On Distracting Oneself
A friend from college sent me this picture yesterday, and it reminded me of where I was at in this point in time. I had co-founded two student activists groups on campus as a college Freshman: 'Students for Peace and Justice' and a chapter of 'United Students Against Sweatshops,' both of which I was either Co-President, President, or VP of for four years. I was so fiercely dedicated and engaged with helping others, and acting from my idealized viewpoint, and I can see now how this was a distraction from looking at myself.
After spending two summers in Ojai (college was in Pittsburgh) studying the work of J. Krishnamurti, I had a deep and very real realization (in a poly-sci class Junior year), that the only way to change the world was to change myself. I stepped down from running the groups, became VP, and shifted my attention inward.
Two years after college graduation and after two years of teaching yoga, I moved to Ojai to study and live at the Krishnamurti Foundation for a year. Through all of this I've had a crutch of always being in a relationship and having this comfort and support... and distraction.
It's been over a year since I've been single and so much growth has come as a result of consciously choosing not to have a partner. I've become an advocate for myself and have begun this lifelong journey of standing on my own two feet, learning how and when to ask for support, and reclaiming my sense of self worth and identity of what it means to be a woman living in this time.
Many amazing realizations have come out of this newfound and sometimes painful space I've created for myself to look inward in a consistent way. To bring it full circle- I've gotten back into my volunteer and activism ways. I teach on a voluntary basis at least 2 hours a week - sometimes more. I seek out random opportunities to help another - either anonymously or with them knowing.
This time around I do not have any false ideas that I am somehow changing the world by volunteering. I am changing myself by being of service in my immediate community and by going with the flow. Compared to when I was 17-20 years old, I was simply trying to fit my narrow values and thoughts into what I think the world ought to look like.
The world is anything but black and white and my time volunteering each week is truly a gift from my heart and I find I don't expect anything I return. Even writing this feels a bit yucky; I write simply to share.
Without these false securities of having a partner or a project to distract myself from me, I continue to devote my energy towards unveiling all that drives me and this body. The results have been tremendous, and I find that the more I live with authenticity and transparency, the more people respond to me from this place in themselves. This has begun the process of fully engaging in the world rather than hiding from it. Though quite painful at times, this is the work I've been devoted to for 7+ years and find the juices of this work to be the sweetest thus far.
Blessings and love to everyone I've ever met on my journey and to those who continue to support me and work alongside me in this crazy beautiful trail of unraveling consciousness.