Working Through What Comes Up

June 29, 2011 § 7 Comments

Another analogy from the weekend that’s stayed with me was David’s observation of the practice’s effects in our lives. He said (and I’m paraphrasing), “(By committing to a daily practice) It’s like you’re an African tribe and you’re praying for rain, doing everything for it to rain: beating drums, dancing, singing, etc. And then it happens, it finally rains, and you go ‘WHOA! Wait a minute, that’s not what I want after all.’ We do the practice because we want change, and when change happens, we want to run away when we need to stick with it and work through what comes up.”

In my life, it’s fear that’s coming up and more often than not I find myself wishing it didn’t even though I know that this is part of the process, the catharsis of letting go.

In the past few months I’m beginning to reap the fruits of my work for the past year and a half or so. Getting recognized and having my name out there, having people approach me to do work and interviews, etc. Funnily enough, when it started happening, I was elated but also scared and dreading it. As if I was rejecting the recognition I was previously striving so hard for. Counter-intuitive isn’t it? Running from this ‘rain’ that I wanted to happen, fueled by a fear of failure, of disappointing expectations. I’m an anxious person, always worrying about what others think about me, so the recognition I’ve been getting is as much a source of stress as it is a joy. I find myself in a place of discomfort, seeing the structure of fear beneath each thought and impulse to shy away from opportunities that present themselves. A paralysis of sorts has set in – I’m afraid that my next image will not be as good as the last one and feel crippled in my creativity. I see all this happening and I don’t quite know what to do except to observe it and keep practicing, and maybe, it will go away.

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§ 7 Responses to Working Through What Comes Up

  • YYogini says:

    I know exactly what you mean. It could be our up-bringing that makes us so uncomfortable about recognition. I’ve seen people who start out in their profession not being that good, but they exude confidence anyways and slowly improve at what they do over the years. People seem to be okay working with them or paying for their products/services even while they’re still at the so-so stage. For me, somehow I feel like a fraud until I’ve absolutely perfected whatever it is that I do, and that day may never come. As they say, fake it ’til you make it. At this stage, you need confidence more than you need to improve your skills or replenish your creativity 🙂

    • D says:

      You read my mind – I feel like a fraud as well!!!! What you wrote about confidence goes very well with Alex’s link in her comment below 🙂

      “Fake it till you make it” is a great mantra, one I need to blow-up and put on my wall as a reminder, as much as I hate ‘faking’ things…

  • Alex says:

    You might also enjoy reading about this psychological phenomenon called the Dunning-Kruger effect. It helped me relax a bit about my own insecurities and doubts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect#cite_note-unskilledunaware-3

    To sum it up:

    “The unskilled… suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority.”

    Insecurities can make us better at what we do: more conscientious, more thorough, more consistent – we just have to avoid letting them get the better of us.

    Thanks for your blog, I’m really enjoying it.

    • D says:

      Hi Alex,

      Wow, thanks for sharing this – I’d never heard of this effect before but it makes a lot of sense. Especially now that I live in the US 🙂 My fav part was the section on cross-cultural variations, it’s *so* true! You’re right that it’s about balancing insecurities and not letting them get the better of us. Thanks for commenting!

  • arturo says:

    don’t you think it’s caused by influence? if someone casually gets into one of those games, they sometimes get hooked. i know of various internet friends who got hooked, some scientists, some yoga practitioners, even a busy architect lady in China. i’m not sure it’s boredom that causes the interest. maybe the need for relaxation or escapism. cheers, A.

    • D says:

      Hi Arturo, you’re right that boredom isn’t always the reason that hooks people into gaming and I agree that influence plays a bigger role in starting someone on online/video games. But I think boredom, along with escapism and as a source of relaxation sets in after a while, in the sense that the game becomes an easy ‘filler’ for ‘in-between’ times – waiting for a friend, waiting in line for coffee, procrastinating on work, etc. It probably varies to different degrees depending on the person, but I know that with regard to games like the ones that Zynga produces, a lot of the people playing it (on my FB feed) are just plain bored. And looking for escapism too.

  • Ciaran says:

    ….do your practice, stay present, you are a great teacher, creative, accomplished, clear.

    Fear is a great teacher and I think that no matter how deep we ‘work in’, we need a teacher for a long long way.

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