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Simple (not easy) Practice: Choice

A Moment, A Pause… & Conscious Choice

 
 

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of drama (your own internal drama or one happening with others/around you) and realizing,  “I don’t want to spend my moments in this state over this topic. It’s not a priority. It’s not aligned with my values. It’s unwise and it’s contributing to my unwellness.”  GREAT. That sudden moment of realization is HUGE! 

I have found that if I am suddenly aware, especially in such “heat of the moment” situations, I can make the choice either to suffer more, engage in unnecessary drama and stress more, or less. But the point is—I discover that I have a choice.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Viktor Frankl

I have found through daily reflections in writing and building self-awareness through my yoga practice that I can catch myself far more often while in some heated moments or stressful situations, and I am able to pause, evaluate whether this “drama” is an internal problem or an external problem, whether or not I can respond to it or control it somehow or not, whether I am wasting unnecessary stress on it or not. Because of the noticing and a pause, I can respond mindfully: I can take responsibility for my part in the drama, remain engaged in it or let go; show myself or someone else compassion; and respond to do what I can, if anything, and learn something from the entire experience. Spending my moments this way– attentive and responsible–has dramatically improved the quality of my life. 

How will you spend your moments?

Looking at everyday experiences with stress or difficulties as opportunities to face challenge, I ask myself, “Do I really wanna be “that guy?” and “Am I really caring for myself by allowing myself to experience unnecessary stress or causing more stress for myself?” I can do better than that for myself! If I don’t, who will? My life is my own, and I take responsibility for being both a whiny little bitch or a courageous, mother-fucking ass-kicker. I fail continuously in this endeavor, but it’s still a great way to spend my time and energy, for wisdom and wellness are the results (not perfection or achievement).

Choose better, for wellness. 

So, how to have more of these moments of awareness?  Practice through mindfulness meditation or yoga (moving meditation), or even try to keep awareness on your radar as something that is important to you to practice– it’s something of value. Write about it. Make it a priority. Make it a “thing” you do and who you are. Make it your “why” so you can bear the “hows” to get ‘er done. And, guess what, falling in love with this process means falling in love with your life –– i.e. the moments. Who knows how many we have?

––Viktor Frankl

For more, Read Part IV: Choice
from the
Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human: A Self-Study Guide for Wellness (2019, Amazon)

 

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Building Curriculum

“It’s not about the “A” I may or may not get on this “paper” I am writing, this new life I am building. It’s about allowing the creativity to come and work its way through me, participating in the building without total control or clinging, and observing myself on the journey, noticing that I am a merely a conduit of something way bigger than I could ever conjure on my own with all my limitations. Indeed, I am only part of the story.”

Reflection on Building: Going the Distance

As I await critical feedback and help from friends who are reading my book draft It’s Not About the Grades: Landscapes for Learning Beyond Schooling, I am continuing to create professional development curricula for teachers and motivational speaking content for high school students that I hope to launch in the future. This Landscapes for Learning mission is all very slow-going which is great because the process is teaching me to practice slowing down, patience, and self-compassion. The old Field of Dreams mantra, “If you build it, they will come” is something I’ve been repeating to myself often.

I am checking myself (before I wreck myself) to see whether or not I am trying to “fill uncomfortable space” by “staying busy” with more work (just another form of distraction or avoidance) or engaging in creating from a place of love rather than fear. Awareness of my motivations and intentions is a regular practice each day to observe whether I am running away or running towards or a little of both. I am definitely uncomfortable with having let go of the draft to be read by friends and awaiting their honest response.

I am aware of my self-doubt and its accompanying anxiety, and I am taking time to be with it. I am watching myself repeat old scripts: “you aren’t totally stupid but maybe you aren’t as good as you think you are” and “why can’t you just live like a normal person and get a normal job” and “you know how much money you are losing?” and “you are being so irresponsible” and more; however, I watch these thought patterns spoken by “The Judge” come and go. They come and they go and I don’t attach. I notice. I try to notice how my body feels while these thoughts are happening. I acknowledge them, pay some attention to them but only to let them go. I don’t fight or resist their presence. They’ll be back again and again.

Awareness, discernment, and intentional response is something I’ve learned through yoga practice and personal writing. These are two healing modalities that involve self-study that have shown me that awareness is the opposite of insecurity. Shedding light on my inner landscape, although a challenging and difficult process that requires time, energy, and grit, beats floundering around helplessly ignorant on the road of darkness which usually ends up being more painful.

My manuscript took five months to complete and it isn’t even close to reader-friendly, so I anticipate it will take even longer to learn how to revise and reshape it before finally polishing it and, ultimately publishing. I’ve been through this process before, so I understand some of what lies ahead.  I’ve got to take the best possible care of myself so that my mission continues to manifest. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise if I want to “go the distance.”

Watching the process unfold for me rather than trying to control it enables me to see more clearly what part I need to play along each step of the way. Writing is total control that gives me a sense of security. But, if I resist, if I fail to let go of the control, or insist readers see my story my way rather than listening carefully to how they see it, their way, and accepting their insight, I am screwed.

Also, if I fail to see any or all of this process as my own landscape for learning, that too would be a travesty. If I treat this creation process as just a bunch of tasks to complete before I can enjoy the results or “cash in” on all the hard work sometime in the future, then I am going to miss the joy of the present moment.

It’s not about the “A” I may or may not get on this “paper” I am writing, this new life I am building. It’s about allowing the creativity to come and work its way through me, participating in the building without total control or clinging, and observing myself on the journey, noticing that I am a merely a conduit of something way bigger than I could ever conjure on my own with all my limitations. Indeed, I am only part of the story.