Some Thoughts on Freedom
It’s the 4th of July and I just got finished with a couple of unexpected but amazing house projects. The ones that leave you feeling so accomplished and like you can do anything you set your mind to. It’s been an interesting week filled with, well… lots of doubt and being in my head! I’ve felt it, palpably, so many times. It’s like this cloud descends over my brain and I allow it to totally take over and before I know it I’ve made up 10 different stories about 10 different things and people. It’s been a week of a lot of tears… of feeling defensive and wanting to boost my ego and share all the reasons why I am a good person… and it’s been a reminder that defensiveness doesn’t actually get me anywhere. It’s been a week of sitting with and seeing the not so pretty parts of myself. The judgement. The closed off-ness. The anger. The manipulation. The wanting things my way. It can be easy to go into a space of shame, to beat myself up, and right now, in this moment, I’m just seeing that this is the way things are and I can throw myself a pity party or I can do something about it. I can choose to take the level up. I’ve said that a lot during this strange time in our history- that we are ALL- all of us- being offered the opportunity to level up. We get to choose if we take it or not. Some days, I’ve chosen not to. Most days, I’ve pulled myself up, gotten over that something feels “hard,” or “not fair,” or “not right,” and chosen to face myself boldly. To show up boldly.
I’m also enrolled in Fit to Lead, a program through the Baptiste Yoga Institute that is year long and meant to enhance our leadership skills, among a myriad of other things. Our first in person meeting was supposed to be April (hello, Corona) which we obviously postponed. We were set to meet in August. Now, with our intended meeting state being a hotspot and so much still unknown, we postponed our in person gathering yet again. I lost my shit you guys. I reacted big time. I knew I was in reaction mode, and I needed that moment. To be sad. To be so frustrated at plans changing and things getting cancelled. I need that moment so I could fully see myself in reaction mode. The only way to create change is to know our defaults… to get to know ourselves so well that we know when we are falling into habit or routine or same old, same old… and to intentionally disrupt it.
All of this- Corona, Racism, Phases of being open/not being open, seasons changing… are an opportunity for disruption. An opportunity to disrupt business as usual and to stretch ourselves, to grow. Growing is not easy. Growing can feel like a pain in the ass! Would I love to celebrate 4th of July all out right and not think about freedom for black people? Sure would! Would I love to just say F*** it and not get on my yoga mat or meditate and just drink a bottle of wine every night? Yup. Would I love to tell our neighbors across the street who keep trying to call our gym in to go screw themselves? Make mean retorts back? Yes, indeedy. All those things, though, would be default.
The second scenario above, I’ve learned to manage, because I’ve seen myself in default enough times to know that drinking and not meditating and not yogaing do not make my life better. In fact, without those things, I would argue I am actually a less decent human being. Yoga and meditation and limiting my alcohol are ways, for me, of disrupting what I might normally do and making the higher call for myself and for my life. Not the easier call. The higher call. It doesn’t mean I’m self righteous or rude about it. It does mean I make a deliberate choice for what is right and true. If I want to stand for community and connection and love, I must be intentional in disrupting all the ways my default chooses not to stand for that.
Our egos don’t want us to disrupt things though. It feel easier, better, to just stay safe. To not rock the boat or mess with anything or change what’s not broken. We like, as humans, to be comfortable. Our brains like it too, because they don’t have to work as hard. And. It’s stagnant as hell in that space. It’s boring. It’s where life goes to die. It’s like stagnant water. The longer it sits there the more interesting things it grows. It’s not until new water flow gets in there that things start to clear up. The water gets less murky. We can live in murk or we can live in clear water. The great news is the choice is always ours. It’s always there for us, as an opportunity. A chance to do life differently.
I’m choosing the level up. Hard or easy, I’m choosing it. Because I want to live in clear water.