The Firebird fairy tale chronicles a quest like the one undertaken in yoga where one seeks Atman, the true self.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Back to the True Self
For me, happiness has been about coming back to who I really am, the person I somehow always was underneath it all. It is strange how we are born perfect, exactly as we are, and then we often spend our entire life trying to reshape ourselves into what we think we are supposed to be. I think I have finally gotten back to me, but I am afraid that ego will get in my way and ruin my enjoyment of the experiences and opportunities before me. It is a fine line between enjoying being a performer because it is my nature, and creating my performer persona. It is my nature to invent and perform, but I need it to be for me. If living with multiple sclerosis has taught me anything, it has taught me that any action that I take contrary to my true nature is highly detrimental to my health and happiness. So I create characters and book shows, and I try to remember why I am doing the things I am doing. I notice the minute I think too much of my work as obligation or business, it robs me of joy and causes stress. The stress in turn causes health issues and obliterates the point of even performing and owning a moving arts business. It is a fine line. I want to "make it" as an artist and teacher, "live the dream" but not lose sight of the stuff that actually matters.
Why share this here? I guess that for me, that is what yoga is really about. My yoga practice (living my yoga) has become a continual act of examining and reexamining my feelings and my actions. If something does not "feel right," I try not to dwell on the bad feeling, rather, I try to ascertain what it is that is actually troubling me. When I do this, I find my discontentment is usually coming from one or two sources. One source is failure to be present, and the other source, the relevant one for this entry, is when I allow my ego to take control, rather then my true self. What I mean is that when I start worrying about how others are viewing me, filtering my thoughts and actions through how I think something I do or say is being viewed, I am quick to succumb to either self-loathing or self-doubt. No one likes these uncomfortable feelings and I am learning that really they can be avoided if I just keep putting the things I do through the filter of my true self. If what I do and say is not a disconnect from my true nature, then I do not need to waste time worrying about pleasing anyone other than myself.
As I grow a business and perform more and more, I just have to keep coming back to the idea that the person I really am is beautiful. There is no need for doubt or apology as long as I allow myself to be just as I am. We are judgmental by nature, our own harshest critics, but there will always be those who we do not connect with, those who do not like everything we do, so why waste time and energy worried about pleasing the masses? I remind myself of this every time I get insecure about advertising myself as a teacher and as a performer. I just keep coming back to my motivation. I try to encourage myself to go boldly forth, shamelessly self-promote, and trust that there will always be at least a few people interested in what I have to offer. No matter what, it is always a balancing act but ultimately, I just have to trust my best self to guide me along the way.