Some people get involved with big institutions like “Dahn Yoga” or “the Military” because it is so hard to manage yourself and then, at least, it is done for you. You learn a certain skill and perform that within the confines of that entity. You pay respect to those who train you to become good in it and then are rewarded by climbing the hierarchical ladder yourself. After a period of learning and time to gain experience you are good in what you are doing. You then teach others who in their turn pay respect to you.
To manage yourself out in the wilderness of life is no triviality. With that many choices to choose from, and especially when you are a talented person which many of us are these days, it is almost impossible to choose the right ones. Or do we need to say the right few, because it isn’t even clear anymore whether it is wise of unwise to focus on one particular skill or profession, whether it is smart to put all your eggs in one basket.
On the most inconvenient moments, just when you think you will get something ‘done’ (for me that something is writing a book) another ‘learning curve’ seems to pop up, be it on your screen or in your life in general. To get it done I need to set priorities. Setting priorities is not so difficult; but sticking to not doing the things that are not that priority are what makes it hard. I sense that there is a compulsion to get those things out of the way before I allow myself to start a new project. The pull of that compulsion is unexpectedly strong; it feels there is no way around it. What is there at stake? It must be more than what the eye can see. It makes me feel-good-about-myself but not just feel good as a sort of satisfaction. It gives me a sort of sense of having permission to be. To encounter that compulsion in myself and work out the underlying issue is a great opportunity to grow.
So life is not about what you do but about what ‘what you do’ does to you and what you do with that. That is the only valid explanation I can come up with at times when my stress raises to an unhealthy level. You learn over and over again, that what you perceived to be crucial for you to get done, didn’t affect your life in the slightest way when left undone. But in the process you learned something about yourself that changed you as a person.
For many of us there is this unconscious sense of ‘my life depends on it’ attached to some of our agenda points. It spoils the fun we otherwise might have doing what we do. It causes us to wake up in the middle of the night wanting to jump out of bed and get started on whatever we think “is so important.” It causes us to overlook with a rigid stare the sweet expectation in the openness of our children. It ignores the twinkle in the eyes of our spouses.
A Healthy Sense of Self makes you independent from the outcome of your activities. You still have deadlines but you know your life doesn’t depend on it. Your “feeling-good-about-yourself“ is not affected by not meeting them. And you know what? That takes so much pressure off “what you are doing” that you are more successful in getting them done in time.
A Restored Sense of Self, has pretty much the same effect: you know you ARE already and that you do not have to allow anybody to make you feel bad about yourself, so bad sometimes that you want to opt out. Opt out of life, because you are not aware that your life, on those moments, is not about you, because mentally and emotionally you are all absorbed by the perceived life and death importance of your task at hand.
It is time the world starts working on restoring its sense of self; you can start by restoring yours.