As I think is crystal clear for readers of this blog, I am doing my level best to add some serenity to my life, but my main problem in achieving this goal is how impatient I am with the process. Am I serene now? How about now? Now?
So a couple weeks ago I leaped at the chance to attend a day-long meditative retreat hosted by a buddy of mine and let me add the disclaimer that it is totally not her fault that I did not reach a state of inner peace in the allotted eleven hours.
Now, it is true that I am someone who is trying to experience the world as it is without thinking it should be some other way, which is very zen, but I am also not exactly relaxed about any of it, which is very not-zen, and that is why many people’s experience of me is “holy shit.”
I am trying to find some clarity about the work I do to pay the bills—that is to say, I am ready for the next challenge, but I don’t have the first clue what it is. There should be a next step, or at least another step, but I have no idea what that could be. I haven’t known for a very long time, and so I keep doing this and that and the other, sort of like a highly motivated three-year-old. The result is I now know all the things I don’t want, and none of the things I do.
Perfect! Something to meditate on during the retreat.
So we begin with some yoga, and I hurt my thumb doing corpse pose.
If you’re under the impression that corpse pose shouldn’t hurt anyone as it involves lying on your back and not doing anything, you would be correct.
However, upon lowering my hand to my side, I jammed my thumb so hard into the floor that I broke my nail off below the quick.
This is why I need inner serenity.
So, the day progresses through the things these types of days progress through, journal exercises and guided meditation and healing rituals, and when it is all over, I have, unfortunately, not transformed into a person who knows what the next step is. I have transformed into a person who does not care what the next step is, because she has gotten distracted.
I have figured out everything I need to do with my creative work. I have solved every roadblock I have encountered over the last year. I have discovered why I feel the work is so hard these days. I KNOW WHAT TO DO.
But I have spent FIVE YEARS trying to figure out what’s next with the paying work, and I don’t care that I have solved a creative problem or ten. I want to know how I’m going to pay the rent in August! I could give a rat’s ass that I have figured out what I should be doing with the creative work. The creative work is not the problem.
My friend says that sometimes transformation is challenging and IS SHE FREAKING KIDDING ME? I am trying to be intentional about my life. I am trying to be purposeful. And I am getting NOWHERE.
So the tiny part of me that is sane (she gets crushed beneath my boot heel most of the time), peeps up with, “Perhaps you are being too goal-oriented” and she can just GO TO HELL.
I AM LESS SERENE THAN WHEN I STARTED!!!!!!!!!!!!
There are not enough exclamation points in the world.
Jessica calls, because this is a weekend she is staying with her dad, and I say all of this somewhat incoherently, and she says, “Have you made a cup of tea? I think you need a cup of tea about now.”
And as always, Jessica is exactly right.
My collection of travel stories, Travels with Jessica, is now available! Kindle and paperback here; other ebook formats here. And I’ve published my essay “For Jessica” as a small book. Kindle and paperback here; other ebook formats here.
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