Go ahead and call me weak. I don't mind. Because in so many situations and assumptions, what appears like weakness covers plenty of pride and strength.Strength to share "This is not for me" or "That is not something I can or will do" or "I need help" or "I cannot lift that." And what the undertones of this so-called weakness say have nothing to do with character, genetics or work ethic and everything to do with self-realization and the guts to make an admission.
Guts. Strength. Strength under the guise of weakness. The strength to know that something is not good or right for us. The strength to hand over the reigns in lieu of hurting ourselves. The strength to step back instead of charging full speed ahead. The strength to send the ego packing. And the strength to see ourselves for who and how we are.
Few become famous for it, but each and every one of us are actors. Sure, we may not be on Broadway – or anywhere other than the stage of life – but, at any given time, we all put on masks, rehearse lines and hide and show emotions that we both feel and also do not feel.
What if we stopped? Exited stage left, or never put our costume or show face at all? Would life still go on the same, or would it treat us differently? And what about ourselves – have we been acting so long that we don't know the difference between who we are and who we pretend we are? Or is the self even any one thing at all?
In yoga, as in many other Eastern teachings, there's a belief in the Witness Self – a part of us that is all-seeing and can separate from the physical body and the mind. Getting in touch with the Witness Self requires practice, meditation and yoga, and, once there, everything is clearer and calmer. We can understand the true nature of others and the essence of what cannot be captured by our senses alone – life, love and intuit.
As long as we are constructing an outward self, though – acting – we move away from the inward Witness Self and toward self-satisfaction of others' perceptions of us, as well as the image we hope to project. Perhaps, along with yoga, we can find a little more of the Witness Self by being real and keeping it real a little more often. In other words, wearing one less mask, one less costume and speaking the truth more than a script.
You've heard the saying Where there's a will, there's a way. But, really, there's only so much we can make happen – only so much we can shape with our own two hands. The rest? Depending on what you believe, it's managed by God, Buddha, The Stars, The Universe, Something Else or Nothing At All. No matter which, though, the point is the same: Most things are not up to us. It's comfortable and comforting to think otherwise – to think we grip the reigns of life and can steer ourselves wherever we want to go. But, in many cases, my friends, control is an illusion – one that sits squarely as reality until the day life is thrown off course to somewhere beyond recognition, beyond comprehension. Which begs the question: When the problem is bigger than a matter of will, is there still a way to go? Is there still a path to follow, a reason to take a deep breath and change direction? My opinion is yes. Though it may not be what you or I want, imagine or intend it to be, the fact of life is this: In even the most unyielding situations, there's always a way to find your way.
As my day planner shouts errands, meetings and reminders (and my phone beeps with much of the same) I can't help but sometimes get sucked into the illusion of importance that is modern life. Suddenly, I'm running around town lightning fast. Juggling groceries with a phone glued to the palm of my hand. Obsessively checking the screen every five minutes because I might've let something slip...or wasn't someone supposed to call me?
No wonder so many people find themselves knee-deep in quarter-life, midlife and three-quarter-life crises. (Zipping around still, but just in a flashier car.) ;) No wonder we're all so tired. We're hyper-engaged. Married to our phones. More alert than my home security system. Worried that something will fall between the cracks and cause everything we stand for to come crumbling down, like the Colosseum.
But is it business that's really keeping us so busy or busy-ness itself? Because we all have all the information we need all the time, we're all expected to get more done. But what about what's beyond the screen? What happened to philosophy? To soul-searching? To living? To loving? To neighbors? To communities? To less me and more we? Even with the above said, I admit: I love my smart phone. It still amazes me that I can pull directions, talk into my phone and it types!,
find where I'm parked, reach someone across the world, grab my email,
scan a coupon...it's entirely unreal and separate from the world I grew
up in, where I punched in a long-distance calling card and stretched the
curly-Q cord all the way to my closet for privacy. But, in all honesty, it might do me some good to be a little more inaccessible in general and to have information be a tad less mobile – and not just for the reasons you probably think, like all the (good) ones stated in the paragraph above. But for this: an ego check.
The world does not need us to save it with a deft click or press of a send button. It will keep on spinning if we don't pick up the phone, can't respond to that email or happen to lose fifteen minutes by getting completely lost in a sea of streets. We. Are. Human. Super humans, yes. But not superhuman. Frustrations and mistakes are supposed to crop up. We're supposed to have questions. We're supposed to walk around with our heads up. To need help. To not know it all. It's life, and, perhaps, the universe's way of humbling us and putting us firmly in our place. Which is right here, in the middle of everything, with everyone else – interconnected.