May 8, 2012

Peskiness of Ego

The cartoon below comes from the May issue of Shambhala Sun
In case you can't read the punch line, I'll repeat it: "Between yoga, pilates, therapy, massage, and meditation, I hardly have any time for myself." As someone who does all these things, the cartoon made me chuckle. Sometimes we make to-dos out of our spiritual practice. Or our creative practice. Or our workout practice. This is the peskiness of ego. (I use the word "ego." Others might call it gremlin voice, negative-pants voice, etc.)

For example, we might enter into a routine with very positive intentions. But at some point ego flips the intention to must-do-this-or-you-are-not-a-good-person anxiety. Meddling ego. This is the story of my life. Just when I think I know all the routes ego takes, it finds a new one. But when I notice, I try to smile and then simply ignore. (Note: This is difficult to do, but oh-so worth it.)

Recently, I've been doing a lot. It's been a great deal of creative fun (e.g., photography class, changes to my statistics course, poetry class, meeting with advisees, gardening). But it's too much doing and not enough being. Sometimes I just need to lay on the couch and check in with myself--and specifically ignore my monkey mind of new things to do. Sometimes, instead of creating (e.g. taking a photo or writing a poem), I really need to experience the moment; to watch the animals in the backyard; to simply listen to a thunderstorm; to just be with myself, no distractions needed.


  1. This came at such a good moment in my life right now. I've been doing so many things that are pretty much fun, but realized that they've kinda stopped being fun. Today, I'm sitting on our porch swing, taking photos of my day as I go through it, running later instead of first thing this morning because "that's when I'm supposed to run."

    I feel like I'm on vacation.

  2. Katie: Yay for that vacation feeling! Workouts are definitely a place where ego can get me, so I completely understand your comment about "when you're supposed to run." All we can hope for is to stay aware, make changes, and then--this is the important thing--notice that we're still okay and do a happy dance.