Monday, November 1, 2010

Impatient to Learn Patience

It has taken me nearly a full week to make time to meditate again.  It is very hard for me to still my body let alone my mind, it would seem!  I come up with a million excuses not to sit and stay with my feelings of anxiety or disappointment, to feel into my body or my heart.  The mind wants to control it all.

I rehash the week - What happened?  Who did I see?  Where did I go?  Was I successful in my work?  How can I judge that?  Am I tired?  Happy?  Sad?  Angry?  What would a good way forward be?

All of these thoughts clamor for attention, and I decide I ought to catch up on emails, work on more advertising, publish a second portfolio book for work, text a friend, and eat a chocolate bar rather than sit for meditation.  While doing all of these things, my mind also tells me that meditating is something that would be good for me, and I ought to take time for that! 

Finally, I sat.  I only managed ten minutes.  I fidgeted a lot compared to last time.  My stress level was a lot higher to start with than last time.  I eventually calmed down a little bit, but tonight I found it very hard to sit still.  My eyes dried out if they were open.  My leg was uncomfortable, then my back.  My heart was fast and my stomach very full from dinner.  I wanted to lay down and not sit.  Thoughts, constantly tumbling around in there.

I am going to try and do it again tomorrow.  I am having an inkling that meditation practice is all about practice, and that it probably sucks a lot of the time.  I also think that it is a hugely beneficial thing to do for myself, since it is so hard for me.  If I can learn even a little bit to slow down and start taking time for anything at all, even something so simple as ten or twenty minutes to just sit and be with myself, it could blossom into a much kinder attitude towards myself.  I could use that.

This week was hard.  Work has been slow.  Workshops are not filling up as I hoped.  Even with loads of effort put into promotions, lots of money put into promotions, and creative ideas eeked out, all is not unfolding as I had plotted and hoped.  Turns out I have been rather married to my ideas of how things should turn out, when reality is showing me that actually, I get no say over that.

It makes me mad.  It makes me frustrated and want to shake my fists at the world and hit something beautiful and break it.  Or, squish my feet in mud and realize that life is like that sometimes.  Sadly, I have no beautiful things that are not my own to break (it's only satisfying if it is someone else's it would seem), and no mud, either!

At the end of today, talking about it with Derek, I realized that I have done the best I can on these subjects.  No further amount of forcing is going to turn things my way.  Now I have to wait.

Waiting is sooooo hard for me.  Patience is not a trait I have cultivated deeply.  I thought I had some, but really I just use loads of projects as a barrier from ever having to truly wait.  Instead I just switch projects and get busy with something else while the first project stews.  As I found myself overwhelmed with too many projects, I have decided to halt adding any new ones on to my list.  This is revealing that I get pretty upset and feel very worthless when I have to stop working on a project and wait for it to do something.  I feel I have lost control and without it everything might go horribly awry.  And you know what?  It might.  The difficult concept for me to internalize is that sometimes things will fail and it does not mean that I am personally a failure.  It just means I did a project that failed.

Normally I will mask failed projects among all of the successful ones and come up with an alternate plan for the failed project, relaunching it before anyone can see that the first one bombed.  Especially myself.  I hate seeing myself fail, and I think I must go to annoying lengths to ensure that I never pause long enough to think about what it means when something I start goes wrong or turns out in what I would define as a bad outcome.

Well, this time I am going to see all of my projects through and let them turn out as they must.  I have done my best.  I am just a human being like everyone else.  I cannot expect that I am not subject to the same ebbs and flows of existence as everyone else.  My workshop might not fill up despite my best efforts.  My work schedule may not pick up despite all my best efforts right now.  It is just how it is.  Rather than weeping for it, being upset and miserable, I could try to just breathe and let it be.

In my heart, I am secretly hoping that by conceding that I will just breathe and let it be that it will automatically get better.  I think this may be some kind of subversive thought and hope, that could only lead to more disappointment if things don't improve or take a long time to improve.  How to get rid of it?

Practice.  Patience.  Argh, patience, how you goad me.  I am even impatiently trying to become patient!  No wonder it is a virtue.  Like all virtues, if you have it it is awesome, but getting it seems nigh impossible.

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