Big Problems, and A Promise
Sitting in the ER last night, I wondered where I had gone astray. When did the biggest concern in my world boil down to getting my next paycheck? When did I stop building things? When did my view shrink from four years to four weeks?
When did I start turning away from things that were challenging, instead of reaching for them and reveling in the stretch?
Sitting in the emergency room tends to bring out these sorts of introspective thoughts. I wasn't in serious trouble--just a scary-looking reaction to a pneumonia vaccine. Benadryl solved the problem--but the place was filled with the energy of last moments, turning points, and hard choices. A middle-aged man was wheeled by in a gurney. A Latino man sat worriedly outside a room.
And I was there because of a routine accident.
It doesn't take much to change your world: A needle full of dead bacteria. A driver glancing down for two seconds. A quiet, unnoticed clot that breaks loose. A habit you didn't even know was bad for you.
Kinds of Problems
These are the things ER doctors deal with: emergencies. You don't get to see these doctors unless you have a big problem. Their days are filled with life-altering decisions and actions. They don't deal in trivialities.
A coach once said to me, "There are always going to be problems in life. Whether you live a big life or a small life depends on which problems you decide to work on. If you decide to take on the big problems, you will naturally grow to encompass them. If, on the other hand, you decide to put the big stuff off until you've gotten the little things out of the way, you will always be playing small since little problems will keep cropping up, and you'll stay small as a result."
At a certain point, you have to simply let go of fixing everything and go after the bigger fish. Nothing is a 'problem' by its nature. Circumstances are what they are. Problems are defined by us believing the state of things could, should, or must be different.
Big Ego, Bigger Problems
But taking on big problems requires taking on more responsibility. As this blog was becoming more important to people, and as I was becoming more in demand as a writer, I backed away from that responsibility. My writing career actually hit a new peak right before I stopped blogging, with an article on creating rites of passage for The Art of Manliness.
My ego had gotten too involved, and that was causing me to burn out.
Well, events (which I'll be sharing) have helped me realize that the ego actually draws us to the smaller problems, and it is only when we surrender our egos that the big problems become manageable.
This blog is my seva (selfless service in yoga). I lost sight of that, thinking it had to produce something for me, me, me. But it has supported and inspired many, which I've learned is the greatest gift I could receive.
I made a promise this morning, in a context that allows for no backsliding, that I was done obscuring my true self, the part of me that acts with an open, courageous heart, the part of me that rises to big challenges eagerly. Part of that is to go back to writing regularly and insistently on Warrior Spirit.
I hope I haven't lost too many of you in the last few months. Much has changed in my life, and I'm excited to share what I've experienced and learned in the hopes that it will provide inspiration and guidance.
What size problems do you focus on?