The First Component to the Law of Dharma is to Discover your True Self

Deepak Chopra

REFLECTIONS

Here it is Tuesday, and I am writing my Monday post…and I am happy about this. I wanted to just be in the presence of my daughters and my nephew over the last few days, writing when I could…accepting that I may miss my ‘self-imposed’ deadline… Fast Forward 2 minutes…serenity morphing into incredulity slipping towards outright rage as I look for what I had written last evening and realize it is GONE!  I did not save it correctly and so today, I will have to start from SCRATCH! NOW I AM BEING TESTED! Can I accept that I do not control my world, I merely live in it…and that maybe yesterday’s writing was just not meant to be posted?? I was so tired while writing last night that I almost felt stoned…I was waxing on about Siddhartha, and his belief that every person must create his own journey to ‘spiritual enlightenment’… each of us being such a unique individual that the path must be suitably personalized. Siddhartha accepted that his friend Govinda wanted to follow Buddha’s supremely wise philosophy, but that he, Siddhartha, wanted the freedom to choose his own path. I had been thinking about how unconventional…maybe even unorthodox my ‘path’ has been. Below is some of what I can recall…

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

MAKING A LIVING

In the past, when determining my level of success in this world, I relied on very masculine, achievement oriented, criteria. I would tally up my assets and accomplishments(including those of my children and husband-extensions of me )then add the people I knew, the places I had been, the knowledge I had  gleaned etc. In my mind I was ‘doing’ very well…making a very good living. I had achieved a high level of success in this material realm. My definition of success was supported by those around me, so it became nigh on impossible to knock me off its pursuit.

There was one area in my life I could not control or dominate… one area that brought me to my knees…and thankfully, eventually, to my senses. Only a power greater than my ego could successfully ‘de-smug’ me. I could not make my body cooperate with my life plan. I expected it to live up to my goals of perfection …I exercised maniacally, in leg warmers with matching leotards and scrunchies…I kept track of my BMI, while following various fad diets(the Adkins, the grapefruit etc.) all in the hopes of looking like Jane Fonda. At 29 I got my first nudge from the Universe, trying to knock me into balance by knocking me off balance….sudden vision and mobility issues…diagnosis… Ankylosing Spondylitis…which I ignored…I had a plan and a debilitating disease was not part of it.

MAKING A LIFE

1. EXPERIENCING EMOTION

I was never in awe of those artists who rendered realistic representations of life. This included technical musicians, writers of non-fiction, or photo-realism artists. Not that I didn’t appreciate the skill associated with a creation that deliberately portrayed reality as objectively as was possible…it’s more that I understood this type of depiction…linear, logical, accurate renditions of our material world…devoid of personal interpretation and emotion. This was all I ever experienced of our world…nothing spiritual, metaphysical or transcendental.

Conversely, I have always admired and envied those artists, writers and musicians who were expressionists…who created pieces in response to their inner emotions. Their work was unfathomable and perplexing, but in the artists’ efforts to express their emotion, a visceral response was elicited within me. In my desperation to experience my life emotionally, not just intellectually, I began to seek out Modern Art. Over the years I transitioned from The National Gallery in London to the Tate Modern.

2. FINDING MY VOICE

My only childhood experience with singing, was as a competitor in Festivals. My Mother spent so many hours perfecting my delivery that by performance day, it was no doubt difficult to discern whose voice you heard, my Mother’s or mine. I was an utterly traumatized singing mimic. Unfortunately mimicking appropriate behaviours became my modus operandi for all aspects of life. In the journey to finding my own voice, it was necessary to release the pain of this restrictive singing. My Herbalist, Annette Bossert, suggested I sing with Pamela Alexander, a trained practitioner who uses the techniques of The Naked Voice.(originated by Chloe Goodchild)

My very first encounter with Pamela occurred several years ago, when I visited her group in Calgary. Pamela led the singing as she played the Harmonium, while the attendees joined her in a ‘free voice’ style. Halfway through the first song, I began to tear up. I made every effort to CONTROL myself, but I couldn’t stop my tears. I had not cried in front of anyone, never mind 20 strangers, since I was 10. Mortified, I surreptitiously reached into my purse to grab a handful of kleenex. By the 3rd or 4th song, what I was doing could no longer be characterized as crying…I was weeping uncontrollably and unconsolably…like a child with a broken heart… Pamela stopped the singing and kindly asked if there was anything she  or the group could do to help me…resulting in me bawling even louder. I had never before experienced a human being with such an innate sense of compassion! Although I never stopped crying that evening, this group of caring people listened to me as I hiccupped and sobbed my way through an explanation for my tears. This beautiful singing, rich with harmonizing, chanting and drumming was the antithesis to my world of competitive voice production. Pamela’s belief was that in our singing with her, there were NO WRONG NOTES.

 I continued to sing with Pamela until the image I painted, symbolizing my voice, changed from a black box imprisoned behind bars, to a colourful and free bird. Singing freely, without judgement or correction, was a crucial step towards gaining the confidence to give voice to any idea I may have…point in fact…The Other Woman Blog!

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 22 OF 52

CHANGING FROM MAKING A LIVING TO MAKING A LIFE

Within me, as within each of us, a true self exists. Like the journey of Siddhartha, I have been on the road to materialism for some time. Only in unearthing my true and ‘higher’ self has my determination of what constitutes success changed. I believe each person’s path is unique and deserves to be sanctioned by all. No expression of the self is too wild or too bizarre!

So for week 22 of 52 I will continue to embrace my journey, in all its manifestations(including the inadvertent erasing of an entire post)…thus making a life, not just a living.

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