The Middle Way (and a Money Conversation! On Video!)

Man, I am an intense person. I just can’t not be—it’s who I am. I take everything in my life seriously, because my life really matters to me, and my work in this world matters to me, and people really matter to me. And so because I feel deeply about like, every fucking thing!, I have a tendency to burn pretty hot.

But I’m really nice to be around! And I love to laugh! And I’ve recently let off steam by adapting a gruff, go-getter coaching tone every time I text my friend David about topics from scheduling a phone call to going Christmas shopping.

You are a a great strategy partner!

Get your mindset in gear and you will meet all of your 2019 Christmas shopping goals! This is about power, David. Do YOU have the power?

Oh my goodness, if there were only a way for someone to help me cool down. I welcome this opportunity!

So today’s post is called “The Middle Way,” because yoga is the middle way. A lot of us tend to live in extremes in our lives, and we crave balance, but we don’t know how to get there. Balance is not this linear, step by step thing. Balance is often the pendulum swing: go too far in one direction, then step back too far in the other, then find your way eventually to the middle and swing and dance for a bit before it starts all over again. That’s life, baby.

Although shit, that’s not so much my life. But what things look like on the outside and what they feel like on the inside is different, too. And I’m always a lot more concerned with how I feel on the inside, and if that’s going well, I’m happy.

I lost my train of thought.

Middle…something. The middle path, middle way…. Ummm.

Let me tell you a story.

When I was in yoga teacher training, and I was still married and my then-husband lost his job, I was kind of crying and scared. And my teacher came over to me during a pose and told me, You’re not going to be the first people in the neighborhood who are homeless.

I was like, Are you sure? But I kept listening.

Then he said some other things, but he ended with, The truth is somewhere in the middle.

So we think we know the truth about a situation, and someone else may have a personal truth, or there may be information we don’t know, and so everyone has so many wonderful, vibrant and confusing stories, but the actual truth rests in the cracks in all those things. Which means we always have to be aware that there is a lot we don’t know, and be able to give ourselves over to that mystery, which is why life is so much better when there is not rigidity in our minds, but flexibility in our thinking.

And if you’re an emotional person like I am, you have a tendency to veer into extremes. I don’t do this too much anymore, because life kicked the shit out of me, but, you know, it’s common. One way or the other way. This direction or that direction. The Wisdom Path, which is a l’il side version of Christianity passed down through us feminine types, emphasizes there is always a third way in any given situation. A beautiful third force we can approach instead of the dual thinking our minds and actions typically lead us into. And then, when we take the third way, we are top-level people, unstoppable, the killin’ it kind of people who break down walls and barriers and accomplish all of our 2019 Christmas shopping goals!

Or something. You get the idea, I hope.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I just woke up having a conversation in my head about how people all help balance each other out, about how we develop stories and insecurities in our own lives and live in our heads and need others to talk to to recognize what is actually true, aside from what we think is true because we’re always living so isolated in our minds. And this is why I love having conversations, because they are the spice and sweetness of my life, and I Iove talking. I mean, I love quiet time, too, but after I’ve had some quiet time I am ready to talk and share and learn about someone else and how he or she sees the world, and about how he or she is going to tackle and accomplish all of her 2019 Christmas shopping goals!

But there are not a lot of people who want to have in-depth conversations. There are more people who kind of want to scroll through their social media feeds and see their world through a smartphone screen, or numb themselves out on a couch and binge watch TV. Sigh.

That’s not everyone, though! Yay!

So last week I sat down with this amazing new connection I met through a local networking business event, Chris Mouzon, whose interest as a financial expert is having real conversations about money.

I mean, who hears that and doesn’t set up an appointment to talk?

So welcome to the first episode of The Rose Compass, a videocast (maybe eventually podcast, too? I need help with technology), a platform for real conversations about all the things that make up life!

All the things! 

One of these December days I’ll start talking about Christmas.

 

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Are You Okay with Not Being Perfect?

I’m not. Okay with it.

The cliche phrase is “your own worst critic,” and I certainly am. But I rationalize by saying I have high standards for myself, that I know what I’m capable of, and if I don’t live up to my standards, I’ll feel as though I’ve wasted parts of my life.

One of the things that exploring yoga and other spiritual traditions has taught me is that we’re supposed to love ourselves unconditionally, regardless of what we do or say–or do not do, or do not say. We have to love ourselves the way we love our children. That means loving ourselves even when we’re not perfect, or even close, or even ten million miles away.

For me, this practice of self love is very hard, and there are many levels. If I accomplish something, I can love myself. If I get through a hard time and see myself rise above on the other side, I can love myself. If I make all the “right” choices, I can love myself. But what if I don’t succeed? What if I’m naive or irrational and make mistakes? Can I love myself when I have a big mess to clean up that’s my own making?

It doesn’t help that the critic in me wants everything to be just right on the outside too, which has become harder after divorce and financial stress. I’m a single working mother now, but I beat myself up over having an apartment instead of a house. I want to have healthy meals on the table for dinner. I want to be 5-7 pounds thinner. religiously wake up at 5 every day to do yoga in the morning, mediate for a half hour at night. I want to write for at least an hour a day, have a “0” next to the number of emails in my inbox. I want to make sure my kids have their homework done, and done well, and be involved in their school, and have all the laundry clean and folded and put away. I want to have all my finances in order. Oh, and I want to reach enlightenment.

It’s a tall order, impossible. I’m not a robot. But with all these desires, sometimes it seems it would be easier if I were.

The thing I have to find instead of perfection is balance. Realizing that peace comes with good enough. But getting to that place isn’t easy, and good enough changes depending on the day.

That’s something I’m working on these days. Loving myself in the midst of chaos, even when I take a wrong turn, when I fear I may not meet any of the goals I’ve set for myself. Loving myself the way a divine mother loves her child–without expectation, without fear; unconditionally. Simply because I was born. Simply because I’m here.

 

Image: 6 Beach and Pier