On the Conflicts between Selves


These days, I find my past and present lives intersecting.

With the studio settling more and more into a rhythm (businesses are like satellites: it takes an obscene amount of energy to get them launched, but once they find their orbits, they pretty much move on their own), there’s increasingly more space to return to long-abandoned pursuits: cleaning, cooking, corresponding, daydreaming, reading, studying, writing.

Of course, it’s not exactly the same. Owning a business, just like raising a child, permanently alters your existential borders. The self, once so satisfyingly impregnable, has been permanently breached. The struggle in parenting an enterprise or another human being lies in re-erecting and maintaining demolished boundaries. The effort lies largely in suppressing a most insidious and pervasive guilt: I shouldn’t be relaxing…There’s still so much to be done…There’s always more to be done…

Still, there is space—and my past lives are erupting into the gap, so that déjà vu assails me at odd moments throughout the day. I’m still figuring out how to navigate my way through these temporal collisions; how to arbitrate the demands not just of conflicting others but also conflicting selves. Nothing is urgent, but everything is important, and as everyone knows, it’s easier to address the urgent than it is to confront the important. Now, for instance, I have to choose between the following: (a) spending more time on this post, (b) continuing my studies of the Yoga Sutra, and (c) analyzing the studio’s attendance data for the last eight months.

I know what I want to do, but it’s not all about me now. In this particular instance, the present trumps the past.

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