12 Months of Discipline: February is for Passions and Emotions

Ego says ‘once everything falls into place, ill feel peace.’ Spirit says ‘Find your peace and then everything will fall into place.

— MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

I felt the above to be an appropriate quote to use as I dive into my next focus out of my 12 months of Discipline. Following in line with The Daily Stoic, February is for passions and emotions.

The Daily Stoic co authored by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
The Daily Stoic co authored by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

In today’s society, we understand the word passion to be associated in a powerful and positive way. However, in philosophy and in religion, passion is a term that relates to desire, suffering, pain, anguish, and torture.

As humans, we’re wired in a sense to continuously seek out new levels—we want more. There is always a new level to reach in our personal and professional lives. We fool ourselves thinking once we hit that goal, we can then lay our passions to rest and find peace. Yet, once again, a new passion has us yearning for something else. The satisfaction of reaching one’s objective never lasts.

Emotions naturally follow and we then create a response to those emotions. Either we internally self-flagellate by calling ourselves names or we end up punching a wall, screaming in a pillow, or find ourselves anxious as hell.

Hold up though, first let me back track for a second before I further into February—January, proved to be everything I needed it to be. I gained some good insight, and a profound amount of clarity.

After sharing five uncomfortable truths about myself I was able to really zoom out and begin to ask myself productive questions about all the parts in my life, especially the areas where I am the cause of my own stressors.

Confronting what makes you feel negative is how you can create positive change in your life

— Cory Allen , Now Is The Way

With that being said I think it is important to mention that I am a little behind this month on this article (like 28 days behind) as I have been dealing with a nervous energy inside of me. An extra anxiousness, a restlessness. Maybe that is what comes after you gain clarity. Or, maybe it has always been there and because of my amplified sense of clarity I am aware of it more. One thing I do know for sure is what I am feeling is stemmed from a yearning, a desire, a passion. Hello February.

When I see an anxious person, I ask myself, what do they want? For if a person wasn’t wanting something outside of their own control, why would they be stricken by anxiety?

— Epictetus

Recently, I have picked up some new projects in trying to get back into some sort of work mode routine. Projects that once upon a time I could fully and intensely immerse myself into. Time was unceasing. Not at all, like today.

Today—I am trying to stay committed in my mission of fully living the stay at home parent (SAHP) life simultaneously trying to get back to what I believed my true identity to be. In my hunt for such a balance, I am feeling more confused, irritated, and anxious than ever.

Although, I think about those project filled days more often than I should, in retrospect I have come to realize that despite the fact that I loved my job I also used it as a distraction from underlying matters that I did not realize I was trying to ignore. We will touch on that another time.

So here I am, once again, dabbling in the past (fueling sadness), freaking out about my future (igniting anxiety)—that I am completely ignoring now (the important moment). And THAT, is how we become skewed with passions and emotions.

Presence needs to take precedence!

In reading the book, Now is The Way, by Cory Allen, creator of The Astral Hustle podcast, music producer and meditation teacher, I was slammed in the face with some profound shit. You know the type of shit that happens when you are confronted by your own truth—from someone else’s truth and you think to yourself (or in my case say out loud) “Well, ShhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiaaaT”.

In this book, my newest hero, shares his approach to mindfulness as well as the importance of being present. A concept that is so fucking foreign to me. He also shares his personal experiences as well as others on the source of our anxieties (passions) offering different methods to help cope:

When we get too wrapped up in grabbing at what we think will make us complete, we stop being able to see what is apparent. The anxiety of wanting makes the abundance of what is already here blurred and faded. Desire is not only in things. We desire to hurry up, feel in control, be perfect, make others more like us, and so on.

Life is happening all around us. All we have to do is allow ourselves to slow down and take it in.

[Now is The Way]

I wrote in my journal the other day “my soul seems so restless these days”, but what I am now realizing is that it is my ego, not my soul. My ego fills me with distraction, fear and all out fight or flight mode. Sneaky fucker.

I chose to experience what it is to be a SAHP, yet ego says “AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT! Hurry up! Whats our next 20 steps?! Game plan! You can do everything because everyone else is. You are missing out girl… GO GO GO”. 

So here is what I have to say to ego:

By zooming out and detaching myself from my personal passions, I would have to say that I have everything. I would say that what I have now is more than enough and requires my full attention.

I’d say that aspirations are healthy and exciting, but they should not be my target focus and ESPECIALLY not a source of anxiety. I would also say that I should know better than anyone to trust the timing of my life—even if I cannot control all the aspects of it.

I know from experience, that tragedies play out to be perplexing gifts, and that as long as I remain present in the moment and practice virtue (patience, fortitude, wisdom, courage, temperance) when all of life’s cycles arise, than not a drop of time is considered wasted because my purpose of living—is living.

After reading many articles on the last thoughts or things that people regret at the end of their lives, I have come to the belief that it is when we are in our death beds is when we realize that we treated our yearning for the next level as if it was a destination to be reached. A destination where we hoped to find peace.

Instead, we tend to get so caught up in our continuous search for this unattainable thing, we missed the memo telling us that the mere process of living—the highs, the lows, the miracles and the tragedies, is what in fact fulfills our human needs. The next level was never a thing but of inanimate nature. If we understood that earlier off then we would not have so many regrets to spout off when our time comes to go.

And so I conclude with this, if you are like me in dealing with a burning, a yearning, a passion, or an anxiousness that keeps you always looking ahead feeling guilty about what is around you now, understand that you are sitting exactly where you should be.

If you have, up until this point controlled what it is that you actually can control, then there is nothing left to do other than to be confident that you brought yourself as far as you could, so let the rest take its course, and let it go.

Worry, fear, and anxiety does not change a damn thang! It is a waste of time. Do not miss out on what’s around you right now, because it is all a part of the “next level”. Listen to Marianne Williamson –Find this peace, and watch everything fall into place.

Just as January’s Clarity naturally rolled into February’s Passions and Emotions, your self-examinations from those are going to play a big roll for next months theme: March is for Awareness.

Chat you up soon!

Remember to conduct yourself in life as if at a banquet. As something being passed around comes to you, reach out your hand and take a moderate helping. Does it pass you by? Don’t stop it. It hasn’t yet come?

Don’t burn in desire for it, but wait until it arrives in front of you. Act this way with children, a spouse, toward position, with wealth—one day it will make you worthy of a banquet with the gods.

— Epictetus

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