I have so much to learn.
A woman I admire sends an email via her Patreon which I have recently joined describing what strikes me as an ecstatic art experience — someone else has stumbled upon her work, fallen in love with her voice, and become inspired to create something new from what she made. As I read her words, I am awed and envious.
I have so much to learn. I say this constantly lately. If not out loud, then at least to myself. I try to repeat helpful things to myself in times of stress. At my desk at the office, I have several post-it notes on my monitor. One is a cheat sheet of important numbers I need to remember for calculations. The others are reminders:
“Single tasking is hot.”
“Crazy is just shorthand for a long list of very reasonable problems.”
“Problems are inevitable. Problems are soluble. What can I learn here?” This one is a paraphrasing of David Deutsch’s The Beginning of Infinity.
These reminders get me through the rollercoaster of life as a small business owner. It’s a little different now that I’m at home all the time, but I still need reminders. This is what I sing as I do my chores, in rhythm with “Funk You Up”:
One. Thing. At a time. One thing at a time.
Unless those things are singing and dancing
Then two things at a time.
I seem unable to do one thing at a time, even when I sit for meditation. I am planning blog posts I won’t write, mediations I won’t record, songs I won’t sing, classes I won’t teach, practices I won’t lead. All of it is happening under the surface all the time as though my body is a well of creativity where something is always being born but nothing rises to the top. I am trying to trust the process and stay in the moment. I find it helpful to engage in a learning process, and I really love to learn.
Right now, what I am trying to learn is how to grow my own food. I didn’t mean to be a pandemic homesteader aspiring to off-the-grid living, but I won’t lie: I have been fantasizing about a future that involves wearing a lot of overalls. House plants only became a thing I enjoyed earlier this year when a friend moved and left me one prolific spider plant. My desire to keep this one plant alive has led to the proliferation of houseplants around here, and as soon as the stay-at-home order started, I started thinking about gardening. Today I learned my first disappointing lesson about gardening: If you forget to thin your seedlings you will regret it. Or at least this is the case with radishes. I failed to note the thinning instructions on the seed packet, and now, a few days past the expected harvest date, the plants have only tangled skinny roots, and not a radish among them.
I have so much to learn. First, I will learn to thin my seedlings. Then I will learn whether it’s too late for these radishes to produce. Then I’ll learn the whole thing again when I plant the next round of seeds. I’ll start them this week.
I am eager to get back to creating. I want to pull out my phone and video my yoga practice. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. I immediately think of all the poses I can’t do. And I think of all the Instagram accounts of my yoga friends who are strong and dedicated students of asana. I am not that dedicated, frankly. I have never been that dedicated to asana practice. Certainly not enough to be driven with a passion to teach it — another item in a long list of failures that I pull out and sulk over from time to time. I have so much to learn. I’m trying to learn not to torture myself with my shortcomings while still holding myself accountable for maturing as a person, and it’s legitimately hard to do both at once.
I could give you example after example of the things I don’t know, or better yet, the things I know but ignore. Like how I know I need to put lotion on my hands but don’t want to get up from my desk. I know biting my lips when they’re chapped only makes them bleed, but I’m compelled to do it anyway because the little rough spot is a constant temptation to my wandering tongue. I know social media only makes me sick but I compulsively open and close the windows anyway. I know collecting “likes” will never make me happy, but it’s the main connection I have to my community right now, and also who doesn’t want to be liked?
I am trying to have compassion for myself and others. I keep telling my friends wise shit like, “No one is at their best right now, so be patient,” but I am really upset with myself for not being able to keep a coherent line of thought for more than a few minutes at a time. The Universe seems to have opened her vast pit of grief and heartache for us all to see the depths, and it’s just too much some days. Sometimes when I’m feeling all of the pain, when I’m sad because people I love are hurting, when I’m heartbroken because the world is not what I hoped it would be, a mean narrator takes over in my head and berates me for feeling sorry for myself.
Compassion, dude. Compassion. It is a practice for a reason.
I have so much to learn.
I decided to start a Patreon. If you’re into this writing and you’re interested in getting a lot more of whatever creative shit I’m up to from day to day, go there! Thanks. <3