—–The biggest feeling of dread came from having all my pictures and videos gone from my day. I had been posting on all the social networks of Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram what I was doing, where I had been, and what I was processing. I suddenly felt like nobody would care because they wouldn’t see a blip in their feed. I suddenly actually felt alone and like I hadn’t accomplished anything. I suddenly felt stupid for admitting to myself that I was feeling these things. How was I to go about my life without proving to others what I had done and what was important to me? It was an awkward moment and here I am descending this wonderful mountain in an utterly beautiful setting while suddenly feeling like what I was doing didn’t matter if it’s not expressed through tech.
We think we have these routines and we think we are defined by our bodies, our tech in our phones and social networking, but just like that it could change and we are left with a non-physically capable version of our isolated from tech selves. There really is no right or wrong for following linear positive energy streams that are easy to navigate. How can you really blame ourselves for doing that and wanting and believing in correct paths or answers, or in taking the path of least resistance? If anything, we are a cluster-fuck of energy going in all sorts of directions that have nothing to do with whether we are accepted or judged or however we are presenting ourselves as “living.” How are we really different from the man who is homeless sleeping in the street vs the Buddhist in the mountains vs our avatar on social networking…
—-It takes actions and little steps of moving forward to live your truths to actually create new levels of healthy routines, thoughts, perspectives, brain neurons, etc. And then of course, there is the idea that we will never be free or rid of the process of expanding. It will perpetually be in motion and growth is often an uncomfortable experience. We suffer without perspective as we can’t really see where that growth is moving towards yet. It takes time and patience before we start to get some perspective for our suffering and then at that point it’s off to the races and re-birth is something we can see and feel. However, even with re-birth, it is just a temporary stop in the repeating cycle. We won’t get to some magical place and then sit down and say, “Well, we made it” enough expansion for me and glad that’s over. When you’re on the right path there will be moments of extreme accomplishment and seeing/feeling that, but then it becomes relative and you continue to move forward to the next growth. There is no magic pill, magic place, magic partner, magic job, magic food, magic workout routine that will relieve us forever. We will constantly go in cycles of angst, suffering, hating life, perseverance, trust in the process, rebirth, flourishing and then various cycles of that all over again. It is a marathon race of constant movement. It’s a lifestyle approach and when your habits and thoughts take on this reality, and dips and spikes are all balanced out and work off of each other and seen as leading to eventual growth, you are nicer to yourself.
—-It’s not necessarily going against our brain that is the solution but in giving our brain back it’s freedom. It’s finding some sort of enduring energy pathway that will deliver us from a river of narrow thought that usually dries up in some desert somewhere to instead delivering us to the expansive ocean of experience.
It is interesting to observe what happens to our bodies when we encounter fear. We emotionally and physically become inflamed. If we go to the doctor we are prescribed a cure. If we don’t then we apply our own cure. Both usually involve short term numbing of the pain. The numbing makes it easy to continue to participate in doing things we’ve always done; watching tv, drinking or using drugs to oblivion, scrolling through facebook or tinder, having jobs or relationships that don’t serve us, having the same conversations you know the outcomes to, having the same friends you’ve always had, relying on safety and security and comfort over vulnerability, not growing overall, etc.
—-Why can’t we be tougher, more resilient and determined in our work so we can accomplish all of our goals? The problem is partly that we often put too much on our plate for our goals. We say ‘yes’ way too much. We expect an unrealistic amount of accomplishment from ourselves (an expectation that we would in no way hold for others) and are constantly distracted from social networking and technology to move and take on the next thing from the infinite source of information (The average person engages with their phone 150 times a day. If every distraction took only 1 minute, which would be seriously optimistic, that would account for 2.5 hours of every day). However, what is even more at play than our distracted lives and busy schedules is a misunderstanding of what it means to be tough, resilient, and overworked.
We often sacrifice sleep, eating well, love, etc. in the name of productivity, but ironically with our loss of such things, despite the extra hours we spend ‘working’, adds up to lots of inefficient, stressful, and wasteful hours. And just because work stops, doesn’t mean we are recovering. We very often ‘stop’ work but then spend the night wrestling with solutions to work problems, talking about our work over dinner, and falling asleep thinking about how much work we’ll do tomorrow (and by the way, ‘work’ can mean anything that’s causing one stress and anxiety and where one’s mind doesn’t ever leave from).
A resilient and tough person is a well-rested one. When an exhausted individual goes out into their day they risk hurting everyone on the road with impaired driving, they don’t have the cognitive resources to do as well at their jobs, they have lower self-control with friends and family, they are moody, bitter and less capable of love, affection, and connection. Overworking and exhaustion is a romanticized notion that you are actually doing a good job. In reality, most of us don’t have to do this to ourselves to survive and is the opposite of resilience and what I like to call ‘stupid tough.’ The key to resilience is trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying really hard again…
—-…It is interesting to ask the question of not what will make us happy but what struggle will give us extra motivation. Life can be a hodge-podge of things we attach meaning to, dreams gone astray, or change and loss being inevitable parts of our existence. It’s often hard to find the motivation for things but when you grow from struggle and actually realize you might have enjoyed that process then that’s where you really found a true passion.
—-So what is mindfulness? The wonderful easy summation is the awareness of the present experience with acceptance. It is being aware, paying attention, and remembering to be aware and to pay attention. We need to develop the intention to pay attention as much as possible and to focus on being non-judgmental (most importantly to ourselves) and totally present and accepting.