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Posts Tagged ‘intention’

For many (many) weeks now, I’ve been wearing work pants with a broken zipper.  Which has meant that the zipper constantly slips down.  Luckily my work costume also consists of a full body apron, so despite my constant not so conspicuous zipping up of my pants behind said apron, except for a few co-workers that I’ve revealed my dirty little secret to, nobody has been any the wiser.

Within the past few weeks, I also managed to wash a pen with a few of the whites.  Both of my shirts are also  all of a sudden missing  the top buttons.  If I didn’t know any better (hahahahahaha..ha……..ha), I would think the Universe was conspiring against my waiting tables.

One of Week 6’s tasks (“Recovering a Sense of Abundance) ala “The Artist’s Way” was to throw away 5 pieces of ratty clothing.  Being that I did a MAJOR purge when we moved out here in October, I didn’t have much to throw away.  But these work clothes, with broken zippers, missing buttons, and permanent stains definitely fit the bill.

I had been a little bit “behind” in the weekly tasks, so even though last week was week 7, I did the purging of the clothes on Tuesday.  I then took myself downtown early (before our weekly TAW meeting at Good Stuff Diner) to get new pants, shirts, and possibly shoes (didn’t have time for the new shoes—which look fine, but the support is long gone and my feet have been killing me…so time to be KIND to myself and get new ones).

The hunt for the pants proved to be the biggest challenge, mostly because while I am more average height than short, my legs themselves are short, and so finding pants that are the right size and length can be quite the treasure hunt.  Finally, (FINALLY!!!) I found some that would work…but then there was the oh so joyous task of trying them on.

Recently I have put on a few extra pounds.  Nothing extreme, but I have definitely been pushing it in the “getting the buttons clasped and the zipper zipped up (suckitin!!)” department (oh thank you thank you thank you Universe for jeans that stretch when worn). So having not bought anything new in a little while, I grabbed a size 6 and a size 8.

Now, “ideal weight” is a very, very individual perspective.  I just want to clarify this, because while some of my friends would rather give up their first born than be a size 8, others are silently (or not so silently) telling me to STFU with my whining through the computer.  In truth, ideal weight is when you (***YOU***) feel comfortable in your own body; good about yourself in how you look and feel.  Unfortunately the culture of our society can aid in distorting that perspective, but that’s another topic altogether.

I say all of this, because trying on clothes (dare I say, especially as a woman) when you are NOT at your “ideal weight” can be a harrowing experience.  Just taking off the clothes you are wearing with mirrors all around you can make you want to run out screaming (if you choose this route,  it’s probably best to put your clothes back on first).

So there I am, in the dressing room of Marshall’s on 6th Avenue in Manhattan, with some over-zealous woman in the changing stall next to me singing at the top of her lungs, while I stare at my 36 year old “baby fat” hanging over the waistline of my pants (…hot visual… no?). L ooking at the two identical pants in front of me, save the sizes, I decide to get the bad news over with quickly and try on the 6.  It actually buttons and zips up fine, but it IS tight and not entirely comfortable (and I imagine will be even less so when I tuck in my work shirt later); and I can definitely see where they are “leaving less to the imagination” than I would care for on the backside.  I proceed by trying on the size 8 pants, and am pleased that while they are a tiny bit loose, they are overall pretty comfortable.

I stand there staring at these pants, contemplating the conundrum of which to purchase.  SURELY I will follow through with my intentions in the very near, if not immediate, future and drop the extra pounds, leaving the size 6 pants a perfect match and the size 8 pants too big and useless. Of course I will!

As I am standing there, weighing the pros and cons in my head, I look at myself in the pants I am already wearing and own (and too tight…and definitely not comfortable)…and in that moment I have this Zen realization.  Now I know, it’s JUST pants…but stay with me.  A wise teacher’s voice (Kathianne Lewis) from the past rings in my ears, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

Oh. My.God.  What I realized in that moment was that I was unconsciously punishing myself, making myself wrong for being a size 8.  That a size 8 was not good enough or right or correct, and so I must suffer in the size 6, uncomfortable and unnatural as it feels, until I get it “right.”  And then, and only then, would I be “allowed” to feel good.

