Have you ever felt a fear of being ordinary?
What does it mean to be extraordinary? To leave a legacy? To be to prettiest, smartest or richest person in the room? Does this narcissism make us better people, or like Mena Suvari in American Beauty, does it make us more pathetic?
We all have a fear of death without legacy. This fear is lessened when we have children, mature and grow our roots. However, long before families, grocery bills and routines, the fear of being ordinary thrives in the heart of anyone old enough to have braces.
I just got my first full-time 1-year contract at the Discovery Channel. This is a huge deal for me: a really cool gig, with great people and I learn new things everyday! But for the first time in my freelancing career my contract spans beyond “months” into the “year” measurement – gulp. How will I sustain my serendipitous travels and poetic lifestyle? How can I work for a huge corporation and still pride myself on bohemia (the fantasy in my head)?
The fear of being ordinary is tied to our internal storytelling tendencies (the fantasy in my head). We are constantly telling stories of who we should be, the life we should lead, the grand parties, travels, friends or fluffy pets with stupid pet accessories (not cool!). Always looking to fulfill these grand roles of living “happily ever after” or “to the max” or “with no regrets” may sound like awesome fairytale endings, but can be so contrived.
What role should you play?
Ram Das said: Be a soul, not a role.
In Sanskrit the terms chitta (mind-field/psyche) and vritti (waves) are used to describe the fluctuations of our mind. These thought patterns divide perceived subject from perceived objects – they create our ego, and fragment us into stories. We place ourselves in/around stories by judging where we (subject) stand among outside objects – are we losing, are we winning, are we too late? This self-judgment is called vikalpa. The Sanskrit term vikalpa can help explain the unenlightened mind: the struggle of self (ego/story) and reality (or perceived reality) leads to attachment of desires that mess up True perspective. That is, THINGS AS THEY ARE (simply as they are = nothing really, just things made of stuff given meanings projected by us).
I could go on about things made of stuff given meanings projected by us… but I won’t.
This year I will give myself time to take time. I will awake myself from romantic tales of myself. I will practice living in the moment, seeing things as they are (as they are, nothing really). I will embrace my passion, but not get lost in my ego and tales of my growth or self-worth. I will let my mind wave and fluctuate without judgment! I will tell stories for entertainment, but laugh with reality.
Sunday is the start of the Jewish New Year. So, how appropriate for me to accept my
1-year of stable work (both professionally and personally acceptance takes practice). So here I drink in a breath to 1-year of finding magnificent in the mundane. 1-year without running away to chase a good story (unless the job calls for it).
A great yoga teacher of mine sent me an email this week. It was signed, “there is no finish line. Enjoy the journey.”
Bless You all as Summer Turns to Fall. Dance with the science of contraction and expansion. That universal dance will always be extraordinary!
Love in the Flow,
Lauryn Elan Z : )