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On right livelihood or 'get your dreams done!'


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Thank you for sharing a very timely conversation, Florian.

While your prior experiences, current reality, and likely path forward all differ from mine; we are similarly at one of life's many crossroads.  I am, in fact, faced with more of a multi-faceted lattice right now.

I've had "start a regular meditation practise" on the TODO list for WAY too long now.  Time to bump it up the priority list.

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Thank you for this.

“What do I want?” is a really important question and many people (myself included) don't have an answer. The thing I'm noticing, though, is that as time passes it becomes more clear what I do not want; I think it might be a useful starting point.

I agree with Kit on the importance of meditation (and relaxation), but it must become a lifetime habit: the clarity gained can be easily lost. Unfortunately I'm still struggling with some sort of "block" on my path, so I'm probably not the most qualified person to give advice, at the moment.

There's a lot to say on the topic, so I'll come back later. I really hope this thread will take off.

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3 hours ago, jaja said:

The thing I'm noticing, though, is that as time passes it becomes more clear what I do not want; I think it might be a useful starting point.

Definitely. Knowing what you don't want is clarity.

Related: Florian will be starting a "Starting meditation" thread; I think this will be useful to many people.

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7 hours ago, jaja said:

Thank you for this.

“What do I want?” is a really important question and many people (myself included) don't have an answer. The thing I'm noticing, though, is that as time passes it becomes more clear what I do not want; I think it might be a useful starting point.

I second this. It is probably the most important and often the most difficult thing to figure out. Also, once this question is clear it does not have to be forever. The answer can change or become less clear and then the whole process starts again. What must be understood is that not everybody only wants a single thing in life:

9 hours ago, Florian said:

Florian: "Most of all, I don't like the thought to become an employee... If i could freely choose, what i want to do, my vision would be a mixture of pedagogics, theatre, poetry, circus, therapy, movement, acrobatics. [...] But i have no idea how to start it, especially alone."

Society often gives us the impression that one can only choose one single career at a time (or lifetime) and not a combination of many. This is not true. Being an expert in a single activity is one persons dream and another persons prison. Just my own humble opinion. If this corresponds with your view Florian there is a nice book from Margaret Lobenstine (The Renaissance Soul).

Looking forward to more discussion in this thread.

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Good posts here.

On 17.1.2017 at 0:42 AM, jaja said:

Thank you for this.

“What do I want?” is a really important question and many people (myself included) don't have an answer. The thing I'm noticing, though, is that as time passes it becomes more clear what I do not want; I think it might be a useful starting point.

I agree with Kit on the importance of meditation (and relaxation), but it must become a lifetime habit: the clarity gained can be easily lost. Unfortunately I'm still struggling with some sort of "block" on my path, so I'm probably not the most qualified person to give advice, at the moment.

There's a lot to say on the topic, so I'll come back later. I really hope this thread will take off.

In my experience, there was a phase, in which i knoweth very clearly what i do not want. Kit says: "Knowing what you don't want is clarity", but these days it was more like madness for me. Because, when you know, that you don't want almost every perspective you see so far, and you don't know at all what you want instead, that is true forlornness, to be without any perspective. If you understand me right. This was a time with many fears and conflict with the world and the expectations of society.

I'll be honest. I had the hope, that victories on the "inner" realm would be not so easily lost as muscles or range of motion by not-using them.. 

On 17.1.2017 at 8:43 AM, MarkusO said:

I second this. It is probably the most important and often the most difficult thing to figure out. Also, once this question is clear it does not have to be forever. The answer can change or become less clear and then the whole process starts again. What must be understood is that not everybody only wants a single thing in life:

Society often gives us the impression that one can only choose one single career at a time (or lifetime) and not a combination of many. This is not true. Being an expert in a single activity is one persons dream and another persons prison. Just my own humble opinion. If this corresponds with your view Florian there is a nice book from Margaret Lobenstine (The Renaissance Soul).

Looking forward to more discussion in this thread.

Thank you. I will look at this book.