WOW, Jenn….*really*????  REALLY?!?!?!  …Le sigh…While it is so freeing to suddenly realize a hidden belief that you have had for so long and see how you have manifested it your behavior with *yourself*, one can’t help but grieve a bit when it is realized how long that behavior has carried on and on and on, and in how many (ALL) facets of one’s life.

Yikes!   So it should come to no surprise (and really doesn’t) that this all comes up on the brink that currently waiting tables is sucking my soul away from me.  Is it the place? Possibly (and perhaps probably), although I think there are a LOT of other factors to it.  And it all has to do with who I am, what makes up Jenn, and how I best thrive.  In the past few weeks, I’ve looked deeply into my past and upbringing, the environment and messages that were given, and the self and world view I developed as a result.  Some of it was horrifying at first, although as I was able to take a step back from it, I reclaimed my knowing that knowledge is power, and my awareness enables freedom, strength and personal empowerment.  What I have also concluded is this:  all that has happened in my life, seemingly horrible or not, is for my benefit and for good reason, because it makes me *exactly* who I am today, which is exactly as I am SUPPOSED to be.   And how I am SUPPOSED to be gives me exactly the perfect tools that enable me to fulfill my own Life’s Purpose.

This doesn’t mean I wipe my hands clean and say I’m done, I’m perfect as I am, so to heck with you all.  Whatever strikes a negative chord within us is there as a gift FOR us to look at and move forward and through and on to greater freedom and self empowerment and expansion; which lifts EVERYONE.   I embrace that growth, as uncomfortable as it can often be (and boy can it be ***UN***comfortable), because I am well aware of what is always on the other side.  So I keep going back for more, riding the edge, pushing the boundaries, going deeper, looking closer, listening harder.  I don’t think there is any other way to really live. At least not for me.

What does this mean for my work?  Ugh, right now I don’t know.  I set an intention at the beginning of January that I would no longer be waiting tables ever again by the end of the year (and that I would be able to do it easily, effortlessly, joyously, and financially freely).  So there, I’ve announced that to everyone; it’s as good as done (right?:) ).  But with setting that intention, I don’t plan on making an irresponsible flying leap into the abyss with no prospects in sight.  But I also don’t want to hop from job to job to job in the “meantime”.  Because there is no “meantime;” there is only right now.  So, where I am now is staying at the current job (as long as they are still having me and until I know the time is right), while remaining open and receptive to fulfilling, energizing, joyful and financially prosperous work that SUPPORTS my acting goals rather than depletes (depleting meaning my energy and spirit and motivation).  I don’t blame the job or anyone there…it is me that is changing, or has changed, or perhaps changed for a long time now….except now I’m no longer willing to wear the pants that are a size too small.

So  I ended up buying both pairs of pants.  Because I DO intend to live healthier and be kinder and more loving to my body with food and exercise. * And* I will love and be kinder to my body NOW by not punishing it, but rather accepting and loving it just as it is; meaning right now, exactly where  and who I am in *this*exact moment is perfectly ok, more than ok,  and is good enough.  In fact, actually, totally  freaking awesome.

(oooh I am so tempted to throw a “Tiger’s Blood” and “Winning” in there somewhere….but instead I will give you the video of the song that has been my mantra for the past 1-2 weeks…I  have not been a HUGE fan of Lady Gaga in the past, but this song (and the lyrics) is so powerfully RIGHT ON)

On the acting note, we are getting together tomorrow night (YAY!!!!!) to do a reading (with the entire cast present) of Orange Flower Water. CAN’T. WAIT.  Oh, wow speaking of can’t wait, I have been

S  T  R  U  G  G  L  I  N  G

with monologues…until just this past week!  I just *happened* to come across one of the best plays I have ever read EVER by Mark Schultz called, “The Gingerbread House.”  NOT for the faint of heart; it is unapologetically graphic and bold and deep and hits right at the core of some real Truth.  I found in it not one but three monologues (for myself) that I am in LOVE with, and so the juicy fire of motivation has been lit.

