Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Authenticity: The Path of Relief

Recently I spoke to a group about living in the body and getting out of your head. I call the lecture “Alive, Awake, Aware: the Power of Now.” Later I told my husband it was a good class. He asked if I told the group that I had bouts of anxiety. He had expected me to say no. He had that “What would they think if they knew?” and “I’m sure you’re keeping it from them” look hiding in his eyes. I replied, “Absolutely, I told them I have periods of anxiety and depression.” I am not a hide anything kind of person. I don’t present one face to the world and live another reality at home. That’s called compartmentalizing and it's a tough one to pull off. It’s also called “keeping up appearances” and it adds to our stress and anxiety load. I take medicine for my situation rather than to deny it exists. My medicine is meditation, breath-work, exercise, clean eating, and feeding my mind with refreshing words of wholeness. These practices dissipate, or at least reduce, the on and off anxiety I deal with.

Spiritually awakened people talk about how they lived with anxiety and when they awakened, they never felt that anxiety again. I wish that were the case with me, but not so. I seem to have a finicky nervous system, one that freaks when a hormone goes astray. When we wake up to a new and fresh states of living, we assume that we will never have bad times again. We think that our old wounds and problems will disappear forever and everything will be bright and shiny. In a way that is true, but even though a silver spoon does not lose its luster, it has to be washed after we eat, or polished when the surface oxidizes. We are like the spoon: we have to be washed, cleaned, and polished from time to time. There’s no need to be embarrassed about getting tarnished.

It’s best not to try to appear any way. We can just be the way we are, when we are that way. When I am not anxious, I rarely mention anxiety, but when my knees are knocking, the subject comes up. “I’m having a tough day. My nerves are raw.” Then the conversation can move on. My best friend just says, “I’m sorry you’re having a tough day.” She doesn’t try to fix me; she just stays there with me a moment, and then we move on to another topic. Caveat, it’s better to not self-disclose in a business meeting or bank transaction. We need to use common sense as to when to reveal our innermost thoughts and feelings, to whom to disclose them, and how to express them. We need to find a place to share and be willing to keep a grin off our face when we feel like hell. A fake smile constitutes an emotional secret. We can’t thrive when we keep emotional secrets. When we act like we feel one way, when we actually feel another, we forfeit our authenticity.

Fortunately, emotional honesty garners more supporters than critics. It feels good when people discover they are not alone; everyone has character flaws and goes through debilitating emotional states. It’s such a comforting experience to hear, “I know how you feel.” It is, however, important how we share this information. Too often people whine, act like victims, feel sorry for themselves, act angry and self-righteous, complain, or act like martyrs when they share their feelings. When we share emotional states in the preceding manner, we drain others. It’s hard to be around suffering that is surrounded in sticky, feel-sorry-for-me, save-me kind of energy. It is also distasteful to others when we wear our suffering like a badge of courage, assume no one can ever understand our pain, or believe that our suffering makes us unique and special.

We are human; not only do we make mistakes, we do emotional battle. We don’t have emotional wars all the time, but those times do come up. When we are not at our best, we have no business acting like Pollyanna. The next time you are tempted to plaster a fake smile across your face, reconsider. You do not have to act positive and bright when you don’t feel positive and bright. Don’t smile, just act normal, and when you do, you will find that life is EZier and EZier.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

EZosophist Agreement

Ready to let go of the drama? Tired of Hard Attacks? Make this commitment to yourself:

I, (your name), am willing to give up the ego driven struggle, stress, drama, and sacrifice in my life. Even though there are some circumstances in life that are difficult, there is no circumstance that can not become easier and most things can flow with ease. I admit that I have been a Hardaholic. I have made life hard and suffered about it. I am willing to drop the drama. Hardaholic no more! This is a statement of intention to become an EZosophist and to implement the principles of ease in my life and in all of my affairs.