I use to believe there’s a right way of doing things and a wrong way. There are right ways to be and wrong ways. Right foods to eat, right thoughts to think, right beliefs to believe.
And I mostly found myself getting it wrong.
I’ve been a good student. I love to learn. The way I learned in the past was to assume the teachers are right and I must do things exactly the way they say. I’ve gone against my natural instincts, ignored the wisdom of my body and blindly followed a leader, believing they have the answer to my questions.
I learned over the years that what works for them may not work for me. And that doesn’t make either of us wrong. My natural style is non-linear. In the middle of writing this blog I have browsed images that have nothing to do with this, listened to a new song I just found, put the wet laundry in the dryer and danced a bit. This wasn’t multi-tasking, and I wasn’t distracting myself from writing this blog. Each act was done on it’s own because in that moment it’s what I wanted to do. And here I am, my bum back in the seat, writing this blog. I’m happier being back here now than if I had ignored those other impulses and stuck to the writing just to get it done.
When I decided to rid the yard of all grass and put in veggies, native plants, an outdoor dining room, flagstone patio and yoga pad, I would work a bit on one area and then feel called to drop what I was doing and move somewhere else. After building up compost I’d move some stones, plant new seedlings, build a water feature and come back to the compost. With breaks in between where I would do nothing but listen to what wanted to happen next.
Moving through my garden and my life this way, I stay in touch with the pleasure of doing what I’m doing. For me, it’s a spiritual practice.
For a few years I’ve had the idea of writing a book to go with the class I teach, Pleasure As A Spiritual Path. Each time I would sit down to write it felt like work. I kept abandoning the project because I can’t write a book about pleasure unless that’s my guiding source. I kept thinking that I’d really like to do it around images, but how could I begin with images if I didn’t yet know exactly what I wanted to say, what the images would highlight and how they’d fit in. The way to write a book – I’d been told by everyone who’s ever written one – is to stick my bum in a chair regularly and write. But it just wasn’t bringing me any joy.
So I got the idea to just follow my impulse, and begin with images. I spoke with a photographer who’s work I love, about capturing women for my non-existent book. I am excited. I asked beautiful women of different ages, colours and sizes if they’d be interested in being photographed doing different things. They didn’t ask what they’d be doing, or when or where it was. They mostly just said YES. I am honoured. I started coming up with angles I’d like to see for each practice my course offers. As I did this more practices started making themselves known to me. I feel inspired. And now music is coming to mind that I can use during our photoshoot, so I’m making a play list. I am energized.
This is the way I work. Not always, but mostly. I’ve tried the direct approach of getting to the destination, but it zaps my joy. I’m more of a scenic route kind of a gal. I may not get there as quickly, but I enjoy the adventure, and sometimes end up in a different place from where I set out to go, because that’s where I’d rather be.
I’m not suggesting this is a way for you to do things. Pay attention to yourself. Tune out all the ways you should be doing things, and notice what gives you joy. Then do that.
And the reason I am using Ryan McGuire’s photo of a cow in roller skates is because it made me smile. That’s just the way I do things.