3-23-2018 In Nine Poisons, Nine Medicines, Nine Fruits the author talks about how self-images define us and create karmic patterns, and how in turn a fixation on an image of success can distract us from being truly present with what you're doing. And I'm inclined to agree. I think a lot of the enjoyment I might have experienced with various activities got sucked away by getting focused on certain images of success. Since those images are no longer relevant, I've experienced a deeper, and more open enjoyment of my writing and magical work than I've experienced in years. There is nothing to be recognized for, nothing to live up to and so all images fall away to leave in place a more open and vulnerable experience.
And she reminds me that inevitably a person experiences loss, disappointment and failure. It's simply a reality of life, but how you adapt to it and learn from it...that's your choice. I think what I've learned from the last six months is how to deal with experiencing a crushing disappointment by resiliently adapting and learning from it. Of late, I've just been feeling more open to the fear I wake up with each day and it somehow has become I can just be more gracefully present with. I can relax into it, work through it, accept it, instead of resisting it and creating tension. And I can work with that because I'm not fixated any longer on trying to achieve some standard of success. When success doesn't matter, life suddenly becomes a lot easier to live because you can adapt to the moment and roll with the circumstances and continue on your journey. And that's where I'm at, just rolling with the circumstances, adapting each day to each situation that comes up and seeing where it takes me.
3-27-2018 The last few days I've been doing a lot of work with my feelings of impulsiveness. When I'm in an uncomfortable situation, there's a feeling of just wanting to leap to the next thing and in some ways I've been feeling that a lot and instead of acting on it, I've just really chosen to sit with the emotions and have a dialogue. Sometimes you can't run away from your fears. Instead you have to turn around and sit with them, hard as it might be, in order to discover what they have to tell you. So I'm sitting with my fears. When you feel something, choosing to feel it, truly feel it provides you an opportunity to discover true liberation. I'm choosing to pause instead of react, because if I react, I'm not really learning from my failures and mistakes. I'm choosing to experience the moment, and when I feel that reaction to try and escape I hold space with it and hunker down with my discomfort because there's lessons to learn before I try again and the next time I try I want to do it from the right place.
3-31-2018 I think the hardest part of starting over is figuring out if you're even ready to start over. I've decided to give myself the entire month of April to think about what things may look like for me, with this site, my books, and life in general. And at the same time, I keep in mind something I've read in Nine Poisons, Nine Medicines, Nine Fruits: Temporary appeasements are based on a limited understanding and the more I chase after something, the more I put myself in the grip of that something.
In some ways I feel so hollowed out by everything as well and I recognize that I just have to take my time and trust that I will get where I need to go and not try to force it. I look at what other people do and I realize that isn't me, and then I'm left with the question, "What is me?" I have ideas and for the moments that's all I got. Previously I'd be so impulsive, but I've learned a bitter lesson about being impulsive so I figure taking my time and really considering the angles before taking the plunge certainly can't hurt and may actually help.
And in some ways I am also continuing to just accept that I feel this sense of discontent and allowing it to speak to me. It's hard and terrifying because I feel stripped away of all my illusions, hopes, and fantasies. Yet its real, humbling, and when I open myself to that discontent it opens me up to other experiences as well. It opens me to considering the angles, to taking a risk on discovering what's next. It opens me up and leaves me bare...here I am, everything exposed, open, raw, present. And all I really have is the work I do, the practice I engage in and the choice to be present with what I'm experiencing. Instead of being driven by my impulsiveness, by a need to try to find some limited satisfaction, I accept its all temporary and really look at what's underneath that impulsiveness. My discontent becomes the messenger of my spiritual practice, ready to teach me if I'm willing to let it.
4-2-2018 The other day I decided to start working my way through one of the classes I'd signed up for. but never taken. It was a cathartic experience to start the class, because it naturally brought up insecurities over everything that happened in 2017, but I felt like I was finally ready to get back in the saddle, carefully, and see what I could do and learn. And I'm glad I did, because it helped me have an important (and ironic) realization today. I was thinking about the lessons I'd watched and how one of my unspoken motivations was because I didn't want to deal with people. I wanted to automate everything so I could bring a steady source of income in and free up time to write. I find it ironic because now I deal with people all day long. But its a timely lesson that reminds me that if I'm going to move forward with anything business wise I need to know what my motivations are and be honest with myself about them, and also accept that there really is no way to automate relationships. I know that now and it makes me see the mistakes I made all over again in a different light, which is all the better for seeing them, even if its cringeworthy.
