Find the Lesson

On action alone be thy interest… Never on its fruits. Let not the fruits of action be thy motive, nor be thy attachment to inaction. ~Bhagavad Gita

After being told that “memoirs are a hard sell,” I am still writing. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel discouraged for a few days, but I rallied. My turnaround was so complete, I felt liberated by the new perspectives that the supposed bad news afforded.

The most important of these was the way I came to see the event and the role it played in bringing me back to the whole point of writing, which is…the writing. And this realization brought me back into sync with one of the main tenets of the Gita—the spirit of service. If I continue to write, for the sake of the writing, and from the need to share my wisdom and experience with whomever shall benefit, rather than for the promise of publication, then I am truly serving. This realization made me ever more grateful for the experience.

Another perspective that shone forth came in the form of one of my teacher’s words—words I had heard many times, but which beamed brightly now, as if from a burned-out lamp whose bulb had just been replaced:

If you can be deflected from your path, you will be. ~ Guru Singh

It is inevitable that we will meet with opposition, of some sort and at some point—will you hold to your commitment? Will you be like the water in the Tao, able to find your way around all the stones and rocks so gracefully?

Finally, in any situation that seems, at first, to be displeasing, can you find the good? In this case, it was the lesson it delivered. I never saw this project as a memoir, but that wasn’t really the point. The lesson strengthened my commitment, not only to the writing, but to the art of living in grace, generally—and that requires trust. Trust that my offering will find the right home when it’s ready. After all…it is the only story I can tell, and it is a story only I can tell!

I share this story, as well, with the hope that someone may take encouragement from its lessons. What is your commitment?

7 responses to “Find the Lesson

  1. Thank you so much for this Donna! It was a timely reminder and message for me. Blessings and love & light!!!

  2. Simon the Englishman

    Hi Donna,
    Its been a while but this post brings me back. My commitment, or one of them is checking your blog each day:) I notice too that windmill has gone like you said it would. I do notice that there is a distinct difference in feeling between your old blog and leaves. Leaves posts are more like your Buddha book. Kind of Proffessor Quesada or Kundalini Yoga teacher Quesada observations, whereas windmill posts were more Donnas observations (plus the pics of home,family,pets, bits of Culver city etc that drew one into your world).Is that a concious or accidental development? Don’t know if the knock back ‘memoirs'(anyway memoirs are what you write when you’re twice your age!) thing was to do with your second book hopes but like you say its the writing that counts and I’m glad you’ll keep writing. Don’t want to click on your leaves icon and see “this blog has been removed” message! Looking forward to more posts
    p.s. bring back the pics if you can (its warmer and sunnier in your town for a start)

    kind regards

  3. Just what I needed. Thank you. Commitment is a matter that I work with more or less constantly. I think that there is the commitment of more practice, preparing better for classes, etc. Then there is the existential commitment of the Gita. Krishna was telling Arjuna, You need to change who you are. That’s the one I find daunting. Because of course changing who you are means killing off who you are now. And I have a lot invested in all of my vices and regrets and fantasies. But then you realize that Krishna is saying, Change who you are and become who you really are. Tempting, but tough. But there is something about that teaching of letting go of running your life according to what you think the outcomes are going to be, and just come to peace with this moment. I’m finding that to be an existential teaching. And I think that you are exactly right: make an offering of your gifts. Pretty soon that starts feeling Divine, doesn’t it.

  4. I am grateful to each one of your thoughtful comments.
    Thank you for your visit!
    ~Love and Light,

  5. My commitment is to teaching others. Like you, I have an advanced degree but I never had the opportunity to teach on a full-time basis. Mine has been a career of part-time and temporary gigs at more institutions than I care to think about! Very tough way to live! I now have a 12 year old daughter so my teaching has been more sporadic in recent years. But I want very much to get back to it; I feel I have much to offer and a deep need to connect with others. There must be ways to do this beyond the conventional classroom college/university setting. In keeping with your citation from the Gita, I now want to teach without having my eye on getting a tenure track position or receiving adequate compensation. I just want to teach for the pure joy of connecting and sharing ideas! I have spent too many years feeling angry and resentful about my career situation. That’s what happens when you’re “attached to the fruits of actions”! I just want to teach…that’s what I initially set out to do and I enjoy it when I’m working with students who want to learn. My mistake was in becoming fixated on the ambition to be recognized as “a professor.” Thank you for creating this opportunity for reflection and expression!

    • That is beautiful, John. The teacher of my teacher, Yogi Bhajan, calls teaching the highest and most noble occupation. To elevate others is a high calling, indeed——your light has to be lit in order to light the way for others! ~DQ

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