1-25-17 The other day I attended a lecture about Gurdijieff's work. It was quite fascinating, especially when the person giving the lecture talked about a person's actions were essentially just reactions to everything that had had influenced the person. While my initial response was to be skeptical, when I considered the idea, I found it made sense in a way. When I look at all my choices, there's a history behind those choices and there's environmental factors. It doesn't take away from my responsibility for those choices, but recognizing that your choices aren't solely based on internal motivations can be helpful...It's too easy to take on so much responsibility that you ignore the other factors. There's a balance to be struck and when it is, it can help a person with internal work in a way that actually helps produce genuine conscious change that can be acted on.
1-29-17 I had a couple of interesting dreams last night. In the first dream Jim N, an old roommate showed me a videoclip with the title, "Now isn't this awkward". In the video clip Richard Nixon and Jim's dad were walking very closely next to each other and Richard Nixon looked uncomfortable. Not sure what the dream means though I suppose in some ways its a comment on the current regime in power. The second dream was much more involved. This family tried to steal my car, but I wouldn't let them and then it turned out their son had a spiritual illness, so I offered to look him over and help him out. Both dreams were very vivid (hey normally aren't) so I felt I should record them and consider them.
2-2-17 I was reading the section in the Gifts of Imperfection about perfectionism. I don't think of myself as a perfectionist, per se, but I do recognize certain traits that have shown up in my thinking, especially when I tell myself where I "should be" as opposed to where I am. One of the gifts of the stillness work has really involved learning to accept where I am with grace and compassion toward myself as well as asking myself what the real motivation is for wanting to be in a particular place. And accepting where I am doesn't mean I stop doing the work, but what it does mean is I stop holding myself to impossible standards and instead celebrate the journey while continuing on it.
2-8-17 Had dinner with Felix tonight, where we got into an interesting conversation about the aesthetics of magic Something clicked into place and I realized its something I've talked about, but from a different angle, and recognizing that different angle, just made things much more interesting as a result, when I think about how and why magic works.
2-9-17 Something the last couple of years the stillness work has gradually taught me is how to be open with myself. I could never open up to anyone else, because I didn't know how to be open with myself. I was terrified to be open, in all honesty, because being open meant sitting with all the parts of me that are vulnerable and hurting, all the damage that's been done to me and yes all the damage I've done as well to myself and others. As I've opened up more, I've been able to hold space with those parts of myself and to hold space with other people as well. And what I've discovered is a gradual loosening of the fears, doubts, and shame, and a replacement of a kind of warmth that lights me from within and allows me to connect intimately to the people who matter in my life. The work is hard, but doing the work is also liberating, if you stick with it.
2-17-17 Today I meditated on my early 20's. It was prompted by coming across someone I used to know through Facebook. In my early 20's I was a clueless guy when it came to relationships. I didn't know how to handle genuine interest from other people and ended up pursuing people I knew would reject me. I would often hide my insecurity by being flirtatious because flirting was easy to do, and it kept me "safe" or so I thought. But really I just didn't know how to interact with other people. And part of me didn't feel worthy of being with other people. It was easy to chase after people who didn't want me. They just confirmed the feeling of unworthiness I already had. So today I meditated on those feelings and showed some compassion to my younger self. It made me realize how you can think you're over a period of your life and then discover that in fact there's some buried stuff you still haven't worked through.
2-20-17 In the Gifts of Imperfection the author talks about numbing and how people will engage in addictive behavior to numb their pain. That addictive behavior can be the classics of alcoholism and drugs, but can also be workaholicism...really any behavior where you're trying to avoid feeling anything. What I find fascinating is that she explains that when you seek to numb your feelings, you also numb the good feelings, joy, love, etc. And yet in meditating about it I came to see her point. When I look back at periods of my life, when I numbed myself, I ended up numbing all the feelings I had. She also points out that feelings of joy and love can make a person uncomfortable because of how vulnerable you feel and again that makes sense to me, because I've actually felt that way before in my own life. Until Kat I wasn't comfortable with feeling loved.
In my stillness work, I've found that embracing uncomfortable feelings is what leads to resolution. When you numb your feelings, you ultimately make them stronger. But when you lean into them, when you choose to feel them and be present with whatever comes up, it liberates you. And yes the bad feelings are comfortable, but sometimes the good feelings are as well. My choice to be present, to lean into and accept the feelings has played a big part in no longer numbing myself, but instead stepping into the joy and bliss of life.