Friday, July 25, 2014

Is Your Meaning System Working for You? And What the Heck Am I Talking About!?


Every time I go away to Chautauqua to do a silent writing retreat week, I find my brain again, and then when I come back to this life, I lose it again and find myself frustrated that I can't live in "retreat mode" all the freaking time.

But here's the thing: I could and I can but it's (as always) about choices.

On so many levels -- I am learning as I go through so many changes in my personal and work life -- I have bought into paradigms that were set for me rather than by me.

And this is rather disappointing. I think of myself as an excellent critical thinker. And I am, but I, like so many humans, have not (regularly enough) taken that skill directly into action on my own life. Not so much.

One of the paradigms I have purchased without really noticing is the Busy Paradigm.

I do work that I love so I am lucky in that regard. Or not so much lucky because I (and we) have made a lot of conscious choices in this life so that it is possible, and I've worked hard, too, to find and claim the work I love.

Regardless of how I got here, even in the context of doing work I love, I run from one thing to the next, all day long, and lament at the end of each day that I didn't really do the things that I prize most highly.

Bullshit.

If I prize them above all else, then I choose them, and if I am not getting to them, it's because I did not choose well or consciously that day (or that week...or that month).

Personal responsibility. Take a big dose and call me in the morning.

But things are changing, as I keep saying, and just last evening, I found myself in the above photo. I found myself making time for some deep reading. Something I claim to prize above all else ever since I could read.

Reading...learning new things...it saved my life when I was young and it keeps me grounded in my most essential joy.

It also helps me to find my brain, as I said in that first sentence. It helps me to be able to hear myself above all the chatter of the outside world because it creates internal conversations of importance and worth and that leads to action of importance and worth.

Rather than scattered and random thought that leads to scattered and random action. Which is pretty much where I have been living for a few years now.

I have just been letting things happen (and mistaking that for some sort of spiritual woo fate crap) rather than taking the helm and guiding myself into my own chosen destiny.

So I had a taste last night of things to come as my life evolves toward what I really want it to be versus what it just happens to be.

This quote struck me as I listened to this On Being podcast during one of my walks, and I think it says many things about what I am going through and I am hoping it speaks to you too:

"Evolution only sees action. Whatever goes on in the head is unusable to evolution unless it is manifested in terms of what people do. So if what's inside your head, if your meaning system does not cause you to act in the right way then it's not very good as a meaning system. We want a meaning system that causes us to be highly motivated to act." Andrew Revkin

It becomes clearer and clearer to me that the larger stories we tell ourselves about our lives -- the meaning systems that we construct out of our lives -- actually then create our lives. The stories we tell ourselves act upon us as we act from them and in alignment with them.

As that becomes clearer, it becomes even more abundantly clear that we must consciously choose the stories from which we can evolve our lives the most.

This is a supremely human act -- to decide on our own narrative arc and to be the protagonist in that narrative.

From here, we can decide that nothing destroys us, that everything leads to growth, and that all is always and forever well, to paraphrase Julian of Norwich.

From here, we can decide to to live in retreat mode if that's what our brains need and want.

You can now learn how to teach dance as a spiritual practice! My first teacher training is coming at the end of September! Just visit the "Teacher Training" tab at the top of this page.

If you want to explore more deeply how to create an at-home dance sadhana (spiritual path) practice, you could join my super secret Facebook group, Inferno of Awesome. This group is invisible until you're added. FIRST, make sure you are my friend on FB, and SECOND, ask me to add you.