I'm afraid that, try as I might to embrace the ideas of mindfulness and living in the moment, at heart, I am a goal oriented creature. As much as I logically know that it doesn't really work this way, I still tend to see life as a series of obstacles to overcome, and things to accomplish.
Embedded in this way of thinking is the fantasy that "one day" there will come a time when everything will be "done" and I can just sit back and revel in the fact that I'm now finished.
This is, of course, complete and utter nonsense, and that fact has become very apparent in my life of late.
So, as I mentioned in one of my recent posts, one of my webpages got hacked. It's sorta strange, actually, because it doesn't really appear that any damage was done. They simply changed my password, and then sent me an email telling me that they'd broken in and done it. Hmmm...
Anyhow, I had to install some security software and do a bunch of work to assure myself that no damage actually was done, and in the process, well, let's just say it was sorta like stumbling around in the dark.
This particular site has been sorely neglected for... well, for a while now. First there were the endless kitty crises, then I was focused on more immediate concerns with several of my other sites, and then, of course, the carpet beetles. So I found myself scratching my head trying to remember the intricacies of the code, and how the darned thing was supposed to work in the first place!
Gah! Why does it have to be that way? My little goal-oriented self just wants to be able to master things and then pack them away in my bank account of skills so I can pull them out whenever I need them. Sigh.
I kept telling myself that I shouldn't be so hard on myself because, after all, I was out of practice.
And there it is... that word: Practice.
You know, as a kid who was in formal dance and music lessons from about age 3 onward, I have a very complicated relationship with that word. Seriously, there's a part of me that does a bit of an involuntary shudder every time I hear it. I just can't help it - it conjures up infinite memories of various parents and instructors... "Did you practice?" "How much did you practice?" "You didn't practice, did you?" "No television until you've finished practicing." and, of course "Practice makes Perfect!" Oy.
Practice was always a chore. It was something to be avoided at all costs, something that you had to do in order to pass muster, and which you got scolded for not doing enough of, or not doing properly, or... well, suffice it to say, I don't really have positive associations with the word.
And I have to admit that my childhood attitude about practicing has stuck with me into adulthood. On some level I always feel like the mere fact that I'm not good at something right out of the chute, or that I need a refresher course now and then, is incontrovertible evidence of my hopeless inadequacy.
OK. So, after I got myself all upset and worked up because I couldn't remember how my stupid web page was supposed to work, I decided that I needed to take a break and do some yoga. Of course, yoga is another one of those things that I haven't exactly, ahem, kept up with lately.
So there I was, struggling to do poses that I once found simple, and struggling to hold back the tears of frustration, when that word, practice, appeared again.
Only this time it was different. The instructor on the tape (yes, I still have VHS yoga tapes) was talking about how sometimes one side is easier than the other, and that when you do your own practice, you might want to spend a little more time on the side that's holding you back.
Suddenly, I was reminded that there's a whole different meaning to the word, practice, than the one I usually ascribe to it. In the yoga sense, practice is not a means to an end. It's not something you do to "get good at" some thing. Because, in yoga, being "good at it" is irrelevant, there is no thing to strive for, rather, the practice itself IS the thing.
So here I find myself plotting and scheming about how my new goal in life is to not be so darned goal oriented! Geez! This stuff runs deep!
Anyhow, I do think that my life would be much happier and easier if I could just learn to live in the moment, to enjoy the practice, whatever the topic at hand, and to stop beating myself up for not "getting there" quicker... wherever "there" is!
So tell me, does anybody else out there struggle with these things? How do you deal with feelings of inadequacy? Any tips for practicing mindfulness? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic.