Certain Misery

It seems fitting that the final chapter I read from the Thought book today was about change. Or more specifically the idea that:

The certainty of misery is preferable to the misery of uncertainty.

It got me thinking about my upcoming move (for which I should be packing but instead felt the need to blog about this subject) and how comfortable I am with my current levels of certainty. I’m relocating to North Carolina (today) and have planned out most of the major details: housing, pre-school for my son, shifting into a full-time virtual work, etc.) but there are other details I’m not so sure I’m feeling excited about:

  • living with my dad again, a very cool guy, but still he IS my father…
  • moving to small town America (i.e. no Ethiopian or Thai restaurants)
  • Leaving my close community of friends and my siblings to intentionally be less social and more reflective…great for creative pursuits, not so great for the Inner Critic who has blamed external forces as the impediments of novel and song writing.

There is a part of me that has to admit that I’ve felt safe in my current certainty of misery. Even though I complain about the lack of this or that, I know what’s expected of me, I know how far I have to push myself to be good enough, I know how to play it safe.

Moving to a new city forces you to recognize some of these assumptions you’ve built up about yourself and your life. AND it presents the question: will I be the same in my new space or will I choose something new?

My youngest sister choose to recreate herself around a dream of Green Smoothies and just sent around a recent article as the first “press” she’s received about her new venture. As a big sister, I’m proud to the moon, and as a co-seeker I’m inspired to act in similar fashion. To continue to be my core self, and focus the shift onto my outward behaviour, so that my professional work is more of a reflection of my values, than of my need for financial certinity.

Perhaps a deeper peace lies among  deeper uncertainty.

Seeing with new eyes

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” -Albert Einstein

 

It’s a new year, a new month, a new day and a new moment.

new-years-resolution-ideas

Seems everything is screaming at me to take advantage and start anew. The HGTV commercial, my inbox full of messages from various inspirational authors I think I want to be like and even my phone, in its untimely death yesterday demanding a replacement.

A new beginning?

Is it really possible to stop being a creatively lazy, emotional eater who often overworks herself until her body gets the flu? (Happened three times in 2012, one would think I’d learn!)

While there are a million things I’d like to change about my life, I admit I am halted in my efforts to lose weight, practice guitar, drink less wine, act bold at the bar towards the individual with shining eyes… due to my ever-familiar ever-critical internal voice.

A companion for as long as I can remember, we’ve traveled abroad together, despite my illusions that It would remain at home. We’ve dirtied seemingly pure relationships due to a belief in my unworthiness. We’ve experienced moments of beautiful creative expression only to render them meaningless, locking them away in the coffers of my heart.

inner cirtiticWe judge, we spite, we say truly nasty things about abilities only imagined. The struggle with this voice, with this doubt, with this fear, is what keeps my life a roller-coaster of bumps called “disappointment” and highs called “expectations” that only lead back to valleys called “not-good-enoughness.”

But then there are the moments outside the roller-coaster.

And I see with new eyes that I’ve mistaken expectation for hope. I’ve been so focused on bumps and valleys that I forgot about Purpose. That my practice in seeing beyond the physical (which is all my spiritual practice of meditation, journalling and yoga is) redefines the ride completely. No longer is life a struggle because I have to drive alone for 9-hours with a three-year-old or leave the grocery store without groceries because my account is overdrawn or sleep alone when I dream of it being otherwise. My practice gives me the ability to step away from the bump and expectation and recognize the million of things that are going right for me in that moment.

  • I’m breathing well. I’m safe.
  • I have a community around me to support me.
  • I am grateful my son is healthy and beautiful and joyful.
  • And I too can choose to be healthy, and beautiful and joy-filled.

I don’t think annual resolutions work for me because it gives my critical voice opportunity to say: “Ha! You see, you weren’t very nice to that homeless man. You’re not a good spiritual person this year! Ha hahaha!”

So instead I try to commit to a daily practice, encouraging sometimes moment-to-moment redefinitions. It’s not something I do everyday. It’s not something that always looks the same all the time. But whether it’s 5 minutes or 50 minutes, the same intention is there: To be willing to change.

willingness

It takes WILLINGNESS to choose again. It takes WILLINGNESS to counter that internal voice with an example of kindness. It takes WILLINGNESS to step out of the rollar-coaster and see the ride for what it is. This is my commitment to myself this year and every year, to be willing to take a moment and remind myself of what I’m grateful for, what I appreciate, what I can do well.

One has to be willing to see with new eyes the exquisite mysteries of this beautiful life. For that is where true peace lives.

Unexpected Change

This morning one of my favorite Adele songs came on the radio and seemed to speak to me in an entirely new way. Previously, I would get caught up in empathizing with her simple, but humble story that parting ways with a current love, didn’t mean that she would never find love again. And that belief helped her to be grateful and even appreciate the pain, enabling her to wish her former love all the best. I related with her about the pain of losing someone, of choices made to enable future growth, despite current heartache. Sadly (or not), it’s oh so familiar.

Today, I heard in Adele’s song, an anecdotal story of life. I fall in love with life so easily. Although more often than not, it’s my expectations about what life will bring me that I cherish. And every time it doesn’t happen as I plan, in essence unexpected change, its my attachment to that expectation that brings the suffering. My life is full of unexpected change at the moment. In health, relationships, employment, creative pursuits…and I realized that it is not the change itself that causes me pain, but more so that I am mourning the loss of a plan. The passing of an idea of how my life should look and feel right now. And it was only until the idea died, that I realized how attached I was to it.

So here I am, 4am on a weekday after weeks of restless nights and tearful days, a moment of clarity: I have a choice. I can continue to fantasize about how wonderful my plan was and what it would look like if it did come to fruition…

or simply let it go,

trusting that the qualities of that desire (joy, peace, balance, well-being….love) will manifest in other ways.