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Practice Continues…

December 31, 2012

I am probably micro/blogger #13,432,671 to write something about resolutions, whether for or against, and discussing the past with intention for the future.

I’m going to reaaaally try not to though. Instead, I want to talk about the present. I want to talk about practice. I want to talk about Abhyasa.

Perhaps it is the 30’s that somehow breaks through all that self-conscious minutiae  – there seems to come a point where we gain perspective around the dreams and beliefs of youth, and finally begin to break through the ice to the fluid person that is the self.  All the built up expectation and drama around “life success” start to wear into a personal definition, like clothing that is much more comfortable now that you’ve worn it for a bit. It isn’t shabby -you haven’t neglected it. But it also isn’t as confining and distracting. People no longer look at you and say, “That dress looks nice.”  They say, “You look nice.”

Because happiness is beautiful.

As frustrated, discouraged and tired as I can often get every day, I am generally comfortable in the skin of my life. I’m not even wholly certain how I got there.

The social traumas that paralyze 20-somethings seem like the problem of dirty windows – I merely had to clean away that which obscured my personal view. So many sayings and ideas make sense now – how Sartre can go from nothingness to love within a few decades of thought, what that man meant when he said that an older belly dancer is more interesting, how to keep personal tragedy from being your definition and master. And many still make even less sense – unnecessary suffering and cruelty, the promotion of the dominant paradigm of our culture, the senseless imposition of restrictions on those unlike ourselves.

That doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle and judge myself. I know all the vulnerable spots, and isn’t there something fascinating about pressing on your own bruises to see if they hurt? The part of me that picks scabs, that pushes past pain boundaries and cuts off emotion still lives in me. There are still residual rankings of success, even if they are more counterculture than usual – they still exist. I  neglect to do things because I am afraid of whether I will be good at them.  There’s a very solid belief within that says that this body shape will hinder me from achievements in dance – a convenient excuse for not trying at all.  The feel of my skin folding over itself while I do yoga keeps me from the studio. And I am always willing to put the whole of the rest of the world ahead of me externally so that I can feel good about myself internally.  (Read: I will clean the house before I will practice dance because cleaning the house is for US, whereas in truth, it pings on my martyr approval button. It really is about me, and I know this.) I find it very difficult to finish anything for myself, probably because I fight a belief that if I’m not one of the best, why would it matter to do it anyway?

But it does matter if it is meaningful.

This is to say, these issues aren’t resolved.  And I don’t think they will ever be resolved.  Love is hard work – whether for another person or yourself, and that means practice is required.  There is no perfection. There is only the striving, the  pursuit. The Abhyasa.

So, instead of making resolutions for the future, or dwelling too much on the past, I would say that I will continue in the present on my effort of Abhyasa – to the practice of living and loving.


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