Alright, Holly. Get a grip. Let me tell you about DISTRACTIONS. One of the first exercises we did when we were in
during a self-inquiry session was to talk about our “distractions”. What did our teachers mean by this? They wanted us to think about things that we did to avoid. Avoid feeling. Avoid doing. Avoid whatever. Avoid growing. These could be things like excessive use of internet, facebook?!, television, drinking, drugs, sex. Even seemingly healthy behaviors can be distractions…over exercising and reading! Hmmmmm….I had not ever thought about these things in quite this way. We got into pairs and were to share with each other what our major (and minor) distractions were. The lady I was with avoided being close to her husband by moving out. Ha! She stayed married, just got her own apartment. Guatemala
So, guess what….this spiritual growth and creativity blossoming thing is going pretty well, for the most part. But like what seems to be the theme for us COFFEE chicks the last couple weeks, I’m in a bit of a slump. My slumps are different than before. Until last March, I was not familiar with anxiety. I didn’t get it. Depression and disassociation I could understand. Not anxiety. Anxiety seems to make pain and loneliness worse. Maybe more intense. Well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a different side of the same coin. Pema Chodoron says,
“…disappointment, embarrassment, and all these places where we just cannot feel good are a sort of death. We’ve just lost our ground completely; we are unable to hold it together and feel that we’re on top of things. Rather than realizing it takes death for there to be birth, we just fight against death.
Reaching our limit is not some kind of punishment. It’s actually a sign of health that, when we meet the place where we are about to die, we feel fear and trembling. A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us. Things like disappointment and anxiety are messengers telling us that we’re about to go into unknown territory.”
So, it seems it’s pretty much human nature to run away from fear and discomfort. And, that’s the advice we usually get. “Sweeten it up, smooth it over, take a pill, or distract ourselves, but by all means make it go away” (Chodron). I’m trying very hard to learn from my wonky feelings….try not to “distract” myself from them….go toward them and learn what they’re REALLY trying to tell me. Just like everyone else, I’ve only got one life, so why waste a bunch of time fooling around with mind numbing activities that only lead to living in a haze. Numbed out haze. Nah….that’s why I’m doing artist’s way, right? To wake up! To live a more awake, spiritual, and meaningful life. Laugh more, love more, be authentic. At least I should try to do this on my “retreat”, right???? Ok, please humor me with reading one more apropos Pema Chodron quote…
“To stay with that shakiness-to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge-that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic-this is the spiritual path.”
So…that’s the plan. That’s the goal. Now, my “retreat” in
. I think I’m going to give my friend my crackberry at the airport. I will not bring my computer, and I’m really going to have to think about even my iPod. No TV and no borrowing someone else’s computer. No novels. I will bring the Artist’s Way and a couple of my writing books. I will go on daily hikes and do yoga at the studio in town every day. Oh, and maybe a massage or two. I will schedule it in advance so that I’m not worrying about what to do everyday. I already looked up the yoga schedule. The little studio apartment I’m renting is walking distance to hiking trails and downtown. It's decorating style was described as Cowboy Zen. Smile. And, it has a Japanese bath tub. Cool! Durango
I am also reevaluating my Artist’s Way schedule as I’m falling way behind. I’m still doing my morning pages about 75% of the time, and I’ve read a chapter. I remember it being good, but I didn’t write about it so I can’t even tell you what it was about. I have not done any of the optional exercises and NO ARTIST’S DATES. Artist’s dates are the one other thing that is supposed to be non-negotiable in the course. So here’s the plan:
I think I will start doing one chapter every two weeks. With our new posting schedule, I think that’s reasonable and works out fab!
1) Do 75% of morning pages;
2) One Artist Date
3) Read the Chapter, do all exercises IN the chapter
4) Do at least 50% of the tasks at the END of the chapter.
Please give me advice on how to make this mini retreat the best it can be. I’m going from April 22-26. It’s Easter weekend. Didn’t realize that until way after I booked it.
So, my dear COFFEE friends, thanks for sticking with me through the creative juicy times as well as the anxiety ridden dessert of doom and gloom. It’s in
and I’m going to get this puppy posted and catch up on some COFFEE reading instead of doing my morning pages. I’ve written enough in the last 24 hours right? Iowa