Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Appeal of Transformation

Reading of B's transformation here was inspiring. I have loved following her progress as she has done a ton of self-work over the last few months, including quitting a job she loved to find one with better work-life balance, taking a sabbatical from work to heal her body and mind in preparation, among other things for a frozen embryo transfer, her silent meditation for five days, her burgeoning self knowledge that she was about to find a relationship... Amazing and inspiring! Part of me wishes I would do the same thing.

Heck, I wish I would just meditate in my very own apartment! Once a day would be great, but once, period, would be a start.

And then I'm re-reading Eat, Pray, Love which is one of my favorite books of all time. It's funny because I rarely enjoy books that are so wildly popular, but this one really speaks to me. Her particular brand of wacky self neurosis feels very familiar to me. And she goes through a year of self work and growing self awareness too, and like B, it includes lots of meditation. Again, something I wish I would do.

But mulling this over today, and thinking how I sort of wish I could go on a five day transformative journey of any sort, and how impossible that would be, logistically speaking, I realized something. The thrill of transformation is incredible.


I don't need to transform. I'm already where I need and want to be. 

For example: I work with a social worker and a medical assistant. I think the social worker sucks, frankly. I think she's totally checked out, and it's completely obvious to the students. I tried to talk to her about it, a few months into her job, and she denied feeling this way. I tried talking to management. They pretty much said, "we will take it under advisement." They may be pursuing it in a super slow sort of way (she's been with the clinic nearly three years now). Whatever they decide, I did what I could. And now, I observe from afar that I think she still sucks, and it's pretty unbelievable to me that she seems to call in sick every two weeks, but to use an expression I admire, this is "not the hill I want to die on." I think the kids deserve better. But there's nothing I can do about it. So why waste energy on it?

Every stressor that comes along -- and even minor stressors are rare these days -- I start to get anxious and then, after a minute, I think, "Eh. Whatever it is, the world is still spinning. I can pay my bills (even if my savings are slowly dwindling). I'm healthy. I have my little girl, and she's healthy, too. Everything else, whatever it is, I can handle."

I know something happened in Israel today, because I've seen Facebook posts about it. But I don't have TV, and I've lost my radio, and I haven't bothered to figure out the new one I ordered, post Sandy, which is hand-cranked and emergency ready. So I'm clueless. And happy in my bubble. Likewise, I went to bed early on election night. And when I woke up the next morning, I did not rush to my computer to find out the news -- I worked out, first.

In Eat, Pray, Love, the author talks about asking herself, "what do you want to do?" This was a radical question to her, learning to listen to her small inner voice. It turned out that what she wanted to do was learn Italian.

I ask myself this question all the time. I remember that it used to feel radical when I asked myself this question and realized that I wanted to avoid parties, and so I did. Now I ask myself this question all the time, and it turns out that what I want to do is spend time with my little girl, staying local and spending time with our four neighborhood friends and their toddlers. Every weekend. This might be boring by other people's standards, but I'm happy.

When and if I decide I want to pursue a romantic relationship, I think I will have plenty of work to do. I realize now that my childhood and my father, especially, may make it impossible for me to have a healthy relationship without doing more work. But for now, I have no desire to share my life with another adult.

So I'm feeling pretty damn lucky, even if a little envious of folks who get to experience the thrill of self transformation. I miss that kind of excitement. But I think the trade off is worth it.


  1. This post got me a little choked up! I thought B's meditation and new self awareness sounds so amazing...but there can be a lot of new self awareness gained from different paths, too.

    "What do you want to do?" is such a powerful question. It's just recently that it's occurred to me, too.

  2. Ever since having my son, I have realized I'm very much at peace and content. I've noticed that when I have a "chance to make a wish" (blowing out birthday candles, found an eyelash) I use it as a moment to stop and be thankful for what I have instead.