Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Running in heels. . . and catching my breath
I found myself walking hurriedly through the airport this morning, rushing to the gate to catch a flight that was already boarding for my second business trip in as many days, literally holding back tears. Why was I holding them back, you might ask? Or why did I feel like crying in the first place, perhaps? If you happen to be a reader who knows me personally, you’re probably wondering why the “Queen of Punctuality” was running behind schedule to begin with.
There’s much that I’ve been wondering about lately, many a “why” that I’m trying to decipher. This morning’s near tearfest was a product of some inner discord that I’m wading through. Since the incredible experience of my recent yoga retreat, I have been feeling a deeper sense of connection and commitment than ever to my spiritual practice. All I want to do is spend my days in nature, chanting mantras, practicing asanas and keeping company with others of inspired consciousness or simply with my own contemplations. I don’t just want this because I desire to live my life on some sort of permanent vacation. I want this because it is the way I feel authentically like myself, like I am fulfilling my purpose in this life. But the fact is, no one other than me has chosen not to make this my main focus at the moment. I chose to have a career, a home, the garden variety responsibilities and obligations, a total “of-the-world” existence. Thankfully that existence incorporates spirituality and a wonderful yoga practice to a significant degree, yet it keeps a distinction between the two. They co-exist and even intermingle quite well, but they are not fully integrated, and I have begun to feel this on a visceral level lately. That is the discord I speak of.
So back to this morning. . .
I caused myself to rush to catch my flight by dawdling. I woke up early enough to have sufficient time for a little morning practice, getting ready and out the door to the airport without having to really rush, which should have given me a fine start to my day. But instead of following the schedule I’d laid out in my head, I felt extremely unmotivated, a product of my overall lack of enthusiasm about my business trip, and thus dragged my feet. This meant no time to spend at my altar and me walking out my front door at the exact moment I should have been walking into the airport. As such, I was tense and frustrated while I drove, or better, while I sped, weaved in and out of traffic, huffed and puffed, mouthed-off to red lights and all-around lost touch with the calm center of my being. While this was happening, somewhere inside I was witnessing my behavior and the thoughts and feelings that were accompanying it. I was conscious of the fact that no amount of huffing and puffing was going to force the lights to turn green any faster. I was aware that my reckless driving in an attempt to shave a couple of minutes off my commute was ludicrous when I consider that it increased the likelihood of bodily harm to others and to myself. I told myself to take some deep breaths, which I did, and to chant along with the mantras coming through my speakers, which I did, but my energy scale remained tipped toward the negative.
By the time I was approaching the gate, I had taken full stock of the morning’s events, and it literally brought up such a swell of emotion that tears came to my mascara-enhanced eyes. I held them back lest I sully my work-ready face paint. It didn’t feel good. If higher consciousness is what I am seeking, then let me start right here, right now, because that is all there is. My obligations and responsibilities don’t simply extend to paying my bills, performing my job duties well and other aspects of the mundane. They extend to me being honest toward myself and recognizing that any discord or discontent I am feeling is of my own doing. I chose to allow negative emotion to be my focus as opposed to positive, just as I have chosen to segregate my life, making a distinction between my practice and my career. I say the former fulfills and nourishes me, while the latter just doesn’t, yet that is not true. It is my attitude toward these things that dictates what my experience with them will be. My career has afforded me the means to delve deeper into my spiritual practice by giving me time and resources to study, train, travel, etc. My career gives me a unique perspective that has fostered an even deeper appreciation for all that yoga has brought to my life. How can I rightly bemoan it then? While I might ultimately hope to one day have my life’s work be a full integration and expression of my spiritual practice (translation: no more corporate job) I have the power to see my present circumstances in exactly that same light.
My tears were part release of tension, part celebration of this recognition. It is part of the inner work I must do, that I want to do, to make peace with where I am at on my journey right now and to learn all I can from each aspect of the experience, even the ones that don’t seem as inviting or enjoyable. I have it within my to find nourishment and fulfillment in them, just as I do from the overtly spiritual aspects. Therein lies the lesson that I needed to be taught today, the lesson that I want to share with you. It is all a question of our attitude and our thought process in any and every situation. There is no external cause of suffering or discord. We create it ourselves, and as such, we can also choose not to. I don’t claim that this is easy, but it is simple. Think about it.