Remembering our True Essence
So, I realize it has been a very long time since I’ve posted a blog. Too long! I’ve discovered that the more time goes by, the harder it is for me to sit down and write. We are all creatures of habit, and if I get in a habit of not writing, then I find that it’s hard to break, like all habits. Then, when I do finally sit down and write, my heart and soul explode on paper. I start with the intention of writing a short blog, but end up with something that turns extremely personal and deep and seems more fitting for a book (which I finally am starting to work on, because yes, I am just that interesting;) ).
I love to write, inhibitions to the wind. When I’m writing something that is pouringfrom the depths of my soul, straight out of my heart and through my fingertips, I get butterflies in my stomach, my body tingles, and I feel alive. Depriving myself of this feels like a crime to my inner child.
I tend to filter a lot of what I put out for the “world” to see, picking out my words the way I pick out a pair of clothes to wear- trying them on, putting them back, trying them on, putting them back, hesitating, and then eventually settling, often with a slight worry I still may have missed the mark I have set for myself. We all filter ourselves in one way or another, partially to keep the social peace, but partially because we are afraid of what others will think of us. We are terrified of being judged and labeled in ways that don’t match what we desire to portray. We don’t only filter ourselves through our words, but through our actions, our clothes, our Facebook posts, our tattoos, and anything else that helps construct our self-image that we so fiercely guard. But I think the most important thing, and the most widely neglected thing that we should be using our filtering skills on, is our thoughts. Everything stems from our thoughts. Through our thoughts, we create our entire universe.
And this is something I’ve been paying extra attention to lately through my various forms of meditation practice. Rather than obsessively focusing on the content of the movie, I am focusing on the projector.
This morning I woke up and couldn’t speak. This happened exactly a year ago, when I first started teaching here in Taipei. I’ve just started my second year teaching, which is going wonderfully, but I’ve been overextending myself, talking too much and resting too little. I decided this was a sign that I’ve been pushing myself too hard, and an opportunity to shut the hell up and practice being present- being right where I am without filling the space with words. To be fair, I didn’t exactly have a choice in the matter; sometimes a message from the universe is written in stone.
Luckily it was a gorgeous clear day, sunny blue skies and a cool breeze which has been a rarity in Taipei lately, so I took the dog for a walk to the park. Since I had time on my hands, having to take the day off work, I took her to a special park, one that is farther away and much, much bigger. The closer we got to the park, the more excited she became, and as soon as she saw the grass she could barely contain herself. When I set her free on the expansive patch of grass, she went crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her run so fast! She was rolling around like a crack addict, running in circles, and challenging me to play chase with her. I admired how free she felt, how totally absorbed in the present moment she was, soaking up this sunny Wednesday afternoon in all its delicious glory.
I glanced up from the patch of grass I was squatting on (in Asia we don’t sit, we squat) and noticed several businessmen walking by, completely absorbed in their smart phones, unaware or uninterested in what a lovely day it was. As I turned back to Butch and watched her unfiltered energy bursting at the seams, it dawned on me that this dog was reminding me about something that I’ve been forgetting lately as I’ve been so wrapped up in my busy schedule and busy thoughts. If a dog can be so free and wild, so uninhibited, where did we humans go wrong? When did immediately replying to the next email become more important than basking in the sun and feeling the flow of our breath? Why do we allow ourselves to get so busy that we completely miss the moment? When did it all stop feeling so precious?
Do we need to wait for a crisis to strike before we start being gratefuland present in this very moment?
I have these same thoughts when I watch the four and five year olds I teach. Having these children in my life has been an absolute blessing. They haven’t reached the age where they are concerned about other peoples’ opinions of them. They unapologetically say how they feel. They cry when they are sad, they huff and puff when they are angry, and they laugh and play at every opportunity they get. And then they get over it! All of it. They get over everything so fast, never holding grudges, never having to teach themselves how to “let go” or “move on”. If you go to any major book store around the world, there is an entire section dedicated to self-help: how to let go, how to move on, how to be happy, etc. The obvious truth is that at some point, due to our thoughts surrounding our emotional cuts, scars, and the weight of the world we bear, we simply forget. These books are written to shed light on what was lost.
Or, you can observe dogs and children. Children are born with that wisdom built in. We are all born with that wisdom built in, but over time, we forget. We forget that the answer to happiness and fulfillment comes in being at peace with the moment, every moment as it arrives, never obsessing over the past and never worrying about the future. The past and the future are both constructs in our mind, collections of thoughts that we have chosen to carry. We have CHOSEN to carry these thoughts, rather than letting them flutter by naturally. What is real is the Present. And the art of the dance lies in embracing each fluid, passing moment for every sliver of beauty it contains, and then releasing it back into the wild.
The children have taught me a lot this past year, but more than actually teaching me, they’ve helped me remember my true essence. They’ve helped me remember that all of us, at our very core, are bursting with pure love and happiness. I believe it’s our duty in life to recapture this, to reconnect with our true nature in order to let our very best energy flow out to the universe. Through my meditation practice, through being with my children, and through every situation life brings my way, I am practicing and I am remembering.
And this is my commitment going forward, to continue remembering from the dogs and children: being true to my authentic self, speaking from my heart, being present with the moment, and reconnecting with my inner child- the boundless, bottomless pit of pure love that is my true nature. And to spread that shit everywhere!
And to write more. 😉
Just finished your latest blog. As good as ever. Insightful. Anyone who reads it will come away (hopefully) with a new and better perspective on “living” life. Rare is the person who writes at your level. Not that it’s a competition. But, some people can, some can’t. It’s a gift indeed.
Thanks, Dad. Love you!
As always very well said old friend. I realized the same as I had my to nephews on a lake in the middle of nowhere Maine and all they cared about was being in the water with their best friend Herschel (A chocolate lab). It all just motivates me for my upcoming adventure in 6 months. Look forward to the next blog.
Thanks for the comment, Landon! I always love your replies. 🙂 And I can’t wait to hear about this adventure of yours, do fill me in when you get a chance. Xo
Such a good post Emily. I feel the need to say something rather than just hit the like button. Dogs are great teachers, yes! Mine is curled up beside me at the moment but just knowing how happy he will be if I take him out and throw a ball gets me to do at least some exercise most days. Then there is music. I’ve been practising playing sax in a brass band for 18 months now and finally decided I could join them in a performance. 40 minutes passed like 5 minutes. Time doesn’t exist when you are in the moment. As you say everyone should be “remembering” how to have fun. Hope you get your voice back soon. Enjoy your second year of teaching. All my love, Ines
Awesome! Would love to hear you play the sax, Congrats on the performance. And Thanks heaps for the comment, Lots of love xxx
Always enjoy reading your writing!