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 If i could freely choose, what i want to do, my vision would be a mixture of pedagogics, theatre, poetry, circus, therapy, movement, acrobatics. [...] But i have no idea how to start it, especially alone.

Start. Do it. Find the people, do the classes/workshops. Then keep going! You're already doing the pedagogics, therapy, movement etc by the sounds of it. Dive deep and then deeper and deeper. Keep smiling! You can do it, you're on the path. Build the skills/knowledge/practice practice practice.

[Really good teaching of kids is exactly theatre/poetry/circus/movement/acrobatics so sounds to me like you on a pretty 'perfect' way of thinking???] 

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I want to bring on an important variable (possibly the most important): time.

I'm slowly starting to realize I need a set of practices in my life to keep me healthy, both mentally and physically. The problem is they require a time investment hardly compatible with modern schedules. Maybe I'm talkng to the “wrong” people, maybe you're all gymnasts, alchemists and daoist wizards, but I'm gonna ask anyway: how could one manage to fit those practices during a working week while still having a decent social life (also essential for health reasons)?

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On 26.1.2017 at 1:16 PM, AndeL said:

Start. Do it. Find the people, do the classes/workshops. Then keep going! You're already doing the pedagogics, therapy, movement etc by the sounds of it. Dive deep and then deeper and deeper. Keep smiling! You can do it, you're on the path. Build the skills/knowledge/practice practice practice.

[Really good teaching of kids is exactly theatre/poetry/circus/movement/acrobatics so sounds to me like you on a pretty 'perfect' way of thinking???] 

You're right. I thank you very much for pushing me in the right direction. Isn't it very often this way? Deep in our hearts, we know what we desire and the fulfilment of ourselves would serve the others too, in the best possible way we can. But we haven't the courage to put it into fucking practice. Our lifes shouldn't end with regret.

 

46 minutes ago, jaja said:

I want to bring on an important variable (possibly the most important): time.

I'm slowly starting to realize I need a set of practices in my life to keep me healthy, both mentally and physically. The problem is they require a time investment hardly compatible with modern schedules. Maybe I'm talkng to the “wrong” people, maybe you're all gymnasts, alchemists and daoist wizards, but I'm gonna ask anyway: how could one manage to fit those practices during a working week while still having a decent social life (also essential for health reasons)?

I can only speak for myself. I think, in some way, its a question of priority. Even if we "haven't" much time, we do not tend to skip eating for a day. Maybe we take no time to eat sensible, but we eat something, because there is such an urge to eat. But meditation we skip very easily, if we have not the deep desire to meditate. Such an desire needs to be planted with habituation and a process of finding fun in it.

I can say, i would never miss an acrobatic training session, because it has such an high priority to me. Its my primary source of fun. [There are other things of course, i want to do, but do not do them regularly as i want.] But i cannot even imagine how my situation would be, e.g., if i would have children. Because of the high priority of acrobatics (and the amount of time i spend with it), it's my social life too. Other acrobats, my top etc., are my friends. Acrobatics has the highest priority in their life too. Even if it isn't our "business", its our fun, our dream. And so our friendship circles around training, progress, overuse, supporting, helping and pushing each other. Thats the movement side.  But only some of us manage to care for healthy nutrition too, or even meditation. And our school or jobs? If i would have an eight hour job, five days a week, it would not be possible for me still to train 5 times a week. So i've decided, because money isn't important for me anyway, to work only as much for livelihood as i need to cover my needs. Thats the only way to have the time i want to have, to do the things i want, to train a lot, to care for good nutrition etc. But again: Maybe this works for me. But how could someone do that with a family? I have great respect for those people, who are parents and partners and still manage to do all those things they love and take care for "themselves".

To be self-employed, as i wish, would give also the possibility of a more individual time management. So i could plan my "work" in accordance with my training etc. The ideal for me, would be, that the borders between "work" and "free time" aren't existent anymore. Our life shouldn't be splitted in two parts. Its one.

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1 hour ago, jaja said:

I'm slowly starting to realize I need a set of practices in my life to keep me healthy, both mentally and physically. The problem is they require a time investment hardly compatible with modern schedules.

