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Letting Go of Being Let Go

IMG_0628 There’s a festering ball of assholey nerves combusting in my gut. I’m working to keep it contained, drained even, but it fucking lingers like the plague. I am feeling mostly positive, actually happy I don’t have a boss anymore (I dig my autonomy big time.), a place to be 50 hours a week, 2 hours of traffic to endure to get to this uninspiring place where dreams go to die. But I am still daunted, still unsure, still sick at the thought of growing a child while being under-employed.

I accept these are my circumstances and that they are not permanent. I do. But I wrangle with the impermanence all the same. What direction to move next? What to do? Where to go? Who to connect with? And all I really want to do is nap and eat bread with lots of butter (don’t judge me, that’s what the baby wants!). I feel guilty for being happy I don’t have to return to that wretched job, with people I enjoyed, but a space I did not. I feel embarrassed I was fired, my ego is screaming in anger. My heart is pounding in delight. My mind just keeps saying ‘FUCK.’

Should I feel guilty that a major part of my being now feels free? I feel unchained, bound to nothing, obliged to no one, left to be judged by only one harsh critic: ME. Is that bad? No, it just is. I can’t change it. My doubts going in are proving as truths coming out. Ain’t hindsight a bitch. And ain’t intuition brilliant? And ain’t my mind and my pesky little ego and its need for external satisfaction a bunch of idiots in cahoots?

It’s easy to bark, I didn’t like you that much anyway! once someone broke your heart, but seeing they were no good for you at the get go, now that intelligence takes some honing. The mind is so crafty, the ego so convincing. You need this, it says. Your parents will be so proud, it purports. How much longer must you live paycheck to paycheck, it annoyingly questions.

The point is it’s easy to cry I knew it once someone’s pulled the plug before I could. But I didn’t know it. And that might bother me most of all, the fact that I’d leave whatever keen intuition I thought I’d built over years of introspection, yoga, meditation. Years of discontent, doubt, criticism. I’d found such peace in Chicago, I’d stopped worrying whether I was in the right place because I felt like I was.

But transition helps you take 3 steps backward and get to know the real you again. And I learned there’s still that little asshole inside of me that feels incomplete, unsuccessful and ultimately, unworthy. I loathe pragmatism and yet I chose it at the drop of a hat. I wasn’t looking for it, but it still found me. The universe found yet another way to test me.

I’m listening. I see. I promise.

So what am I supposed to learn from this? I am a crummy project manager? I should’ve listened to those semi-ripened instincts? Income doesn’t predicate success? Don’t quit your day job? All of the above? Believe me, I feel it all. I’ve usually reflected on myself with bird shit covered glasses, failures make me simultaneously feel right and wrong. I’m often quite mean to myself. And I’m still working on it. Obviously.

I feel humbled, to say the least. And I’m not sure how to wisely move forward. My head throbs from berating myself and my eyes burn from wasted tears. Who the fuck am I? Thought I’d had a fraction of my recipe figured out, but I’m still just a mess of ingredients with no clue how to assemble into a functional piece that makes sense.

I know there are lessons to be learned, wisdom to be gleaned, a window to be opened from this slammed door. Or at least cracked. A cracked window that I can nudge and hopefully squeeze me and my pregnant belly through. But in truth, I am baffled by the task of starting over, yet again, of hitting rewind and pushing play in a now different movie.

I can’t help the thoughts that I disappointed by family, let down my loved ones, even though they’d smack me for feeling that way (not really, they’d roll their eyes and say shut the hell up and move on, you got this shit!). I know the fear is a projection of what I feel inside, but it’s there nonetheless. The lessons of my favorite writers and teachers are echoing in my mind. The memes we all love to share reverberating truths into my pounding skull.

I must practice acceptance, embrace surrender. I must take responsibility and own my contribution so I emerge better and smarter from my failures, rather than bitter and befuddled. I’m not angry at anyone else but myself. And I shouldn’t be angry. I tried. I gave it my best, I can sincerely say that. So fuck it, I didn’t like it anyway. Money schmoney.

