The past is valuable because you learn. The stove is hot. Next time, I will not touch it as I will burn myself, as I just did. See, what a beautiful lesson the past has now taught us, and guess what? I haven’t burnt myself on the stove for a while; so yeah, feeling good. Learning to surrender the emotional scars, learning from your own mistakes while not dwelling in guilt and self-punishment, now that’s another story. All I can say is when we are trapped in the past, we repeat the past, over and over again ad nauseam. It’s not cute. Nor is it helpful or enlightening. It’s repetitive and banal until it becomes predictable and damaging. I look back on the men I used to be drawn to, or the one I let myself fall effortlessly into the void too many times, and I smirk and roll my eyes. What a dumbass. But you see? It’s just that kind of internal rhetoric that does not serve me NOW, the only fucking reality there ever is. At one point, I became fed up with my own patterns and I (with the support and encouragement of my mom and friends of course, an important tool) yanked myself out of it and truly moved on. That was just men. One sliver of what’s turning out to be a delicious savory sweet pie.
Now I struggle with self-doubt, less now that I’ve pursued teaching and writing truthfully with commitment, but I’ve been absorbing courage from some pretty incredible friends and colleagues, who live wildly open, naked, raw, and while I find it important to be that friend for others, who cheers them on, supports their expression and is proud of their ballsiness, I need to turn that good friend in me and direct it inward, because no one will get me to do anything but me, the good me that says I’m worthy just as others are, that just because there are streams of talent and beauty being showcased there is no necessity for comparison. Expression is expression and regardless if I blow people away, the release of letting something out nourishes me beyond what any purchase, drug or fear could placate. The bad me says it’s self-indulgent, attention seeking and nothing life-changing so why bother? Because I wouldn’t let some asshole tell me I’m worthless and shitty so why would I tell that to myself? It’s astonishing how much we can get in our own way, basically because we’re choosing fear over love. Think about the decisions you’ve made, big and small, day-to-day in how you engage with others to getting up on that dance floor or making that big speech, falling in love, reaching out when in need, whatever those triggers are for you. How often have you stopped yourself from speaking, acting, crying, believing, loving? We can change this. Patience, practice and presence.
So I’d say my fears and my sense of time, derived by my complex mind, have allowed me to slowly evolve and learn, but I’ve managed to keep some childhood patterns, the one where I won’t try something unless I know I’ll be good at it (WTF is that?! What arrogant asshole assumes they’ll be good at everything? Clearly everything worth doing is challenging. I’m learning.), meaning I must show potential in this or why am I here? The answer is growth. That’s why I’m here and while I feel it’s helpful and important to follow your strengths so you can give whatever gift is inside outwardly, we mustn’t shy away from attempting things that scare us because of some hypothetical bullshit, scaredy cat attitude, where we project potential scenarios into the future, predicting embarrassment and ridicule, instead of reality where human beings are kind and supportive and appreciate vulnerability and someone’s willingness to fall down and get back up.
So the past is repeated and the future is rehearsed. Boy was I a dreamer as a child. I’m pretty sure I had insomnia. I was fine, healthy, functioned adequately, but I did spend many nights awake just pondering, wondering, dreaming, and while that’s fun and imagination should certainly be fostered, I fell into a pattern (conditioned by my past) to focus my attention and enthusiasm at achievements or events arriving at a later day. So, I predicated my happiness on something happening down the line. I’d make myself sick from excitement or stress (one might call this anxiety) and I look back at periods of my life as if they’re a blur, because I spent so much of that time trapped in my mind, reliving the past, anticipating the future. I’m starting to sound like a broken record to my yoga students because I mention this often, but everything I’ve learned and gathered in my life thus far, has led me to this truth. This may be the only thing I know for sure. Happiness exists, joy animates, enthusiasm projects, and acceptance takes residence in this very moment, this fraction of a second, Now, and nowhere else. It’s not over there, it’s not marked on your calendar, it’s not within another human being or animal, not at your apartment, or your workspace, not when you can practice your hobby, or have that drink or puff. It’s not when you graduate, when you get the promotion or raise, that new car, new bag, new stuff, new look, new friend, new romance, or the next new magical gift that will then turn the light inside you ON. It’s right fucking here, right fucking now. Surrender to that, and your outward expression and experience in this measly little lifetime we’re given will become so vast and spacious, you’ll be overwhelmed. You may enjoy the aforementioned things, derive pleasure, but these are merely bonuses, facets to a rich existence, but not the path to long-term contentment or internal success.
