This is one of my favourite teachings. It comes from Pema Chödrön’s compilation book, Comfortable with Uncertainty. It is a teaching that I like to read at the beginning of a class, prior to teaching ujayyi and beginning asana. I am posting it here that all may benefit.
Another thread of the complex adaptive system that is my life is anthropology. I have been a paid anthropologist for twelve years. I have invested many years of study and effort in my career, and as I have written before, have an incredibly deep attachment to being an anthropologist.
I have had some really bad years where I worked for an agency in love with the idea of employing an anthropologist, but with no idea of what to do with one. I did this for 4 ½ years. Turned up for work day after day, with no real idea what I was supposed to be doing. Half the time, I fluffed around doing not very much at all and feeling suicidal.
Then, last year, I my life changed and I went back to my old agency. In November I was rewarded with a promotion. I love the mix of management and fieldwork that I have in my job. Quite simply, most aspects of my job, I love.
But something very different is happening in my partner’s life. With the potential to wreak havoc on my job – and my career.
I view my life as a complex adaptive system (CAS), a series of nested feedback loops. Some appear complete in themselves, but all are interrelated: anthropology, family, gym, yoga, plus those other parts of my life I don’t write much about here such as Advaita, camping, bushwalking, geocaching, and birdwatching. What happens in one part of the CAS that is my life cycles around, causes a ripple and eventually affects others in a lesser or greater manner. There are many dependent variables and unexpected outcomes – all intertwined.
I haven’t mapped my life as a CAS yet, however I believe it would be a useful tool for monitoring depression and understanding one’s own psychology. Data could be easily collected through keywords in a diary and then mapped using one of the network mapping tools that maps links between websites … but I significantly digress!
Regular readers of this blog will know that late last year, I undertook a Level 1 Teacher Training. I was far from comfortable or happy with the course.
In fact, I came away reeling. This course challenged everything I felt, experienced and understood about yoga: it was inauthentic, more about pumping out asana teachers than anything else. Any deep explorations of philosophy, mediation, pranayama or anatomy were dismissed or discouraged.
As a result, I suddenly found upon my return that I didn’t like doing yoga any more. I certainly didn’t want to teach. I could not reconcile myself with the training: there was no mutuality of purpose, no depth, no connection. Why I was spending 1000s of dollars on something I no longer identified with?
I’m feeling more than a little disillusioned with blogging. Especially blogging about yoga and related subjects.
There’s some angsty-antsy stuff out there in the blogging world at the moment.
Reading and replying opens one up for hurt or invites the uninvited in many forms.
I am thinking about taking the blog down and returning to nothing.
I don’t really think it’s contributing to anything in any meaningful way. I wonder if my blog is in some way part of the competition on the mat in some places, far removed from the mat? Or some desperate plea from my ego to be recognised, popular and liked?
So I will retire to silence for the time being. This moment is perfect and there is nothing else needed here.
I am currently wading through a number of applications and CVs for a vacancy in the agency where I work. I’ve done this a number of times now, and there are a few things that apparently intelligent and highly qualified applicants often do that never cease to amaze me. I’m talking about mistakes in the application process that instantly ensure they never get an interview, much less the job.
If you’re looking for a job in applied anthropology in Australia -and this advice will carry over into many other disciplines- read on. This post offers advice to professional job applicants from the point of view of someone on the selection panel.