Thursday, April 28, 2011

Musings on the morning after the storm

Good morning!

I am so grateful for this morning and I should be SO grateful for this particular morning because I can say that I weathered the storms of last night and I know that so many were not so lucky. Tornadoes were the theme of the day yesterday and our neighbors in Ringgold are devastated as many of their homes, businesses and family members/friends are gone. In an instant, people went from planning their summers, planning the days ahead to trying to figure out how they are going to pick up the pieces. It's terrible and sad and I am sending out so much love and hope and prayer to those who are suffering this morning, even as the sun shines so brightly this morning, masking the darkness that is lingering in these hearts and hearts of people all over the Southeast.

I got up this morning, still without power, and decided I would head down to Chattz to take advantage of internet and power to charge my cell phone. On my way in, I passed through North Chattanooga where every streetlight, every home, every business was dark. It was eerie. There's something about the lack of light that is really sobering. It's a hopeless feeling, this darkness and the physical darkness is just a tangible reminder that not all is well and it's terribly sad. I can only hope and pray and hope that the darkness subsides quickly.

I also recognized during the storm what it really means to be alone. I live alone and while I enjoy it most of the time, being alone during something like that when my phone and power - my connections to other people - were not working properly was terribly scary and painful. I always think that I am perfectly happy living my solitary existence, but in those hours when the wind was whipping and the lightning struck, I felt more alone than I ever have in my life. Fortunately, I know and am secure in the fact that I have so much love in my life and so many people that would be there for me in a minute if I needed them, so I could hold onto that, but the lack of physical presence of another person was more difficult than I had ever anticipated. It just reminds me that we are not meant to wander this planet alone. We are meant to share our lives and our love and our presence with others. We are meant to be tied to other beings. It makes us human. It makes us beings created in love. It makes us whole.

I don't know much, but I know how much more whole I feel when I am with all of you and I am so very grateful. I hope everyone is safe and sound and I love you all dearly.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Check your ego at the door

Sometimes, when the universe is sending you a message, it send it really loudly so it's sure you're hearing it.

I like to think that I'm not an ego-centric person. I like to think that.

This past week or so, however, I have been constantly reminded that I am not that great.

Now, I don't mean this in a self-depricating "nobody loves me" kind of way. I mean that when we start to let our ego mind take over, our level of personal greatness seems to skyrocket in our own minds and we start to lose some amount of humility and humbleness. And, I'm pretty sure, I was starting to let my ego mind take over because I can hear the universe telling me, loud and clear, to "WAKE UP. You're not that great!"

How am I receiving this message, you may ask? Well, the first is that I have done something terribly unpleasant to my wrist? How? Well, as Travis put it, I was "showing off." When he said this to me, I immediately became extremely defensive, but upon further thought, he was probably right (though I hate to admit it. There goes my ego again.)! I was jumping from Down Dog into Crow when I heard my wrist snap. I had been attempting it several times and I had gotten tired and knew I was done, but I was so determined to get it that I kept pushing until my body pushed back. But, what was the initial motivation? Was I attempting to develop my practice further, or was I hoping to "best" the people around me? Though that is never my outright intention, I have a feeling that my ego was lurking under the surface of my motivations.

Then, I entered a photo in a contest for a contest in Yoga Journal in which the winner gets to be a model for the magazine. Why, you may ask? Ego, again. And, it's not as if this egocentrism is unique to me. About 3,000 people sent in photos for this contest. But, what I was struck by was not how badly I wanted to win, but how badly I wanted others not to win. What is wrong with me?! Am I so competitive and egotistical that I can't stand the thought of someone being better than me at something. Do I care so much about looking good that I honestly want the people around me to look bad? I mean, there are so many beautiful people in my life and in this world that I would be happy to see gracing the pages of my favorite magazine and I am so lucky to know them and to experience their beauty first-hand. Why would I not be excited that they, too, have an opportunity to realize a dream they have? How selfish and egotistical am I?

But, the universe showed me. I went to the site and saw that I had somehow uploaded my photo sideways. I think somehow I knew that my motivation was not pure and I blocked my own path. It's funny the way things happen.

So, my goal for the week is to really observe where my ego gets in the way of my decision-making. To really find a way to be ok with being who I am and not worrying about being better than anyone else, including me. I'm going to catch myself in moments of ego and stop, take a breath and let it go. I'm not saying that I am not still going after the things that I want and believing that I deserve them and am the best for them, because that's confidence. That is saying that something I dream of and believe in myself about is within my reach. But, it's allowing me to distinguish that from wanting something because it will make me look good or be better than someone else. Because that is not what life's about. I've got to check my ego at the door.

Sleep tight kids!