Due Time

I find I get cyber inundated all the time now. Newsletter after newsletter. Sale upon sale. Buy this. Try that. Read this. Listen here. Go there. Be here. Look at me now. And now. And now.  Its exhausting to be so berated by the constant stream. Truthfully, as someone on the other end too, it is exhausting to keep up with doing the inundating.   I actually think a lot of us are tired from too much screen time. So If you have taken the time to read this, well thank you.

Those trusty algorithms we love to hate and hate to love are designed for the loudest and flashiest to be assumed the best. Don't you sort of find it the least bit scary that you can be "perceived" as an expert based on how many connections, programs, and likes you portray or are projected to portray? I fear at times I have caught "subjectivitis" which is an overuse injury of the ego perpetuated by self promotion and shared self realizations, teachable moments and self related business ventures.

Its hard. We want to feel connected in an age where the world is simultaneously disparate and oh so small. Our natural instincts to create community have found voice and pathway through the ethers and the internets. The impulse is so human. So natural. So necessary. We are not meant to be isolated beings. Patanjali was wrong. Enlightenment is not self realization. It is the awareness of being both simultaneously oneself and interpersonally connected. It is not my choice or even preference that the women who are like my sisters basically live on the other side of the country, and one across the globe. But luckily, our global interconnectivity keeps us not just in each others hearts but also in present contact through Skype and email and the like. Community is no longer the immediacy of location. Our community is as they say, global. 

As you know I have dedicated my work to expanding repertoire physically, emotionally, relationally. I do this by working individually with people offering mentoring and counseling. I do this through holding workshops. I do this through the online teaching world. And when the time is right again, I do it through weekly classes.

I have prided myself on trying and I think for the most part been successful at finding “Right Relationship” to social media. By that I mean I have built not an online business but an online educational environment with at times therapeutic benefit. When you think about it that way, its pretty cool what I have been able to create with the gracious and lively participation of people from all over the world. In many ways it is a dream come true. I worked with media very deliberately and thoughtfully. Ditching all pieces that felt icky in my body. I took online courses and felt into what worked for me as a student and learner and what was draining, unnecessary and arbitrary. I did my best to not shame or blame or victimize my colleagues into purchasing programs. I stated observations. Noted my feelings. And provided an invitation to a potential solution. I engaged conversations with relationships I had been nourishing through yoga practice for years. It has for the most part been so organic. No recipe. A conversation. So far it has worked mostly (well up until Facebook went and changed their stupid algorithm again).

Not everyone is suited to the online work. For some people engaging in a webinar is tediously annoying, always comes up short, and creates confusion and not understanding. A screen is not a person. But I am experimenting with the notion that if the two people on either side of the screen are be embodied and themselves while learning, teaching and engaging, than maybe the screen becomes the tool for transmission. A technological boon. Not a drone of community destruction. I have worked pretty hard to set up systems within my system that insure a culture of recognition, safety, learning, connection and service. And yes. I do believe that is palpable online. But I think it must be mostly because of the people on the sides of the screen. Those people know that everything in life takes time. Nature has her natural due dates. She does not operate in scheduled posts and newsletters. She doesn't back date. Or give you a highlight reel. She simply keeps turning in her due time. I fear sometimes in my work, I have fallen out of rhythm with Due Time. 

We live in a culture where everything can be scheduled, planned, factored. We are told we need to be medicated, fixed, treated. We live in a culture with few pauses. We are both implicitly and explicitly told to be "on" all the time. We are so visible. We are so available. If we want it. We want it now. And the options to consume are endless. "At our finger tips" is no considered a positive selling point. 

This past December I reached a breaking point. I had a melt down around much of my online work. Though I knew it was good work, I was spending so much time on the screen I thought I was loosing a grip on reality. I actually couldn't tell what was me, what was you, what was them, what was real and not real. I realized that I had made myself downloadable. Accessible day or night across the globe, my voice, my face, my teaching could be in someones house. On the one hand this is so cool, exciting, exhilarating. And also a great honor that what I have to say and offer is useful across a wide span.

On the other hand, I wonder if this effects what we call the akashic field. I wonder if my etheric body got a run down from being here, there and everywhere. In the swirl of it all I thought perhaps I am not cut out for this. Perhaps I should close up shop and get a job counseling at a clinic if possible and practice and meditate daily. No muss. No fuss. 

See the thing is, I must admit that when I first started all this, not many were talking about topics related to the intersection of Yoga and Psychology.  Sure there were conversations happening. Research was happening and had been. But nowhere near the depth and breadth of conversation and research happening now and happening in a way that is main stream. Never the popular kid, I built an entire identity around being "other", around being "fringe", around being "different". You can imagine my identity crisis now since what was fringe is now popular and center. The intersection is the main drag. As it turns out, I am not so unique after all. 

Everyone wants to talk Shadow. People are waking up to the who notion of projection and counter transference. More and more folks want to discuss power dynamics between the teacher and student. Even in the years I have been going about my business trusting what I see to be relevant and necessary for yogis to understand as products of western culture, more people are using the language of psychology. Sometimes I wonder if its co emergence or if the free market of the internet affords an insidious covert piracy. I'd like to think its the former. But the later also occurs. It is, well, very hard to tell sometimes.

It was just that. THAT terrible madness of keeping up with the intellectual Jones' and the cyber Kardashians that sent me into a tail spin. I was confused, territorial, frustrated, lonely. The absolute hysteria and mania I felt inside as a result of these swirls dropped me into a place that was so far from Kansas. It was not pretty. 

The yellow brick road turned out to be a kind of faith in fortitude. I kept trusting in the things that felt good. The online classes were doing good for people. The one on one work was creating change. I just put one foot in front of the other and sought council from some of my closest confidants. Each was surprised to hear how spun-out and desperate I was. They each told me that from the outside all looked smashingly successful. But thats the thing about social media. We are only one dimensional on the screen although in reality we are multi dimensional beings. Social media is a stream of subjective consciousness masked as objective product. Too much subject is narcissism and too much object is self abandonment. (A notion I first learned sans the psych terminology form my philosophy teacher Douglas Brooks).

Sounds lovely for our mental health does it not? Lets all be narcissistic self abandoning humanoids snapshotting our lives. Lets all turn ourselves into straw and tin men and cowardly lions. Lets all be in black and white. Lets all be only two dimensional. It is nearly impossible to convey the total complexity of a person on a screen. Though I do try. I do my darnedest.

To help me out of my stupor, my husband took me off line for 10 days. We went sailing. And you know what we did? We waited for the wind. There is this sacred alchemy between the sea, the wind and the science and art of setting your sails. Its a dialogue. Literally. Now I am no sailor, but if you set your sails well, you can gain a lot with just a little wind. You cannot control the sea or the wind. You can only have a conversation. Our trip leaders were two of the most patient people I had ever met in my life. I suppose that is what happens when the wind weathers you. You learn to wait. To be patient. That you are not in control. That there is Due Time

Like us, each boat has a heart and soul--it is a living breathing thing conversing with its environment. I have often described my "business" that way. Its a real entity, with personality, with grit, with desire having a conversation with where it came from and where it is and with whom it interacts. It is a sentient expression of something form inside me, that I have birthed into this world  connected to me but existing other than me too. I am not privy to all of its pending unfolding. And I do not know exactly what the wind will be like tomorrow. I can only have conversations. In Due Time.

Livia ShapiroComment