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Posts Tagged ‘guilt’

Things do not change; we change.
Henry David Thoreau quotes

One of the reasons I’ve not been blogging as much recently is that I’ve been struggling to find topics. Or, more specifically, topics that fall under the heading of “life, learning and communication.” Of course, it can be argued that everything can be put under that heading – everything that I come up with will unavoidably relate to at least life, if not the other two.

I’ve also been thinking about the purpose of the blog. I love pondering communication, not least because I’m using pragmatics tools in my MA thesis. More than that, though, I am fascinated by learning.

Even more so as nowadays I stay at home with the eleven-month-old and get to witness the incredible rate of learning that takes place all the time. All. The. Time. At the moment, she’s learning to take her first steps unassisted, and she’s exploring language at the same time. I’m stunned every day by the sheer effort and determination that I get to observe.

This, in fact, is another reason I’ve been shying away from blogging. There’s a cornucopia of topics in our day-to-day life alone, but I’m reluctant to flood the blogosphere with stories of my child if I’m not a mommy blogger. It’s related to the feeling of not wanting to have every single Facebook update be about my child – and that turns into not posting anything, even if I find something interesting and would otherwise like to share it.

Who is it, again, that’s doing the insightings?

Ever since the baby’s arrival, I’ve been in a kind of limbo with my personality and identity. Before, I was a student, a singer, an active participant in student organisations, a freelance teacher, an employee, as well as a daughter, a sister, a friend and a wife.

Now, I am a mom. And a wife. And a student, and a few other things that I used to be. However, my social life has shifted radically from what it used to be. Before, my planner would be filled most evenings, starting at five p.m. and going on until nine, ten or the wee hours of the morning. Now, I have to be home by five thirty for the baby’s dinner and bedtime, and if I go out, it’s a rare occurrence that takes place about once a month. That’s change for y’all.

Another thing that has shifted are my priorities and interests. Ever wonder why new mothers can talk endlessly about how their babies feed, cry, poop and sleep? Those three things are pretty much the only ways to tell whether or not the baby is healthy, what with the limited means of communication at the baby’s disposal. After health issues, you get gear. Strollers, babywearing slings, diapers (cloth or disposable), clothes, bedding… You can fill up several hours of conversation with all things baby, which you have undoubtedly noticed if you’ve ever met a new parent.

When your world revolves around the newcomer 24/7, there’s little else that grabs your attention.

Our daughter was born about a week before the whole volcano incident in Iceland – you know, the one that wiped out most of the European flight traffic for a week? I had no idea that it was that significant. In my baby-filled world, it wasn’t, except for the fact that one of the baby’s godparents was stuck in Denmark at the time and managed to get a rental car ride back to Finland.

After being in that baby bubble for several months – you remain there if most of your social contacts are other new moms who are also at home and available for lunch during the day – it’s quite a task to regain your non-mom identity.

For the past few months, I’ve done quite a bit of searching on the topic of Who I Am. Who is this person when she is not singing Old McDonald Had A Farm seven times in a row? Who is she when she is not working at the freelance contract job? Who is she when she is not putting in the hours for her thesis?

One powerful part of my search has been The Sedona Method, where the central process is one of letting go. A key way of letting go is welcoming the situation as it is, then welcoming the emotions that relate to it, and then welcoming any sense that the situation is about you personally.

Right now, I can either keep struggling to find out what I’ve become, or I can welcome the sense of being This, whatever it may be, and then explore it from a place of acceptance.

This is what I am today

Which brings us back to the tagline. If I don’t resonate with it anymore, I can change it. There’s a lot to be said about life, learning and communication, but right now I am not the person to say it on this blog. Or say it from that perspective. I will probably deal with similar topics as I have in the past, but I want to put a new spin on them.

One of the things that I still am is a Shivanaut. My practice is not rock-solid or enviably advanced, but when I need Shiva Nata, I go for it. I want to teach it one day. I love how it makes me feel. I love the fact that I will never use it up, even if I started doing it every day for an hour. I resonate with it on a very deep level, and that makes me a Shivanaut, even if I don’t do it every morning anymore.

I am a mother. With all its ups and downs, motherhood is the biggest thing I’ve ever faced, even if I only measure it with the level of responsibility and involvement. I have not exactly been shouting it from the rooftops for the past year. On one level, it’s a weird way of penance for the fact that we were blessed with a baby when others have not been as fortunate. I almost feel guilty for what we’ve been given, even though I know that it’s not a zero sum game.

I’m still fascinated by learning, and especially the experiential learning approach where experience is followed by reflection and then analysis to yield theories about the phenomenon. It’s the key learning process behind the branch of drama education I’m studying, as well as a powerful tool for any form of self-development, whether learning a skill or trying to figure out a relationship.

I will do my very best to use this blog as a place of reflection and analysis, and hopefully offer some of you a lesson or two in the practical process of experiential learning as well.

