This Indecision’s Bugging Me*

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As I pursue the National Board Certification for Teaching, I’m losing steam at the end. It’s feeling like maybe I’m not going to finish. A sprinkle of overwhelm and the bland mushiness of despair have rendered a toxic “Blah Stew.”

So I typed “quotes on finishing strong” to motivate me. The one above is pretty good. But then I found this one:

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I’m going to continue on: I will complete the work. At the same time, I surrender to whatever happens.

It’s all good.

 

*The Clash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wave Your White Flag

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Photo by Levi Bare

Acceptance of what is real is one of the main precepts of freedom, according to the great spiritual thinkers. Most of us have not met complete inner peace because we resist reality. Our egos take over and react: We complain about things that “happen to us.”

Practicing full surrender to reality means accepting (completely) the fact that you have to take your car into the garage for the second time in two weeks (this time, to fix the tail lights).

It means that you are not disappointed or frustrated when technology fails, when your plane gets delayed or when you realize you sent the wrong email to the wrong person.

Full surrender means you accept that you just got canned and you’re now unemployed….you accept the sudden death of a loved one or that you lost your (fill-in-the-blank) competition.

If you can accept all that life brings you, then you are well on your way to true happiness.

 

 

 

Subtraction, Not Addition

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You’re bored. You’re anxious. You’re angry or you’re sad.

You think you’ll be happy if…you get that new job, a raise, new clothes, a new car…

But actually, you already have everything you need to be happy.

Any sign of discontent means you need to SUBTRACT something: stress, work load, self-expectations, junk food, social engagements…THOUGHTS. 

Thoughts can be our enemy. Thoughts can drive you crazy. As Mickey Singer (The Surrender Experiment) points out, “anyone who has ever committed suicide did so through thoughts.”

So if you’re anything less than happy right now, consider subtracting something in your life.

 

 

Endless Energy

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We have the capacity to feel energetic all the time. You don’t need chemicals or a special diet. We are naturally full of energy. The reason we lack energy is because we create blocks which stem from our ego.*

For example, let’s say you wake up in a great mood. You go to work, full of energy. You want to make this an outstanding day! You plan on getting a lot done. A client calls you, berates you and demands some of his money back. Now you feel indignant against this person. You take what he says personally and call him names (after you hang up the phone). How dare he demand things outside of the contract? How dare he accuse you of trying to pull a fast one?

You run your fingers through your hair. You don’t feel like moving forward because you’ve lost the energy to get a lot done today. You just want to fume and you walk to your boss’ office to complain and have someone agree with you.

There goes a day of productivity.

If you want to maintain your energy, you need to clear the blockages. Don’t take things personally, don’t feed your ego’s desire to vent and draw attention to itself. Let the drama go. You can choose to go with the problems, ego and power drain, or choose to remain energetic.

 

*Michael Singer, The Surrender Experiment

The “S” Word

Growing up as a 2nd generation Korean-American girl, I was taught that indolence (or laziness) was a crime. My siblings and I took Tae-Kwon Do lessons, violin/cello/saxophone lessons, and piano lessons during the school year. During the summer, we added gymnastics (for us girls) and sports (for my brother). My father held three jobs when he first immigrated to the United States and he still managed to earn a PhD. All of this was considered “the norm” for people who wanted to succeed. And if you didn’t succeed, well, then you were a loser, a dreg of society. If you didn’t get straight A’s, get a full scholarship to college and then make a ton of money, you were not special. You were “blah.” No one wants to be “blah,” right?

All the other 2nd Gen KA’s felt the pressure. When the Koreans got together for dinners at each others’ houses, the main conversation was which child was going to which Ivy League school.

As you can imagine, there was fallout. Someone got pregnant and dropped out of high school. Another dropped out of law school and became (gasp!) an artist.

I became an elementary school teacher and writer. This is maybe one rung above being an artist. Maybe. It could be one rung lower. I don’t know. Ask a Korean. Anyway…

I’ve known a few people who committed suicide because their outsides didn’t match or meet their inside expectations. These were really good people and it scared me, because I could relate. So I studied yoga and meditation. The idea of just “being” resonated deeply. Feeling calm and peaceful feel really good. Isn’t this why people work so hard to attain their goals? To feel good in the end?

Yet, I had this conflict: I still wanted to DO something. I wanted to be “successful” at what I pursued and I wanted to feel at peace at the same time. Is this possible? How do you simultaneously work really hard at something and feel that “just being” is enough?

I’ve come to realize that there is nothing wrong with ambition, as long as it aims to help others. And working really hard toward that aim provides all the contentment one could want in reaching one’s goals. The surrender part replaces the expectation part (of accolades, awards, bonuses, fame, etc.)

As one yogi says,

“We show up, burn brightly, live passionately, hold nothing back, and when the moment is over, when our work is done, we step back and let go.”

(Gates and Kenison, Meditations From the Mat).

 

So go ahead, burn brightly! But remember to surrender.