I have been back at work for two weeks. Already, I find the ugly demons of Stress and Impatience rearing their gnarled heads in my day to day life. A month ago, I made many phone calls to set up my schedule the best I could before I came back. Thinking I could be in control from the get go….believing I left Stress and Impatience behind.
I arrived in Colorado, my home base, 16 days ago. Just like last season, I began work as a server at two restaurants, started teaching a weekly yoga class and put myself on the call list to guide hiking and snow shoe trips in Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition to all of this, I write copy (blog posts, how to articles and catalog copy) a few hours a week.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein
Just before I left for Hawaii, I attended a yoga class on New Year’s Day that was sacred for me. I used the movement of my body as a prayer to seal my intention of living my life more in balance in 2012. On January 1, 2012, I thanked Stress and Impatience for their service and asked them to leave. Last time I saw them, they were flailing and alone on my yoga mat. Now they are sending me flowers and cards, asking me to take them back.
Stress and Impatience did serve me in 2011 just as I asked them to. I built the largest savings account I have ever had. This was good. Unfortunately, I also developed habits that were unhealthy for my body. My compassion for myself and others dwindled to disgusting lows.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity said: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
To some of you who are familiar with my life and the blog, the above quote may be confusing.
“Doesn’t Kaci just la-ti-da off to anywhere she pleases?” You might ask.
Why, yes, sometimes I do. And yes, I la-ti-da more than most, but what most people do does not serve as a model way for me to live my life. I am interested in my personal journey-defining and practicing the way I believe is the best way for me. I am not here to do as most or get in line. I am here to live my highest life. How else can I celebrate this beautiful existence? How else can I give gratitude, but in living in joy?
I am not suggesting that I should quit working. I mostly enjoy the unique, vivid people I work with and for. At our best, we create a family-like bond, supporting one another through our strengths and weaknesses. We give each other room to learn lessons and look past blunders. Personally, work allows me to examine my own strengths and weaknesses. While working, I can examine the the width of the chasm between my ego and my highest self. I can see how they can work together and also how they tear each other apart.
During my trips in the past few years, I have learned to value having a purpose. What I am speaking to is Right Purpose or Right Work. Can I find Right Purpose by merely having an attitude adjustment in my current situation? Should I focus on creating a schedule that allows me to do more of the work I love?
I’m not sure of the answer, but I am sure that I can no longer work only as an act of worship to this God called Money. As soon as I am short with J or find myself wide awake at 4 a.m., a black snake of fear slithers up from my belly into my throat. I know where I have been. I know that last year I carelessly placed myself at the altar of Security and said, “Take me. I’m yours.”
Sometimes, I think I write this blog post mostly as a pep talk to myself. As if I need to remind myself that I have the right to control my life. Sometimes, I think I write this post in hopes that others out there can relate to my struggle on some level and maybe offer up some wisdom or a simple “me too.”
But really, why should the notion that I control my own life with balance and peace rather than dollars and cents be so preposterous?