Threefold Path

I have been spending a lot of time reflecting and writing, trying to get down to the heart of the things I am struggling with that are holding me back from experiencing balance, love, and the ultimate goal of freedom and bliss. I find writing to be a kind of reflective meditation practice that can help me wade through all of the layers of stuff to gain insight into my deeper essence of being.


In other words, what are the things that are inhibiting me from being happy?


In my writing, I came up with quite a bit, but the most poignant discovery I made was to realize that the root cause of my suffering is my own low sense of self-worth and propensity for negative thought and language. In any situation, my go-to response is to be reactive and notice the dark stuff rather than to open my heart and see the light.


After many hours of writing, I began to see my path forward as threefold. Since graduating from a doctoral program studying the concept of sustainability, I now am working on devising my own self-propelled “post-doc” where I pursue three diverging areas: 1) Resilience (a state of being in balance and the capacity to restore balance); 2) Love (of Self and others); and 3) Be(com)ing (the art of discovering who I am and who I want to be in the world).


I talked with my husband about my long-term project. He suggested that I come up with a daily schedule for myself that would allow me to create some structure and to ensure I was touching on the different elements from the project each day. For example, he proposed that I set aside time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to practice yoga. Then I could set time aside on the alternate days for studying and playing music. I could set aside two hours each morning for research, reading, and writing. There could be unstructured and structured time.


I have tried (not all that fervently) to create a schedule for myself in the past. Even though I did not entirely succeed, I have over the past few years in Brussels devised a kind of daily schedule. I usually have a coffee in the morning and read the news and generally waste time on social media. Then I walk the dog in the forest. Then lunch. Then work on editing, maybe practice yoga, and eventually go for another shorter walk in the afternoon. Late afternoon is set aside for practicing music.


This is the general outline of my Belgium day, but to be completely honest I have spent a lot of time not doing any of the items on my daily checklist. So it goes, especially when one appointment can take upwards of five hours with all the time spent with back and forth on public transport, then waiting for the appointment, and so on and so forth.


While walking with my husband last night beneath the last light shining on the top of the forest canopy, I explained that I wanted to make sure I was actually practicing yoga and not just reading about it. I have the habit of doing research on subjects rather than actually physically practicing them. For something like yoga, the learning comes through the physical practice. The same goes for yoga nidra and meditation. I can read about it all I want, but I am not going to experience the benefit from it or move farther along my path to my ultimate goal of freedom and bliss (Ananda in Sanskrit) if I do not take the time to do the work.


So this morning I thought I would do some of the work and take time to practice yoga. I set out my mat and began watching an online class with an Anusara teacher I admire. So far, so good. The problem was that I had not yet taken the dog out, and he thought it could be a fun game to walk onto my mat and then do a kind of zig zag run off the mat every time I scolded him. These zig zags created long, deep scratches in the fabric of my thin yoga mat. One spot broke through the rubber to show little open bubbles of material.


At this last zag, I completely lost my mind and began screaming, “Mother fucker, get off my yoga mat!” at the top of my lungs, neighbors be damned.


Not moving very far along my path to freedom and bliss this morning, but in texts to my husband I was able to recognize that it was my own fault for choosing to practice yoga on the ground floor (which is the dog domain) rather than the first floor (cat domain) or putting the dog in his crate while I practiced. I also had not yet taken him for a walk, so it was unrealistic to expect him to lie still for me to practice yoga for an hour.


The heart of the issue for me here is that I have a lot of attachment to my stuff and want every belonging to remain in pristine condition. This is unrealistic for many reasons, especially for something like a yoga mat that is meant to be used and ultimately destroyed. This kind of reasoning is also unrealistic for a person who brings animals (aka, chaos) into their life.


So perhaps I am moving along the path in getting upset (authenticity); recognizing where that upset is coming from; and practicing a willingness to be willing to let go of my perfect yoga mat.


I did manage to practice yoga for about a half an hour and then write about the experience in blunt honesty.


It’s a start, at least.


How’s your sanity today?

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