November 8, 2013

Return to Your Own Life

Stay on your own yoga mat; dance like nobody's watching. These words encourage inward not outward vision. Comparing-mind is a dark, sticky place. In either direction (I'm worthless or I'm overlooked) there's unnecessary pain. Comparing ourselves to others--looks, accolades, talents, ideas--leads us away from our own hearts; removes us from our own lives.

When I take a photograph, brainstorm a course, or extend a dinner invitation with the intention of being noticed--of being seen and liked--my work isn't genuine; it's flat. When I'm centered (awake to myself) I enjoy the creative process and I'm less attached to outcome. Not surprisingly the quality of my work improves--it's full of life. 

The easiest antidote for my comparing-mind: get off the Internet, close the book, or recycle the magazine; spend intentional time with myself. What is the quality of my heart? What piece of me needs attention? I listen and nurture. (That which I seek externally can only be fulfilled internally.)

It's human nature to compare. And our culture provides countless opportunities for comparing-mind. It's helpful to notice these opportunities for comparison. And then get really curious about our response: How does my body feel? What emotions arise? What thoughts flare? Do I feel constricted or expanded? 

Signals that I'm in comparing mode: when viewing or reading the ideas of others, I feel my chest tighten and my thoughts race. My thoughts urge action, but my most nourishing choice is non-action. It's precisely the time to sit quietly with myself. To access my own basic goodness. To return to my own complicated, beautiful, unique life.


  1. Darling Joy! Thank you for this. I am currently on a two-month Facebook hiatus for this very reason. I realized my focus became external, not internal - on my breadth, not my depth. I'm grateful as always for your Truth.

  2. This is so true. You have put into words what I really could not. It is hard to do this in today's world. I have to look closely at my motives and stop comparing my life to others and if I am not mindful of this, it is so easy for me to get caught up in it. Thank you for these words.

  3. cyndi and cathy: friends, thank you for these comments. i'm glad the post resonated with you. it's such a sly mind-state (comparing). just after i published this post, i looked at other blogs. i was caught for a moment, but then chuckled at the irony and got offline.

  4. so why is it? When I read your words I most need them. I love how that works. Oh geesh, comparing, it's a horrible thing I do. I wish it was easy to not do it. It's a very conscious effort to not do the comparing thing.