The modern schedule is why you need such an investment... Instead of discussing generalities, please mention how many hours a day you work, and travel. Do you have a lunch break? How many times a week do you need to go out at night (assuming this is part of the necessary social life you mentioned)? 

All my life I have maintained myself in excellent condition by stretching whenever I feel like (I was doing Cossacks and Skandasanas in the car park the other day, waiting for Liv; and chin-ups in another car park another day). I do not have a schedule for the strength training or the balance play: I just do it as the situation to play arises.

Unless you are following a men's gymnastic strength training protocol, no one needs to do any more than two (or three) hours of resistance-type exercise a week, and this can be broken down any way you like: ten minutes here and 1.5 hours there. Stretching can be done anywhere, and in any duration blocks you can manage. This is why I asked if you had a lunch break. When I was an athlete, working 65 hours a week on film sets, I ran in the morning, and a short session at lunch time, and long runs on the weekend. In winter, I was running 100 miles a week, while working more hours than most people do. Florian nailed it when he said "I can only speak for myself. I think, in some way, its a question of priority". I would delete the "in some way".

What do you want?

 

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Florian, I have kids and the motivation to improve becomes, to role-model and BE: change, persistence, resilience, rest, recovery, fun, play, calm, awesome etc etc. Very few parents are doing this, they try of course & actually a lot do it well, so I am not criticising really - as the world is genuinely perfect the way it is. It is what it is. My perspective on children is that everyone is ultimately still a 'child', so with or without biological children - you can't help but be surrounded by them whether they are young or old. Hence we love. They need to see quality and people who are not stuck. That's inspiration, teaching... whatever you want to call it. You need to take care of yourself, this then allows you to take much higher levels care of others: this is not an either or situation. Quality care for self = others. So priorities/values may change when you have kids, however you can't get too attached to, for instance 'acrobatics', what happens if you break both arms? We are young, we invest/obsess/master/regress in the actiivities of awesomeness, we also develop the ability to move on. Train something well and then un-train it calmly & happily is a pretty good exercise.

Re work covering your needs, ok. However, I think your money ideas are not useful in a lot of respects (well a few posts ago, but all is changing it seems). Money is just another idea, it can be a better idea to just throw out the non-useful ideas that are swarming around "money". Your work is worth rewarding, I am sure of it. When you do it well as a teacher and/or aiming for mastery as per your choices.

To practice now, I have my work to do as a student first and foremost.

I was thinking also about the birds flying about... collecting their seeds, tending the nests & calling out. Yet, the world has a lot of money problems that we don't like? Often there there are other things to think about and do.

I like Kit mentioning Investment. A solid idea.

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On 1/30/2017 at 2:31 PM, jaja said:

I want to bring on an important variable (possibly the most important): time.

I'm slowly starting to realize I need a set of practices in my life to keep me healthy, both mentally and physically. The problem is they require a time investment hardly compatible with modern schedules. Maybe I'm talkng to the “wrong” people, maybe you're all gymnasts, alchemists and daoist wizards, but I'm gonna ask anyway: how could one manage to fit those practices during a working week while still having a decent social life (also essential for health reasons)?

jaja, you just have to make time!  some mornings i have woken up at 3:30 to fit my daily practice in, because I know that after 9 hours of class and clinic I will not have the energy to want to do it when I get home.  some weeks I average 4 hours of sleep, and although that might not be the healthiest in the long term, my practice is important enough (like you, i have found they keep me healthy and on track) that i do it.  the main thing is just Doing It, the habit will come later on.  

 

the balance will sort itself out too.  i am in a fulltime medical program, practice 3 hours a day, work 15 hours a week, walk everywhere because i don't  have the money for transit, and still go out with friends, have a lady friend, etc.

 

@Craig's post in your other topic about finding a practice was really inspiring to me and made me decide what exactly I wanted to pursue and commit fully to it, and I have experienced 10x more benefits in a few weeks than years of half-involving myself in various things.

 

"there is time, you are just not using it."

