Working With Stuff(1)

Working With Stuff Live – The Yoga Festival

We interrupt our (un)-scheduled programming to bring you… Working With Stuff Live!

Working With Stuff(1)

In this post I am not going to explain things.
I am going to work with my stuff and come up with strategies for this festival I am going to over the weekend.

This might be as good a time as any to tell you that it’s possible and useful to “work with your stuff” before you do something challenging.
It helps. A lot. It helps you *ease into* the challenge, and it helps you being present and learn useful things *during* the challenge.

And so we begin – Working With Stuff Live

(from now on, these will be mostly unedited thoughts)

And what is this “challenge” of mine? Well… I shall be attending my very first yoga festival.
I am scared of all the things going wrong, namely, how I’m going to get from point A to point B while in the middle of nowhere and without a car.
This is very deep seated fear about not being safe, and I’m working with it as best I can.

There isn’t much I can do about this fear, other than breathe when it happens… And write down the timetable for the bus.

Good. A thing to do.

Let’s look at all the “stuff”

The “People will be wealthier than me”

This is just going to happen, mainly because it is not easy to find people poorer than me. (I am *excruciatingly* poor at the moment)
In fact, it has already started, since I am getting a lift from someone who has a car…

There’s the “yoga people be crazy”

I thought, naively perhaps, that yoga people, being more mindful and used to working with their stuff, would be less neurotic than the average person…
I am realising this is not the case.
Yoga people, being people, are just as neurotic as the next person. They are just neurotic in a different way.

When they are nice, they are very nice. But when they have blind spots, boy do they have blind spots!

I am fearing lots of “food neurosis”, ie: tons of people trying to out-do each other for who has the most “pure” diet (“I no longer breathe non-organic air!”). People trying to out-do each other for who does the most yoga, or the most meditation (“I now do 2 hours in the morning!”). People trying to out-do each other for who has had the most rigorous yoga-training (“Well, I spent 4 years in an ashram in India, which if you ask me, is the only way to learn properly”).

The worst is when the 2 above combine. And I go into my stuff like a ton of bricks, ranting in my head about how “only wealthy white privileged middle class people with cars can afford organic air and time off in an ashram in India”. These rants can go on for a long time, and I get anxious-er and anxious-er, madder and madder, tightness in my chest closing in more and more.

Then there’s the “none of these privileged twats have the vaguest clue what my life is like”

Let’s put it this way: I can almost bet good money I will be the only one taking the solitary bus that dares to venture in the wilderness of the Welsh coast. Everyone else will have a car. Because that’s what people do in this country. (and I am noticing my incoming rant about how eager we all are to preach sustainability, but how that doesn’t translate when it comes to car ownership)

NOTE: in the spirit of full disclosure and “being honest with myself”. If I could afford a car, I would have a car. Make no mistake about that. Though what I would really, really like is having a gorgeous man drive me there. Thank you, honesty.

None of the people there would be able to fathom what my life is like

Not even remotely.
They won’t be able to wrap their minds around little aspects of my daily life, like not being able to afford anything due to Extreme Poverty*, not being able to talk to people I don’t know without Extreme Social Anxiety*, not being able to do anything new without a ton of emotional preparation, not being able to talk to my parents because I cannot bear to reveal to them the extent of my sucky existence. Or the corroding effects of having been Super Single* for 3 years.

*Extreme Poverty: way, way, way under the “poverty line” for this country. Like: living on a third of the “poverty line”. For the last 10 years. Yes, that’s right, 10 years. No, I don’t know how I manage it either
*Extreme Social Anxiety: let’s put it this way. My yoga teacher is 1 day younger than me. She planned an entire yoga festival; this is not even her first yoga “event”. She asked me to give a 10 minute talk. And I am freaking out.
*Super Single: no men. None. Not a single male-related whiff of nothing. Not a date, not a wink, not a phone number. Zero men. For 3 years.

Once a Very Nice Person could not fathom what my life is like, and it lead to so-much-pain.

Speaking of which…

There’s the “Nice People” thing

Nice people are just that: nice. That’s why it’s difficult for me to relate to them.
Either they are showing caring attention, or they are “being nice”, the point is, I am not used to kindness from strangers. I am not used to kindness, period. And when people are nice, I feel like bursting into tears.

There’s the “so tell me about you” thing

Essentially, people want to connect and ask questions. Personal questions.
But that’s not how I connect. Not even slightly.
It’s like… most people connect to other people by checking out if they have physical things in common, like “job” and “locality” and “social class” and “nationality”.
They ask “what do you do?!” “where do you live?!” “where do you come from?!”.
I am trying to understand why people do this, ie: they want to connect.

Unfortunately this is not how I connect. It is not how I roll at all.
“What I do” “where I live” or “where I come from” says nothing about me. Whereas my tendency to use extremely colourful English and express myself in seriously creative ways is how I roll.

Once I was at the supermarket and I reached out for the last stick of French butter. A man saw me and he said “It’s the last President!”. (The butter’s brand was “President”)
THAT is how I connect to people.
Puns. Creativity. Everyday Nothingness, but Highly Creative everyday-nothingness that brings us joy for absolutely no reason. Stories. Theories.
These are the things that matter to me, and these are the things I connect with people over.

But that’s not how most people work. And when they try to “pin me down” by asking me “what I do” and “where I live”, I want to smash things. I feel cornered. Boxed in. I panic. It’s like I think “people are going to define me by these things which are completely irrelevant to me, what the HELL?!?!?!”.

I’ve come up with a perfect way to bypass this

I “stole” this from Havi, and gave it my own personal spin.
Whenever people ask me about something personal I don’t want to answer, I shall say “I would love to tell you, but I’m on Selective Silent Retreat. It means I am doing internal work on key areas of my life and I am not allowed to speak about them But there’s all sorts of other things I could talk about.

I know that the goal is to work with my stuff about all these, so that I can keep my cool and not mind at all, but right now there is stuff and I need to cope.

The Strategies

  • Groundedness. Wise. Love. Connection to spirit/music if I have to. Inner worthiness.
  • Get creative with answers if I have to.
  • Remind myself that I have a business, even if it is a baby one. And that my intention is love and service.
  • Chocolate. I am breaking my “cutting back on sugar” practice because survival is more essential. I am pulling a “Dementor cure”. Use when I need a dose of sweetness because my stuff has been triggered and I am being reminded of how bitter my life is right now.
  • Quiet. Search for the quiet.
  • Remind myself that these people are kind. Or at least they are trying to be kind. They are not out there to “get me”.
  • I will need alone time. ALONE TIME is important!
  • Self-compassion and kindness. This is of the essence! Being kind to myself even if I lose it, hate everyone, hate my life because I am so poor and single, etc.
  • Find a refuge in writing. I can always reach for the notepad/phone if I need to.
  • Patience and even more self-compassion and kindness with the… “Saturn in Venus” situation.


This is it. I’ve done the work, and ready or not, here I go.

Wish me luck!

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