Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Chaos of My Thought Board

A while ago, in an unusually introspective moment, I made an aspirational thought board. My thought board is like a little collection of life lesson bumper stickers.  Soundbites. Wisdom in easily digestible pieces.  It's also kinda vague. 

I haven't really looked at my thought board in a while.  I made it as a touchstone of sorts and then- I promptly lost touch with it.  It was tucked in a niche in my meditation space; a space I haven't been in much lately.

Ah.  Now comes the point in the conversation where I explain how crazy my past year has been. I must plead stress, exhaustion, the sheer mental madness of living my life.  Where I explain dropping out of life with the blanket "I've been SO busy..."

I've. Been. So. Busy. How many times do we use this flimsy excuse to not live fully?  To not connect, to not engage, to not Just. Sit. And. Think.  I didn't call when you were going through that rough patch- because I've been so busy.  I haven't sent you a letter, a card or even a 3-line email- because I've been so busy.  I haven't exercised- because I've been so busy

I'm saying this with the full realization of what it feels like to think that you really don't have one extra minute in your day for anything.  I'm typing this while the not-so-distant memory of desperately needing to clone myself lurks in my psyche.  It's a very real feeling- overwhelming, all-consuming.  It's also a BIG FAT LIE- that we perpetuate every single day.

Looking at this thought board really made me think about the way I set goals- too big, too lofty, not enough working pieces. No wonder I feel overwhelmed.  It also made me think about the way I process information. 

1. Take it all in.  
2. Panic, wail, gnash teeth, rend garments.  
3. Get talked off ledge by someone wiser or saner.  
4. Think wiser, saner person is totally whacked.
5. Break everything into smaller, digestible chunks.  
6. Feel like idiot for being so hysterical.

I need to look at my thought board a little differently.  As a board of individual, actionable affirmations.  We all have time to do one more thing everyday.  We all have time to lift one person up. To return that phone call.  To send that "thinking of you" email.  To ask, sincerely, how someone is doing.  To exercise.  To stop and listen.

I'll leave you with one thought from my board that hopefully will inspire you like it inspired me-

"Most transformational moments involve a sequence of intense effort, frustration, and then letting go" 

So, this is transformational?  Right?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ring, ring, ring...

I recently joined an online yoga community and I when I was putting together my profile page I started typing the usual... I'm 39, live in Roanoke, trying to find the elusive middle path, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then I thought, if I were a dog what kind of dog would I be? If I were a color what color would I be? If I were an inanimate object, what would I be?

I'd be a bell.

We all have life passages that have added to who we are. Events that have created our mottled, personal patinas so that our egos are like the surface of an ancient temple bell, etched by the weather, the environment, the banging of the mallet, the human hands that touch it. Our outside selves are made of the stuff of the Earth; of iron, of bronze, perhaps even of gold. But it is the space within, the glorious blank nothingness inside the bell that allows it to ring. It is the negative space that that calls the faithful to prayer or summons us from samsara to the nirvana of silent mindfulness. My life has been shaped by many things, my patina etched by many forces- blunt, acidic, caressing, nourishing. It is tempting to look at the outside of the bell and think that this is the self, and that this is what made me who I am. Yoga has led me to look inside the bell. I now realize that my true potential lies not in beating against the outside tempered surface of the bell, but in the silent space inside, anxiously tumescent with the possibilities of the call.