Tag Archives: conformity

Be the Author of Your Own Life Story

Too young and eager to die from H1N1As a youngster I never felt young. I remember teenagers and adults speaking freely in my presence under the pretext that my seven-year-old psyche was much too naïve to understand such grownup subjects. I let them believe that, but I didn’t miss a thing. Quickly learning straight A’s said I was smart, being athletic meant I was popular, and hanging with the boys made me cool. As I got older, I equated partying with fun, money with success, and a sparkler on an all-important finger with security.

Despite my quick-witted, adventurous, yoga sculpted, high-kickin’ and high-falutin’ life, I repeatedly found myself in a pool of tears on the floor of the beachfront home I shared with my Internet pioneer boyfriend.

In my limited scope of consciousness, I blamed my man. Obviously he wasn’t doing enough for me… for us. This prompted a stubborn case of the “when we’s”, that ruthlessly hijacked me from the present moment. When he stops working so much, then we’ll be happy. When we stop partying so much, then we’ll be happy; when we get engaged, then we’ll be happy. After all, didn’t I have all of the other ingredients that are supposed to create a happy life?

It wasn’t until years after we went our separate ways that I recognized the real source of my sadness. I’d been unconsciously following a script based on the messages I’d soaked up from the fabric around me, and internalized them as my own. Turns out, I wasn’t as savvy as my seven year-old self would have you believe.

My narrow script left little room for creative risks because taking chances might expose my character as not being the image of perfection I was used to portraying. Of course I had no idea I was doing any of this; I just assumed the creative gene had unceremoniously passed me by. So instead, I partied. And believed myself to be a rebel in doing so, unable to grasp that real rebels don’t escape. They seek truth, and challenge the status quo with the audacity of the truth they’ve uncovered. Rebels walk the walk of the change they wish to see in the world, despite how uncomfortable it may be.

Rather than cultivate my own unique genius and inner beliefs, the competition element in my script attracted me to the smartest, most athletic, most successful alpha male. It read: basking in his glow, girl feels secure. Vulnerability, gratitude and authenticity weren’t traits that had been written into my part, which made fulfillment for much of anything nearly impossible. Looking back, I sometimes wonder how I got along at all with that befuddled script.

As I panned out to a much wider view of reality, I was able to see that while I didn’t necessarily write the script, I’d followed it blindly for years. By identifying the illusions that caused pain, I was able to let go, and open my mind and heart to the possibly of creating a new script. With the understanding that life is merely a reflection of our inner thoughts, I awakened to new information and aligned with spiritual truths. As I did the inner work, I watched in amazement as my life transformed into an vibrant expression of gratitude, acceptance, creative passion and wonder.

My Justin Bieber Moment

A young couple (mid 20’s) left my yoga class very suddenly last week.

It’s totally uncool to confront people when they are leaving your yoga class…

…but being that my astrology sign is a "cancer-rising" and I’m super sensitive…

…I ran after them into the Exhale lobby shrieking,  "Excuse me! Is everything OK?"

They were shocked that I followed them out of class.

"I’m totally open to feedback," I said.

The girl, a bit of a bitch, replied, "Truthfully, we come to yoga to avoid things like Clay Aiken."

Here’s what happened.

I’ll admit to getting a bit swept up in Justin Bieber fever.

I’ve recommended the movie, downloaded a few songs, and felt like I was in the clear being a fan of a boy band.

Much like a troubled teenager starts with pot, dabbles with mushrooms, and experiments with LSD…

…I started with Bieber, dabbled with Aiken, and have dared to experiment with H.O.T. (the Korean boy band).

I guess adding Clay Aiken to my yoga class playlist is not gonna win me any new fans over 14 years old.

But it gets worse.

Having laughed about Bieber Fever with a few of my buddies…

…I thought it would be fun to try to put together a crew to see the Clay Aiken show in Waterbury, Connecticut.

So I sent a few emails to my concert-loving friends.

I returned home to a series of replies that included:

–a disinvite to a weekend Shroom Fest in Ithaca
–a request from an invitee to not give high fives to his 4 year old son
–a request "from my husband to stop adjusting him when he comes to your class…"

What the hell is wrong with Clay Aiken?

*****

As the yoga industry gets bigger and hipper, there’s an ever-increasing X Factor.

I feel sorta like I’m in high school again.

I was a dork for a large part of my high school years and it took a while to figure out how to be cool.

I’m not playing that game in yoga.

I’ve spent too much time the last 5 years worrying about people buying my book or showing up to my workshops (Chicago this weekend) or signing up for my email list or going to my Napa Yoga Retreat.

Enough is enough.

Herman Hesse wrote in Siddhartha, "All I ever wanted was to live from the promptings of my true self."

Let it be known right now: I’m a dork.

And I’m OK with my promptings, even if they are a little weird.

I’ll teach the best class, put together the best playlist, tell the best stories, and give you the best adjustments I possibly can.

And if you don’t like it, then, well…you can stick it where…actually…you can join me at Clay Aiken in Waterbury.

The Black Sheep: One of a Kind

Many of us have had an experience in which we felt like the lone black sheep in a vast sea of white sheep. For some of us, however, this sense of not belonging runs more deeply and spans a period of many years. It is possible to feel like the black sheep in families and peer groups that are supportive, as well as in those that are not. Even if we receive no overt criticism regarding our values, there will likely be times when it seems that relatives and friends are humoring us or waiting for us to grow out of a phase. Sometimes we may even think we have been adopted because we are so different from our family members. These feelings are not a sign that we have failed in some way to connect with others. Rather, they should be perceived as the natural result of our willingness to articulate our individuality.

Many black sheep respond to the separateness they feel by pulling back from the very people to whom they might otherwise feel closest and embracing a different group with whom they enjoy a greater degree of commonality. But if you feel that your very nature has set you apart from your peers and relatives, consider that you chose long ago to be raised by a specific family and to come together with specific people so that you could have certain experiences that would contribute to your ongoing evolution. You may be much more sensitive than the people around you or more artistic, aware, spiritual, or imaginative. The disparate temperament of your values and those of your family or peers need not be a catalyst for interpersonal conflict. If you can move beyond comparisons and accept these differences, you will come to appreciate the significant role your upbringing and socialization have played in your life’s unique journey.

In time, most black sheep learn to embrace their differences and be thankful for those aspects of their individuality that set them apart from others. We cannot expect that our peers and relatives will suddenly choose to embrace our values and offer us the precise form of support we need. But we can acknowledge the importance of these individuals by devoting a portion of our energy to keeping these relationships healthy while continuing to define our own identities apart from them.

 

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