What To Do With It All?
For a while I've been asking myself, "How do I combine all the things I do?" I draw, practice yoga, recovering from an eating disorder, and am a freelancer who earns her gluten-free bread and vegan butter from teaching yoga and drawing.
All these activities make sense and work well together in real life, but when it comes to business, I find myself extremely confused and all over the place. Not all know, but I act in all fields mentioned above, both in English and Hebrew in a few channels, and that's a lot for me. But because I feel connected to it all, I find it hard to focus only on one or two channels.
And since it's so confusing for me, I'll journal about it and see if it brings some order to my mind.
Where do I start?
If I set things down chronologically, drawing was the one that came first. I started to draw at the age of one (that's what my parents say), and over the years it became an amazing tool for me to investigate and learn more about myself, emotions, human beings, society, love, and so much more.
Later on, since I am a human raised to be a woman in a not-perfect surrounding (aren't we all), I faced some difficulties I didn't know how to handle. The pressure of fitting into my family's and society's rules, and filling up all kinds of expectations, introduced me to eating disorders. That was my primary tool to regulate my emotions and lack of control. As Dr. Lacresha Hall described in EDA's Big Book:
"An eating disorder is not about food, the body, or weight; it is an ineffective solution to a problem that has become concealed to the point of being unrecognizable. In effect, an eating disorder successfully distracts everyone from focusing on the true problem underneath."
(EDA Big Book, p. xxvii)
I used overeating, undereating, binging, and eventually purging to deal with my unmet need for love, intimacy, understanding, a sense of value, belonging, meaning, etc. Understandably, my problems and traumas were not solved by my eating disorders, and over the years, some got worse while others seemed to get better.
And then, around the age of thirty, yoga knocked on my door. The thing is, it came into my life at a point where I already had my body image issues, my fear of intimacy, difficulties in trusting, a tendency to self-harm, multiple physical and health problems, and much more. And so, while a part of me was getting sweet relief and healing from the practice, another was abusing it and using it to suppress pain. I believe it's almost inevitable in the society we live in, to not use methods this way - it's human nature. But for me, it meant that I used the practice to suppress a lot in the name of becoming "a better version of myself" - something I see as high-level BS.
I remember hearing Ram Dass talks about the nature of methods; he explained how a good method will catch you and make you believe it is the only way to go. He added that if you are lucky, you'll break free from the method, realizing what it thought you was always there - the method helped you discover what was there all along. Dass's conclusion reminds me of the story about the poor guy sitting on a box while begging for money, not knowing the box he was sitting on was full of gold.
What is a method?
My definition of a method is any constructed/repetitive action/process you believe has a particular outcome. For example - If I do this set of exercises, I will get stronger. If I sit for vipassana meditation for two hours a day, I will solve my XY problem. If I choose this lifestyle and be very strict about it, it will be the key to my happiness, etc.
Literally anything we do can become a method, depending on our perspective and how we use it. And most of us constantly look for them, even when we claim we don't want anyone telling us what to do. Life can be so challenging; won't it be perfect to have a map to happiness, a sense of control, and the end of suffering?
But when the connection to the method and practice blinds us, we most likely ignore warning signs if they pop up along the way. Why? Well, when something makes you feel good, it's easy to look away from the damage it may cause.
Even today, when I'm a part of a twelve-step program, I keep my eyes wide open. I know that things can get messed up even when the intentions are good.
Anyways, let me try to get back to the topic I started with somehow; Yoga came into my life and helped me gradually change things that were crying for help: I learned to spend more time with myself in solo practice (Mysore style), get to know myself and my thoughts better and relax through meditation, I learned to breathe, fully, got to know my body better, I discovered what is compassion, developed a routine that required my commitment and dedication, I quit drinking, ended a mismatched relationship, followed my heart and moved to Berlin, strengthened my connection to God (as I see God) and much more.
Also, the yoga practice enriched my creative process due to quieting down and brought words to describe a process that previously was always silent. I could see the yoga in drawing and the similarities between both practices. It's still fascinating to me.
Yet, at the same time, I kept on heaving an abusive and life-threatening relationship with food. It was still hard for me to find and express my voice, trust, and love. I used the practice to look away from the severity of some of my behaviors by focusing on my new ideals of positivity, acceptance, serenity, and more. I was better at accepting and giving to others than I was to myself - and then came the inevitable - I collapsed.
I gave until I had nothing left to give. And that's when I broke free from the method, or most of its grip.
I never fully gave up on yoga, but I found myself having a very problematic place with the practice and method. I had to let go of my strong hold over it to find recovery from my eating disorder and acceptance of my body and self, regardless of how much I move and do. I had to reach, touch and express my anger and discover what toxic positivity means to me. I used more 'Western' methods to help me in the process, like one-on-one therapy sessions and group support meetings (the last two are still there).
I am still on my way, but I already feel so much more alive, without bungee jumping, traveling to exotic places, or having mind-blowing love affairs. I am finally alive because I allow myself to feel more of my feelings, mostly the ones I was escaping from. It was facing the unbelievable pain of early traumas that set me a bit freer. And I still have a lot more to uncover and discover.
Drawing and yoga were there for me during the hard and good times, but my relationship with them had changed. I now see their magic better, but I also see the parts where one can get caught and blinded. I surely did.
I think getting caught and blinded by methods and practices is part of the experience; some will get it and others won't.
I feel that now I'm here to share the magic and to give some shoutouts about the negative aspects of the practices.
Great power must be used wisely.
And here it is. I wrote a whole text without figuring out what to do my struggles with combining work in art and yoga in multiple languages, but I see better how they go along. Well. That's always a good start.
Thank you for reading my thoughts :)
If you have similar experiences - please share! I discovered the power of the group and sharing this past year and a half, and It's God damn incredible.
With tons of LOVE