4-4-2018 As I'm working my way through that online class and the exercises I'm paying close attention to what is coming up internally for me. It's proving helpful for me to assess whether I even want to try again or go down a different path or do a combination of the two. And what I'm also keeping in mind is that part of what made things not work was that I got scattered...that I didn't get focused, so I recognize if I choose to go down this route I need to be very focused, do one project at a time, and other things like that. I realize I may ed up ultimately not going back down this path and yet spending the time going through this class and doing the exercises is cathartic for me, so that makes it worth it alone.
4-8-2018 Some times I have to ground myself in the present, in the moment, because it can be so easy to get caught up in a dream or a fantasy. I think its part of what created the mistakes I made last year. So I'm recognizing that as I go through this class and drawing on Elephant's aide to remind me how important it is to be in the moment and present with where I'm at and what I have available to me. Seems to me that part of stability really is grounding yourself in the moment you have, and the meditation I've been reading and working with have helped a lot as well with that recognition of being here now.
4-10-2018 In When things Fall Apart, The author talks about the impermanence of life, how there really is no such thing as permanence. I've been thinking about that a lot. I realized today that ironically enough working with Stability is teaching me how to become comfortable with impermanence. You would think that stability is about permanence, but I'm finding that true stability is really about learning to be preset with impermanence, learning how to roll with it and work with it. So many people get caught up in the idea of permanence. I have, and yet I've learned there is no permanence. Being stable isn't clinging to some static image of reality that never changes...it is accepting that change happens, but how you handle that change, how you accept and adapt to impermanence is how you create stability.
4-14-2018 the last couple of days I've been thinking about something Pema Chodron quoted, "When its hurts so bad, its because I'm hanging on so tight." I think in a lot of ways that's obsession right there, whether its obsession with pleasure or pain. But she also points out that it comes down to whether or not we're owning the experience we're in. I keep coming back to that, because when I look at everything that's happened I've gradually had to come to this place of acceptance that the reason I'm where I am is because of me, my choices, my decisions, etc.. Sure I can point the finger at the business guru or the friend or whoever else, but I've got three other fingers pointing right back at me. And if I can't square with that, then I'm holding on tight to the pain, because then the pain becomes its own excuse for why I'm where I'm at.
That is so tough to be with. But it is so necessary. Yesterday I felt angry when I left the job I'm working at. Yet who was I really angry with? Myself. So I let myself feel that anger, accepted it for what it was and then asked myself: "So what can you do?" And the answer is, "I can take action. And the first action is to be gentle with me, because what's done is done, but I can keep moving forward."
Today I'm moving forward and in the process of moving forward, I'm choosing to be present with anxiety, fear, and trauma by choosing to do something that may not work, but nonetheless giving another go, because its my choice to do it and to empower myself through that choice.
4-17-2018 I had a dream last night. I was moving out of this place, where I had lived with someone I once considered a friend. And I went there to pick up my stuff and I talked with the new tenant, who told me the other person was also still cleaning up. And the message I got from the dream was just focus on your cleaning up after you. And it gave me a sense of comfort. I'm just doing what I need to do. I'm cleaning my own mess up, doing the daily work I need to do.
4-22-2018 Sometimes finding stability is having hard conversations which are rocky at first but lead back to the right place to be. I find that the further into stability I go the more I discover that stability isn't really about a specific state of being, but rather its about creating the circumstances that allow a person to find harmony and balance regardless of what's happening. there can be moments of discomfort and fear and other such things with stability, but they are just moments of transition if handled right, and they provide opportunities to discover greater stability, if we choose to allow it. It just requires us to be brave enough to be honest with ourselves and with the people that are most important. The rest can be sorted out from there.