The Grace of Learning What I’m Teaching

Jan 21, 2015

Backstory:

I am someone who fears desire – or more accurately, parts of me fear desire. Young parts of me. Maybe I got the message when I was little that it wasn’t okay to want, that being a “big personality” wasn’t ladylike, that being greedy wasn’t nice… who knows? But I do know it is often difficult for me to acknowledge what I want, to even know what it is, and to enjoy it wholeheartedly. Instead I gorge myself on what I don’t quite want, or rev myself up in crazy overdoing, or shuttle myself into a depressed, dull hiding place; all of these states have in common being desire starved, all are a paltry compensation for opening to the flow of creativity.

Yet each time I teach about desire – over these many years – I experience moments of freedom, moments from the Rilke poem… “I want to free what waits within me,” but in the present tense: freed.

Trusting the deeper flow of life and my creations. Leaving the story, “It’s all on my shoulders” or “It must happen this way right now” or “Because it didn’t happen the way I wanted it to, I should just quit.” But then the old stories would worm their way back in, after weeks or months, especially if there was a lot going on in my life.

Which is normal. That’s learning. That’s being human. (And mostly I accept that.) (Mostly.)

Back to learning what I’m teaching:

I am convening a space I named The Oasis. I thought I was creating this weekly date because when I have offered it as part of another course, it was so powerful and well-received. I thought I was convening it because I need a weekly space to clear the noise in my ever-busy mind and drop in to my body and heart, and then do some soul discovery and planning, and I know other people do, too.

But here is what started to happen when I opened the doors and women started to join – I started creating an oasis everywhere. Little pockets of intention and focus, and peace. And in doing so, my fraught relationship with desire and time started shifting – naturally.

I’m designing my days as an oasis after oasis of dedication and devotion.

Mini-places and spaces where I relax and open to what I want – things like writing more freely or art journaling with more abandon, and also things I “have” to do like getting new glasses or taking my mom to the dentist.

Throughout my day, I keep finding myself sinking into feeling safe and held, and then being able to open.

I have tried to do this before, over the years – outlining my calendar with pre-assigned blocks of focus (very Ben Franklin) – and I would always rebel and abandon it. I’d start to feel shallow and frustrated or careen back to the gorge/starve cycle or whine, “Why can’t I give myself, really give myself, what I want?” Mostly I would feel that terrible “there isn’t enough time, hurry up!” even during my morning meditation! 

But now, the time starved hurry-up noise is receding – even when I went to the ferry to go to Seattle for an appointment and the ferry was down – no go. In the past I would have been thinking in my head, “What a waste of my time. I took a shower, I put on makeup!”

I really don’t know why my story, my experience of time is shifting. Perhaps because I know other women are doing this too, perhaps because of the field created by a circle of powerful questing women dedicating themselves to listening to what they want, perhaps because I was ready for a new way of being?

Or perhaps this is grace.

All I know is it feels really good. Instead of hiding from what I want, I am opening to it. I’m certain I will stumble and forget this – perhaps as soon as I hit publish! – but I’m beyond delighted with the experience right now and in the knowing that women at The Oasis will help sustain me when I do need to begin again.

I’m also tickled that other women are already experiencing similar shifts like Lisa reported on Monday:

“On weekend days I go straight to the computer thinking about the million things I want to get done. Instead of doing any, I immediately distract myself with Facebook, blog reading, etc. I often don’t start getting anything useful done until the afternoon. That would be fine if I was consciously relaxing, but this is pure distraction and avoidance.

But this weekend, after spending the morning with the Oasis call was a way to break that habit. Both days got off to a great start by knowing some small things I wanted to get done and getting them done right away. I never needed to distract myself. I spent about 45 minutes total this entire weekend on my distracting (but pleasurable – so I’m not giving them up) websites. Previous weekends it would be AT LEAST a few hours. I got a lot done this weekend. I also had lots of time for pleasure reading and relaxing. It was great! I wanted to write down the difference this made on my weekend, so I can remember this for next time.”

Shared intention is a powerful thing.
(Click to Tweet.)

One I have often doubted, I will admit.

If I have a takeaway for you, it is: find mini-oases everywhere. Allow them to ground you and open you to experiencing more of what you desire right then and there. Inhabit them – on your walk around the lake, in your special teacup, the pages of your journal, in a hug, on a date with your creative longing, even in the stuff you don’t want to do – anything can be experienced, I am discovering, within this framework of enoughness and devotion to what is calling you right now.

Play with it, see what you find.

Love,

Jen

P.S. There is one more open, freeee Oasis call this Friday. Please join us and see if it’s a fit for you. The women gathering are truly shining with courage and so welcoming. Just go here and sign up. We’ll send you this week’s call info and a recording later that day.

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