My heart and mind have moved in and out of a state of anxiety and discomfort this week. I’ve felt confused and disappointed, bewildered and depressed. I have witnessed a lot of conflict, both internal and external.
- I watched as a poet schooled people, specifically white people, on how to (and not to) engage with her work. It was painful to read, to dig deeper and see the comments, to know that I was in no way prepared to understand or take part in such a discussion.
- Another conflict arose around the sharing of one artist’s work by another without credit being immediately given, with the original artist sharing exactly why the situation was problematic. I see this so often, when something could easily be searched, the original author discovered and credited, but we don’t take the time, don’t take it seriously enough.
- Someone who recently left his teaching position in an MFA program wrote Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One, to which Chuck Wendig wrote a rebuttal, An Open Letter To That Ex-MFA Creative Writing Teacher Dude. Everything about this discussion makes my heart hurt.
- People argued over the color of a dress, and then many others complained about them wasting time on the issue when there were so many more important things to be thinking and arguing about.
- A woman who called herself the Wellness Warrior died and a cancer surgeon wrote this article reflecting on her death. The whole thing hurts, is so confusing.
- MindBodyGreen published this article, 5 Reasons To Eat Gluten (Funny), (I didn’t find it funny at all, less so because it’s written by an author who thinks sugar is evil and claims to have cured her thyroid disorder through her good choices) AND they also published 5 Red Flags That Show You’re Taking Healthy Eating Too Far, which essentially says the exact opposite as the other article. I like this website, but the contradictory information they publish can be so confusing.
- A writer whose work normally leaves me so inspired, so encouraged, is offering a new program, “not a diet but a DO IT,” and everything about it feels so wrong, makes me so sad. It also just so happened to be National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
- I continued to fight with myself about Ringo’s injured toe — thinking I had maybe made a mistake not taking him to the vet when it first happened, unsure if it was going to heal, worried it would get infected, watching how I obsessed over needing to be right and in control. When I wasn’t fussing about that, I was worried I’d have to cancel my Saturday morning yoga class again due to weather, and I was a little relieved by the possibility, which I immediately felt guilty for.
- I seem to be hellbent on running myself completely ragged — Feast, the Open Heart Project, the Daily Dharma Gathering, teaching yoga, more yoga teacher training, reading all the books, practicing, studying, blogging, a demanding job that keeps asking for more, a body that is tired tired tired, a mind and heart that are bewildered.
I know that for many people, most of these conflicts would be intellectually interesting but not have a real impact. Many other people can observe these things from a distance, manage to not take them personally. I’m not like that. I’m porous. When there is discord, I’m like a tuning fork that responds, echoing the pain from somewhere deep inside of me. When I was feeling at my worst this week, had sunk down to that place of “why should I even bother?”, I saw this. A sweet little short film that captured exactly what it can feel like to be me.
I need to check myself before I wreck myself. I am attempting a major shift to a whole new paradigm, and I need to be gentle with myself. This is going to take time. I remind myself that there are three stages to knowing: first you know something intellectually, then you feel it, and then, finally, you embody it. I have to remind myself how deeply worn the groove is of my habitual patterns, deep ruts worn into my brain, a connection between first thought and action that is lightning speed, and to interrupt it would be like trying to get off a a roller coaster half way through the ride. It’s such a long process to shift things and it’s easy to get impatient, to feel like it’s never going to happen.
The best I can do for now is to try and keep from generating more suffering. I can continue to practice, to simply be with myself and allow things to arise without an agenda. Rest in the moment, relax into basic goodness. Rest, relax, release, surrender. May we all be gentle with ourselves, kind and gentle reader, as we do the things that are not simple, not easy, but still so important.