2-22-2018 I've started reading Nine Poisons, Nine Medicines, Nine Fruits by Shabhavi Sarasvati. It speaks to me. I was reading about the first poison, which is self concern at the expense of others, and I could relate to it because sometimes, many times, that's been me. I've been so focused on my own needs or issues or whatever else and have focused on fulfilling them without really considering the impact I'd have on other people. This is something I've been changing as a result of reading and working through Brene Brown's work, but it nonetheless is a good reminder to me that it is something to be aware of.
What the author reminds me of is that self-concern comes at the expense of other people, because self-concern is about validation of yourself through the interactions you have with others, without necessarily recognizing their worth. Sometimes I've been that person and sitting with that is good because I can recognize it as a pattern of tension in my life and continue undoing it.
2-25-2018 In meditating with Elephant today, we ended up talking a lot about consequences and how to be consciously aware of them, as well as what questions to ask when making a decision. Its environmental thinking and awareness as opposed to just self concern. In the last few months, I've been focusing more on the environmental awareness and applying it to my decision making, but this work Elephant helps a lot, because Elephant grounds it in the physical as much as in the conceptual. I think, in some ways, humans have fallen so out of touch with the physical because we don't have to be aware of it in the same way an animal is, yet what we've lost along with that connection to the physical is the awareness of how to plan for and consider the environment, and this extends to all levels of what an environment can be.
2-26-2018 I'm reading Free Agent Nation. It's a bit dated, but a lot of the information is still valid, but as I was reading it, it got me thinking a lot about my experience with my business and how much of what didn't work was all the marketing and sales I tried to do. I realize along the way I made the mistake of focusing on growth so much instead of asking myself what would enough look like. And a lot of joy I took in the business got sucked away as a result. It's just another lesson I'm really sitting with and processing as a result of what I'm reading. I think one of the benefits I've gotten in my recent changes is that I'm actually taking time to really read and do some writing, more than I've done in a long time and I'm sitting with that as well and using it to really consider where I'll go from here. There are no apparent answers, so I'm just making my way slowly.
2-27-2018 Today I sat with awareness around the recognition of the choiceless choice, the choice that is made precisely because you have no choice but to make it.Its the kind of choice that's made in realization of the spiritual path you're on, but I think it can also be made in relationship to other choices. For me, this choiceless choice came about when I realized I needed to go back to work. I had no choice but to make that choice and accept it. I had my moments of struggle with it, but ultimately I accepted it and here I am working for someone else. It has its up and downs, and there are moments where I still struggle with everything that happened, even as I recognize I'm responsible for the struggle I'm dealing with. It's my karma I suppose, and so I've intimately come face to face with my flaws this past year, had my illusions stripped away and here I am, vulnerable and yet self aware, on this path of spiritual work that has opened up alongside the circumstances and finding that path also challenges everything I've known. To be so humbled is a gift, even if it doesn't always feel like it. Yes, its hard work, yes it hurts, but if you stick with it, you get carried by it. And that's where I'm at, being carried by the rhythm of my life, the routine of my days, the work I'm doing, physical and spiritual. Where it all goes I don't know. There's no certainty to my path, no end goal in sight. I'm just along for the ride, and where ever I end up, I'll get there when I get there.
3-2-2018 I started reading How the Might Fall, which is a business book that explores why companies. fail. I'd read it once before but I feel its worth revisiting, especially with my recent experiences, so I could see what I might need to still learn. And as I read it I found that my business (while never mighty) had nonetheless gone through the 5 stages. Stage 1 is all about being blinded by pride, and it fits to a T. I did get blinded by my own pride and got caught up in my own narrative about how things should be working. I didn't stay open and curious, which really hurt my business and me. I've fortunately reversed that now, but it took losing my business to really see how I was blinding myself. It's not something I will ever do again.
The other night I admitted to Kat that I felt like I'd lost my identity, and in a real sense reading this book confirms that in some ways. I question my own relevance now, and I realize that I have to find that relevance again. It's not something which will just reveal itself. Instead its something I have to strive for, painful as that striving may be. Yet its also an opportunity. My blinders have been torn away and now I have to make what I can of that opportunity, while learning from my mistakes.
3-4-2018 There is comfort in knowing you aren't alone, even when you feel alone. When I read about someone else and the fact that like me they failed big time and had to restart everything, it just helps a lot. I am not alone. Someone else has been on this journey as well and they got back to a good place. I can do that too, as long as I'm willing to learn from my mistakes. One of those mistakes was the undisciplined pursuit of more. In my particular case, it was getting caught up in this idea that I could have a 6 or 7 figure business. I got fixated on that idea and let it hijack everything I knew. Growth for the sake of growth doesn't work for very long. I've known that, but I forgot it. Tough lesson to learn, but sometimes knowing something and experiencing it first hand really are two different realities.
