Category Archives: professional me

Zen Day 32: Politics

Anybody who can be a good pretender, a hypocrite, will become your leader politically, will become your priest religiously. All that he needs is hypocrisy, all that he needs is cunningness, all that he needs is a facade to hide behind. Your politicians live double lives, your priests live double lives–one from the front door, the other from the back door. And the back-door life is their real life. Those front-door smiles are just false, those faces looking so innocent are just cultivated. If you want to see the reality of the politician you will have to see him from his back door. There he is in his nudity, as he is, and so is the priest. These two kinds of cunning people have dominated humanity. And they found out very early on that if you want to dominate humanity, make it weak, make it feel guilty, make it feel unworthy. Destroy its dignity, take all glory away from it, humiliate it. And they have found such subtle ways of humiliation that they don’t come in the picture at all; they leave it to you to humiliate yourself, to destroy yourself. They have taught you a kind of slow suicide.

Osho The White Lotus Chapter 10

Do you recognize this man? All but the most innocent and sincere of us have a politician lurking somewhere in our minds. In fact, the mind is political. Its very nature is to plan and scheme and try to manipulate situations and people so that it can get what it wants. Here, the mind is represented by the snake, covered with clouds and “speaking with a forked tongue”. But the important thing to realize about this card is that both faces are false. The sweet, innocent, “trust me” face is a mask, and the evil, toxic, “I’ll have my way with you” face is a mask, too. Politicians don’t have real faces. The whole game is a lie. Take a good look at yourself to see if you have been playing this game. What you see might be painful, but not as painful as continuing to play. It doesn’t serve anybody’s interest in the end, least of all yours. Whatever you might achieve in this way will just turn to dust in your hands.

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Reading this card’s commentary this morning, my knee-jerk reaction was, “Phew! That’s totally not me.  I don’t behave that way.”  And, on some level – if I want to be super picky about it – that’s true as I’m pretty sure that I’m not some duplicitous wretch.  But, if I force myself to be honest and not ridiculously literal, isn’t it much easier to see the two sides that war between my words and actions?  What if, on occasion, I add intention in the mix?  Are these always aligned for the greatest good and the utmost transparent reasons?

If I’m honest about it, then I have to say no.

From trivial arguments with BD where my passive aggressive instinct kicks in to gossip sessions with girlfriends to workplace politics, I can pinpoint any number of times where my words, actions, and intent are totally out of whack and I am not acting with consciousness, compassion, or, quite simply, an ounce of common sense.

Should I strive to never be that person ever again?  Probably not a realistic goal.  That’s what BD would call a classic “set up,” as in setting yourself up for failure.  Should I strive to be more conscious more of the time?  Definitely doable.

Lesson of the Day: conscious, compassionate living = words + actions + intent

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It is amazing to me how the Universe works – this week has been literally zooming by.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a week go by so quickly.  It has been a huge blessing in dealing with my father as the constant distractions keep me from becoming bogged down for too long at any one stretch.  How incredibly blessed I feel to have this seeming subconscious undercurrent of positive energy just finding its way to our corner of the universe right when we need it most?  (Answer: really freakin’ lucky!)

I have felt a peace about my maybe babies that I really was not expecting.  I thought that this week would be the most difficult of this entire process, but I have this wonderful sense of completion and – to use my new favorite word from yesterday’s card – facticity about the circumstances.  I am excited about tomorrow morning, which is when I do the blood test to determine if there’s a “chemical” pregnancy – I don’t want guess about what the outcome will be, but I have a very positive feeling, whatever that means.

My step-father sent me a really touching text message yesterday morning, in which he unwittingly referred to my “maybe baby” – this immediately made me think of that Buddy Holly song, “Maybe Baby,” and made me smile all day long.  My blobs are now my maybe babies.

Happy Thursday.

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Zen Day 24: Schizophrenia

Man is split. Schizophrenia is a normal condition of man–at least now. It may not have been so in the primitive world, but centuries of conditioning, civilization, culture and religion have made man a crowd–divided, split, contradictory…. But because this split is against his nature, deep down somewhere hidden the unity still survives. Because the soul of man is one, all the conditionings at the most destroy the periphery of the man. But the center remains untouched–that’s how man continues to live. But his life has become a hell. The whole effort of Zen is how to drop this schizophrenia, how to drop this split personality, how to drop the divided mind of man, how to become undivided, integrated, centered, crystallized. The way you are, you cannot say that you are. You don’t have a being. You are a marketplace–many voices. If you want to say ‘yes’, immediately the ‘no’ is there. You cannot even utter a simple word ‘yes’ with totality…. In this way happiness is not possible; unhappiness is a natural consequence of a split personality.

Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 3

The person on this card brings a new twist to the old idea of “getting stuck between a rock and a hard place”! But we are in precisely this sort of situation when we get stuck in the indecisive and dualistic aspect of the mind. Should I let my arms go and fall head-first, or let my legs go and fall feet-first? Should I go here or there? Should I say yes or no? And whatever decision we make, we will always wonder if we should have decided the other way. The only way out of this dilemma is, unfortunately, to let go of both at once. You can’t work your way out of this one by solving it, making lists of pros and cons, or in any way working it out with your mind. Better to follow your heart, if you can find it. If you can’t find it, just jump–your heart will start beating so fast there will be no mistake about where it is!

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Well, duh.

I was just lamenting my loss of Zen in the past few days – now that the ball has really started rolling in our IVF process, I have noticed myself getting wrapped up in anticipation and excitement, boredom and anxiety – an overall feeling of just wanting it to be Friday for the implantation and then the 23rd for the test.

I know that I need to reconnect with the present moment.  To let go of the if’s, when’s, how’s, but’s, why’s (and all the rest of it) and just be content and happy in the moment.  But, this is seriously a test unlike any other that I have taken.  To learn to focus on the present when I know that I have 13 little blobs just waiting for us to make one or two of them into family members is a Sisyphean task.

So, let’s scheme.  How can I become more conscious in these days when all I am yearning for is the future?

1. Notice when my mind wanders: this is something I’ve learned from yoga.  It’s okay that your mind wanders, just take note of when it happens and what caused it to happen.

2. Take note of all of the things around me to be grateful for in this moment: regain appreciation for the present moment by being more mindful of my surroundings.  If this means I need to talk a short walk or close my eyes to meditate for a few minutes, just do that.

3. Breathe consciously: now, obviously, it’s difficult – damn near impossible, I’d say – to breathe consciously throughout an entire workday, but you can certainly return to your breath when you find yourself wandering.

4. Be self-compassionate: okay, I’m being a little coddling to myself here, but, seriously, there’s no reason to flagellate yourself for not being perfectly present.

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Recap of Day 23: incredibly bloated, heart-burny, and uncomfortable.  I’m not sure if it’s the OHSS protocol, meds, or just the natural process of this whole procedure, but my body feels totally out of whack.  When I say everything is uncomfortable, I mean EVERYTHING.  Obviously, I haven’t figured out how to relieve the discomfort (maybe I should work on that.  Genius me.)  I don’t think that the progesterone fools around with me, hormonally, to the same degree as the stims, for which I am eternally grateful.

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Six steps to simplifying and honoring yourself…or, at least, to beginning…

I believe that I’m the poster child for over-commitment.  My entire adult life has been filled with a series of projects, events, jobs, side jobs, internships, classes, you name it.  It took several years of my mother and partner repeating, “SLOW DOWN,”  until I finally listened.  And, truth be told, it wasn’t even their words that affected me; it was facing the fact that I’d have to undergo IVF.

IVF really forced me to re-evaluate how I was spending my time and energy.  And what I realized, once I gave myself the chance to think, was that I was filling up my life with so many things and people expressly so that I wouldn’t have energy to contemplate bigger things.  Like, what really drives me?  What do I enjoy?  What challenges me?

I’m not going to pretend that I have the answers to those questions, but I’m certainly not afraid to have the time to contemplate them now.  I’m even comfortable with the fact that I don’t know the answers.  That’s probably the biggest gift IVF has given me: the space to take time for myself and to honor myself.

With that in mind, there are a few basic things that are integral in cultivating the time and space to honor yourself.  You don’t need to have some thunderbolt like IVF to snap you into it, you just need to…

1. Give yourself permission: allow yourself to be nice to you!  You must be okay with giving up bits of time and energy to “pamper” yourself – which it will undoubtedly feel like at first, but which you will soon realize is not simply pampering, but energizing your soul, thereby allowing you to give and do so much more for yourself and others!

2. Reallocate funds: figure out what money is going out the door towards things that aren’t that important (partying, take-out, frivolous purchases) and dedicate it to something meaningful.  Yoga, acupuncture, organic produce, fancy supplements – whatever it is that will fill your body and soul holistically.

3. Make it routine: whatever it is that you’re implementing, make sure you do it religiously.  No excuses.  Why?  You have to make yourself top priority!

4. Be consistent: don’t make excuses not to stick to it.  Honor yourself and keep your promises!

5. Journal/blog: find some way to mark down what you are doing for yourself; when you can track the care you are taking to nurture yourself, you’ll be able to actually see and appreciate the impact that much more.

6. Evaluate: like any good project, you must evaluate its progress to determine its success.  Once you’ve been really good to yourself for a while, ask yourself some hard questions.  You may not like the answers you come up with – heck, you might not even have the answers! – but, with a clearer mind and a kinder heart towards yourself, you might find yourself being more honest.  There are a million questions you can ask yourself, but here are some I started with:

  • Am I happy?
  • Am I challenged?
  • Am I surrounding myself with people who support and challenge me, who bring out the best in me?
  • Am I making good choices about my professional life?  My personal life?
  • Am I being the best partner/friend/lover/child/parent/employee I can be?
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