How I quit thinking…

…well, at least for a few hours. The key is: I moved into my body. Ditched that little upstairs room that I’ve occupied for so long, and went to explore the other part of the ME that I was living in.

You see, I have exhausted this road that I’ve been on for 3 decades. I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking some more, creating and solving problems that didn’t even exist, just so my mind could keep itself occupied. And at times it was fun, it gave me a mindgasm to discover new ideologies, new ways of seeing things and new beliefs, teachings and practices. But then I hit a wall and I couldn’t go any longer. I was suffocating being enclosed in this tiny space in my head, listening to a constantly spinning squeaky wheel churning out the same old thoughts over and over again with no breaks in between. I have tried meditation with some success, but most of the time I have just fallen asleep (which is again, a nice break from the EGO, from the mind, but still… ). Eventually it got so much that I became bitter. I just felt that I don’t wanna hear one more word from spiritual teachings, self-improvement gurus, self-help books and so on. I just became exhausted and bitter and so negative about all those things. I hit rock bottom and a wall at the end of the one-way street that “thinking” provided. And I needed a break. A change! Something that would take me out of this old habitual thinking way of being and give me a relief from it.

That’s when salsa came back to my mind. I used to dance salsa socially 8 years ago on a strong intermediate level, but I stopped after I had kids. Now as I was feeling the craving for humans around me (not to talk to them, just be around them) I remembered this old friend of mine and I told her I would like to go with her dancing again. We went out that night and it felt like I’ve never left. The music, the people, the energy in the room was so engaging that I had no time or opportunity to think about anything else, but the dance.

That’s when I saw it in another room that a few people were dancing a strange dance that I was not familiar with. It seemed like it had no structure, yet things were just flowing perfectly to the rhythm of the music and it was mesmerizing. I asked for the name of this dance and they said it was called ZOUK. I’ve never heard about this before, but I was determined to learn it. So the next week I signed up to a class and it was the best decision I’ve made in a very long time. The teachers were so knowledgeable and talented, the music took me to a whole different world and my body was able to pick up every new movement with no problem. The energy in the room was so positive and uplifting and sensual all at the same time and I realized that I have so many hangups around my body and the expression of the body. I don’t want to take up too much space, I don’t want to be too flashy, I don’t want to be noticed, I don’t want to step into my own power and let go of control and just flow with the music and whatever comes out is fine that way…..no, that terrified me. But noticing these things helped me be aware of what was going on inside of me and that’s half the battle already. So whenever I started noticing these thoughts popping up, I just closed my eyes and I let go and moved into the present moment and followed what the lead was giving me, picking up on their energies, expressing it as it naturally wanted to be expressed and move on to the next movement in this perfect flow of life, no effort, no hardship, just flowing and creating and letting go of the old move and moving into the new one effortlessly. It was pure heaven.

zouk

As the night went on, after the lesson we stayed there for social dance and it was fantastic. All kinds of different levels were dancing together, the atmosphere was so accepting, encouraging and empowering that I felt like I have found the tribe that I have always been looking for. “My people”. The ones who get me and where talking is not necessary. We talked with our bodies instead and we were fully emerged in the present moment without thinking about future worries or past mistakes. And as the hours flew by, I felt more and more energized and happy on the inside. By the end of the night my legs were so tired, but my heart was so full of light and happiness, that I could not sleep for hours after that. Then in a matter of hours I had to wake up and go work out with a personal trainer, and it was brutal. He made me work my butt and leg muscles so much that I felt like jello afterwards but again, there was no room for thinking for a whole hour, just to be in the moment, focus on the present pain and do my best that I could.

So that’s what happened to me in the last 24 hours. I am exhausted beyond words and I feel like I could be falling asleep in a matter of seconds but on the inside I am so calm, happy, relaxed and full of creative energy that I feel like my chest is about the pop open.

