Fridays are fun days

24 Aug

The last few days have been tough, no time for such frivolous things as writing or breathing….

After a plane trip with a toddler, a couple glasses of spilled milk, and some QT with my life coach, I am due for some serious self reflection (svadyaya). After about 20 minutes of crying with my coach and wondering why my path in life is support others in attaining their goals and never my own, I just sat in silence for a minute. It is so easy for me to talk to others about these things. I make sense, I have humor, poignant moments of grace, and yet when it comes to myself, I am not even able to see that I am worth my own time.

The YellowBlanket made a comment about my last post and it struck a chord with me. “Sometimes I wonder, though, how we can tell the difference between the things that insult our soul vs. the things that insult our egos? I think it’s extremely important to be able to shake off criticisms and negative feedback, but how do we know what to choose to let IN? How do we allow scathing criticism with those little seeds of truth assist us in developing more wise, more informed, more well rounded self? Without self destructing, that is?”

As I was sitting in silence, I thought about those criticisms that come from the outside and how they are so tiny in comparison to the ones that come from the inside. That all that work and study are so personal, that very few others can be any more specific to what is broken than you are to yourself. That the ones that hit the hardest most often resonate with the hard hits you place on your self every day.

One of the things I love so much about yoga is the insistence on self love and acceptance, the repeated message that all the mindless chatter that you are bombarded with from within and without are complete and total illusion and that the truth of who you are inside is infinite.  My biggest moments of self reflection are around the deep searing personal criticism that I have for myself, whether physical, professional, or emotional.  There is this cool skill mentioned in the Sutras called pratipaksha bhavana, or “practicing the opposite.” It is an opportunity to counter a negative feeling with a positive one.

I am not advocating ignoring the hard stuff or pretending that there are not challenges, but instead suggesting that we sit with it and recognize it for what it is, just stuff, not bad or good, just stuff. And after practicing not reacting, allowing ourselves to see these challenges for what they are, an opportunity to learn, to let go, to grow, to change and be more truly who you are in the next interaction.

I have moments to grow and learn, like 200 times a minute. I have a toddler, he throws things at me, bites, me, and creates scenes in public. I am also pretty hotheaded, I come form a long line of mouthy, bossy ladies who want their opinions known. I practice things day by day, and if I end a day having been able to let several things role of my back and integrated something new into my way of thinking about the world, it’s been a success. My friend Megan says, “when you have a newborn, if you get dressed and take a shower in the same day, it is a success.” Yogic living, I think, is the same way. Baby steps.

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