Friday, November 25, 2011

The closing of a door can bring blessed privacy and comfort - the opening, terror. Conversely, the closing of a door can be a sad and final thing - the opening a wonderfully joyous moment.
Andy Rooney

Some doors take a really fucking long time to close. There is one particular door in my life that I've been closing--pushing and pushing shut for many years now. This one turned out to be way heavier than I originally thought... Unimaginably heavy in fact. Yet, how readily it swung open again, at every possible opportunity... It is now close to being shut, with but a fell breeze blowing in..

In trying to close this heavy door I speak of, I've conveniently been able to delay opening another one. God knows what lies behind it! At least I know the dungeon I came from! Hehe...

But seriously, I don't want to live my life in a corridor, in a waiting room... I want to bravely enter whatever spaces and phases might lie ahead. It's time to make that final exertion, I now know for sure that I'm strong enough to shut the damn door. I don't want to catch another whiff of that breeze, of toxic fumes. And perhaps what lies behind the next door is sunshine and fresh air! Who the fuck knows? I think it's time I find out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. -Lin Yutang, writer and translator (1895-1976)

I subscribe to The New York Times "A.Word.A.Day"-e-mail, and I received the above great quote from them yesterday. It rings very true to me, as in the past I have often crammed my days with way too many chores, ending up feeling entirely overwhelmed by them. Recently, I've been learning to structure my life in a way that leaves more time for contemplation and relaxation... Interestingly enough, I have ended up getting more done than ever before!

I've often felt this urgency that I Only Have This One Day To Do Everything That Needs To Be Done!!! Somehow the wisdom in the quote "Live every day as if it were your last" got warped in the translation... It created this stress of accomplishing, succeeding, achieving... In my experience, that kind of attitude just creates paralysis and frustration. If, instead of a sprint I see my life as a marathon, I can divide the things that I want to do over a longer period of time. True, we all have just this one moment: tomorrow, or even the next moment is not promised to us. But let's face it -- some of us indeed end up living until we are 80. Taking that into consideration, wouldn't it make more sense to take smaller steps every day towards where we want to go?

I for one have decided that that's how I want to live my life. Taking smaller bites every day in fact ends up giving me the opportunity to live, love and be merry in the process. Really, what's the hurry? (I should really listen to myself, hehe... Even now, there is a ticking clock somewhere in the back of my head, pressuring, pressuring, pressuring...)

Truly, I think that this urgency is another chip installed by this world, one that I passionately want to remove from my brain. It's the product of ageism and egoism, so rampant in our culture. If I let go and take it easier and slower, I bet ya I'll get there faster. "There" meaning feeling happy and fulfilled, doing what I love to do. Isn't that all I really want anyway? Thinking this way, it becomes very obvious what the nonessentials are.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's been lovely to feel a momentum building in my life for the last couple of weeks... I've felt like a lot of the personal goals that I've been working towards are starting to materialize, a little bit at a time. Life ahead looks exciting and inviting in a way that it never has before.

I watched a movie last week, The Shift/From Ambition to Meaning, starring Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, and I found it very inspiring. In it he said many things that affected me deeply, but among them was this: you attract what you are. Not what you want.

I've started seeing myself very differently, gradually throughout this year. I keep discovering new strengths as I break through old patterns. Even within the last few weeks, I've noticed that I've been having utterly new experiences and wholly different conversations than before; some with people that I wouldn't have known what to say to, even as recently as last summer.

It is true that changing yourself changes everything around you, because you view it differently. It seems inane to say it, because now it feels like such a no-brainer, but I realize that for most of my life, this has been a foreign concept to me. Now I welcome opportunities to discover things that I could improve or change about myself, because it means I no longer have to try to control or moan about others. Letting go and letting others be who they are is making my life so much easier.

Through these personal changes I have a lot more space and time in my life to work on the things that matter to me. Thus, who I am is becoming a whole lot bigger than who I used to be. In striving to be healthier and happier, rather than trying to just get what I want, I feel like things are falling into place naturally. So, I guess my point tonight is this: I think that Dr. Dyer is on to something...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Muscle memory! Muscle memory seems to be the key to everything!
Practice something enough and it will become a part of you, an acquired ability.
There is an automation that happens with singing and performing for example: I've sung so much, and sung certain lyrics so many times that the body already knows what comes next. It's inbuilt, and I don't have to think about it. If I let go of anxiety, the song will practically sing itself. And within that looseness I can also improvise and add more depth to the whole experience.

There's a joke that a friend of mine tells about a centipede, who, amidst its rapid wiggling suddenly considers what leg 88 is doing and gets all fucked up... I know that feeling of myopic thinking and distraction within an important moment very well,
as it has happened to me many times in the past... But I'm learning that trusting myself can also be learned into muscle memory, and the more I trust myself, the less I'll be thinking about leg 88.

I have always been shy: I've never been comfortable socially, not one to express my opinions in a crowd, for fear of losing the thread of what I'd want to say. I've just thought that this is who I am. Turns out that's not who I am. It's just that being outspoken in social situations is not in my muscle memory, due to my avoidance of speaking. Duh! Well, I am changing this now, as I find that I have a lot to say. Through these new lectures that I'm giving I'm discovering a whole new Janita! One that I didn't realize existed. And I'm sure that as my muscle memory as a courageous outspoken woman grows, I will become even braver.

Fear is a wall that we need to get through. It seems impenetrable until we're on the other side of it. And soon after, a new wall emerges... That just seems to be a fact of life. But knowing that developing muscle memory is the key to doing, well...everything! feels like a relief to me. None of us excel at anything unless we've worked hard at it, and that is good to remember. As beginners, we are not even meant to be competing with the experts. Like Bruce Lee said:

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times.”

Hiyah! Keep kicking.