Dristhi: See, Choose and Set Yourself Free
We got a fresh blanket of snow last night.
It's one of my favorite things to wake up to. I open the door to take the dogs out for their morning potty and find the fluffy white stuff on the edge of our porch. I can't help but smile every time. What is it that makes snow seem so magical? You might be thinking the same. You might, also, be thinking the opposite. "Snow is not magical, Amy. it's cold. and it gets everything dirty, it makes me feet wet. It's annoying." That's totally valid. it can also very much be those things. Two sides to the same coin. It's all about perspective. The question is, how do you flip the script? (if that is what is needed) For me, it's all about what my attention is on. My gaze. My dristhi, to use the yogic term. I've had my gaze on what my attention is on this week. What I've seen is how easy it is for my attention to wander to 20 different places, or to be on 20 different things at once (which then really means my attention is on none of those things at all, but all over the place). The pull of this world, of social media, of our families, our pets, our lives in general, is so strong. And it's all to easy to give in and claim overwhelm and carry that into our day way of being in and with the world. I know. I did it, just yesterday. Whether we care to admit it or not, there is attraction, there is benefit, to running around like chickens with our heads cut off doing a bajillion things. There is attraction to putting our gaze in 20 different directions. For one, we get to be seen doing said things and say, "Look how much I do! look how much I accomplish!" It's validating to be praised for what we do, and we live in a world where 'doing" is valuable. If you are busy and doing you are seen as someone who is successful. Another attraction when our attention is in 20 different directions is that we don't have to see the one giant thing staring at us that we'd just rather ignore. It's like subconsciously we know it's there, but we think if we can just keep doing, we can avoid the elephant in the room. Most of you know, the elephant usually wins that game. I know neither of these examples are easy pills to swallow. It's not any of our preference (I don't think) to own up to the ways we are giving in to our egos. And. it's probably the most important part of Dristhi.
Dristhi is not just about putting our attention on one thing, it's also about seeing EVERYTHING.
Good. Bad. ugly. Not so ugly. Magnificent. Sad. Dead. Dying. Alive. Life giving. If we put blinders on and only see all the ways we are doing great in the world, we give ourselves no room to improve. Conversely, if our blinders take us the other way and all we see is how "bad" we are, we don't give ourselves any credit and live in shame spirals. Dristhi is the ability to see it all and give ourselves grace. To own our shit, and to own our success. To own up to what we need to, apologize, make it right, and to celebrate when we've done really well. So what do we do when we know our attention is in many places at once? The first step is to catch yourself when you are in the act of it and disrupt your usual thinking or actions. Say you notice you're eating dinner with a friend and you're also thinking about where you need to be next, when the kiddos need to go to bed, what show you're going to watch when you get home, what's on the agenda tomorrow, how you're going to change your holiday plans to fit COVID times. When you catch yourself, pause. Be aware of your thoughts and in that moment, make a simple choice to interrupt thinking and put your attention on one thing. Perhaps your friend in front of you and what they are saying. And any time you notice yourself drifting off again, you interrupt yourself, again and again and again. Tedious, sure. could be. Also, life transforming and life giving. Imagine being able to BE with your friend and actually hear what they are saying and free yourself up from all the thoughts that ultimately in that moment, don't really matter. Tomorrow will happen whether you worry about it or not. Or it may not. We are never guaranteed more than the moment right in front of us. Imagine living a LIFE where you were really IN and WITH and FOR all the people and things in it. Where you were free of worry and stress and anxiety. To be clear, I'm not saying these things will magically go away or never exist. It is the nature of our minds to drift in that direction. Our minds like to have something to do, even if that is worrying. Because even if we know worrying does nothing, it does something for our busy heads. What I AM saying is we must remember we have control over where we choose to put our attention and where we tend to let our thoughts go. If you put your attention on all the reasons why snow sucks, then yes, snow is going to suck for you. 100%. If you choose to put your attention on all the reasons why your job, marriage, life, you fill in the blank isn't working... it's likely not going to change. What CAN change is what your attention IS on. What if instead of focusing on all the things that weren't working, you focused on what WAS working and what you were capable of changing? So you don't like your job, marriage, life, you fill in the blank... CHOOSE to do something about it. I can hear some of you in the background already, saying, "But Amy, I don't have a choice." To you, my friends, I say,
You ALWAYS have a choice.
It doesn't mean that choice won't come with consequences or heartache or challenges. By no means does it mean it will be easy. It does mean, though, that YOU have say in the matter of your life! And it starts with what you are putting your attention ON. This week, do me this favor. Pay attention. Pay attention to where you are putting your attention. What are you thoughts on during the day? Are they mostly negative or mostly positive? Are they about you or other people? Are they about your body or situations? Get very curious about your thinking and simply notice where your attention is, from moment to moment. When you notice your attention is A) not where you want it to be or B) in a billion different places Pause, and make a choice. And know you can make whatever choice YOU choose! You can choose to keep putting your attention on lots of things. It might be working for you. You can choose to keep thinking that thought that's negative. The world won't end. And. You just might consider even if you think your attention split is working for you, that it's actually not. And again, it's YOUR choice in the end. Because YOU are the one in charge of your life. Not me, or your aunt Sally, or your neighbor across the street: Y.O.U. If you feel like I'm preaching at you, it's because I am a little bit. Because I know you are ready to hear this, ready to make the change, ready to level up how you are living. We are ALL aching to free ourselves. Sometimes it means we must take in the gentle yet tough words from people we love. Sometimes it means we need to pick ourselves up and stop feeling sorry for ourselves. It means we need to do the work. There is doing the practice and then there is DOING the practice, and if practice has been feeling dull lately or same old same old, or you haven't been practicing, consider that it starts there, too. That is where the work begins. I'm here for you this week with gentle, yet tough reminders we ALL need to hear, myself included. Come work it out on your mat.