This release is a relief, a gift, a pink slip to freedom. I’ve been returned to a world I should have never left. In the 5.5 years I spent teaching, I never doubted my place, didn’t question my purpose. I knew I was right where I was supposed to be. I never had less money but felt more abundant. I felt I was helping people while helping myself.

Who cares if I had to shake things up and move to a completely new place? Who cares if I’m now with child and my husband is in what feels like an endlessly expensive and time sucking stint in grad school? We’ve endured worse in our 9 years. For some reason, staring at the precipice of 30, with dreams of a family and home in my future, allowed me to let logic and societal norms brainwash me again.

There is something for everyone, a job that can fulfill many, but my job rests in sharing what I know and love with others. And I’m good at it, not afraid or hesitant to admit it anymore. There are many amazing people who also share what I do. They make me better, they uplift my spirits, they're brilliance doesn't make me any less of what I am.

Feedback from students has always been good, why would I question it? Fear. Fear of how to build success without selling out or selling my soul. Fear of trusting my way and my unique path. I’d forgotten the advice I’d so often given: Your path is un-carved, trust yourself to make your way. I simply need to focus on being a great teacher for my wonderful students. I don’t need to be anyone but me, follow any path but mine, adhere to anyone’s code but my own.

I just need to teach. And teach well. And love hard. And hug tight. Who cares about the beauty of a handstand? I’m more interested in sharing insights on living with ease. The handstands will come, let’s try for happy and sane first. I know I must practice what I preach and accept all flaws and failures before I can truly see beauty and success.

Time to nut up or shut up. Nothing more motivating than having no choice to be exactly who you fucking are. And I’m ready. Things often get hard before they get good. I know life ain’t all sunshine and rainbows all the time. I wouldn’t want it to be. This little bitter end adds to the spice of my life, adds to my quirky little recipe. I’m becoming quite the flavorful dish.

Please stay connected and think of me if you need a qualified and passionate Restorative and Yoga teacher, creative nonfiction writer or web content creator, a Yoga Hike guide, or just a nice boost! You can find me at Dani Eats Life on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Please also feel welcome to email!

Saying Goodbye to Who You Were

Every year since I became an adult has been exponentially better than the last, in particular from about 25 on. The last year carried many significant events that thrusted me forward psychologically, spiritually, whatever you wish to call it, through good times and bad. I’ve never felt more grateful, more genuinely happy from the inside out, more excited by each day’s possibilities. I like myself more, this having little to do with my external circumstances, my looks, my income or my possessions. I feel a light emanating brighter and brighter each day. Not only do I feel this so potently within myself, but I see it so much more in the eyes of others. I love me more and that has led to my tolerance and love of everyone else. Boy does life change you if you let it. It’s been 10 years since I graduated high school. I have no use for the past anymore as I feel I’ve learned, I’ve appreciated what was, and now I’d prefer to surrender to what is. What is interesting when observing how much I’ve changed is how much more I feel like myself, my old self seems eons away. And what’s even more interesting is the dynamic with friends from the past. Everyone changes, but not necessarily in the same direction, nor should they. I love my old friends, and a few have grown right with me and are still major bright spots in my life, but I can tell some of them think I’ve drank some sort of KoolAid, my happiness makes their eyes roll, because they’re clearly confused what happened to their cynical bitch of a friend they knew and loved before.

I didn’t hate high school. I certainly didn’t love it. It’s such a concentrated group of insecure, immature, unhappy, selfish people. I include myself in this group. No judgment. We were in our teens, hormones raging, independence booming, self-confidence questioned around every corner. I had a great group of friends in both high schools I attended. They were funny and smart, less concerned with being popular, more concerned with fulfilling their academic and extra-curricular activities, having fun and surviving each week. Very few of us were having sex, drinking and no one I knew did any sort of drugs. I never thought of myself as innocent or naive, but clearly I was. I was filthy in my mind, had a dirty fucking mouth, and was skeptical of most new people who came my way.

