A lot of what I’ve been reading deals with letting go—letting go of attachment to results, to routine, to the ego.
At first I kind of rolled my eyes at the ego thing, as I never really figured myself to have much of a stereotypical ego. I don’t spend a lot of time or money on my looks, I can admit when I’m wrong and I’m pretty much self-deprecating to a fault.
But then I realized that was bullshit. Of course I have an ego. It might not be the, “Hey, look at me! I’ve been meditating for a month and suddenly all of the answers are clear! Praise avocados! Namaste!” type of ego, but I still find myself attached to my story.
You know what I’m talking about.
We all have a story, and at times I still let past chapters of mine continue to define me today. There are labels I had never removed because it seemed impossible to let those things go. After all, it’s easy to define yourself by the past—the things you’ve had to deal with that were out of your control, the way someone treated you—or by your struggles—OCD, weight, depression, etc.
But I’m learning that there can and will always be another story as long as I permit myself to “be” without worrying about figuring it out.
In other words, dropping the ego—or at least peeking around its rough edges—and letting go of control.
So I’ve been reading—slowly, not rushing through—and taking more time with more things. By deliberately slowing down a mind that has a tendency to run ahead without me, I’m much more aware of my space and of the fact that I don’t need to fill that space up with things and noise all the time.
That can be hard, as in this self-branding/social media world we live in we’re offered platforms to try and present flattering one-dimensional versions of ourselves and told to do, do, do and share it all the time. And then—because everyone else is doing it too—we’re given tools to calculate our popularity.
No wonder we’re a mess half the time.
And truth be told, I’m still a mess in a whole lot of ways and have no clue what I’m doing with things. It has nothing to do with anyone else, but simply with my own frustration. (If I hear “find your passion” one more time I’ll flip my shit out, but that’s for another day.)
Anyway, the best way to fight unhealthy habits is to cultivate a personal mindset that simply doesn’t promote their presence in the first place.
There’s a difference between content and complacent, confident and cocky, reaching out and clinging on, stuck and simply stumbling. Sometimes I’m all of these things all at once, but I’m finding is if you’re content with yourself and need nothing else, it helps solve a lot of problems.
But of course there still are problems.
So if there’s anyone out there hiring a mostly content slightly neurotic writer to move to a remote island to practice yoga and meditation while editing vegan cookbooks and selling sea shells by the sea shore, shoot me an email there buddy.
Hey, I said “peek around the edge” of the ego, not completely squash that crap down. Snark will always be a part of my story—and my next post—so praise avocados! Namaste!”
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Still working on cultivating that personal mindset that doesn’t promote being the mess that I, at least at the moment, am.
I can’t concentrate. I keep thinking about “praise avocados” and in my mind I substitute mangos . . . and there I go down the rabbit hole again.
You write with such honesty and insight, it’s amazing to read.
If said island has an avocado tree I’ll move there with you. Although that may make it less remote…
beautifully put… thank you..
“By deliberately slowing down a mind that has a tendency to run ahead without me…”
Man, that goal sounds familiar.
Here’s a question I’d love to ask an intelligent internet sharer such as yourself:
Which is more difficult: Defining who you are… or who you are working to become? Why?
A lot of PBR’s have met their demise while I ponder these supposedly simple questions.
I think it’s important that you DON’T really define yourself in a specific way. That would be holding on to an attachment to either who you were, who you are or who you someday (maybe) will be. At least for me, it’s a matter of accepting who I am and who I want to become without letting things I’ve done–good or bad–define me. Then again, I get what you’re saying. “Who we are” is obviously something we define on a daily basis, although not in an especially introspective, public way. But all in all, I think it’s best just to “be” and not worry about static definitions. For me, it’s constantly floating. 🙂
Yet again you’ve managed to articulate so many thoughts that have teased me but I’d not been able to make any sense of! First, this: “We all have a story, and at times I still let past chapters of mine continue to define me today. There are labels I had never removed because it seemed impossible to let those things go” Yes. Me too. I guess I’ve always had an ego about not having an ego?
And this: “n this self-branding/social media world we live in we’re offered platforms to try and present flattering one-dimensional versions of ourselves and told to do, do, do and share it all the time. And then—because everyone else is doing it too—we’re given tools to calculate our popularity. No wonder we’re a mess half the time.” AMEN SISTER. I don’t know what else to say except I agree 100% and I’m grateful you said it.
Abby, your writing is just exquisite. You write with such honesty and clarity, and manage to convey exactly how I feel about so many things.
I too, am learning to take more time over things, to be slower and more thoughtful, and to let go of old habits and stories and scripts.
It’s difficult, yes, but I feel that this mindfulness/awareness is very slowly changing my life. For the better.
Love you, my friend.
Thanks, but whatever. You are totally light years ahead, my friend, with everything that you’ve been doing. Not to be cheesy because we both hate that crap, but you really are inspirational to me 🙂
” But then I realized that was bullshit. Of course I have an ego. It might not be the, “Hey, look at me! I’ve been meditating for a month and suddenly all of the answers are clear! Praise avocados! Namaste!” type of ego, but I still find myself attached to my story”
Ok that had me rolling in the ailes so much I’ve had trouble concentrating on the rest of the post, but I know what you mean. What I will say, I always thought I was the only person who knew the secret of life was hidden within the avocado.
Thanks for writing this Abby – Highly relateable! 🙂
Does everyone see a teeny-tiny smiley face at the bottom left of this page?
I am at a weird point in my life…I had the perfect job, great friends…then I moved across the country. I have to figure everything out again, not knowing where I will be next year, the year after, etc. I can feel content at most times (married life has been nice) but definitely not complacent. I want to get the same satisfaction I had before. I already “found my passion” (teaching) but it doesn’t mean I get to pursue it the way I want to.
I think that’s true for a lot of people. You can be doing what you love–writing or teaching for example–but that doesn’t always mean it manifests in the way that you would like or that would bring you the most satisfaction. I think it’s great you HAVE had that fulfillment in the past, as now you know exactly what it felt like and what you’re aiming to find once again.
“There’s a difference between content and complacent, confident and cocky, reaching out and clinging on, stuck and simply stumbling. Sometimes I’m all of these things all at once, but I’m finding is if you’re content with yourself and need nothing else, it helps solve a lot of problems.”
That is INCREDIBLY powerful, Abby.
While I can’t hire you… sorry totally broke! I can take you to that remote island. Our ship sets sail towards mid-November. 🙂 All you really need is a good pair of flip flops, sunscreen, bikinis and some form of coverage and you’re good to go! Must love dolphins.
Such a fantastic blog Abby! The cocky/confident conundrum has been a real struggle for me over the years and finding that inner zen is always a goal! I love reading your stuff and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you to get that dream island job =)
I know you are a Queen at bringing the funny, the absurd, and snarky. But this post shows why I think so highly of you as person, a writer, and a friend.
Sefl-awareness is a gift. So many do not have it or want it. You embrace it, make it work for you, and then it out like healing ointment.
I needed to read this, again, today. Thank you.
Thank you for being one of the most honest and sincere people I know, as that is a truly rare thing at times. Go Tigers! Off to vote for your again…
This is exactly where I got caught up a few months ago and started to reassess everything. What is really important? What am I trying to prove to myself and everyone else? Part of the problem with the social media is this need to mold a personality for public consumption. It plays into all our worst selves if we aren’t careful. As you know, I had to take a break and figure out how to go forward.
That was REALLY good! You are so darn talented…