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On 30/1/2017 at 10:26 PM, Kit_L said:

The modern schedule is why you need such an investment... Instead of discussing generalities, please mention how many hours a day you work, and travel. Do you have a lunch break? How many times a week do you need to go out at night (assuming this is part of the necessary social life you mentioned)? 

In a couple of months I'll get my university degree and I'm clueless about what to do next, hence my question. Sadly my freedom of choice is limited by a major life event happened in last june: my father died after a two years battle against cancer. Beside the emotional turmoil I'm still in, on the practical level I have to stay close to my mother and my grandmother (father-side) because I'm the only relative they have; the old case about flying out of the nest doesn't really apply to me, at the moment. I'm lucky to be in a good financial condition, so that I don't have to provide, but I still I have to use a lot of my free time to learn and do things my father used to do; throw a job in the mix and I barely have time for meditation and yoga nidra.

Ok, enough with self-absorbtion. It's been two-three weeks since the last time I did a good stretching session and a guided relaxation, but this doesn't mean I cannot find time for those things, even in the "worst" case scenario; what I'm concerned about, though, is about maintaining enough dedication to actually grasp some fruits from my practice. Example: I got some cool concepts from @Craig's workshop in Köln and during this week I managed to put aside some time to practice few things, but yesterday could barely take 5 minutes to practice a basic horse stance.

@jordan: I don't know why, but sleep is damn important for me! I don't want to discard yours suggestion, though: what's your practice?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/2/2017 at 11:24 PM, Kit_L said:

Both questions, in my view, turn on the answer to the biggest question, namely, "what do I want?". And you do not have an answer for this.

You're absolutely right and it hurts.

On 11/2/2017 at 11:24 PM, Kit_L said:

So, if you have no clear desire for any particular state or capacity/skill, start be actually making a list, hopefully a long list, of what you are sure you don't want.

I'm not comfortable in exposing too much of myself on a public platform, so I'm not going to talk about it in length. I don't know what I want from my life (the list is a good idea), but as far as physical&psychological states go I know for sure I want to relax and get rid of my “armor”, I wanna learn to be vulnerable, especially when it comes to social settings. I know it's possible because I did it in the past and I know yoga nidra and meditation are what I should focus the most on; any other suggestion is welcome.

On 11/2/2017 at 11:24 PM, Kit_L said:

So, in the same spirit, let me attempt to reflect the structure of your mind back to you, for consideration. Your starting cast of mind (that is, when you decide to think about something, the state of mind you bring to the task) is confusion and the result is inaction. This is because there is no clarity about what you want, and your mind throws up to you all the reasons (lack of time, emotional turmoil, degree ending soon, etc.) why you can't do what (momentarily) you do want. Because you do not want anything strongly enough, your mind is disabling you. So, don't listen to it—instead do nothing at all, and try to feel what you want. This is one of the deep reasons for recommending meditation and yoga nidra: it is only in periods of real stillness that clarity can emerge, and there's no guarantee of the timing of it!

The alternative is to go through a 'dark night of the soul' kind of experience (many have written about this; Eckhart Tolle is particularly eloquent in his original "The Power of Now"); some people simply have to experience deep despair before clarity can emerge. And, honestly, in your situation because you do have some money, don't go on to full time employment—instead, you could devote time and energy to your mother and grandmother—but both of them will understand that you need an hour or two of time each day for yourself. Set a specific goal for your practise, and steadfastly head towards it. Only you can do this. One of my teachers said, "Don't futz the practise"; by this he meant do the practise as it was taught, and do not chop and change: head towards a goal, and do not deviate. Practise stillness until a goal becomes clear.

Interesting, thank you.

Is it possible for the dark night to come in waves? Because I've had few of those moments and right now I think I'm going through another one! Ahahaha.

I'm resuming my yoga nidra practice, alongside my regular meditation practice. Aside from the practice of stillness, is it a good idea for someone who has a mind prone to stiffness and wants to “open up” to pursue randomness (cfr. Antifragile)? I'm serious about improvements in this area, so I'll experiment a little bit.

Thank you, Kit. And please: reflect the structure of my mind every time you feel like.