Thank you ever so much for stopping by! If you like what you’re reading, why not subscribe? Whether you do or not, I’d love to hear any comments below – and as always, keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

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If you’re too busy to give your neighbor a helping hand, then you’re just too darned busy.
Marie T. Freeman

To honor 10/10/10, I created my five-year-plan i.e. the Time Capsule. I started writing my Time Capsule by writing my name and the date five years from now in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. I’m totally a mind map kind of person, so the format was a no-brainer. I didn’t really want to focus on practicalities at all, so I started with a basic question – what do I want to fill my days with in five years? The answer consisted of four key verbs that became the nodes of my mind map and a series of four posts.

The first two nodes were the red one and the green one. What followed was the orange one – I Help.

One of the key parts of what I want to do in the future is help others. I know this on several levels. Still, this post has been hiding in the dark for several weeks. See, after creating my Time Capsule, I started to question whether I really really want to help people. Or rather, if helping people is what I want, instead of thinking it’s what others want me to want.

Tricky and complicated? Yes.

In a previous post, I mulled over the need to feel useful.  In other words, the belief says that if I’m not useful, I’m worth nothing. I’m trying my best to let go of that belief, but it’s not easy. After all, it’s been present in my life for at least a decade, if not two. Seeing how I’m only 27, it’s a large part of my life. 🙂 Whenever I end up doing something that is not ultimately useful, I feel like I’m wasting time, for me and those around me.

So is the whole “I help” thing really only a thinly veiled channel to feed that mistaken belief? Am I building myself a life of living on someone else’s terms and not my own? These were the questions I thought about for the past few weeks, as I was trying to write this post.

Because on the one hand, there’s inherent value in helping other people. I know that, and I’ve experienced it time and time again. And on the other hand, there’s the bitterness that comes from only ever doing what others want you to do and never pursuing your own dreams. I don’t want to end up being an eighty-year-old grandma who only ever talks about how she could have been this and could have been that, but she ended up taking the conventional route and helping others succeed instead.

I think the solution lies in the kind of help I want to provide others. I’ve done a fair share of altruistic helping, and of course that bears its own rewards when you see how happy the recipient is. I’ve also helped people out of a sense of duty or debt – or to receive praise, admiration and gratitude. But that is not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.

In my ideal world, I would get to do what I love and, almost incidentally, help people as a side product. I want to teach others and help them improve their skills in communication, among other things. I want to write about my experiences and provide inspiration and comfort for people who are struggling with the same questions. I want to sing, dance, laugh and play from the bottom of my creative heart, and then let others see what I’ve created and feel moved in one way or another.

In other words, I want to do what I Love – the fourth and final node of my Time Capsule.

More on that sooner rather than later, I hope.

Thank you again for tuning in, and plentiful insightings in your neck of the woods!

Love,

Sari

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There is no glory in getting it right. It’s all about taking on the challenge and stepping up to the yeah, I’m ready to shift stuff and it’s kind of going to suck for a while point.
– Havi Brooks

So on the topic of blocks standing between me and Shiva Nata for the past few months: there have been some. As in, the understatement of the year. 🙂 The process of becoming aware of those blocks is still pretty much under way, so I’ll try to nudge out some understanding – and maybe some attempt at letting me be exactly where I am with the blocks. So here goes.

The whole concept of doing it right

This block has two sides to it in my head.

During the past few months, there have been quite a lot of changes going on with my life. What with finishing my teacher training, moving to a new house, my parents moving to a new house, getting married and changing my name, as well as starting a new job…

Suffice to say there has been a lot of what-the-heck-is-happening -ness in my life. In those moments, I crave security and comfort. I don’t necessarily crave to be challenged even further. And I don’t need extra helpings of getting something wrong again and again.

Which is a bummer, since that’s pretty much Shiva Nata, right there. My brain knows doing the Dance would help me cope with the insecurity. It would help me to be present in the moment and to accept not being in control all the time. My gut, though, won’t have any of it.

So now, if I do Shiva Nata, I do the familiar levels to de-fuzz my brain or to reinvigorate my shoulders. I’m not even looking towards advancing along level 4, because I get an instant reaction of “auugh, I don’t wanna!!!” when I think of pushing myself in that direction.

And that’s the other side of the block.

I feel I’m totally not doing the concept of Shiva Nata justice by “just” doing what I know. There’s this big sign hanging on top of my head:

You’re doing Shiva Nata for the wrong reasons!!

(warning: the following paragraph will contain several instances of the sh-word.)

I mean, I should be after all those juicy, delicious epiphanies and hot buttered insights, shouldn’t I? I should have the drive to advance onwards, to get deliciously mixed up, to crave being in the zone? Shiva Nata should be my secret weapon in getting through the daily grind of always having to think, create, come up with solutions, right?

It’s just that now, in this stage of my existence, all that just gives me the aforementioned “auuugh” -reaction. That used to be the reality of my relationship with Shiva Nata. That reality has shifted, and I’ll have to create a new relationship with the Dance.

Replacing old patterns with new ones, sort of.

(I’m having difficulty figuring out what to write after coming up with that.

Like, I don’t even want to go into detail about how pattern reconfiguration is exactly the point of Shiva Nata, and  how that thought just popped in my mind after doing a few starting positions of level 3 and then starting to write this post.

