Monday, February 14, 2011

Motivation Mondays: Jealousy is a Map

-Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

(You can go here to read the whole poem.)

The first time I heard that line, it was such a RELIEF. I was always worried that I was the only one feeling a disloyal stab whenever one of my pals beat me out for a NYFA grant or got to meet Mos Def or whatever. (I realize that sentence is kind of braggy-by-association, sorry.) The feeling of oh-no-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life-anyway is overwhelming sometimes. The matter of successful friends is complicated and sticky, but I think it’s really best to learn to see your friends’ successes as a victory for you as well. (Cristin, incidentally, is the most generous successful person I know. She has really helped me to feel like my voice counts. It was my New Years resolution to do whatever she says, and that’s turning out pretty well, I think.)

There’s even a word for being happy for someone else’s gain: mundata. (Translated from Sanskrit). I learned it from Jen “Flash” Andrews on TBTL, the day they were feeling a little sting about their pals Garfunkel and Oates getting a Showtime show.

Julia Cameron says that jealousy is a map to what we secretly want. So in addition to practicing mundata, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if you’ve left yourself out of some part of whatever your friend just got…did you try for it? Can you try for it again?

It also occurred to me embarrassingly recently that if someone is accomplishing something you’d like to do, it’s okay to ask her how she got there. Maybe even to ask for help.

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