From about 16-22 I connected with people who most resonated with my sarcastic views. I was and am a very loyal, loving friend. That I can honestly look back and feel okay about, but how I engaged with those I deemed unworthy of oxygen was less impressive. I had such little patience for the ignorant, unintelligent, unfunny, superficial or any other quality I felt too negative for my presence to tolerate. This was my skewed view. I didn’t give these poor souls a chance to prove me wrong. Sure, I felt perceptive and smart enough to decipher between the “good” and “bad” pretty easily, why waste time? But how I engage with people now is so much kinder, so much more open for them to surprise me. But then, I lived in the bitter barn, quasi happily, proudly, fuck off or I’ll bite you with my words. Tons of fun I was.

What my judgmental eye tells me now is how my lack of self-worth manifested into this staunch defense mechanism, defending the truth, defending the funny, defending the righteous, but at what cost? Burning a bridge, making someone feel small, negatively permeating my bad juju into the room. I was always first to stick up for what I thought was right. If someone was making fun of a fat person, a person of a difference race, religion, or background, here came the facetious feline to save the day. I had no concern for tact, for the very simple law that violence of any kind breeds more violence, so to fight fire with fire was just as stupid as the bigots I was aiming to defeat. Oh the irony.

Me and one of my closest friends used to have this joke, this rule: 3% of the male population are dateable. 1% are gay. 1% are taken. So that leaves 1% for us to find, approve, wrangle and dominate. So many men/boys who weren’t my friends irritated me. I felt every word that fell out of their mouths was scripted. I was in no mood to play a role. Love me for the harsh bitch that I am. Truthfully, my insides were a damn marshmallow. I could cry at the drop of a hat. Animals, people who were suffering in some way, made me bawl. I felt so guilty and helpless. Why them? So I had compassion in my heart but it was encased, locked and shrank in size until real love came into my life and slowly chiseled that guard away.

I had little tolerance and understanding for differences then. Not basic differences. I grew up being taught to accept people as they are. I didn’t care what color someone’s skin was or who they loved, but if they seemed inadequate mentally, any semblance of patience I had flew out the window along with any potential connection with this person. In college, I felt nauseous by sororities and fraternities. It’s still not my thing, but who fucking cares? Plenty of normal, nice people join and it’s not my business what they do with their money and time. Just because I’m a lame ass who doesn’t party doesn’t mean everyone who does is a douche.

Entering the world with this very sharpened lens, assuming most people will disappoint me, waiting for them to just say the wrong words, created an outside experience that reflected my inner reality. People suck. People are stupid. People are assholes. Mediocrity thrives. The weak survive. Being alive is just meh. That was precisely my experience. It didn’t occur to me then to change my internal rhetoric, work on improving myself and then maybe give others that same permission. It took some amazing friends, close family members and my very open and loving man to show me the tiny flickering light I had inside me.

It is terrifying to be loving all the time, especially to a cynic. My ego does not want to be proven wrong. My ego doesn’t want to let go of my previously touted “strengths.” It doesn’t want to move on from those friendships and it certainly doesn’t feel comfortable unless I’m critiquing the world around me, especially judging myself. Nothing I did ever satisfied me. No accomplishments in school, no acquisitions that I earned, no opportunities I seized. I still carried myopic vision and until I saw the world with truly open eyes, the cycle would repeat and I’d stay forever the same.

The only thing constant is change. I finally recognized this, saw that the periphery of my life was in ceaseless, transient motion. Things, people, situations flew in and right back out. Something in me resisted this by staying rigidly the same within. I am cynical. I am sarcastic. I am left brained. Athletic. Organized. Timely. Efficient. Everything else is sub par, nothing to be learned from them. Except everything. I voluntarily imprisoned myself in my own labels! I did this to myself and it trickled out to others and then sprayed right back in my face. I’ve had great friends throughout my life, again, I wasn’t a total C, but just comparing how I feel inside now when engaging with the outside world, I can feel how foreign my old self used to be. Instead of feeling empathy, seeing how alike I was with my fellow man, I saw only differences. Forget learning from these unique characteristics, I had all the information safely stored in my head, recycling the same garbage opinions over and over, shackling myself tighter to my skeptical beast of an ego. I had to break free.

