The World's Largest Kaleidoscope Tries Too Hard--and So Do I
Read Part 1
Last issue I talked about how I sap my energy and complicate my life by trying a gazillion times harder than I need. I even try too hard when I make a mistake. This is where the world's largest kaleidoscope comes in. After teaching at Kripalu, my sweetheart Bob and I headed to Woodstock to enjoy a few days of vacation. On our last day, on the way to the airport, we stopped to view the world's largest kaleidoscope. As a kaleidoscope, it tried too hard but the cool part was you stretched out on the floor to watch the show and thus we did not have to try at all. The not cool part was I left my wallet behind. I did not discover my blunder until we were almost at the airport, an hour and half down the road. I could not fly without ID so we had to rebook our flight for the next day, reschedule our respective lives, and spend another night in a hotel, which cost about $500 dollars.
But you know what? It was utterly worth it because I got to see how hard I tried to feel bad for making a mistake. Of course paying $300 to Delta made me a bit queasy and I was embarrassed that dogs, classes, and kids had to be rescheduled because of my forgetfulness but in my heart, I was at peace. There was nothing I could do. I was grateful no one was hurt, that we could get a flight the next afternoon, and that everyone could be so flexible.
Only I didn't act at peace. I acted like I had committed five of the seven deadly sins. What a dumbsh*t, what a forgetful middle-aged space cadet, what a waste, would I ever learn, I can just hear what my dad would say if he were still alive, blah, blah, blah. Through it all, Bob was patient and loving and very, very calm. Finally, little purple wallet in hand and after savoring two fine white peaches from a roadside fruit stand, I said, "I've been beating myself for the last two hours because I believe I'm a bad person if I don't thoroughly excoriate myself. I'm actually trying to feel bad about leaving my wallet while truthfully, I'm feeling only mildly pissed. I think you will think less of me if I don't keep beating my chest and wailing." Bob nodded sagely, having already figured out why I was doing my self-abrading routine and we drove on to Rhinebeck to find a cozy inn, a yoga class, and dinner.
So...I may be ready to forgive myself for being forgetful. I may be ready to find the sweet spot where ease and self-mercy meet being awake and aware (and maybe I'm ready to buy a little travel purse and not carry my wallet in my hand anymore). I'm ready to be less comfortable pushing and trying to make things happen and more comfortable slowing down, checking in with my heart and noticing what feels natural and even (gasp) easy. I'm ready to become more comfortable staying awake to what wants to come into being.
Some ideas for turning trying into being:
When you feel stuck, tired, resentful or otherwise in the conversation of "I don't want to" ask yourself, "What would be easier?"
Then when something occurs to you, asking again: "And what would be easier still?"
Imagine yourself as the space in which trying or doing or efforting is arising. Imagine yourself as the sky, the breeze, the air, the room, the universe in which trying is like a welcome guest--there is plenty of room for trying in this vast spaciousness. Trying can be welcomed and accepted, not pushed away or judged.
Ask, "What do I believe must be hard (difficult, painful, exhausting) about this for me to be a worthwhile person?"
Tell me what you learn.
Molly Gordon's The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur is a genius resource when you're tired of trying too hard in business. I love this book and bonuses--for less than the cost of a month of mochas you can stop trying to have a business and start learning about growing a business.
Imagine a bowl
a vast epic bowl, big enough for Greek Gods to drink their wine from.
This bowl is so humongous, it can hold
all your worries,
all your fears,
all your perturbations,
agitations, heebie-jeebies, and twitchiness
about trying and doing and getting done and how if you don't stay on your toes
maybe the sun won't come up tomorrow morning
maybe the planet won't turn on its axis
maybe the tides won't slosh
maybe you just won't keep it all together and then
who knows what might happen?
This bottomless repository can hold all that
and even more.
So open your heart and your busy brain and
let it all go.
It will be held here, contained, and maybe even,
if you wish,
from drudgery to desire
from effort to interdependence
from I to we.