Friday, May 27, 2011

On the Middle Way - Love, Detachment, and a Few Chakras Mixed In

This evening, I tried Dynamic Chakra Dance Meditation with Eka Joti at the Hanuman Center for the first time – a movement-oriented exploration of the seven key chakras of the body and beyond – the Base/Root (Strength) chakra,  the Sacral (Sensual) chakra, the Solar Plexus (Power) chakra, the Heart (Tenderness) chakra, the Throat (Playful) chakra, the Third Eye (Concentration) chakra, and the Crown (Fullness) chakra.   Basically, we spent the evening free form dancing to music and experiencing each of those seven themes fully in the body – I really enjoyed it.   It took me back to being in elementary school and coming home on Friday nights to put on records and dance in my basement.

As we moved through the heart center, Eka had us send out love and tenderness to someone in our life, and I found myself dedicating the practice to my ex-boyfriend, as I have dedicated many similar practices in the past few weeks – yoga classes, metta (Lovingkindness) meditations, etc.  Despite my absolute certainty and conviction that leaving him and moving on to the next phase of my life is what I need to do, I still feel a great deal of love for him and want the best for him – the thought of him suffering or feeling pain makes me feel sad.  

My hope is that this transition will continue to inspire him to grow and change as he seems to be doing.  Once that has happened, my hope is that someday he will meet someone new who will love him with the intensity and deep passion that he deserves and desires.  I also hope that he will first grow comfortable being by himself alone as I am attempting to do (be comfortable by myself) on my own growth path. 

It is difficult for me to hold that tenderness and care for him in my heart while also holding the resolve and strength that is needed to keep us apart and maintain our separation.   In the Dynamic Chakra Takra class, we avoided holding more than one chakra at the same time – making sure to finish one chakra and be still before moving on to the next.   Yet, real life sometimes asks to hold more than one chakra or emotion-state at one time – even conflicting states.

In When Life Falls Apart, Pema Chodron talks a lot about the “Middle Way” - about not hardening into any one state. She encourages us to stay with the chaos rather than hardening into resentment, anger, righteousness, etc.  There is also much talk in Buddhism about sending love out to everyone in the world, even your enemies or people with whom you have difficult relationships – wishing that they too can experience the healing and peace that you are having in the moment.  

The challenge for me right now is to aspire to send my LovingKindness and goodwill out to him from afar while not getting hooked back in and losing the important ground that I have gained by moving on and gaining freedom from our relationship.  I can love him while detaching myself from him in order to ensure that my needs for security, space, and serenity are met and continue to be met from now on.  I need to maintain my strength and be rooted in my truth (i.e. that he is not the life partner for me) without sacrificing my vulnerability and compassion and relying a “staff” of rigidity to hold me on my path.  

Centering Life Around Activities That Bring Me Joy (by Saying No!)

In How We Choose to Be Happy, Rick Foster & Greg Hicks studied happy people all around the world and noticed that the people they interviewed all spent time identifying activities that make them happy and then centered their lives around those activities.  Since finding the courage to break up with my boyfriend and move out of our shared apartment two weeks ago, I have been taking steps to do just that – to focus my life on activities and pursuits that bring me joy.  Some of these activities include Biodanza, meditation, dance, yoga, watching Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, going to my Awakening Joy class, reading, and studying career development.  I am increasingly realizing that they do not include happy hours, wine tastings, bar meetups, watching Mystery Science Theater, “singles” events, and taking doctoral courses just because I think that I “should.”  The jury is still out on where bicycling, board games, skiing, and cooking fall into the mix.

Making these kinds of choices is not easy to do because it sometimes requires saying “No” and turning down invitations from other people – something that I am not ordinarily very good at.  I tend to be a “go with the flow” kind of person and will generally say yes and try to enjoy just about any activity – especially if the person inviting me is determined and really prods me to do so.  I agree that compromise is an important quality and a necessary component of every relationship, but I think that I have underdeveloped my discretion over the years, and I think it will be crucial for me to tap into my intuition and improve at voicing my truth(s) in order to successfully move into the next phase of my life – simply going with the flow is not by itself going to get me where I want to go.

I had an opportunity to practice this skill this week when I received materials for the 120-hour Career Development Facilitator course that I am going to be taking this summer and realized that it is going to be a lot more work than I initially realized.  As I looked through the box of books and the syllabus, I came to the conclusion that something (and perhaps even more than that) was going to need to go in order to make room for this course, which is very important to me and very much in line with my intentions.  With swift, “Joan of Arc” type certainty, I realized that the doctoral course on Ethical Organizations which I was signed up to take this June was not on a topic that compels my interest, would take valuable time away in my evenings and weekends from studying and happiness activities, and was really only on my list of “to dos” because I felt that I “should” be taking at least one course this summer towards the Ed.D. program in Organization & Leadership which I am still on the fence about.  With a strength and conviction that I do not often exhibit, I went online and dropped the course the next day and wrote an email to the teacher and advisor explaining my reasoning – note – not asking for permission as I might usually do.

Reflecting on dropping this course and breaking up with my boyfriend has helped me to recognize an important truth about myself.  I don’t suffer from a lack of intuition – I’m just hesitant to listen to my intuition when it means having to say no or introduce conflict into a situation.  When something is right – such as the new apartment that I just picked out or the first Biodanza class that went to last November – I know it deep down in every fiber of my being.  My forehead is smooth, I feel rooted in the ground, I feel an “Ahhh” sense of relief, and I know with certainty that it is right and I want it in my life.  When something is a good fit for me, my intuition works just fine – I am not a commitment phobic person – and I generally speak up to say “Yes” and welcome whatever it is into my life.  The harder thing for me is knowing when to say “No, Thank You” and walk away.  Increasingly, I am learning that when I find myself working hard to convince myself that something is right, thinking that I “should” be accepting something, trying to force something to stay a part of my life which no longer fits – for me, that means it is not for me – and it is time to move on.  Perhaps for me, “maybe” really means – No!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My First Posting


This blog is intended to share my personal and career development journey so that others interested in self improvement or on their own personal journeys may benefit from my experiences.  

Currently, I serve as Retention and Matriculation Advisor at the University of San Francisco, a position that I have held for almost 4 years.  Over the course of the next year, I would like to move into the next phase of my career and transition towards a job that is more directly related to Career Development - or at least the intersection of Academic Advising and Career Development.  My long term goal is to someday be the Director of an Academic and Career Advising Center - or possibly to be self-employed as a Career Development Coach.

On a personal note, I have a growing interest in spiritual and life practices that can enhance my intuition and lead me to more authentic, balanced choices in my life.  I am attempting to develop a regular meditation practice, have developed a passion for Biodanza, and have been utilizing a hypnotherapist and acupuncturist throughout the past year or so - these are just a few examples of things that I have tried in recent years!  I would like to explore these and other similar modalities more deeply and see what influence they have on my career development and my overall life journey. 

In this blog, I will do my best to give updates and reflections regarding my adventures and share useful resources that I encounter which my be beneficial for my followers as well!