I’ve written about this subject before, but seeing myself with new, fresh eyes fills me with enthusiasm to share, to maybe connect with others on this issue. You do not have to be who you were forever. Changing for the better, meaning opening yourself to new people and experiences, and daring to love yourself can and will only affect you positively, regardless of any questions, confusion or even resistance you may feel from people in your past. This is who I am now. I love being alive. I am so grateful to breathe, walk, eat, laugh and love each day. I have met some amazingly fascinating people in the past few years, in particular since deciding to open my mind and heart and never close it again. People have burned me and bummed me out but those are just individual cases of assholes. Yes, negativity is everywhere, particularly if you look for it. If you choose to see the goodness in yourself and in those you hold dear, then that will give hope and space for more to enter your life. And more have.

I still find myself carrying strong convictions about certain things. Disingenuous people still irk me, but I seriously give very little energy toward it. I accept it now, just as I accept myself as flawed but doing my best. There’s already too much light in the world for darkness to survive. You have to work really hard to remain in the shadows. I feel life is so much easier now that I’ve dropped my bad attitude. The responsibilities of adulthood don’t elude me, I still feel challenged throughout my days. I merely extracted some good trust in myself. I can handle the good and bad, on my own, and I have a damn good group of people to carry me should I be too weak.

I am working to give time, energy and even money to people, situations, goods and services that sit right with me, that feel good to contribute, but fully accepting the rest that simply do not. Who cares? It feels shitty to allow negativity to fester within me, regardless if I’m making jokes about it or even if I’m right. It’s so repetitive, boring. Been there, done that. Yep, stupid people suck. What a wise, original thought. “Thanks for sharing, Danielle. We all needed to hear that little gem come out of your brilliant mind.” I am no longer defined or confined by who I was. That poor girl. I’m having much more fun now and I think those surrounded by me are as well. I have given myself space to be me and that has opened a portal for others to do the same. I certainly hope people feel encouraged by me now, rather than how I used to be.

My new friends wouldn’t recognize the old me. The competitive, sports loving, time obsessed, funny but sometimes at the detriment of others, loving but only specifically, accepting of very little, open to even less chick. I am certainly not perfect or 100% positive all the time. But I’m pretty damn happy. I know this because I can see the discomfort in others who haven’t felt their own light yet. My hope is they will but I’m alright either way. I’m stupefied to be alive!

I can’t express emphatically enough how much better your life will be and feel once you surrender the past to the past and give way for a new, smarter, healthier you to emerge from that rubble. The only person that can trap you is you. It is not the world that is fucked up. It is each of us. As we wait for the world to give us what our egos think we deserve, we’re stuck simmering in our own pessimism, our own fear, our own doubt, our own frustration. Unglue yourself, trust yourself and just say fuck it! Smile, feel the life that you are. You are breathing! You are perceiving, receiving, and conceiving at almost every moment. Get out of your head and enjoy it. YOU DESERVE IT. Stop waiting for the outside world to change so you can finally be happy. Change your internal compass, clock and mood, and let the world try to reject your contentment, your openness, your positivity. It won’t happen. It can’t. The laws of physics won’t allow it. Yes, this is scientific. Think, feel, speak, do good. It’ll reflect back accordingly. The world is a mirror, shine bright during the short time you can.

Related articles: Psychic Psychosis Are You A Stage-5 Clinger Or A Day-Dreamer? Who I Am Becoming...

Danielle Robinson Yoga teacher/ Writer You, Me and Yoga Makes 3 on Facebook Follow: @mastic8onthis on Twitter

Are You a Stage-5 Clinger or a Day Dreamer?