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jaja wrote:

Quote

You're absolutely right and it hurts.

This is gold, jaja. I know this is counter-intuitive, but this experience ("it hurts") is a Very Good Thing.

One of my teachers likened this to a chicken about to hatch: at this point, they are grown large enough to break out of the shell; they are covered in their own excrement, and the inside of that shell is all they know. Then the big moment: in the midst of that intense discomfort, something impels them to peck at the shell, and when they peck hard enough, it breaks open, and the world is seen for the first time. This is what your pain is, right now.

And a little later you asked if 'dark nights' come in waves; they can. 

Re. your last point about 'a mind prone to stiffness': the mind usually cannot change itself (by working on itself, with deliberate randomness, your example). Better to check in to the body regularly (both the stillness practises will help get you there, providing you don't use that time daydreaming/thinking). I take a breath; drop my awareness to my abdomen (middle or thereabouts) and then become aware of what I am feeling. This can become a habit, in time. The mind will lie to you; the body cannot. Even your perception about your mind being stiff is likely inaccurate; in the past, if you recall it, significant experiences have shifted your mind's position, I am sure. But note that it was the experiences that did that work, not the mind thinking about its problems.

Last point: the suggestion to make a list was intended to be private. Keep going: you are in the midst of change.

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12 hours ago, Kit_L said:

I take a breath; drop my awareness to my abdomen (middle or thereabouts) and then become aware of what I am feeling.

I have to ask: are you talking about emotions or physical sensations in general? Regardless, in my case I'm realizing I have large “blind spots” in my body and the abdomen (from the diaphragm to the pelvis) is one of them.

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The act of inquiring is the key action that will dissolve blind spots. There are an almost infinite number of reasons why we might have such spots; in my experience it is a waste of time trying to find out the why of it (not that you suggested this; I am simply dotting the 'i's and crossing the 't's).

And what I am talking about is really knowing, rather than feeling an emotion or becoming aware of a thought or perspective, although it can be either of these 'things'. And sometimes when I do drop my awareness as I outline above, I only experience the state that I am presently in, and no emotion or insight presents itself. But in the act of feeling what is happening in my abdomen, I am present—and this is the habit this practise is designed to foster: to be present more often.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There's a theme I came across more than once while browsing this forum: fear; there's also a thread titled “I'm not afraid”, if I recall correctly.

What's the most skillful approach to fear when it comes to “getting dreams done” or personal development in general? Should fear be investigated/faced with the goal of getting rid of it, if it is of no use? Some time ago, talking about the Wim Hof method, @Craig commented positively on “conquering the fear of cold”; in that context exposure is likely the only way one could achieve that result, but @Kit_L in a couple of occasions also talked about how relaxation is important to neutralize anger (which I believe is closely related to fear).

I'd love to hear some perspectives on this topic, I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

@jaja:

Olga wrote:

Quote

 

Everyone who is doing their first steps into Dangerous and Uknown experiences fear, but some people stop there, and some do it anyway, and go beyond fear.

A shortcut that does not require analysing, finding methods, consultations and so on. Works for me. Just do it.

 

Please print this out, and stick it to your bathroom mirror. I mean this: do that. No amount of thinking or analysing will evert move you beyond this stopping point (unless you simply get so frustrated at what your mind produces and you stop thinking and act).

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2 hours ago, Olga said:

If you want to be good enough in something to make a living out of it, you must focus on it as if your life depends on it; you must burn the bridges

This is precisely what I did, too. But I said to myself, "I will focus on this because my life depends on it" (no analogy, "as if"); a small step closer to the reality of it. One's self talk is  the most powerful medicine (or poison) one takes, every day. Clarity in language is not just important: it is your life.

@jaja: One more note: "fear" is a physical sensation. Once, it had evolutionary importance; these days, except in rare moments where you are personally threatened (in which case a whole suite of hard-wired reactions will take over in a heartbeat) it is not real and is not useful. Actually, genuine fear is experienced by the body, and the body acts; the fear you have spoken about is anxiety and worry, and all a product of the mind, not the body, if you reflect on it. It is not real.

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