Now Playing: "I Kissed A Girl" by Katy Perry
Okay, so Big Ride Me is home and the welcome mat is out--we're ready for visitors!
I took two days off from work last week for a teaching gig that fell through, but I decided I could still use a little time off so I stayed home and cleaned my house. Someone called in the middle of the day and sent me into a little tailspin that became a monster existential crisis for a few hours. I have been working really hard on not getting sucked into the ego and the "real world" structures of my life in the last few months and suddenly felt in a crisis over how to balance my spiritual ideals and the real life crap that falls into my life, how to balance spirit and body or spirit and form. How to balance Being and doing. I ended up hearing myself asking a question I haven't asked in a very long time, "Why am I here?"
In therapy, the words "perfectionism" and "all or nothing" have come up more than once. (These words follow me around from therapist to therapist.) And what I realized in the middle of my crisis on Thursday is that I have had an all or nothing mindset in how I view my purpose on Earth. I am either all "spiritual" and trying to live up to my ideals or else I'm completely caught up in the drama of "real life." When I get caught up in the ideals, I forget to take care of my physical world--my body, my house, and to the extent that I am able to ignore or resist them, my relationships and jobs. When I get caught up in the drama, I get depressed and feel stuck and start making unrealistic demands on my physical world as a means of trying to alleviate some of the pain of being so incredibly mired in reality. Either way, I'm unhealthy.
Danielle had mentioned Eckhart Tolle's new book, A New Earth, to the people at our table at a party a few months back, so I picked up a copy. While waiting for a website to download the other day, I picked it up and started to read. During my crisis last week, I skipped forward six chapters and continued reading. I finally understand now that I am 50% spirit and 50% body; that I can't neglect "reality" because I chose this life, and my body and reality are the media through which my spirit works. It's okay to have goals in real life and it's okay--and necessary!--to take care of my body because they are my tools for manifestation.
The analogy I found for myself is that I am an actor who has been cast in a particular part in a particular play and in order to be successful in playing that part, I have to use all the tools at my disposal to flesh out the character and inhabit her fully so that I can bring forth this grander vision through her. How she looks and moves and thinks and dresses and speaks and listens and responds--all the ways she interacts with others in the world--defines to a large degree how the character will be perceived and how "successful" I as the actress will be in fulfilling my obligation to play this role. Of course, attention to each of these traits requires some forethought and choices--is this the way this character would really dress? would she really say that?--but once the play has begun, the actress must attend to small details in each moment and remain fully present to make the most of her interactions with other actors and the audience, to capitalize on tiny opportunities, to fully realize the true dimensions of her character within the physical constraints imposed by the rules of this particular play.
It's crazy that it's so simple: 50% spirit, 50% body; attend to both. But I have been silly happy ever since coming to that understanding. I went to Danielle's class on Friday and was so happy I had a hard time not disrupting the others with my laughter. I gave Danielle a silly smile at the end of class when she was going around bowing to each of us and saying her "Namaste's" and caused her to break her own composure.
This isn't the whole of it--there was the writing I did earlier last week that caused me to realize that Big Ride Me was already home but that I had been neglecting her for years. I'll write about that later tonight. (Sorry that I don't do things in the correct order to make them easier on readers! One of the inherent problems in blogging, for me, is that I blog about what I need to write about at any given moment and hope that anyone reading will hang in with me, when truly good writing would take its audience into account from the very beginning and would lay things out in an interesting, if not completely logical, way. Sigh....)