Specificity and Self Excavation

6 years ago

Good morning! Check out this photo from yesterday's intenSati class in Central Park. We had a fantastic turnout, which delighted and surprised me, seeing as it's a holiday weekend. Since one of my affirmations this month is "I let go of expectations" (done with the intenSati action for DETACHMENT) I approached class as a chance to practice letting go of who or how many students would show up. The result was each one who appeared felt like such a gift.

I was thinking about how specific we are as human beings, which is something my acting coach used to remind us when it came to building a character. There are just so many, many preferences that we form over our lifetimes that make us individuals. The quirks. The Sally-like moments of, I'd like the pie heated and I don't want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side. One person's pet peeves are another person's point of entry to inspiration.
For me, I just love teaching this specific fitness practice (intenSati) outdoors in Central Park to a medium sized group of grateful students for free. :) It makes me feel so good. So happy. I am amazed by how much it lights myself and others up so consistently, this very specific little gig.
I'm giving myself permission this month to free myself from what has become the burden of figuring out what I want to pursue career wise. I am letting go of an expectation to fully understand whether my latest mixed emotions about pursuing the acting is simply fear or a sign I'd rather be doing something else. I am accepting that lately my mind's been feeling like a Cuisinart blender just trying to mix, chop, and puree the possibilities for work and my future without a clear result. In other words, I am done trying. I am officially, for this month, on vacation.
When I used to think about what I wanted to be when I grow up, things were a lot different. The internet didn't really exist when I was in high school (it existed but hadn't yet reached the mainstream). "Social" and "media" were not two words that you saw side by side. I could tell you about my Slambook but not Facebook. To work in publishing meant magazines (my first real job out of Cornell was at New York Magazine in the Information Services Department. The NYMag website was just being built.). A writer was a writer, not a blogger. Traffic was something to avoid and complain about (I grew up on Long Island. Shout out to 495 and the Northern State.) not intend (Ooh, how many page views on my blog this week!?).
Life vocation indecision in your 30s feels like being lost in the aisles of Toys R Us while thinking, Aren't I too old to be in Toys R Us in the first place? There are a few exciting toys to choose from as well as a racket of children's whiney voices in the background.

Be an actor. No, don't.
You're a writer. Write.
Be a therapist.
Teach more intenSati classes.
Help people now!
Make more money and then you'll be happier.

Then it changes tense...

I wanna to go to grad school.
I wanna take a long break from this life and just shack up in the woods somewhere to write for 3 months.
I wanna help people.
I wanna be an artist. Music, dance, poetry, prose.
Oh, what is with you, grow up.
More ways, more toys, oh, boy!
Make. A. Decision.
Or, you'll just remain a Toys R Us kid!
Of course, I can and will do my best to reframe having more than a few interests and aptitudes into a gift and a blessing. I can choose to think that they all serve me and are helping me serve others, which is ultimately what we're doing in our lives, no matter what we choose or chooses us, right?
I just finished listening to Derek Sivers' (founder of CDBaby.com) new book Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind Entrepreneur and highly recommend it. He is quite the free bird. I love this:
No matter which goal you choose, just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. To when you're being the real you or trying to impress an invisible jury. Whatever you make is your creation so make it your personal dream come true.
That is how I feel I will be happiest. Making my own creations. Being the real me. I can write another whole post on roles I play which are not part of a literal work of theater but in my mind feel like something to which I can sell tickets. It's not about being fake, per se. It is a little hard to explain. Social conditioning, external expectations, my own fear of being myself, people's vested interests in having, seeing, wanting you to be a certain way -- these are powerful forces. I'm probably not alone here in feeling a bit persuaded to adjust to expectations and/or perform. It's okay. It happens. Compassion.
I am reminded again in this moment how inspired I am by people who have managed to discover who they really are and free themselves. Those who have defied external trappings or rules that hinder creativity, authenticity, clear thinking, impulses, and curiosity in favor of being real. I am grateful for having moments and experiences like this in my own life, too, even as I work on allowing a complete self excavation.
And I'm sure that Toys R Us metaphor is not a coincidence. There is a reason the wish or the fantasy is to be a kid. Young children and authentic adults dwell in courageous territory. Moments of genuine expression and authenticity are magical. I will be on the lookout for them in myself and others.
Please comment and share your thoughts on these subjects. I would love to hear from you if you're so inclined!!
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