Musings: On Worth & Sustainability

Sometimes- like those dust bunnies that hide under our beds- the corners of our minds can get a little cluttered without our awareness.

A little way back towards the start of the year, a not-so-friendly social media interaction held a mirror to the back corners of my mind. The reflection illuminated (in amongst the location of socks long lost) a block that’s been rolling around in the dark for some time.

This block, which I’ve shared with some (specifically those who have attended my face-to-face workshops) was one of childhood bullying and it’s been silently crippling me for my whole life.

Self-inquiry is a key part of yogic living. Many hours my meditation cushion has held my butt and brain in place to contemplate my ‘why’s’. One massive ‘why’ was my fear of success, an odd fear to hold but seemingly the root cause of all my procrasTEAnation.

PROCRASTEANATION.

NOUN. THE ACTION OF DELAYING OR POSTPONING SOMETHING BY DRINKING TOO MUCH HERBAL TEA. 

Soul Laid Bare

Long story short to save you from the boredom of dust busting my brain- the bullying experiences of my childhood had me wanting to bring my best to the world, but stopping short of putting myself out there for fear of being cut down. While an adult knows that there are boundaries and laws put in place to stop stalking, harassment, and physical assault. Children, especially those who were kids when bulling wasn’t policed by schools, weren’t always afforded that luxury.

This life long self-sabotage looked, for me, as a tendency to quit before any large-scale recognition of achievements. Public praise, awards and financial recognition have long been things that I’ve consciously and subconsciously avoided. A life of laboriously painting my own Sistine Chapel and then draping curtains to strategically cover the ceiling before inviting anyone over to visit. Hiding in my own little island of a lack of self worth I committed to achieving but not celebrating. Being a subconscious martyr to the idea that a life worth living is one of service and giving not celebration and receptivity.

The idea of giving and not receiving and lack of self-worth is prevalent rhetoric in the sustainability movement. We are urged to give back, be selfless, take less, share more, and most importantly- to not ‘want’ or ‘desire’ those things deemed frivolous or consumerist.

Our mindsets are dialled to fear and lack by media. A cycle that is hard to break free from. We wonder, in our own little dust-bunny filled corners of our minds, if we are worthy as a species of the home that we are seemingly destroying.

A new student to a course in miracles. A passage (page 63 section 7) leapt off the page at me and it went a little something like this (I’ve adapted to take the pseudo-religious edge off)

“The habit to live a conscious and connected life is easily made if you actively refuse to let your mind slip away.  The problem is not one of concentration; it is the belief that no one, including yourself is worth consistent effort”.

We can be lead, by our minds, the world around, or a combination of both, that we are separate from the system that we rely on. That in some way-shape-or-form our ego lets us be ‘apart’ from nature. This is the same sense that makes us believe we can actually throw or give things away. When we slip from being mindful that we aren’t on top of a planet, we are part of it. Reliant on the ecosystems that it provides. We slip from the idea that we aren’t making a significant impact on it. There is a quote attributed to Buddha and plastered on many Yoga Studio walls that states:

The mind is everything

What we think we become

This is true. Our perceptions of the World around us are exactly that- our truth via sensual perceptions. We use our senses, brains and body parts  (including our digestive systems) to take the outside world in every day and make sense of it for our own use. When we concentrate daily on this idea that we are making the world around us in both our interpretations of the world and the way that we interact with it, we can start to see where we receive, what we give, and how our consistent efforts to do both these actions can occur in Sustainable Style.

By understanding our self worth, in our ecosystem. We can consciously make efforts to give better, receive more and allow ourselves reprieve from the doom and gloom that is our media channels.

Here are three self-worth queries for you today:

What do I give?

How do I receive?

What do I fear?

Contemplate these three questions in your own time and then add the enquiry:

How do I give sustainably?

How can I receive sustainably?

Can I carry fear sustainably?

When considering the set of questions above you will have to contemplate what sustainability means to you, an exercise that will require you to reflect on your interpretation of the world around you. There are no right or wrong answers, only new learning’s and new questions.

Such is the joy of contemplating sustainability!