Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Faking the Funk

One of the people I work with works with homeless people. She cares for children in homeless families providing housing and other services. She described to me about her meeting with an African American client who told her about faking the funk. Faking the funk is a term used when a person is being less than real. I loved the idea that realness is valued and the lack of it is called out. In the Jewish middle class suburban culture I grew up in, realness was not valued. Presenting an image that would be impressive to other people was highly valued. Everything else was a secret which was not ok to be talked about within the family let alone shared with outsiders. " Don't air your dirty laundry." I was told growing up.
Since I heard about faking the funk I have been noticing how much I am afraid to be real with other people and that strength in the mainstream culture is defined as not showing your feelings.
Gary and I have recently joined a meditation sangha (community)where we meditate for an hour with a group of about a dozen people in one of the participants' homes. Then we pass around a talking rock and each person shares what is going on with them. Everyone is very real and I feel close to these people in a way that is disportionate to how long I've known them. Sitting together with the same group of people for an hour once a week creates an atmosphere of safety in which intimacy can grow. The person who is speaking and holding the rock speaks uninterrupted until they bow to the others and pass the rock to the next person. There is the option of passing and not saying anything. One women did a dance for her sharing that was so vividly emotionally expressive. Her sharing inspired me to think outside the box. Before the rock gets to me I work with the urge to prepare what I will say. I bring myself back from my compulsion to plan, presenting a certain image, to giving my total attention to the person sharing. I am working with my tendency to fake the funk. I notice when I feel relaxed and safe it is easier to share something I would really like support with. Soothing myself about wanting to fake the funk and being kind to myself about it fuels my courage to make myself emotionally vulnerable. I have always wanted to be part of a community. Various religious communities I have been a part of for short times end with me feeling that I am up against the dogma. The shoulds have felt like a constraint. It is refreshing to me to be part of this group.
I think my ego or personality strategy is faking the funk. I decided who I needed to be in my family to survive and then I pretended to be that person for so long I forgot I was more than that pretense.
Today I was talking with a client about pleasing. Pleasing behavior at its worst is faking the funk. It is imagining that we have to ignore what feels right to us and do what we think will make the other person love us and stick around. Then when the person we are pretzeling ourselves to please does stick around it proves to us that we aren't lovable as we are. Pausing and taking a breath when faced with another's desires gives a moment to move beyond automatic pilot to our own authentic desire. For those of us who tend to pretzel ourselves, Asking ourselves, what do I want or need here? can be very helpful. For" my way or the highway'"people who have a hard time taking other's wants into consideration taking a deep breath and really listening to what the other person wants can be very healing. I notice myself pretzeling and also sometimes pushing aggressively to get my way. I think there is an element of fear in both stances of not getting what we want. We pretzel or demand instead of being emotionally vulnerable by asking for what we want clearly and directly. It is my intention in writing this blog to let go of faking the funk as much as possible and to be kind to myself when I notice I am. Does the concept of faking the funk resonate with you? How?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This is the practice

I listened to a teleconference call this evening with Doug Bentley, a oneness trainer from India. He spoke about suffering and surrender. He said to remember in the midst of suffering that what is happening in each moment is the practice of moving toward awakening to all of who we are. Experiencing what is, is the path. Surrendering to what is in each moment is the practice.
Driving to teach yoga today I thought, I am so glad I have never locked myself out of the studio. One teacher forgot her keys and had to cancel her class. After that a lock box was installed.
Last Wednesday I had four people in my yoga class and I thought I was OK with that. Then I went to another teacher's class on Thursday and there were 22 people. I compared myself to her and decided that people weren't coming to my class because it wasn't as good as hers. I dreaded going to class today because I believed the story I had made up and was sure very few people would come. Fourteen students arrived and I got to see the power of my negative stories. I was able to forgive myself for clobbering myself with my story and realized again that judging my worth by how many people show up to my yoga class leaves me very vulnerable to outside validation. My intention is to enjoy teaching my class whoever shows up to take it. This process is ongoing. I was chuckling to myself about my process when I deftly locked the door to the office with my purse and keys in it. I had a momentary sinking feeling because my car key was also in my purse. I breathed and tapped in to the growing part of me that trusts that everything is OK. I found the lock box and tried the number I had written in my class folder. It didn't work. I had to climb up on a high ledge to reach the lock box and I fell and skinned my knee. I started to get very scared that this wouldn't work out and I would be stranded in the pouring rain without a car, unable to lock the studio. Luckily I had my appointment book with the owner's cell phone in it. My cell phone was in my purse but the insurance office downstairs was open. I reached the owner of the yoga studio and got the correct number for the lock box and relieved, went outside to open it. It didn't work. I called the owner back and repeated back to her what I had done. It turned out I had heard the number wrong. Sometimes it is such a challenge to have a hearing loss. The owner was very loving and the woman in the insurance office was very supportive. Now the box opened. The feeling of trust that everything is OK was nourished and grew. I am starting to see more and more after my almost flat tire of last week and my lock-out this week that the more I can include in what is OK
the more OK I am and life is. This is the practice.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

