The Price of All That Happy

I saw an adorable but ugly dog – my favorite kind. I squealed at him and shouted, “PUPPY!”. The owner looked frightened. When I find out that my favorite band is playing near me, I’d put on displays of convivial joy while hunting down tickets online. If someone handed me a shaker of truffle salt? I would jump up and down in excitement.

Professionals stay neutral. Children stay happy. Realists stay realistic, but also can’t get hurt as easily. Where is the middle ground? Neutrality is what we seek on the spiritual journey, but also happiness. What happens when we seek to cross these both? Does it even happen?

This morning, as I wring myself out in yoga class and get rid of all the fears that surround me on a daily basis? I’m struck by the fact that we can never have a lot of happy without a lot of sad. Just as in a risk-and-reward situation, the higher you go the higher you have to fall.

Consider the wave. As it heads towards the shore it gets highest before it falls. But then it goes back and another high is reached. The water goes fast and then slow, and paces based on it’s peaks and valleys. When it’s closer to the sand, it is forced to absorb the changing landscape before it has strength to rise again.

life like this...

life like this…

But it always rises. The higher it goes the more it inspires, accumulates and moves. It takes the whole landscape with it and fills its volume with sea life. It’s majestic, joyful and moving as the way nature intended. Beautiful motion.

I realize I am in a phase of my life now that I am tentatively calling “the good happy lonely”. I’m a woman on the verge of the next phase of my life and trying to enjoy the present while all of life fills itself inside me. That makes me happy. The price of all that happy is an equal or greater amount of sadness sometimes. But I have to know deep inside me that the wave will grow strong again even when I don’t feel it will.

The price of all this happy is sometimes laying on a mattress in the middle of the floor and feeling a void. The price of all that happy is a vulnerable feeling that I’m exposed as a fraud to everyone who knows me, false as that assumption may be. The price of all that happy is some sweat, tears and pain. The price of all that happy is sacrifice. The price of all that happy is some love lost over time.

But then I see a carton of truffle salt in the grocery store and I think – the world cannot be so bad. This savory fruit of the sea exists, and just like the sea will rise with me again.

May the price of all your happy be the strength to fight for it and let things go. May the price of all your happy be presence. May you ride your life like a gentle wave and feel lighter in every step along the way. May the price of all that happy be a committed relationship to the wonderful, amazing soul that you are.

Sat Nam.

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When Venus Gives Career Advice

I’m sweating in a small room for 8 days straight. I have been calling C.E.O’s of tech companies on a telemarketing job, and the hours are making my brain melt.

Enter Venus.

Venus is a woman to whom I was assigned to check in with. Her very presence makes me nervous. Tall. Poised. Sterling Eyes. Wedding ring that would make Kim Kardashian jealous. Rumor has it she has worked in film. I’ve seen her drive a very expensive-looking BMW out of the parking lot. She is top-of-the-mountain engaging and doesn’t have to say a word.

As an artist, I have been taught to be vulnerable and real. That is where I live most of the time in my nervous universe – accepting the fact that I feel like a fraud and seeking truth within that falseness.

But then I meet Venus and I want to be just like her : UNCONQUERABLE.  A wall of fire and ice that says “Don’t Fuck With Me”. It is this that leads me to be timid and not try to fuck with her.

She’s walking down the hall. I don’t realize she is talking on the phone with a client, because she has been walking in the office. After I interrupt her, I go into my cubicle and continue my job.

She comes back in, and I apologize for interrupting her phone call…again.

She looks around and says…”Can I give you some really good career advice?”

She shuts the door.

My heart is in my mouth.

“Sure.”

“Never say you are sorry to anyone. Especially women! You have NOTHING to apologize for, so why are you apologizing? Do you think a MAN would apologize for what he did? Absolutely not. I was walking around, my phone in my ear- if HE didn’t know then HE doesn’t care. Don’t care so much, and never apologize.”

I know it sounds harsh, but she says this without sounding angry, resentful or like she is saying anything else but the truth.

I say thanks, appreciate the advice, here’s what I wanted to tell you. We go over the phone list and strategies for the afternoon call list. She leaves the room.

It takes 5 seconds, but I burst into tears. How many apologies have I made over several years for no reason at all? How many times have I been afraid to interrupt, offend or hurt?

I can pinpoint the exact point in my childhood when this hit me over the head : without any blame or resentment, I can seriously recall the moment when I was taught never to invite yourself over to anyone’s house. Make sure you ALWAYS have permission. ALWAYS.

But what happens to Venus inside us, the goddess of love who knows what she likes, what she wants and how she should get it. Who is unapologetic about the fact that she EXISTS, and CLAIMS her sacred space without attachment to the opinions of others?

