Monday, May 16, 2011

Sense of Humor

The one important thing I've learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative the second is disastrous.
-Margot Fonteyn

I first read this passage my junior year of high school. In my first few days at the arts high school my lack of friends and extreme social awkwardness forced me into the library for much of my idle time. I spent my free period grazing through the different sections of literature until I found a book exclusively holding information, photos, and quotations from Margot Fonteyn. In all my solitary glory, I savored each page, the only noise obstructing complete silence being the hum of the fan and the turning of pages. I loved that book, and made a pattern of retrieving it from it's shelf each morning to view Ms. Fonteyn and her confident grace emanating from every photo taken, every word recorded. Though many aspects of the book stuck with me, the quote above in particular has lodged in my brain, and the concept of conducting life with a sense of humor keeps coming to the surface of my existence in one way or another.

Everyday I am reminded that we never make it. Living gracefully is a conscious effort that takes place every second of every day, and it is hard, an it takes time. But one thing that makes it ever easier is being able to laugh at yourself therein forgiving yourself for perceived shortcomings. In acknowledging that everyone has their pitfalls as well as greatness, it is easier to see the humor in things, the light side of life. Most of the negative emotions we feel are directly related to how seriously we consider our circumstances, but doesn't it feel better to laugh then to sit in anger, jealousy, or hatred? Must we judge ourselves and others so harshly?

You may look at this and say easier said than done, and in some ways I would agree with you.
Letting go of pride is not easy, but once you've done it, and you feel the weight lifted, you realize that nothing was standing between you and your happiness but you. You and your seriousness. You and your judgements. So next time you are given the choice between laughter and anger, I urge you, chose laughter. Feel the spirit of the words of Margot Fonteyn, and the ripples of joy spreading outward.

Wayne Dyer in ‘The Power of Intention’ explains Life Rule no. 6. It is this: don’t take yourself so seriously. In case you’re wondering what the other 5 rules might be - there aren’t any.
When I can accept that I am feeling frustrated and do not try to get rid of the frustration, something really strange happens. The frustration eases. Try for yourself. Bring your awareness to whatever it is you’re feeling. Don’t judge the feeling, don’t judge yourself for having the feeling; try if you can to fully accept that in this moment and time, that is the feeling. I can guarantee you that the feeling will subside. Acceptance of what ‘is’ changes what ‘is’.
So heading into 2011 remember this: the quality of your Future, depends on the quality of your Now. Because if you are in the habit of saying NO to whatever is now, be in no doubt, when the future arrives chances are you’ll say NO to that also. Why? Because your mind will be busy fixing its attention to some next Future, convincing you that what is happening Now is an obstacle blocking your happiness in that Future.

To help keep things in perspective, refer back to Rule No. 6.

-Fiona Hoban

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finding Stillness

We have recently rented an apartment in San Miguel, partly for ease in embarking on a new business venture that requires we be here, and partly to shake things up and gain inspiration from a new location. While it has been exciting and enchanting, it has also posed challenges. For one, 4 days out of the week the family is separated which brings up jealousy issues and a feeling of lack of belonging, but has also, in a strange way, brought us closer. Like the old saying says "absence makes the heart grow fonder." While Mom gets her much needed alone time and I get to pursue dancing, something that has been a huge missing in my life since I moved to Mexico two years ago, there is also a feeling of unease here, if not in all my family members, in me.

When I am in Pozos, I am perfectly content sitting, listening to the birds, watching the sun rise and set, but in San Miguel, it is as if the city begs for activity, beckoning me to take part or miss out. I feel hyper and on edge thinking of what I could be buying, eating, seeing, instead of simply enjoying the moment, something that comes so naturally when I am removed from the hustle and bustle. It occurred to me last night as I was laying in bed that in order to find the peace that I so desire regardless of my location, I must delve inside myself and find it.

It is difficult to resist the urge to run at the rate of the city, but for me, it is necessary. My soul needs down time for contemplation and my mind requires stillness to rejuvenate. It will be an ongoing battle, sort of the devil and angel on opposite shoulders, to find stillness in a whirlwind of movement, to create silence in a room full of noise, but it will also be a much needed exercise in gaining temperance and balance in a new home, and I gladly accept the challenge.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lost and Found

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.


Reading Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, a true love story about a city woman who was swept off her feet by a cowboy, has made me yearn for a love story of my own. The want to feel wanted has all but consumed me and as I flirt and dabble in romantic affairs, I am struck with an old pang of insecurities I thought I had long laid to rest. My inner voice fossilizing the rock in my gut made of thoughts of inadequacies. The rock grows until it has consumed me, clouding my judgement and blocking my heart's light. I begin to feel bitter and melancholy and forget to acknowledge how blessed my life is.

I began reading The Essential Rumi the other day in the midst of a sulky fit about a failed social endeavor, and though it was written in the 13th century it felt as if he was speaking directly to me at that moment.

But listen to me: for one moment,
quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms
around you. God.

Tallulah. My family. My home. My opportunities. The sunrise. The birds. My pitfalls. My anger. My past. Myself. I am grateful for all of it. Though it may have taken me a long overdue crying fit to realize it, the life I live is simply superb, and I wouldn't trade it for any thing, any man. As I spent the first 21 years of my life trying to fit a circle into a square hole, this is my time to rest, to stop and smell the roses, to revel in the absolute beauty of my life at any given second.

I have found that efforts to find love are futile, but sit in gratitude for every inhale and exhale alike, and love will find you in the most unlikely places. So while I daydream about an indefinite someone with arms to hold me tight, I will use my own arms to work, and play, and snuggle my babe. I will throw them up in the air in joy for the uncertainty of what lay ahead, and an eagerness for each coming day. If there is one thing I have learned from walking in Mexico it is in order to remain balanced on the uneven surface of the cobblestones, the body must be absent of rigidity, and to allow for equanimity in life, rigidity must be dissolved from the mind and spirit.