In my whole life I have treated my body as if it was an oversized vehicle that’s only purpose was to carry my head around (that had my thinking trapped in it.) Ok, and providing occasional sexual pleasures here and there, but even that for me was a lot of brain work….sex….can you believe it? I had to think and concentrate so much to actually feel something. But now that I have left the upper room (like Rapunzel trapped in the the tower), I feel like I have finally discovered a whole new world. I have discovered that this house (AKA my body) has many many other rooms and facilities in it, and it is amazing. I am not gonna live and do everything only in that tiny little space anymore (sleep, eat, poop and more :)) but I am gonna live with this spacious housing that I’ve been given to and explore every little section of it. I am gonna tune into feeling more, being present with the movements, flow with the music and the energy and just breath in between dances.

Whatever it is, it was a life changing discovery to finally discover that my body parts are good for many other purposes and movement can bring so much joy to me. Either in dancing or work out mode, my brain was quite for a minute, and my body was active and in the NOW. And that is heaven. That is pure bliss. And I want more of that…. a whole lot more.

zouk-dance-2

I quit chasing the next moment…

pole-dancing

As I watched back my pole dancing videos (Yes, I do pole dance, and NO, I’m not a stripper…mind-blowing, isn’t it?) I was not happy with what I saw. Others seemed to like it, but I was bothered by something that I couldn’t really pinpoint. Something just didn’t feel right. Seemed rushed, pretentious, timid… something was off. So I sat with this feeling and instead of being ashamed, and run away from it, I was in this uncomfortable mess, trying to analyze where the feeling was coming from. What was the source of the “off-ness” of the dance?

And then I found it. I located it. It was the “not validating this moment, not lingering in it, not living it and being in it, but already thinking about the next move, and feeling like I am already behind”. Like “I’ve done this, there you go, now I gotta go, otherwise I’ll miss that invisible train.”.  While I am at the post where I have to be in that moment in time, I feel like I am already behind, because I’m not at that imaginary next step already. But that made the whole performance unenjoyable -at least for me – was that anytime I enjoyed watching someone  dance on the pole was exactly because they weren’t scared to linger in the moment, to hold the pose for 2-3 spins straight, instead of rushing into the next move too quickly. They take their time to get into a pose, and then stay in them while breathing into them for many spins and they are not afraid to be vulnerable in it, to get lost in it and show that they actually enjoy it. They are just there and we get enough time to take it all in. Because without a witness, what is the art worth?

pole-dance-photo

So that’s how I learnt that this is exactly what I do in EVERY other single area in my own life. I rush through every phase in my life as if it wasn’t important enough because I already know it, I am already in it, and that’s not where I need to be but at the next step, next phase, next anything that brings me closer to happiness. Because happiness as we all know it, is only the “next pose, next step, next job, next house, car or boyfriend away only”. 🙂 Right there, just an arm reach away, never where we are right now at the moment! 🙂 (if you haven’t caught up yet, I am being sarcastic)

But (I don’t know how to not start my sentences without a BUT or an AND…and none of them are appropriate sentence starters.) in order to create a masterpiece, and enjoyable art out of my life, I need to linger longer in each pose, in each step and each phase, without rushing into the next chapter, thinking I am already late from the movie of my life. I already missed my chance. There is time. Mostly because time is an illusion. There is nothing ever real but the NOW, the present. And the more “time” I put into it, the better the piece will look. Some poses require more time to sink in, to give the chance for the audience to take it all in and admire it, and some poses are quicker, more surprising. But (here again!…”BUT”) i I rush through it all, and there are no dramatic pauses, longer lingers, breathing into shapes and forms, therefore the harmony, the rhythm and the beauty of it is all lost in a hectic, chaotic hot mess and this is not what I am aiming for.

Take your time in each day of your life,  each step on that ladder and each phase of your life. The more painful the pose is, the prettier it looks, and the more you have to be in the moment to really do it well. Just like life. When it really hurts, that’s the time to really zone in, get centered and breath into it, relax into it and not rush getting out of it quickly.

