Thursday, March 26, 2009

60/84 - Inevitable Success

Wednesday 8:15 pm with Miranda

Bad news:  Miranda is leaving us, at least for a while.  Her visa extension is running out and the State Department denied another extension.  She's been in the country on a visitor's visa.  Amy has already sponsored her for a green card, but she has to leave while that application is pending.  And her return will depend on getting the work visa application accepted (whenever that might happen), and her not finding something better in the interim.

I've probably had more classes with Miranda than any other teacher.  She's absolutely great.  She's really good at motivating people.  She sets a great pace.  And she truly cares about how everyone is doing.  She spends lots of time both before and after class helping students with various problems.  So I definitely hope she comes back, and I'll be very sorry to see her go, especially since she wants to stay.

Class last night was fantastic.  I was looser than I've been since I pulled my back, and I was full of energy.  Outside, it started pouring, and its always nice doing yoga in the rain.  I'm not sure why, maybe its the background sound that adds a peaceful feeling. 

I went all the way back, and easily, on the second set of Fixed Firm.  My knees weren't even complaining about it, and I even had time to start to think about creating the bridge with my back.  So that counts as a breakthrough of sorts.  

I also had maybe my best Rabbit ever, though its hard to tell in this pose because I have basically zero idea what I look like.  But I had a nice solid connection between knees and forehead, my hips felt further forward than usual, and my ankles and feet were closer together than usual.  I'm amazed that I went from total gimp in this pose just a week ago, to something bordering on a breakthrough.  Camel and the Final Stretches were good too.

The Day 83 meditation is about how, once we find our dharma, there is an inevitability of success.  Dharma, I think, is a true purpose.  It's what some people would call a Calling.  It's what a person is truly meant to do.  

Gates illustrates this idea by talking about a sequence from the bio-pic Pollack.  I haven't seen the movie.  But it appears that there's a really great sequence when they move and start setting up the artist studio.  Gate's says the sequence is crackling with energy and you can feel, as they are putting the studio together, that success will inevitably follow. 

Maybe that's how it was.  But I also want to say:  it's a movie.  It's easy to see what someone was fated to do after they die.  So I'm not impressed that there was any actual inevitability.  And lets not forget, movies and stories are also pretty good at convincing entire generations of girls that there is one true prince out there made especially for them.  

Now, its also possible that Gates is only trying to say that this movie was a really good depiction of a real process.  That it captured the essence of something that is true for many.  A person catches on to something that just feels right, and there's no longer a question of failure because the rightness of it is so strong.

Again I want to say, maybe so.  I definitely think that was the way it was for my father and the law.  He seems to have loved it from day one, and he loves it still.  And it's impossible to argue with his success (and I'm not talking about money).   He's had basically a perfect career and a happy life, and he truly loves what he does.

In a similar way, the same might apply to my sisters and their love/ability with animals, which is now focused on dogs.  But here, while I think the pure love of what they are doing is obvious, the inevitability of success is not quite so clear.  In terms of being good at what they do, yes, they are success.  But it's not quite as clear to me that the world will continue to support them doing what they love.  I hope so.

In my case, I don't even know how this idea applies.  There are lots of things that I really like to do:  I like the law when its interesting.  I loved movie editing on its own terms, but not the business.  I love photography.  I love music, the guitar, and singing, and am pretty good at it.  But are any of these my dharma?   I can't say yes, and I think I might not know what my calling was if it ran over me like an eighteen -wheeler.   Or perhaps I'm right when I sometimes think that my true calling is to be a 19th century British gentleman, but where's the inevitability of success in that?


hannahjustbreathe said...

Great post. And very interesting meditation to explore.

I always thought my calling was to be a writer. But when I tried my hand at it and found mild success, I also lost a lot of my inspiration and zeal and true, gritty passion. I lost my words.

Some days, I think my calling is, quite simply, to live a good life, to seek happiness, to love and support and give back, to be a good friend, daughter, partner, sister. But, even then---and perhaps this is the ultimate crux---how do you measure success?

Duffy Pratt said...

for me, success in an occupation is pretty easy to define: it's finding joy and satisfaction in the doing of the occupation itself. That doesn't mean that every day is wonderful, but overall the occupation should fulfill you.

By necessity, unless you've got independent means, I think that means that the occupation has to pay enough to exceed your basic needs. For me, the money would almost have to be secondary.

Unfortunately, very few people seem to be genuinely happy doing what they do. Some people have the satisfaction of knowing that their occupation gives them the time or freedom to do other things that they love. But most, I'm afraid, simply get by in their jobs, and then find something at night that at best manages to dull the pain.

Ellen in Hawaii said...

I had a similar situation to Hannah. When I lived in SF I started a side clothing business because I love to create funky, embellished, unique items for myself, family and friends. But when I started to do it as a business - with the purpose of trying to figure out what people would like in order to make money - most of the joy was sucked out of this hobby of mine.
I also strongly agree with you, Duffy, that the money is necessary but secondary. I had a cushy job as a pharmaceutical rep but was completely unfulfilled. Decided to try my hand at non-profit and realized that, that doesn't quite suit me either. So I've decided to go to go back to school and get into a nursing program. Do I think nursing will be the perfect job? No. But I know that I will be good at it and will feel like I am serving humanity even if it's on a small scale. The pay isn't bad either. And it's something I could do in any country I ever wanted to visit or move to.
Thanks for posting this. very thought provoking, indeed.