The past is valuable because you learn. The stove is hot. Next time, I will not touch it as I will burn myself, as I just did. See, what a beautiful lesson the past has now taught us, and guess what? I haven’t burnt myself on the stove for a while; so yeah, feeling good. Learning to surrender the emotional scars, learning from your own mistakes while not dwelling in guilt and self-punishment, now that’s another story. All I can say is when we are trapped in the past, we repeat the past, over and over again ad nauseam. It’s not cute. Nor is it helpful or enlightening. It’s repetitive and banal until it becomes predictable and damaging. I look back on the men I used to be drawn to, or the one I let myself fall effortlessly into the void too many times, and I smirk and roll my eyes. What a dumbass. But you see? It’s just that kind of internal rhetoric that does not serve me NOW, the only fucking reality there ever is. At one point, I became fed up with my own patterns and I (with the support and encouragement of my mom and friends of course, an important tool) yanked myself out of it and truly moved on. That was just men. One sliver of what’s turning out to be a delicious savory sweet pie. Now I struggle with self-doubt, less now that I’ve pursued teaching and writing truthfully with commitment, but I’ve been absorbing courage from some pretty incredible friends and colleagues, who live wildly open, naked, raw, and while I find it important to be that friend for others, who cheers them on, supports their expression and is proud of their ballsiness, I need to turn that good friend in me and direct it inward, because no one will get me to do anything but me, the good me that says I’m worthy just as others are, that just because there are streams of talent and beauty being showcased there is no necessity for comparison. Expression is expression and regardless if I blow people away, the release of letting something out nourishes me beyond what any purchase, drug or fear could placate. The bad me says it’s self-indulgent, attention seeking and nothing life-changing so why bother? Because I wouldn’t let some asshole tell me I’m worthless and shitty so why would I tell that to myself? It’s astonishing how much we can get in our own way, basically because we’re choosing fear over love. Think about the decisions you’ve made, big and small, day-to-day in how you engage with others to getting up on that dance floor or making that big speech, falling in love, reaching out when in need, whatever those triggers are for you. How often have you stopped yourself from speaking, acting, crying, believing, loving? We can change this. Patience, practice and presence.

So I’d say my fears and my sense of time, derived by my complex mind, have allowed me to slowly evolve and learn, but I’ve managed to keep some childhood patterns, the one where I won’t try something unless I know I’ll be good at it (WTF is that?! What arrogant asshole assumes they’ll be good at everything? Clearly everything worth doing is challenging. I’m learning.), meaning I must show potential in this or why am I here? The answer is growth. That’s why I’m here and while I feel it’s helpful and important to follow your strengths so you can give whatever gift is inside outwardly, we mustn't shy away from attempting things that scare us because of some hypothetical bullshit, scaredy cat attitude, where we project potential scenarios into the future, predicting embarrassment and ridicule, instead of reality where human beings are kind and supportive and appreciate vulnerability and someone’s willingness to fall down and get back up.

So the past is repeated and the future is rehearsed. Boy was I a dreamer as a child. I’m pretty sure I had insomnia. I was fine, healthy, functioned adequately, but I did spend many nights awake just pondering, wondering, dreaming, and while that’s fun and imagination should certainly be fostered, I fell into a pattern (conditioned by my past) to focus my attention and enthusiasm at achievements or events arriving at a later day. So, I predicated my happiness on something happening down the line. I’d make myself sick from excitement or stress (one might call this anxiety) and I look back at periods of my life as if they’re a blur, because I spent so much of that time trapped in my mind, reliving the past, anticipating the future. I’m starting to sound like a broken record to my yoga students because I mention this often, but everything I’ve learned and gathered in my life thus far, has led me to this truth. This may be the only thing I know for sure. Happiness exists, joy animates, enthusiasm projects, and acceptance takes residence in this very moment, this fraction of a second, Now, and nowhere else. It’s not over there, it’s not marked on your calendar, it’s not within another human being or animal, not at your apartment, or your workspace, not when you can practice your hobby, or have that drink or puff. It’s not when you graduate, when you get the promotion or raise, that new car, new bag, new stuff, new look, new friend, new romance, or the next new magical gift that will then turn the light inside you ON. It’s right fucking here, right fucking now. Surrender to that, and your outward expression and experience in this measly little lifetime we’re given will become so vast and spacious, you’ll be overwhelmed. You may enjoy the aforementioned things, derive pleasure, but these are merely bonuses, facets to a rich existence, but not the path to long-term contentment or internal success.

