This week I'm sharing a fabulous article with you written by a good friend and guest blogger, Jenni Peskin. Jenni is a mom, music maker, activist and teacher. You may also know her if you've been to one of the retreats we co-facilitate!
She serves others with mindfulness programs, voice lessons, and workshops. To learn more about Jenni, you can visit www.jennipeskin.com.
Without further ado, here's a great article by Jenni called "Unraveling".
I've been unraveling lately. Pulling apart the loose threads that make me who I am. Who I am. Who I am is a construct of ideas, beliefs, thoughts. Not tangible things to hold. Nothing with weight or grit or substance. Simply electrical impulses, grooves in the the brain, in yoga, we call these Samskaras. And mine were deep and had roots and limbs and Octopus suction cups. But now "who I am" is more like an old cloth, thin from wear, soft, changeable, threads sticking out on every side, all you have to do is pull and it keeps unraveling, this idea of myself keeps unraveling.
For a very long time I was standing in the center of my beliefs, beliefs that I am a person who is good at depression, who is not good at happy, who is cynical, pessimistic, and dark. I believed me. There were moments of light, but that wasn't really who I was. Pull the thread now, look how loose it is. Going going gone. As I age, more and more threads start to become apparent and I keep pulling at them, disintegrating the fabric of this identity.
It's frightening to be seen, without this mask. To reveal the easy joy that lies just under it. The old identity, the old of "who I am" was and is simply a pot filled with half truths, and falsehoods. They used to be sticky like molasses and unavoidable like air. The closer I look, they hold no reality. I cannot touch them, or put them in a jar on my window sill. They are gone as soon as they are manifest. I see this now, their impermanence, their weightlessness. I pull another thread and there is even more freedom. I use exposure therapy- showing off small bits of what lies underneath the mask, I give up control. Why the fuck does happy feel so vulnerable? I don't know. But it does. So I start small. Quick peeks beneath the mask. Accept the discomfort. It will ease. Over time. It will. I know this to be true because I am doing it. Micro doses of vulnerability. Remember to breathe. Remember to stay with yourself.
**Scroll down (past the image below) to read the rest of the message.
My friend, Shelby, taught me a Mindfulness walking meditation. With each step, we simply repeat: Nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to be. No one to be. Oh the glory of that last one brings me to my knees. When I sink into its truth, I find such a freedom from this mind that thinks I am not good enough. Because I only have to exist and that IS enough. What a kindness to afford myself. To afford anyone really.
What is this Mindfulness we peddle? Today and most days it is the ever present unfolding of one moment to the next. It is watching how we cling... "I like this, I don't like this. I want this, I don't want this." And then remembering that all of the unpleasantness is only temporary. It is remembering to stay with ourselves, even when this unpleasantness arises. No, especially, when this unpleasantness arises. To stay with ourselves with the most courageous compassion and kindness we can muster (which on many occasions is NOT much really).
But what about the Sweetness of life? Why do we always talk about the discomfort!? Oh, it's about the sweetness alright. Imagine being fully present for every wonderful, beautiful things that happens to you. And being able to watch it dissipate without feeling loss... because the sweetness is temporary too and when we remember to remember this, then we can let it go just as easily as we brought it in. There is no difference between the pain and the sweetness, it is simply our reaction to the two. The clinging and the aversion. The wanting and the not wanting.
There is a wave there, an ebb and a flow, sometimes I am able to remember to ride it instead of fight it. I allow it to unravel me and the "who I am?" Can you find the freedom in the unraveling of your story? Can you know that you are perfect and deserving of love and worthy of 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows and let them all wash over you like the ocean washes to shore? Stay with yourself. You will not drown, you most certainly, eventually, will fly, and I will meet you there.
-- Jenni Peskin