ve been back in the United States for 5 weeks and still haven’t called her. I have been lazy and selfish and feel crummy about this.
- I am afraid I am already starting to repeat past behaviors (and they all begin with the letter “d” for doubting myself). This makes me feel nervous and lonely.
- I am scared about getting my first tattoo (not that I have plans to get more than one, just technically it will be my first). I say, “I’m in the now,” but I do fear what it will look like when I’m 60.
- Part of me gets sad being in a non-relationship. I see committed examples of love around me and a part of me wants to feel that kind of love and comfort. I fear I am not strong enough to experience my idea of what love can be. Free.
- I have talked behind some people’s backs, not in a malicious way, but still, I’ve done it. It’s like I’m trying to fill up “air time” or have something relatable to talk about. It’s stupid and I’d like to stop.
- I gave a recommendation to someone that didn’t go very well. In hindsight, I should have been more aware and objective.
When are we honestly “speaking truth”? What do those moments look like and feel like? Have you ever thought you were speaking honestly when in fact you were just trying to be brave? In such occasions, are we trying to change our actual reality by speaking lies?
Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” I think I heard a lot of, “OK…good…fine…well…”
Now really, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “How am I doing?” Did the answer change?
Speaking our truths every day is hard stuff. To look at yourself and others with clear intentions, saying what needs to be said and speaking honestly is often the last thing in the world we want to do. Instead, we feel quite comfortable with our “versions” of the truth, the ones our big brave hearts protect. We don’t want to hurt anyone. We don’t want to be uncomfortable. But guess what, we’re making ourselves sick by not speaking up. The truth will find a way out in some way, shape or form and sometimes it’s a mucusy mess. I wish speaking our truths was looked at as a sign of strength not weakness. In fact, I commend those who answer the question, “How are you?” with, “Well, to tell you the truth, I feel tired and annoyed…”
I don’t know why it can be so difficult to be real. I do know that the beauty is our reality changes every day. Our truth today, may be just a fading memory tomorrow. And with that, lets see if my seal bark swims away during the night.
(And, if not, there’s always echinacea).
Last night I had a dream that a brown fuzzy tarantula wanted to be my friend. He was very persistent. I on the other hand, didn’t know what to do. I mean, it’s a big hairy spider. What on earth would we have in common? I explained to Mr. Tarantula that I didn’t know if this would work, but that I was deeply touched by his desire to be my friend. He wouldn’t let up. Again he pursued our friendship. “We must be friends,” he said. “Trust me, we will have such a great friendship. I know this to be true,” he continued. Still hesitant about what this spider could see that I was blind too, I again explained my apprehension. I was on the fence (again). Can I trust this spider? How do I know he’s for real?
As I pondered my options - new/potentially amazing friendship vs. status quo - something occurred to me, both in my dream and in my semi-waking state. You don’t always KNOW. In fact, you may never really feel 100% sure about anything. I smiled with my realization and went to tell the spider that I was ready to be his friend.
As I approached I noticed someone was packing up a bag full of their belongings - water bottle, clothing, keys, food - jamming these items into a big brown shoulder bag. I all of a sudden felt sick to my stomach and screamed, “stop, stop!” I started searching frantically for the spider. He was the same color as this person’s bag. We started to pull all the contents out one by one. Entangled in a set of keys was my fuzzy friend, legs kinked and broken. He didn’t move. No tiny heartbeat.
Tears rolled down my cheeks and I knew the love that might have been would now never happen. Could this have been prevented? If I hadn’t been so undecided and distrusting, would he still be gone?
Why do we waste so much precious time trying to come up with the “right” answer? We search for the perfect opportunity and in the mean time lose out on wonderful moments right here and now. This is forever my struggle, to get over the fear of making the wrong choice. I have to remind myself - there is no problem. Be fearless. Trust.