Quit Swatting the Fruit Flies
I thought about naming this Still Life with No Fruit Flies. That piece would begin, “You are not a bowl of bananas, apples, grapes, and clementines, so do not allow a swarm of fruit flies to quietly, almost invisibly, certainly peskily, swarm and hover untended.” You see why I chose not to do that.
This piece begins with a story about a puppy who was starting to gnaw on a colorful, green-minded reusable grocery bag while a woman was working on a computer and harboring a strong preference to stay on the computer and focus. She didn't want to get up and deal with a puppy. And that fuzzy wiggle-worm of a puppy, with all that adorable cutlery in its mouth, had gotten its paws on that bag and was all over it. But the computer task … But the puppy, the bag …
Add to this that the woman was working hard on not being irritated by things in her day-to-day life, with the greater goal of not feeling victimized by all the small and large things that happened to her while she struggled with what anyone would agree was a tricky set of circumstances. She wanted, in fact, to stop living a struggle.
That's why—since change happens only now, and now, and now—she decided to make a decision. She stopped typing just long enough to say to herself, What matters more to me now is completing this task and feeling good about that. I'm going to sacrifice the bag to that endeavor. While I know this officially makes it a no-longer reusable bag, it also cost something like a dollar, and I'll get another one. The puppy will be blissfully busy destroying it and lying around in the rubble for probably just enough time that I can do what I want to do. And that was that.
Before that moment, she was trapped in a swarm of fruit flies, and there was little to do in that scene but feel irritated and victimized (by a cute little puppy!—oh, the jailers we choose!).
There there's the man who's got a still-new business going. Because he thinks he's the doer and hasn't yet mastered surrendering what's not his to deal with (like outcomes and timing and how much money will come in when), while showing up for each thing that truly is his to deal with (like the next conversation, email, calculation, or bit of research), this man gets in trouble with carrying the business around everywhere he goes, so that he forgets to be present in other realms of life and have real relationships with the people he loves.
This man and I cooked up an experiment in which he stops what he's doing when he finds himself mentally in his work life off-hours, gets up, and just goes to work for a brief time. Quit swatting the fruit flies, and go be where you really are, attend to what you want to (or think you must) attend to, surrender the rest (again), and come back to presence in your home life. I look forward to seeing what comes of this experiment. This is his royal reminder to stay on it.
Another man somewhere around the globe wrote me that he felt a bit guilty because he'd been using a lull in his work life to make extra art (and he makes such inspired art!). My email back had the subject line DROP ALL GUILT, with the text “Don't allow the guilt to swarm around like fruit flies. If you're choosing to give time to that, and life seems to be conspiring with that, choose it fully—no guilt.”
Did you notice, in these three stories, the recurring theme of choice? When you let things hover untended like fruit flies, you're not choosing. You're not choosing what you want to do, what you want to give your energy to, what's calling you to pay attention and take action—something. What is it? Pause when you notice the fruit flies and make a choice. Your fruit flies could be pertinent to that moment or day, or they might point to ongoing pests like clutter or taxes or that gizmo that doesn't work—you might actually fix it or throw the thing out. Ah, but the fruit flies could also be in your face about the cherished dream you keep not getting to. Whatever it is, pay attention. Attend. Quit swatting the fruit flies.
Love and blessings, Jaya
New AUDIO stuff online
Listen to my 2014 conversations with Barb Elgin on Lesbian Love Talk
The March 20 show is on Embracing Being Single, all about finding the benefits of time outside of couplehood, whether you haven't found your partner yet or are taking a conscious pause between relationships.
The March 27 show is about taking alone time in relationship, or dealing with times when you find yourself more alone within a couple.
The link above takes you to her list of shows. You'll see Jaya and 3/27 or 3/20 on the ones with me, along with many more options featuring other people and topics.
Curious about coaching?
I offer a free 30-minute exploration session by phone or Skype or in person (in Ithaca, NY). To get the free session, just fill out the contact form on my website.
Live programs for women!
The early-bird discount for the May retreat was (officially) supposed to end on March 31. Ah, but I didn't get my mailing out the week before, as intended, so I'm extending it through the following Sunday on April 6. This retreat prioritizes joy and includes more play than anything I've ever done in my workshop world (with space for conscious silence or solitude too). The program includes dance, yoga, song, art (and always the option to sit out what doesn't serve your brilliant process).
Information below on a workshop in the DC area in April, and the May retreat in upstate New York and . I'm so excited about both programs and the women gathering to participate. The rosters are filling beautifully. Join us!
Harness Your Power of Interpretation
Crossings Healing Center, Silver Spring, Maryland
Saturday, April 19, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This is a workshop for women allowing ample practice in noticing and reframing our interpretations in order to enhance well-being, connection, and personal power. We'll use inquiry, storytelling and improvisation, and guided meditation. Click on event title above for details and registration information.
Light on the Hill, Van Etten, New York
This is a weekend retreat for women, May 9 - 11, in the most beautiful retreat center in upstate New York on Joy, and Now, and cultivating joy right now--which we'll do all weekend in a conscious, respectful, and sometimes irreverent community. Practice shifting your feelings states and working with your thoughts to move continually toward joy. Early-bird registration through March 31. Click on event title above for details and registration information.
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(Almost) every day, I seek to inspire and remind you and to bring you back to yourself, to love, to trust that all of life supports you. Below are some gems from March.
I want no one to feel one tinge of embarrassment in self-love. I gave a client an in-/out-breath meditation I do when lying awake: "I love myself so deeply, every cell in my body is well." She could hardly bear the thought of repeating such awkward words. My idea is that it's time to meet consciousness when I find myself conscious at night. A powerful way to do that, alone in the dark, is to meet my breath and steep in love—bring nothing but love to this current experience of myself. After all, ain't I consciousness? Ah, but it does require not feeling icky about the self-love thing. So be brave: get comfortable with your discomfort.
When you don't know what to do, start by not believing you should know. Sit in the openness, the boundless possibility of "I don't know." Show up each now, watching for what comes to you to try next. Drop urgency. Open to guidance. Steer toward joy. It turns out you do know what to do.
When you set out to establish a new belief system—perhaps about trusting life to guide you or walking fearlessly into your full potential—know that the old belief system will pop up and try to reestablish itself. That's how it is: that's what old belief systems do. You don't have to believe a thing it tells you about who you are or what's what, nor give any energy to the defeating message it offers to the weakest part of you most prone to defeat. You don't have to freak out or even take it seriously. Just say, “Ah, you, old friend. I'm in a grand experiment right now and have no time for you. Excuse me.” Then move pointedly into the new way.
A client wrote me about an unexpected piece of news that made him feel as if a flying cow had shat on his head. Ay, watch your metaphors and colorful speech! You don't need to prevent any words from coming out of you, just notice what does come out and ask yourself if you really believe that. Notice if the way you phrased it makes you a victim. Keep choosing to interpret all that happens as life growing you and helping you build any muscles you need. For this client, there was an opportunity to hold the belief he's been cultivating that life is constantly supporting him to thrive in every way. Life is full of safety nets, and short on flying shitting cows.