inspired tire

Today I feel blessed. Yesterday I noticed my tire pressure light was on. I went to the gas station, found my tire pressure gauge and and checked my tires. For some people doing a task like checking their tire pressure is simple and easy. For me it represents a triumph. We all have different gifts. I am learning that if I push through my "I can't " pattern and tackle a mundane task I gain confidence in my ability to cope with the material plane and its challenges. My tires all seemed fine. Sometimes the tire pressure symbol comes on when the weather changes so I waited until today. When I drove to teach my yoga class it was still on. I decided to go to a service station I like on my way home from teaching.
Four people showed up for my class. Instead of feeling disappointment, as I have in the past, I celebrated that I had an even number of people and a small enough group to practice partner poses. The class was a welcome change for me and I think my students had fun. I could see that it represented a shift from my personality strategy of taking everything personally. Surrendering control and resisting blaming myself for what is, certainly allows me to enjoy myself more.
When I left the class I headed for the service station to get some help with the tires. The attendant found a stick embedded in and protruding from one tire. He said I would probaly need two tires and he couldn't order them and get the job done until tomorrow. It was raining hard so I didn't want to walk home from there. He filled the tire said I needed to handle it immediately as it would go flat very soon and recommended a nearby tire place. As I was driving there I remembered a tire place I had gone to previously and liked that was farther away. I took the chance and headed there. I was scared that my tire would go flat and I would be stranded in the pouring rain. Every light was red and I breathed and trusted that everything would be OK. Even the anxiety I was feeling was OK. I arrived at the tire place and they had my exact tire and said it would be fine to just replace the punctured one. The guy said he didn't work on commision so he could recommend what would really work the best. He said he could finish the tire in an hour. I had a client in an hour and called her to see if she could meet thirty minutes later. I reached her and it worked better for her to meet later. I had a delicious lunch at one of my favorite restaurants which was a short walk away. If I had to have a punctured tire this was the best case scenario. I was grateful it had gone so smoothly and people had been so helpful and that I had the money to buy a new tire. It also helped to expand the feeling that everything will be OK no matter what happens to me. Even though many challenges present themselves being OK is a constant. I notice that the more I am willing to include more things in what OK is the more OK I feel. Is there something in your life that in the past you wouldn't have known you were OK when it happened that you now know you are OK? Earned secure attachment is about being able to show up for ourselves in ways we couldn't before. It's knowing that we can comfort ourselves in the midst of what used to be intolerable. To me it represents a growing ability to contain and be there for myself instead of reacting. Self-soothing begets feeling safer in the world and the skillset of knowing what is really a threat and what isn't. Do you notice any ways the world feels safer to you than it used to? The challenge is to embrace this job of reparenting ourselves in a way that includes being present with more and more of what is in our experience. The little kids inside of us are learning to respond to love and acceptance. Maybe we are getting that more and more of all of who we are is OK. Maybe that makes the world feel more OK? As the world feels more OK the sense of the oneness that connects us all becomes more apparent. Maybe the awareness of that sense of oneness in our own small way is helping to transform the planet. I feel blessed to have this forum to share what I am learning. Thank you for listening.