I still find myself questioning decisions I’ve made or will make. I find myself disheartened and perplexed by human beings constantly, those I have to deal with on a consistent basis, and while I have days where I just feel like shit, I feel low, I feel like no one gives a fuck, I’m able to pull myself out of that mind-induced slump quicker, knowing that I give a fuck and there is a short list of quality human beings and a few animals who care too. This world is consuming, moving rapidly but progressing slowly, and it’s imperative that your personal sense of time and your stage in this evolutionary process is completely removed from the world’s time, clock time, psychological time. Use the past as a tool to remind yourself you’ve repeated a pattern, get to know your inner monologue and adjust it to uplift yourself. Use the future as fuel to fire up the present, because the better you are in THIS moment, imagine the result in the next. Use time as a tool, not a crutch. Surrender the unknown, what you cannot control and what you cannot change and bring more vibrancy to learning, using what you do know, regulate what you can from within and let it bleed out.
Surrendering attachment, truly letting go is a gradual, inside out process. Giving up caffeine or cigarettes will only eliminate a fraction of the problem, until our lingering resentment and soured expectations conjure up a new vice to diminish the negative web our minds are spinning. Sure we need to let go of the past, forgive ourselves and others, recognize what’s done is done, the bell can never be un-rung, but the real strength is in surrendering each moment, accepting yourself and your extenuating circumstances AS THEY ARE, not as they could have been or how they should be or how you hope they’ll be, but accepting responsibility to control your reactions, your perceptions and ultimately your attachment to whatever IS. Eckhart Tolle, Joseph Campbell and many brilliant Yogis and philosophers explain and personify this beautifully. It’s beyond even the most beautifully written words. It is a truth you must infuse into your way of living and being. It’s not to be labeled. It’s not a noun, verb or adverb. It just Is. You just Are.
Can you continue to blossom as the external dares you to shrink? Can you give yourself warmth and light from the very essence you are when the thunderous darkness of your ego and it’s stubborn attachment to the unimportant aim to envelop you, leaving you cold and confused, even more steeped in fear, feeling even more alone. You can start very easily by accepting your mind and body as it is right now, there’s nothing you can do in this moment to change it or manipulate it so you somehow perceive it positively. Let go of comparison, of judgment, of expectation and just embrace yourself and the Now. Notice even within a challenging task how surrender feels. The more you fidget, grimace, or clench (physically and mentally), the more difficult and frustrating it will be. What you resist persists. It is difficult because our minds are cunning, clever little bastards and they seek to retell the same boring sob story over and over again. Just begin by bringing awareness to whatever your patterns are, wherever your tendency toward control manifests and through that awareness, a space will open up for wisdom, kindness, acceptance and release. Let go.
You deserve the most vibrant life a human can live. Believe it and Be it. Turn ON the light the only way possible, yourself, without worry for other’s brightness, your genuine example of acceptance and enthusiasm for this moment is bound to rub off positively on someone. And if not, you’ve got You and that’s one hell of an accomplishment. Those of us working to find more presence and light within can serve others by bouncing off ideas, giving support, and when in doubt, thinking and acting out of compassion. I am merely a work in progress, but I’m sincerely jazzed and buzzing from the challenge that is living a remarkable life, aiming to brighten my and someone else’s day and find that more darkness has faded away.
No matter the weather, no matter your upbringing, your socio-economic status, your religious or political affiliations, your sexual preferences, your grade point average, your color, your size, your current job or your dream job, your perceived status or reputation, the details of your past or projections for the future, You can choose to turn on that light, operate from your best essence and surrender to what is, to embrace here and now, proactively choose Love instead of reactively choosing fear. Surrender is under-valued and connotes images of a white flag and of loss. Bullshit. It takes strength to let go. You’re a bright shiny winner.
You ARE Life. Stop wasting your energy and Live.