|From Be Here Now by Ram Dass|
Gratitude and patience. These are the things that life tries to teach me over and over again. I have been here before. I will be again. Somehow I've learned to weave in an unrelenting optimism, like a fine silver thread that sparkles when the light hits it. Like glass in the road, shiny and reflective little mirrors that blind you temporarily, again and again and again.
I find myself getting caught up in this and that stress. Work, traffic (are you fucking serious, Austin? get your life together...) external forces I have absolutely no control over. Things happening in general that I don't always plan for or expect or like. Opening myself up to The Year of Yes means I have to learn how to compromise and share and be aware of other people and their needs and wants. I have to honor the process by which other people live. I have to validate their feelings and I have to admit that I am not always right. (I mean, I know.) As a person who has been focused on self-preservation for such a long time, stepping out of that "How does this affect just me?" mindset is difficult. But I'm doing it, and I'm growing. I'm making space. I don't even have to try, because it's just happening. Every day, just because I said yes.
It's so easy to spin out and live inside problems and anxiety and stress. We live in a world filled with tragedy and loss and pain and suffering and anger. It's easy to exist there, wound up, because that's what we've always done, how we've always reacted. We're wired for it. The hard thing is stopping that. Stepping back, away from our instinct to freak out and overreact and stew inside the problem. We have to take a rational, logical look at any stressful situation and remember... this is not the end of the world. Not matter what it is. This is not anything, really. Breathe in. Breathe out. There's always a solution, and I don't have to react to situations the way I have in the past. I am not a broken record. Just because something happened, even multiple times before, every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around. I know that profound changes are possible in any human being, because I climbed that mountain myself.
One of the most groundbreaking, life changing things I learned in early therapy was "You are not your thoughts." Wait, what? I am not my thoughts. What does that even mean? It means that all that noise in my head, the self-doubt and negativity and that voice that says I'm not ever good enough... it means THAT IS NOT WHO I AM. It means that you can think something, anything, about yourself and that doesn't make it reality. It means you make your own reality. I used to tell myself I was a fat, worthless, drunken mess and I would never be able to be anything other than that. Today, because I learned to separate myself from my thoughts, and honor the highest and best in myself by always acting with compassion, I am the best me I have ever been. Right now. This minute. I am infinite and wise and kind. This is my reality.
Around the time I learned about the magic of disengaging from my thoughts and watching them float by with no judgement, I started meditating. These things go hand in hand. At first, I used mp3s I found on the internet. There are lots of podcasts and tracks you can buy. I prefer to meditate with some kind of guidance or at the least some music or other nature sounds. I also really love meditating in groups, and I do that usually at Eastside Yoga in Austin. It was in these meditation classes where I was able to work through, and ultimately let go of a lot of the pain and anguish I experienced in the year that my father died. I have experienced moments in meditation of real, true self awareness, of loss of ego, of self acceptance and physical relief of pain that I have trouble articulating. And we all know how much I like to talk about my feelings. I've come to realize over the last months and weeks that meditation is truly a secret to finding and maintaining a very real, healing inner light. I want that, and I'm going to practice.
There are lots of options here for finding a practice to attend in public with others, but more importantly, we should strive to set aside time and space for meditation in every day life. Even as little as 10 minutes a day can make a transformative change in our lives. I went to a workshop last weekend about how to begin a regular meditation practice. Steven at Eastside Yoga is so super awesome when it comes to helping his students get into yoga and meditation. I seriously love that place so much. It was the first place I went to care for my body when I was at my highest weight ever, and I keep returning, even after being away, because it's so peaceful, tranquil and special. They have lots of amazing meditation and yoga workshops coming up in the next few months, and I am always keen for a buddy to go to this stuff with me. Yes, I mean you.
In my own life, I'm about to do one of the most stressful things we do in modern society, which is move everything I own into a new place. Right before SXSW. Which incidentally has, after all these years, found an innovative new way to infiltrate my entire world, because my amazing, wonderful, all the superlatives boyfriend programs their films. You should follow him on Twitter, by the way, because he's brilliant at all things cinematic. Moving is the worst, but of course, I have a plan. I'm throwing money at the problem whenever possible, and my new place is going to be a Rooster-and-Viking-child-free sanctuary with modern appliances and grown up things like a washer and dryer and a fireplace and lots of natural light. I can't wait.
Regarding aforementioned boyfriend situation: Everything is literally the best ever. Look up at space and try to wrap your mind around infinity, and then maybe you might get an inkling. Rainbows and music are shooting out of my heart every minute of the day. It's so easy and fun. It's totally ridiculous and impossible and actually happening. I am exactly where I want to be right now. Right here. With you.