3-8-2018 I've been continuing to read How the Mighty Fall and reflect on the lessons in it and how it applies to my own business ventures. Stage 3 is about the denial of risk and peril and when I read about that I just had to nod, that yes this had been me. I took some risks and they weren't calculated risks. I wasn't realistic about this risks and I didn't take the right actions that could have mitigated the risks or supported them more effectively. I was so wrapped up in wanting things to succeed that I didn't pay attention to the data.
Stage 4 is the grasp for salvation, where you grasp at anything that will provide salvation and I definitely did that. I took classes, implemented and when things didn't work, went onto the next thing. I grasped onto narratives of toxic positivity, which created its own delusions, and I lost touch with my audience. And then I ended up Stage 5, which was choosing to end my businesses. I might've kept trying, but I realized that I needed to stop, give myself some space and figure out what's really important.
I also decided to start reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. Feels appropriate right now as I'm navigating my way through tough times. She made an insightful point, that when things fall apart, that's when you can't run from your fear any longer. That's when you have to face yourself, because you're nailed to that moment. And I feel that because I've been nailed and forced to see myself in all my fallibility and failings. Hard as that it is, its worth it as well.
3-10-2018 Yesterday I was reading When Things Fall Apart and she talks about being nailed to the present moment. I feel nailed to the current moment. Today in my meditation with Elephant, we talked about that. He said that part of being stable is learning how to be nailed in the present moment. I've always lived in my head, gotten caught up in fantasies and what if scenarios, and right now I'm just nailed to the post and Elephant said that's part of stability, learning to be nailed to the spot, learning to be with the fear and whatever else, and making your choices from that place of being nailed on the spot. And I very much feel that way right now. I'm accepting the circumstances for what they are and making my choices accordingly.
In How the Mighty Fall, the author did make one point that gave me heart. He said never to give up and he didn't mean don't give up on a business, but rather don't give up on yourself and your values and your mission. Yes circumstances may change, and yes you may end up doing something altogether different, but don't give up on what matters. And you know... I haven't given up on that. I've killed what isn't working, but I'm going to continue to do what calls to me and trust that I will go where I need to go.
3-11-2018 In today's meditation Elephant and I discussed being nailed to the moment, in terms of also recognizing how you can focus on what you don't want and turn that into its own reality. When you are in an unpleasant situation and you want it to change, there can be a tendency to focus on everything you don't like and when that happens you actually end up manifesting what you don't want, because that's where your energy is going. Its an interesting realization to have, because then you recognize that what's getting in your way is your dwelling n what you don't like and how you feed that and make it into even more of a reality.
3-14-2018 In Nine Poisons, Nine Medicines, Nine Fruits, the author talks about the poison of pride, of believing you are truly independent. This is a poison that's shown up in my life a few times, both through my own actions and the actions of others. I'm seeing a family member grappling with this poison right now. In my case, I would have to say that this poison is part of what motivated my decision to use online marketing. I didn't want to rely on anyone else and I felt sure online marketing could emancipate me from such reliance. But the thing about falling apart is that it forces you to confront the reality that you can't go it alone.
And that's something I've realized all over again. My relationship with Kat has gone deeper, become stronger because things feel apart. And its extended over in other ways. It makes me consider that falling apart isn't so bad as long as you have people to turn to, as long as you realize that you can rely on other people when you need to (and can also be someone to rely on). It's another lesson in stability that goes hand in hand.
3-17-2018 I've been thinking a lot about limits and hitting my limit. The other day I had someone ask me if I'd be willing to help put together an event and I said no. I knew that I couldn't do it. And it felt good because I was recognizing my limits and asserting my boundaries. In When Things Fall Apart, the author notes that its actually a sign of health that we allow ourselves to feel fear. When we feel something it provides us the opportunity to face what we're afraid of and be with it. In some ways, facing my limits and asking myself what is essential versus what is non essential has helped me both be more present with anything that comes up, while also asserting my boundaries and staying focused on what I'm called to. It's the discipline of the essentialist, choosing the zone of genius over anything else, but also recognizing the limits and respecting them.
3-21-2018 In Nine Poisons, Nine Medicines, Nine Fruits, the author makes an important point: that success and failure are temporary. she also notes that even when a person experiences success it can only temporarily appease your feeling of lack. And in my experience she's right. I've had those moments of success that temporarily took a feeling of lack away, but ultimately I had to learn to be present with that feeling of lack.
And I've had experiences of failure before and in those experiences it was only when I could truly be present with the wisdom that the failure offered that I could learn from it and move on. Of late I've felt this feeling of acceptance for where I'm at, which in turn has helped me be present with the feelings and thoughts and patterns. I had to fall hard, and I've learned a lot from that fall. Now I'm in this new rhythm of life, finding my way slowly but surely, knowing that the rhythm will carry me forward and that I'll find my way, so long as I'm willing to learn from my mistakes.