Welcome to Day 21 of my blog series based on Judith Hansen-Lasater’s “A Year of Living Your Yoga.”
I will try to keep these posts to about 500 words.
Here is the quote:
October 13 — How you talk to yourself matters. Our beliefs create a filter through which we see the world. To become free of their power, today pay attention to what you say. Instead of saying “I can’t” say “I’m having difficulty right now.” This will create a space between the present and your beliefs about the present.
I try to do this with myself but I find it’s harder when I’m not actually saying the words out loud. When I speak with others, I hear myself correct myself: “can be” or “might” or “have a tendency” or “can be difficult to do…” that kind of stuff.
The insidious self-damage comes of what we say to ourselves, when no one is around, or what we say silently to ourselves.
I’m a loser.
I suck at this.
My face is ugly.
I’m a fraud.
Me + this moment = failure.
Of all of these statements, I would say that the most nagging of my own, is “I’m a fraud.”
It’s a horrid statement. Yet I feel it deeply, and often. I can’t explain why; it’s primitive and very likely completely irrational and untrue, yet it’s there. Sitting in a chaise lounge beside me, with its fake tan, acrylic nails, smoking an e-cigarette, drinking a non-alcoholic beer, teasing its frosted tips, reading and highlighting a Cliff’s Notes on Hamlet; its half-eaten McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese resting on top of the hour-old services invoice for a botox injection.
Who the hell is that? I don’t know, but I do know I want to base a book on her.
Personal example. I’m almost 47. I love to scull:
It’s a serene experience and it makes me feel free. It also does this to my hands:
So for the longest time, I heard the dialogue “gloves are for losers” when it comes to rowing.
I even posted this image of my hand on my Facebook wall and a friend commented, “Gloves?” and I commented back, “Gloves are for losers.” Even though in my head, I knew that saying such a thing was complete bullshit. My hands were injured.
So, I believed this narrative: That gloves are for losers and I let it seep into my consciousness. Until later in the day when I washed my hands and they burned. And I tried to walk my dogs and my hands burned. And I tried to drive my car, and my hands burned. And I tried to do a downward facing dog and my hands burned.
Then I said to myself, “Self… you are almost 47 years old. You are a successful mother of three. You are NOT an olympic hopeful. You are NOT on a collegiate crew. You’re not even remotely interested in competing. You are NOT infallible. You’re hurt. You can’t even wash your hands without pain. Get y’self some damned gloves, y’damned fool…”
And so I did. They arrived today. If using these gloves makes me a loser, then I’m good with that. If the technology exists to make our lives easier and we can afford it, take advantage of the technology…
Anyway, we are hardest on ourselves. This quote above is from a yoga book, about yoga in daily life. The aspect of “Living Your Yoga” means to just be present and to be complete because “yoga” is the sanskrit word for “union” which to me means “complete” or “balanced.”
Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert recently wrote on her Facebook wall a screed against the word “Balance” and how it’s become (in her mind anyway, so every freakin’ female incapable of independent thought should get in line behind her — baaah-aaaaah) synonymous with “perfection.”
Eff that. Eff Gilbert.
I couldn’t disagree more and here’s why: “balance” to me simply means: NOT FALLING OVER. It doesn’t mean perfection. It doesn’t mean “flawless” — it means maintaining your stability amidst the tempest. Not your BEST stability. Not your PERFECT stability; just freakin’ maintaining it: not falling down.
I’m really surprised by her take on this actually. It sounded so whiney. I believe, with all my heart, that achieving some semblance of balance — no matter what the context — is winning at life. It’s not “fake it ’til you make it” bullshit (which is absolutely the most horrid advice ever), it’s about standing in the storm and learning how to dance in the rain.
Heaven forbid Gilbert become the next Oprah. (I call dibs on first predicting this. I will be the Nostradamus of flawed popular prophets.)
Gilbert is far from self-actualized (and then I am too when I get mad about this) when she spouts off about balance.
Balance is our friend. Balance is our barometer. When you feel off-balance, you get to slow down and check out where you’re heavier or lighter on a matter. If you feel pulled-upon or put-upon. It’s good… Balance is … ugh.
Gilbert. NnnnNNNnnnnnn. Shut up.
Back to the quote (speaking of being off-balance): self-talk. Be nicer to yourself.
See if you can get yourself to speak the ugly things about yourself out loud. And then look around you at all you have and all you are and all you have achieved, and laugh at the ugly thoughts.
That inner talk, that ugly talk is garbage. Set it out on Tuesdays and Fridays and leave it for the truck. Seriously: write it down, then tear it up and leave it for the trash service.
(ps – this was way more than 500 words. i blame liz gilbert.)