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"Self Mastery before Craft Mastery"

I was listening to another Rich Roll podcast today and came across the above line from his guest Michael Gervais. He is a psychologist who has worked with top performance athletes and business persons on getting peak performance in the high-stress arenas (figuratively and literally).

I guess I talk about this subject a lot because it is what I'm grappling with right now. I am motivated to do something unique with my life but lack in discipline and a clear strategy, so I end up a little adrift. Writing helps me with that. It helps me to get out in a somewhat linear fashion the ping-ponging thoughts and ideas in my mind. Though I am no great writer, I do love it. And I suppose, through a little more discipline I will become better.

Right now it feels difficult to be at the beginning stage of changing my course in life. After I got sober and went to school for 7 years, got my masters, and then my license two years after that, I thought I'd just be a therapist until I retired. But it didn't happen that way. I burnt out. Or I never really liked it all that much in the first place and the not-liking-it-enough finally wore down my ego to the point of surrender to this new, shiny thing that I don't quite understand.

As I was listening to the podcast, I started wondering about self-mastery and of course craft (profession, vocation, calling) mastery and if I felt clear on either of these ideas. And the answer is, not really. I still get anxious and wound up about what I'm doing with my life and if it's enough (it is), and if anyone wants to be my friend (the jury's out). I thought about how I felt when I was in school to become a Social Worker and it was very structured and direct and I was guided through a well worn process to that end. And now here I am, beating myself up for trying to learn how to write, start a podcast, make and edit videos, and generally tell my story all while managing multiple properties and raise good kids. And I realized again, that being in the research and experimentation/beginner phase of not knowing is so okay. And really brave. Maybe a little messy-ugly at times, but the path feels good. It feels like I finally get a break to go be me for a little while, and I think that that's what a lot of us want in life right? To just be free to be our own, unique (or not), being. It can also be a little lonely too. Not everyone is okay with me or anyone just going to live their bliss, especially when it is not what they did (or endured). Like freedom is this bright light being turned on right when you've fallen asleep. Get it out of my face! Its too much and could you please take it somewhere else?! I also still struggle with meditation. I tell myself I'm going to really do it today (you hear me self!). But then I get a good idea and or realize there's some thing left undone and I'm pulled away. And I let myself get pulled. I let the idea take me away from the silence. I'm afraid of the silence still. There's a lot of stuff in there. Maybe that's why I love gardening so much. It is a time where I just look and tend and adjust and plant and water and it's simple and quiet. Call me crazy, but the plants I tend to, they support me, they teach me stillness and giving and partnership with other beings. I love them dearly. I can't stand thinning seedlings or pulling them up at the end of a growing period. I don't like violent transitions (who does?). But it's all a part of the circle. Maybe I should let them teach me about rebirth and death too.

Mindfulness was one of the watchwords on the podcast episode and I have heard from numerous sources that it's not to be missed (ha ha). Right now I am okay. Right now, I am doing what I love and I am safe. I love writing about life and it's mysteries and some of the ups and downs. I love it because I love the other people who do this too. You have helped me so much. I love the exchange of big, deep, funny, awkward, figuring-it-all-out-ideas. How ultimately human is that? I love the moment when someone says something and the idea strikes you. It jumps out of them into you and rests in your mind as a "yes, that's it, that's what I've been looking for." It's so good. And you grow. We grow together, exchanging all this mind stuff (body and spirit too, but only reserved for the most intimate partners).

So today I will be in gratitude and wonder at all the ideas I've been given and all the ones to come. It is so perfectly imperfect. It will all lead to something, or nothing, but it will most definitely be interesting along the way. Amen

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