The rest of the phone calls, I counted every apology said on the phone. 3. That means on average? At least 4-6 times a day I make myself feel like I shouldn’t take up space. What has that done to my subconscious desire and has that robbed me of any opportunities to grow?

This week, let Venus be your Goddess of the sacred space. I hope you own the space of your life, fill it with love and don’t apologize for what it looks like to others. I hope you take up so much space that you can be seen from heaven with your impact. I hope you use that space to change the world. I hope you never have to apologize ever again.

Sat Nam

time-management-woman

Bang Head On Desk – Staying Present

I am a daydreamer. Always have been, ever since I was seven and my mother signed me up for youth soccer. I spent the entire time playing with my pigtails, chasing butterflies, and making cut-grass angels. As I get older the problem becomes that the daydreams have taken over to include entire lives that I’m not sure I’m capable of leading. There is so much part of being human that is constantly dissatisfied, so we are given to these fits of fantasy.

For example: 

I’m applying for a job that I might actually be good at. I find it on Craigslist, and I open an email to describe my skills. This has been a long search for jobs that I am not at all qualified for, but this one has software I am familiar with, an environment I might do well in, and skills that may transfer. Hallelujiah!

But then, I start the fantasy. If I work at this job for 30 hours a week, then that gives me some flexibility and time to apply for production manager positions, to expand my career, to write more, to travel, to live the FULL EXPECTED LIFE OF A CAREER WOMAN ON THE VERGE OF FINDING HERSELF!! YES!! 

Send.

Without, of course, the resume attachment. 

Image

So what do I attempt to do? 

Bang. Head. On. Desk. It’s an acronym, of course for act of remembering how to take it back to where you are.

B, H – Be Here. All Present Sensations. All things that can be are here for you now. If you are having trouble feeling this, try to breathe through your nostrils alternately closing one side each time. Left, then Right, then Alternate. Do that for as long as you need to until you feel present.

O, D – Open, Divine. Once you have finished maintaining present consciousness, feel the process of opening. Feel your heart creating your present situation for you. Close your eyes and connect to that heart, and imagine that energy expanding until it reaches around the city block. Then the sky. Then across the seas. Then through space and time. Feel that divine energy inside you.

May all of your fantasies be present with your conscious self. May your fantasies be seen through the lens of your current reality. May you become present and real. May you believe in the power of your open, divine self. May you have infinity in the presence of your soul.

Sat Nam. 

Contentment during the Holidays: Santosha Niyama

I struggle during the holidays with reunion small-talk. 

The last point in my life I felt secure in these talks? College. There I had an institution to hide behind, a goal, a deliverable at the end of my task. Blessed to go to college for many reasons, the minor one being a shield of answers to unanswerable questions. What are you doing with your life? Are you still acting? Where are you working these days? 

We are raised in a society that is results-based, materialistic, and at times not at all concerned with the reality of one’s soul. I was a catalyst on this, usually when introduced to people one of my first questions on my mind was Where do you work? Somewhere after 8 or 10 post-college Thanksgivings I shifted this question to What do you like doing? What’s happening in your world currently? Are you enjoying yourself these days? 

My Thanksgiving this year consisted of a high-tempo reunion week, filled with questions. I was so patient, answering completely, being vulnerable, exposing. Venting, yes. Lost within contexts, answers, financial and geographical details that were as difficult to talk about as they were freeing to air out. At times, completely emotionally exhausting.

Cornered on the deck, I sat wondering why I had so much ground to cover. My heart was feeling the loss of my boyfriend, whom I had broken up with a week before. Why aren’t things different? Why didn’t we work out? Why do I feel so alone while surrounded by people?

In Patajali’s Yoga Sutras, eight limbs are described as a way of living a yogic path. The second of these eight limbs are the five Niyamas, or the observances of a spiritual life. On that list? Santosha Niyama, or contentment. Our willingness to be present with whatever life brings.

Contentment is the difference between one who is constantly searching and one who is consistently there. 

It was after this Thanksgiving I realized that contentment does not rely on questions. Contentment relies on presence and responsibility. Contentment is gratitude, the ability to believe that things could be worse and things are getting better at the same time. Contentment is going to Thanksgiving and answering the exterior questions with interior truth. 

The next few months I know will challenge my contentment. Searching for a job, getting over a relationship, seeking inner destiny. A laundry list, for sure. But may I be grateful and content, filled with the Niyama of what is. May all beings be unburdened, unbound, and forever present in all things. For that is Santosha Niyama. That is the birthplace of peace and prosperity. That is what is. Image