I was at a restorative yoga sound bath last night, and my teacher invited us to have an intention for our practice, as teachers often do. What came to me sounds normal and yogi-like, but for myself, I was caught off-guard: COMPASSION. I’ve been practicing yoga for years and the concept of compassion has always been like, “Duh, that’s why I’m here.” But I suppose the truth is that I was never ACTUALLY experiencing the practice of compassion beyond an intellectual concept. I would always ask for patience, gentleness, or presence to be my intentions. So when I curled into child’s pose last night, I was like, “Ok lets see how this goes!” And it went well! My body experienced discomfort and my mind was quite active, especially regarding the discomfort, but my mind also said, “Hey you are feeling things and there is a reason for it.” This doesn’t mean I knew why…and wanting to know the reason is a function of the ego. So I tried to let that go and just say it was ok to be whatever.
So I woke up this morning with the same intention of compassion and lets just say I’m liking it. I mean, usually I operate in such a way that I hold nervous, rising energy in me when I do EVERYTHING, such as assembling my breakfast, walking into my bedroom to put on chapstick, making sure I push my pee out as fast as I can so I can get on with my life! But today! The constant reminder, “all of that stuff is ok,” has actually made for a smooth ride where my gut doesn’t feel like it is rising into my chest, and I can feel my feet on the ground. My back doesn’t hurt as much as usual. My creativity has been flowing and I have been grounded enough to write this blog! I even pooped three times before 10AM and if you know me, you know that this is monumental! And I’m talking ACTUAL BMs…not those fake-outs that leave you more annoyed than relieved. (Sidetone: the large intestine is emotionally linked to forgiveness, letting go….can anyone guess what I’m working on? Eh?) If you weren’t prepared to hear about bodily functions, pardon me. I just thought I would offer some tangible examples of how this is going for me.
All these years of trying to calm my anxious tendencies and be ok with where I am in my life has taught me a lot. Mainly, how much I need to work on patience. Having a lot of ideas and energy and not know how to direct them can cause problems. It can make you more anxious and feel like you are letting yourself down for not being where you want to be. I move fast, but my life moves slowly. (I’ve been told MANY times how quickly I pee but that I made decisions like molasses.) Patience is key to allowing yourself to develop organically and in alignment with what you are truly wanting. It isn’t the way of today’s world. To be patient is to be bold. But, I’m finding that practicing patience doesn’t necessarily make me grounded or at peace. It brings a lot of awareness to my tendencies, but having that awareness usually just makes me hit myself on the head with a stick and say, “BE MORE PATIENT. CALM THE F DOWN.” And then judgement and guilt arise, which even if it isn’t crippling guilt, still perpetuates shame and dissatisfaction with myself. “I’m still operating in a way that aggravates me and I haven’t reached my goal yet,” are the thoughts, even if I don’t know what my goal is. Patience is important whether you know you goal or not.
But, COMPASSION has reminded me that it is ok to be impatient. It is ok to be anxious. For me, anxiety is an every-present sense that “something is just not right.” I have a predisposition to feel (even if I don’t think it) something is off. And then that makes me feel like I am off. I’m the problem. So when I practice compassion, I am reminded that whatever is there, is ok for now. You see, GIULT brings shame and keeps you locked in discomfort. ACCEPTANCE makes you feel safe, which allows you to let your guard down and actually let yourself expand into something else. COMPASSION has been the practice that actually helps me find calm and peace. I sense this is because I am inviting myself to just be, in order to transform into something else. I’m not punishing myself for my habits and I’m not forcing myself to be something else. How can you have patience for where you are without having compassion for where you are? And for the record, acceptance doesn’t mean you identify with what you accept. It means you acknowledge it as a valid experience for the time being. This is soothing and allows energy to shift and expand into something else…something you are wanting. Something that feels more you. Not immediately, let’s be real. It may take time and a lot of patience, but with compassion, you create a context for patience to exist. And to tie forgiveness back into all this, I wonder about the relationship between it and compassion. What I currently say is that forgiveness a post-experience state rather than an in-the-moment state. Forgiveness helps us let go of what has happened, while compassion helps us be with what is currently and continuously arising. Regardless of whether you attribute your tendencies to illness, trauma, your natal chart, your constitution, or your environment, I suggest compassion. No matter the origin, these are experiences you are having.
So there we go…a little Sunday-morning musing. I wish you all a beautiful week, and that you allow yourself the patience, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion to take a BIG cosmic dump, making space for new life enter you. My guess is that everything gets a lot more funny when you can laugh at al the stupid shit you do. Have fun.