Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm not that deep

Yesterday my friend Amy mentioned me in a beautiful blog post. In fact, she said I inspired her. It was a post about recognizing and realizing your dreams, but more, about shining in quiet moments, moments when your true self glistens. These generally aren't moments of fame and glory, of being on a pedestal for yourself, and others, to stand in awe of, they're moments when you're truly connected to the universe. Those, to her, are the moments to savor. The steps of the journey. Acknowledging and accepting that everything along your path is important, happens for a reason, creates exactly where you're supposed to be.

Her writing is fluid and thought-provoking. Poignant and evocative. And I realized something pretty damn profound as I read through it the second time.

I'm not that deep.

I think people think I am. Perhaps they're mistaking my angst and anxiety for philosophy. Speaking of, philosophy used to, and still does, freak me out. My mind can't handle letting go of control to ponder "who am I," and "what does this all mean?" I'm too shallow. Actually, I don't know that I'm all that, but still, I find it unnerving to let go of "me" and dip my toes into a bigger reality. Every once in a long while, lying on my mat in shivasana, I feel it, "myself" slipping away, a sense of magnitude and beauty, peace and power tingling through me.

And I freak out.

I open my eyes, to ground myself in my body. On my brown mat with blue flowers. Lying on the hard wood floor. In a pink and orange Laughing Lotus studio. Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if I just let go, let it flow, didn't have to hold on to my ego so tightly, so desperately. Or perhaps, it's my ego holding on to me. Either way, I take a deep breath bring myself quickly back to Elissa Stein again, a person with many lists, much to do, and even more to worry about.

I remember feeling that same thing when I was a kid. That slipping away of myself—moments of not knowing who or what I was. And then sitting in front of the mirror that hung on the back of my bedroom door, staring, not recognizing me at first, but repeating my name, address, parents, teachers, until my reality wrapped me up in a familiar tight straight jacket again. I thought I was going crazy. Emotional instability runs in my family and I was terrified I was having a breakdown. In retrospect, I think I was actually having flashes (very tiny ones Joe) of enlightenment. I never told anyone about those feelings, those moments, that sense of losing myself in something far greater than me. I was sure I'd be locked up.

And yet, now, intellectually I understand what I was going through. I talk to Iz and Jack about the control the mind exerts. About one's true self that's beyond your thinking mind. About moving past that powerful, internal, negative spin and cutting yourself, your deep self some much needed slack. Letting go of anxiety and negativity. Being more present and not living in the past or the future. Treating yourself with love and kindness instead of recriminations and doubt.

I talk the talk. I do it pretty well. But I'm sitting here silently freaking that FLOW's been out for 2 weeks and it's already hit its apex, that it'll be downhill from now on. That my shining moment was a true flash in the pan. That I'll see my book, my labor of love and sweat and digging deeper than I ever have, sitting on a $1 table outside of The Strand by spring. That my deep belief, that I never talk about, never acknowledge to anyone, that I barely nod to myself, the one about me being here with a purpose, a role, that putting this book out there and volunteering to be at the epicenter of conversation, education, empowerment, is a joke. Maybe that secret dream isn't what's meant to be, it's just some 10-year-old egotistical fantasy, much in the way people want to be movie stars or rock legends.

And with that profound soul-search, my morning's about to start. Kids to school. A Target run. Picking up party photos. A radio interview. Yoga. Paperwork. New FLOW film. Pot luck. Homework. Incessant tweeting, messaging, posting, checking.

It's amazing how hard I work to distract myself from me.

Day 49 is stripped bare and searching frantically for a conceptual bathrobe.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

One thing to bear in mind (which I'm sure you realize but perhaps need to be reminded of): FLOW is not you, and you are not FLOW. You are not your kids, or their projects, or what you wear. Most importantly, you are not what others think of you.

Philosophy may be a way to think about the universe, but it still does not tell you who you are. It *can't* tell you who you are. You are the one who gets to decide who you are. FLOW's (undoubted) success will not change that.

It's not a matter of being deep or shallow or thinking lofty thoughts. You are *you*. That is all you ever need to be. And that is special, unique, and wonderful.