Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What Is Your Learning Edge?

Garnet David, of Glittering Stew, tagged me with a new meme floating around the blogosphere: What is your learning edge. Here's the gist of it:

“Write a post about your “learning edge” and what you’re into these days. Feel free to mention any books you’re reading, classes you’re taking, people you’re learning from or collaborating with, etc. Tell us about the gems you’re picking up, the fun you’re having, etc., especially if they’re shifting the way you look at what you do.”

I've been sitting with this for a day or so, unsure of what I wanted to post about. But something that happened earlier this week (that I just blogged about today) shifted my thinking a little bit. So, this is my learning edge:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

~ Hamlet

This is the only question worth asking in life. And unless one chooses to end it, we have a responsibility to live life as fully as possible.

To say "yes" to life, to say "I want to live" -- this is only the beginning of the journey.

Many of us do not really live our lives -- and this is certainly true of me at times. We get up, go to work, maybe go to the gym or the grocery store, come home, eat, go to bed, and then do it all again the next day. On weekends we try to get some rest, maybe see a movie or go shopping, and before we know it another Monday has arrived.

The days pass quickly and then the years and then the decades. What a waste. Many of us do not even enjoy the work we do -- and we spend more time working than we do in most other parts of our lives.

Three years ago I decided I wanted to do my passion as my work, full time. I quit my marketing/sales job and became a full-time personal trainer and freelance writer. I can't express how much better my life has been since doing this.

Still, I often am not really living a lot of the time. My days become a routine. I am single, so I feel the loneliness of not having someone to share my life with -- and I feel sorry for myself. I read a lot, watch DVDs, hang out with friends when I can. I sit on the cushion several times a week. But I often feel like my life is on auto-pilot, and I am just a bystander.

My learning edge is learning how to really be ALIVE.

Certainly, meditation helps me be more present, to feel more plugged into life. And when I am with clients, I am much more present and alive than when I am at home. When I am writing, or blogging, I also feel more plugged in, more a part of the flow of life. When I am working out I feel more alive than almost any other time in my life, aside from my recent relationship (where I felt TOTALLY alive until it ended).

I am learning more and more about subpersonalities (see the sidebar for posts on this topic), which helps me understand how certain parts within me push me toward disconnection. Working with shadow stuff also helps me see what holds me back from being more present in my life.

Each day I struggle to face the day with openness and hope -- wanting to make each day the best day it can be. Often, at night when I am going to bed, I feel like I have wasted another day. But I am trying to end each day with a sense of gratitude, and that helps me see the good things each day that I might otherwise take for granted.

So, now I am supposed to tag some other people, so I tag Peter, Tim, and Apollo.


Anonymous said...

Have read the Myth of Sisyphus?

william harryman said...

Yes, I have -- many many years ago. I used to be a huge Camus fan when I thought life was absurd.

Many life IS absurd, but it can have meaning if we make meaning from it.


DTclarinet said...

WH- Good post, with heartfelt honesty. You are on the right track. You know what is real. But it takes time to grow out of wasteful habits, especially to do it without more negative feelings.

A few books to look at- Flow, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and The Bhagavad Gita.


william harryman said...

Thanks David, I actually have read all three of those and many many other books. I know what I need to do, it's just the doing it.

I'm working on it though, so I know it will improve.


Adam Kayce said...

Thanks for jumping in on the Learning Edge meme... I'm posting an update post today, linking to your blog and this post, so others can find it.

Quite a few people have jumped in so far, and what people are learning is exciting to see.

I think your piece is one of those bedrock, crucial ones — engaged living — that without this one, any other goal just kinda sputters and dies.

Thanks again!