Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Dreaded (Necessary) Plateau



It is inevitable, and yet every time, it feels new and startling and when I am in the middle of it, I feel pretty much nothing but lost and confused.

The Plateau.

It also happens to be the place where things happen. But you can't see them happening until...they finally do, and that takes time and patience, two things I am not great at accepting.

From the outside (and from the inside), the view just seems boring and it can easily look like other things that it's not: stuckness, depression, apathy, despair.

The danger is mistaking it for one of those things and then applying the wrong label and then truly getting stuck or depressed or...

The label is super important here.

If you can see that you are "simply" "just" standing on a plateau, you may not get more comfortable but there is an ease that you can allow.  You can take a deep breath and remember that it passes.

Because it does.

Never in the time you want and never in the ways you anticipate.

Yesterday, I got past the plateau. For me, this change is pretty instantaneous.

Where there were no ideas, suddenly there is a freaking flood, and where I felt dry and dull with my creativity, suddenly there is lush and expansive.

When I first started to dance, I thought, WOW! THIS IS IT! NOW I AM HAPPY! EVERYTHING IS PERFECT!

Umm...

And people new to dance as their spiritual path usually (if not always) make the same mistake.

NOW IT'S ALL ROSES AND UNICORNS! LIFE IS A RAINBOW OF AWESOME! ALL MY PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN EATEN BY A HAPPY PUPPY!

Umm...

Dance does infuse us with a sense of Infinite Possibility and one should not ever resist the feelings that come with that.

I believe at our core we are made of Joy and we are made to experience and live Joy.

But we come to this path with a lot of heavy, moldy baggage, and as much as we would like to just dump that and run...it seems to have feet.

Thus the plateau.

The bodymind can't just go up up up forever.

It needs time to process, to integrate, to slow down and look around.

Again, thus the plateau.

Like the desert, the plateau is not as barren as it looks. Looks are deceiving.

There is life here but it is quieter and smaller than we are perhaps used to. It takes a very long time for desert flowers to bloom. It takes special circumstances.

In our case, the special circumstances include:

MOST IMPORTANT: Not giving up. It would be easy to just sit down and shrug our shoulders and stop trying. But action in this life is our dharma, our work. We keep doing the things that we have come to know through direct experience are helpful. Even or especially when they don't feel helpful.

Drag out that journal if you haven't in a while. Writing can feel like drudgery at this time and it can feel like you're just repeating yourself (for me, anyway) but the repetition is important. Something is trying to express itself.

Trust. This one is big. Trust that this too shall pass. Trust that all is well. Trust that the rainbows and unicorns will be back.

Care. Besides continuing the practices that you've come to rely upon, add some extreme self-care. For me, this does not mean "lying about." It means doing ALL the stuff to the max -- lots of body work, taking my vitamins, eating well.

PLAY. It's hard to think about play on the Plateau but it's UBER important. Besides your usual practices, go out and do something silly. I didn't say FEEL silly...that may or may not happen but DO something silly. Even something simply silly like finding a playground and swinging!

Above all, you have to keep moving on the Plateau, if you haven't gotten that message yet. It IS like the desert in that you can't just sit down. You could die there (metaphorically speaking, of course). There is only way way out and that is through.