Lastly, we are 2 ½ months away from the end of our sublet lease agreement.  This has brought both anxiety and excitement, as I already feel ready to move, but the when/where/how/how/how/how/HOW???? has definitely not made itself clear yet.  We are OPEN to subletting in a longer term lease (at least 1 year), although IDEALLY we would like to move into a place where we could stay until we were ready/wanted to move (which I guess *could* possibly be a sublet).  I am more stressed because of the cats, especially 17 year old blind Lucy….it’s important to both of us that our cats (re: children) be as content and comfortable as possible.  I know that everything will work out more than fine in the end (because it always does), but I will feel better once everything is in place and I know all of the details (as I always do).

I’ll end with a quote, which I already posted on Facebook today. but will share again because it struck a good chord with me:

“Live to please others and everyone will love you except yourself.”  –Pablo Coelho

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Riding home on the 6 and then L trains from work tonight, I finished up my latest read, “Writing Down the Bones,” by Natalie Goldberg. While reading the very last pages of the afterward (which is in interview format via Tami Simon of “Sounds True”), I was so wholeheartedly moved that I was oh so nearly brought to tears right there on the train (can you say, “awkward”?).

The excerpt is below, but what I also want to say first is that I love how she says (via her own personal “guru,” Katagiri Roshi), whatever it is that you love, that you want to be doing more than anything, make THAT your practice. In fact, not just make it, but that IS your practice. For her it is writing. For me that would be acting, for another it might be math, painting, building, cooking, etc. THAT is the (spiritual, no religion necessarily needed) practice of your life.

What she says below also reminds me of the late great Mystic of the Theatre, Elenora Duse, who said that the point of it all was to forget the self. To me that does not mean to discard the Great Self that is within you, that is pushing and pulling you in all ways to become and express and be all that you are to be, your whole reason for being. It means in the pursuing of your (own personal) practice, forget that small self, that objects, throws a tantrum and a fight, says you can’t, you’re not good enough, talented enough, IMPOSSIBLE IMPOSSIBLE IMPOSSIBLE. Because the truth of it is that’s really none of your business. So look at yourself squarely, tell the truth about what your joy is, release “control” of any needed outcome to it and just get busy “practicing.”

Excerpt from the afterward of “Writing Down the Bones,” by Natalie Goldberg:

“Q: What does “Don’t be tossed away” mean?

A: Don’t be tossed away by your monkey mind. You say you want to do something–(example)”I really want to be a writer”–then that little voice comes along, “but I might not make enough money as a writer.” “Oh, okay, then I won’t write.” That’s being tossed away. These little voices are constantly going to be nagging us. If you make a decision to do something, you do it. Don’t be tossed away. But part of not being tossed away is understanding your own mind, not believing it so much when it comes up with all these objections and then loads you with all these insecurities and reasons not to do something.

As I got closer to finishing this book, I had tremendous fear both of failure and success. I stopped working on “Bones” for almost six months and became a baker at a restaurant…..One day during a break I took a walk…and I fell down sobbing, and I said, “Nat, you have to do it for Katagiri(her “guru” mentioned earlier in the book), forget about yourself.” And that gave me the drive to do it. In my mind I grabbed on to Katagiri and told myself, “I’m doing it for him.” I have as much insecurity as anybody else, but I don’t pay attention to myself so much when I’m in the process of doing something that I really want. I don’t think, “Natalie, do you want it? Don’t you want it?” Because that fear of success and failure stops me. If I think of myself, I get caught in myself, like everyone else. First my insecurities, then my overblown idea of myself. I swing from one extreme to the other. But if I forget myself, then I can do it. Don’t be thrown off by yourself or anyone else. Let your big mind move forward.

At the time I was writing this book, I felt this tremendous love for Katagiri Roshi. When I say love, I mean beyond anything I’d ever felt. And maybe I needed to share that with readers. But that great love was something bigger than good or bad. He had pulled true Natalie out of me. So, big Natalie wanted to do it for big Katagiri. And now what I understand is that big Natalie and big Katagiri were never separate. But that’s not psychological. That’s the truth.

The great freedom for me came when I understood that we were never separate and that I was him and he was me. That huge love helped me not to be tossed away. In completing this book, I felt a willingness to step up to the plate. It was my time to stop clinging to myself, to take deeper vows. To take on this writing life, and the practice was for me to realize that I was capable of what I was capable of.”

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