I still find myself questioning decisions I’ve made or will make. I find myself disheartened and perplexed by human beings constantly, those I have to deal with on a consistent basis, and while I have days where I just feel like shit, I feel low, I feel like no one gives a fuck, I’m able to pull myself out of that mind-induced slump quicker, knowing that I give a fuck and there is a short list of quality human beings and a few animals who care too. This world is consuming, moving rapidly but progressing slowly, and it’s imperative that your personal sense of time and your stage in this evolutionary process is completely removed from the world’s time, clock time, psychological time. Use the past as a tool to remind yourself you’ve repeated a pattern, get to know your inner monologue and adjust it to uplift yourself. Use the future as fuel to fire up the present, because the better you are in THIS moment, imagine the result in the next. Use time as a tool, not a crutch. Surrender the unknown, what you cannot control and what you cannot change and bring more vibrancy to learning, using what you do know, regulate what you can from within and let it bleed out.

Surrendering attachment, truly letting go is a gradual, inside out process. Giving up caffeine or cigarettes will only eliminate a fraction of the problem, until our lingering resentment and soured expectations conjure up a new vice to diminish the negative web our minds are spinning. Sure we need to let go of the past, forgive ourselves and others, recognize what’s done is done, the bell can never be un-rung, but the real strength is in surrendering each moment, accepting yourself and your extenuating circumstances AS THEY ARE, not as they could have been or how they should be or how you hope they’ll be, but accepting responsibility to control your reactions, your perceptions and ultimately your attachment to whatever IS. Eckhart Tolle, Joseph Campbell and many brilliant Yogis and philosophers explain and personify this beautifully. It’s beyond even the most beautifully written words. It is a truth you must infuse into your way of living and being. It’s not to be labeled. It’s not a noun, verb or adverb. It just Is. You just Are.

Can you continue to blossom as the external dares you to shrink? Can you give yourself warmth and light from the very essence you are when the thunderous darkness of your ego and it’s stubborn attachment to the unimportant aim to envelop you, leaving you cold and confused, even more steeped in fear, feeling even more alone. You can start very easily by accepting your mind and body as it is right now, there’s nothing you can do in this moment to change it or manipulate it so you somehow perceive it positively. Let go of comparison, of judgment, of expectation and just embrace yourself and the Now. Notice even within a challenging task how surrender feels. The more you fidget, grimace, or clench (physically and mentally), the more difficult and frustrating it will be. What you resist persists. It is difficult because our minds are cunning, clever little bastards and they seek to retell the same boring sob story over and over again. Just begin by bringing awareness to whatever your patterns are, wherever your tendency toward control manifests and through that awareness, a space will open up for wisdom, kindness, acceptance and release. Let go.

You deserve the most vibrant life a human can live. Believe it and Be it. Turn ON the light the only way possible, yourself, without worry for other’s brightness, your genuine example of acceptance and enthusiasm for this moment is bound to rub off positively on someone. And if not, you’ve got You and that’s one hell of an accomplishment. Those of us working to find more presence and light within can serve others by bouncing off ideas, giving support, and when in doubt, thinking and acting out of compassion. I am merely a work in progress, but I’m sincerely jazzed and buzzing from the challenge that is living a remarkable life, aiming to brighten my and someone else’s day and find that more darkness has faded away.

No matter the weather, no matter your upbringing, your socio-economic status, your religious or political affiliations, your sexual preferences, your grade point average, your color, your size, your current job or your dream job, your perceived status or reputation, the details of your past or projections for the future, You can choose to turn on that light, operate from your best essence and surrender to what is, to embrace here and now, proactively choose Love instead of reactively choosing fear. Surrender is under-valued and connotes images of a white flag and of loss. Bullshit. It takes strength to let go. You're a bright shiny winner.

You ARE Life. Stop wasting your energy and Live.