Now go and make that masterpiece, God and Goddess! 😉ad_121400460

Today I quit panicking

When I woke up today, I was already anxious. It was one of those days when I couldn’t stand noises and people around me early in the morning (that’s basically every day for me though) and it’s unfortunate, because my kids haven’t mastered the camouflage mode that perfectly just yet. So I woke up from my sweet, sweet bed, not ready to fight my daily battles of adulthood, so I jumped right at the coffee machine to churn some life supporting juice out of it. While the hope inducing dark water was brewing, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the thousand things I was “supposed” to do today, not knowing where to start, not even knowing what to do exactly, how I will accomplish it and the guide book for today was nowhere to be found. No order, no system, nothing. Just me and the big blank empty day ahead of me face-off style with my mile long to -do list in my hand.

Yeah, if you step out of it and look at it from the big picture’s point of you, there really wasn’t anything to worry about, because worst case scenario, I just go back to bed and hope that the kids are still alive by the time I open my eyes again…. and trust me, I was soooo tempted to do it… but instead I drank my energizer bunny and after I fed and dropped the older one off at school, I found myself at home with the 4 yr old (who is thankfully very self sufficient at capable of entertaining herself, unlike her older sis) and wasn’t sure where to start. I felt that oh-so- familiar feeling arising inside of me, that voice that is so good at panicking, spinning in circles and feeling more lost than Tom Hanks in Cast Away.

But then another, more sane voice (I would like to claim that that’s  the real me) spoke in a calm manner, and said: “When in doubt, do the dishes.” 🙂 So I thought, what the heck, I gotta start somewhere, so that’s where I started. I did the dishes.

Doing the dishes manually, not putting into the dishwasher calms and slows me down, centers me and warms up my hands in cold winter days. So that’s what I did. I followed that little voice’s orders. Once I was done, the whole world didn’t look that hopeless anymore. You know, clean, empty sink is equivalent to a made bed and a vacuumed floor for me. When those are done, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For some reason, they have this magical power that can transform the whole area all at once.

After the dishes were done, the next obvious thing popped up. The next idea, voice and order came. “Clean up the table, sweep the floor, how fun would it be to strip the beds and clean them as you saw it in that YouTube video, do the laundry, fold the laundry, call the bank and sort your things out, answer your text messages, cook this (just out of nowhere, and was such a great idea), go on a walk in the sun with kiddo while everything is drying and cooking, enjoy the sunshine and slow down, declutter the closet area, clean the guinea pigs’s crate, wash her bedding, self-clean the washing machine, take a shower, listen to good music while at it, go pick up other kid, feed them, take them to gymnastics, feed them again, wash their hair, braid it, brush teeth and put them to bed, sit down and meditate, write a blog.”

When I closed down all the excess chatter in my head about all the futuristic thoughts and started focusing only on the task at hand, my mind settled down beautifully. Although it didn’t go down without a fight, because it tried to fight back constantly. It likes to jump into the future and torture me with thoughts like “What should be your career? What should you study? What will happen at work? When will this person call me? What will that person think of me? Why is life so hard? Poor children in Africa. Why is Trump’s skin so orange? etc... It spins, spins, spins and spins out of control until it blows my circuit and I feel like I’m on a nervous breakdown, whereas in reality, nothing is happening, but my own mind that’s driving me nuts.
Instead I decided to focus on the actual task at hand and only on that thing. Whenever a thought popped up like “Will I have time to wash the girls’ hair tonight and should I even bother? It will be so late by the time we get home anyway.” all this at 9 am, I consciously flipped the bird to this thought, I said “Nice try. But I won’t fall for it. We shall see what happens when we get there. Not before, not after. When I get there, I’ll see what I’ll do. But it’s a mystery even for me at this point.” And continued with the task at hand… and then onto the next one, and the next one, and the next one…

As long as I focused on the present moment, the task at hand, I was not anxious. I was in the moment, in the zone, in the flow, doing what I had to do in that actual moment. Not before, not after, but right when I got to it.

The whole day unfolded wonderfully, effortlessly, perfectly organized and I have accomplished a whole lot more than I even imagined with my little skeptical mind I would early in the morning. I realized that the longest journey in life has started with only one step, and was accomplished by one step at a time, one task at hand, one moment by moment.
I also gained a lot of trust in that little compass of mine, that little guidance that’s so subtle, so gentle, but always there, telling me what to do, where to go, where to be; and that’s in the present, in the NOW…. always and forever!