Monday, June 2, 2008

With a cookie by its side, the ego dies a hard death.

Lately, I find myself searching for compliments. I baked cookies for my boyfriend this weekend and I knew they weren’t that great. And he agreed. Yet I felt a little disappointed. I wanted to give him something he really loved of course. But I also wanted my baking talent to be admired, raved about.

This is unlike me. I laugh about these things in general. I’ve actually only baked cookies three times in my life and all three times occurred during this year. For my boyfriend who loves cookies. And if you knew me, you’d know how unusual it is for me to be baking cookies for a man. Goes to show how madly in love I am. But that’s beside the point.

During my transition, I have lost the validation I used to get periodically when I turned in projects for pay. Not only is no one paying me for my creative projects—which are still in development—but no one’s telling me what a phenomenally great job I’ve done on anything. In fact, in the course of this year, I’ve received pages of beautifully crafted critique from my writing coaches and some nice verbal critique from other writers. Which are all very necessary and much appreciated. But they only highlight how much I’ve needed to look inward during this time.

Transition requires us to let go of the ego and connect with the higher part of ourselves, the part that’s always full of love—for ourselves, our creative projects and everything around us. It’s remarkable how we become accustomed to external validation to give us a sense of our own self-worth. And when we don’t get it anymore, our egos look for it in bad cookies and bad arguments. Recently, I’ve caught myself arguing harder to prove a point during discussions—the point I’m trying to make is that I can still be right, that I still have something to contribute.

With no money, compliments or projects yet completed, I’ve actually asked myself from time to time, what am I really contributing? My higher self knows the answer. You contribute by just being. Times of transition give us this gift: the time to stop and learn how to love ourselves for just being.

I’m ready to let my ego die. So every morning, I do yoga and meditate to connect to that part of me that’s eternally happy, loving, confident and full of patience. And every day, my ego breathes a little less. I have visions of it marching off into the sunset with a bag of bad cookies in its hand. To find its final resting place. So I can bake carefree once again.

Here are some suggestions that help us quiet the ego and love ourselves more:

  • Meditate – Sanaya Roman’s meditations in Spiritual Growth are particularly helpful
  • Try Svaroopa yoga which is designed to release mental patterns stored in the body
  • Write down three things you’re grateful for each day
  • Pay attention to what your body needs and do it – even if it means taking a nap in the middle of the day
  • Splurge on yourself at least once a week – even if it’s buying one flower or a piece of expensive chocolate

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