In short, it was one of those “whoah/duh!” -moments that are so plentiful when doing the Dance.)

I can see something ahead

The quote at the beginning of this post is from Havi, again. It’s sort of exhausting, at first, but the post continues in the most reassuring way possible for my current state.

There is no glory in getting it right. It’s all about taking on the challenge and stepping up to the yeah, I’m ready to shift stuff and it’s kind of going to suck for a while point.

Not that you can’t rest into the dance sometimes. Because you can.

Because the practice will carry you. It’s strong enough to hold you in complete safety while you do this wacky, hard, frustrating transformational work.

But ultimately you’re going to have to invite yourself to find the next challenge.

Ultimately. As in, not right away. For now, I feel ready to be carried. And that’s where I am now.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading these thoughts. If it sparked any insightings at your end, I’d love for you to share them. And, as always, keep catching your own insightings!

Love,

Sari

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“To err is human; to blame it on the other guy is even more human.”
Bob Goddard

I don’t enjoy admitting I’ve been wrong.

I’m slowly getting better at it, though, for two reasons. One, I do Shiva Nata, where the magic happens exactly when you’re making those mistakes. Not messing it up? Time to move on to more difficult things. This has helped me create a curiosity towards mistakes (“Oh wow, I totally messed up there. Wonder how that happened?”), my own and those of others. Not totally there yet, not by a long shot. And the bigger the issue, the less I manage to be all zen about it.

The other thing that’s slowly teaching me to face the imperfections in everything I do is the university – where there is a project, there is constructive peer criticism. I get it, that’s the way the academic world works. Peer reviews are everything. Sort of like the blogosphere (and that’s not the only resemblance – more on those insightings in a future post). I always do appreciate people who’ve taken the time to find more to say about my project besides “I liked / didn’t like it” or “I really don’t have much to comment”.

I don’t have to like it, though. Whenever I’m in a peer evaluating situation I feel the need to respond to every bit of feedback with an explanation. Similarly, if I’ve offended someone or made a mistake in the real world, the first instinct is to throw in a bunch of explanations, excuses, or other ways of shifting responsibility.

It’s not fun to admit something was your responsibility and you screwed it up, big or small. I get this burning, sickening sensation in my gut when I realise there is something I should’ve taken care of but didn’t. Fear of failure, big time. And it brought all its nasty friends with it. And they’re all having a boiling-cauldron-moshpit party in my stomach. Eugh.

In the academic world it’s a bit easier, since most of the time we’re practicing a certain task or genre, and mostly the work handed in is still rough and in progress. It’s easier to take criticism when it’s specific and intended to help you make the work better – and when there’s still time to make corrections or revisions.

But oh the pain, the horror, if you (and by you, I mean I) get critical feedback on something and The Boat Has Sailed. Your mistake has pissed off a friend or a relative, cost your company hundreds or thousands of dollars, destroyed someone’s precious belongings or wrecked your own reputation or that of someone you respect. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

The emotional side to totally messing something up

So what did I do when I smashed my dad’s car in a cement wall when I was eighteen? Or my then-boyfriend’s car in a traffic sign when I was twenty? (Pattern emerging? Nah…) Besides, you know, cry for an hour?

As it happens, that’s probably the first thing that I’ve learned about making mistakes, big or small. I’m allowed to feel upset. There’s the guilt, the embarrassment of behaving worse than could be expected, the shame of revealing you’re not perfect, the anger at yourself and possibly a lot of other people for being such a jackass…

Whatever the cocktail of emotion, I know I shoulda coulda woulda done something, anything. The first shock is not the time to start making it right. It’s a swamp you have to tread through before getting to the fixing part, and there’s no way to speed it up or make it go away.

Ok, no real way that I’ve found. You can argue that any intoxicating substance or activity will do the trick. What I think, though, is that numbing or silencing the aargh and the ow and the shame and the I really don’t even want to think about it will just postpone the next stage.

The emotional part of feeling horrible is linked to taking responsibility for your actions, too.

The moment I admit my behavior’s been less than acceptable, let alone downright horrible, I can get on with feeling awful. The longer I hold back taking responsibility, the more I postpone the actual “Aaaaargh!!” stage. Once that’s off the table, I can start behaving rationally. And you really don’t want to start fixing anything of any significance until you can really think straight. Not so much a service as another punch in the gut of the person you’ve already hurt.

One more thing – feeling awful doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wallow in the guilt just for the sake of wallowing. There is a difference between admitting you’ve made a mistake and beating yourself over the head with it long after you could’ve moved on. Let yourself feel bad, but don’t make yourself feel bad. Subtle distinction.

This tendency, I think, is more common with perfectionists. Once you’re getting past the stage where the only thing you can think of is “how could I be so stupid!!” and actually starting to assess the damages, a healthy dose of realism will do you good.

That’s what Monday’s post will start off with. I’ll also tell you the full story of Smashings The Cars – and whether or not I actually learned anything from it.

Until then – have a lovely weekend, and keep catching your own insights!

Love,

Sari

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