I went to write this blog thinking – “I really should write this about our upcoming Yoga in the Park event as an opportunity to promote these classes. I could write about how I started teaching in a park and the wonderful experience this was.” But then I thought – stuff it. That’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to share with people some of the deeper things I think about. The deeper joys and sadness I feel for humanity and myself. The real stuff that we tend to think about, get angry at ourselves about and feel ashamed to share because by confessing it, it will confirm we are in fact flawed.
So, if you would like to know more about the Yoga In The Park classes we are holding for the month of November – click HERE. We’d love to see you there!
So with that out of the way..
Why is it that we all seem to feel so implicitly flawed? That we are broken in some way? Not good enough. Not skinny enough. Not rich enough. Not popular enough. How is it that we have become so preoccupied with what we look like or who we associate with or what trinkets we possess that we have come to resent who we are? That we have forgotten, or never even got to know, the beautiful souls we are.
I’ve been doing a lot of work on self-compassion these past few weeks. With LOTS of things happening within the business, family dramas – exciting and melodramatic all at once (one can expect nothing less of my family), and personal health matters to address, I’ve been consciously making an effort to slow down and observe. To be a witness to my natural tendencies and those of others and to the language myself and other people use day to day. We can tell so much about a person by they way they hold themselves. How they talk, what they say. How they engage in eye contact, or look away. To practice self-compassion, I have become a more keen observer of myself.
When I look honestly at the areas of my life I would love to change if I had a magic wand, it would be to remove physical pain. I’ve never said to anyone that yoga heals pain. For some, it absolutely does. In my case, it is about pain management. But what I’ve come to notice is when I’m thinking my most negative thoughts, my pain is a hundred times worse. Why? Because I then eat like crap. I get lazy with my practice, how I stand, how I walk. I also fixate on the pain, which will make anything worse. Even if you’re someone without pain, you can create pain if you choose to think about it enough! The reality is, we can manifest whatever we choose to manifest in our lives when enough thought and energy is put into it. This means I need to get a hold of the negative thinking around pain that can be crippling at times. To do this, requires discipline and self-compassion – both of which do not come naturally to someone like me who has grown up with a feeling I am inherently flawed and not worthy.
To reduce pain, my mind needs to focus on and practice activities that will strengthen my body and mind. I must commit to and maintain various daily rituals that will help me to achieve this goal – rituals that are all examples of self-compassion and that I maintain regardless of what others think of me. To name a few:
- Maintain my daily practice but at a slower pace. In an effort to keep up, feel stronger or prove something (to who Jessica?), I tend to push myself a little too hard. So step one here is to pull back.
- To clean up my diet. Lets just say it’s been a bit shit lately and if I continue down this path, weight gain is the least of my worries.
- To stop hyper extending my knees when I stand – this hurts my back, whether I realize it or not. I do this when I’m being lazy. “Don’t be lazy Jessica.”
- To use a trolley for even some of the smallest shopping purchases at the supermarket to take the load of my back carrying uneven weights on either arm.
- To carry less in my handbag.
- To drink more herbal teas.
- To teach fewer classes. This gives me more time to breathe, plan, and relax a little (I’m not the best at relaxing. Thank goodness for yoga!)
- To think more lovingly about my body and my back specifically (this is the toughest one of all for me). To accept my body just as it is – pain, cellulite, freckles and all!
As I get older (and hopefully a little wiser) I’m becoming less and less affected by other people’s opinions of me and more aware that the only opinion that actually matters about myself is my own. So much of my life was dictated by trying to appear as though I had it all together. No insecurities, no health problems, no financial strains. That I should always have the latest designer handbag, newest car, can dead lift 100kg at the gym because other gym junkies can so I should be able to too… (hello broken back!) That typical keeping up with the Jones’ routine. What a crock! Step one to a more self-compassionate life – LET THAT SHIT GO!
So with that said, I encourage you to have a think about different ways you could be a little more compassionate toward yourself. Life is about you and your life. Maybe write a list like I have, regardless of how insignificant the act may seem. Remember, using a trolley to carry my groceries instead of lugging my groceries to the car is on my list for self-compassion! (I even have my own mini trolley in the car!). And then to really commit to this new, self-loving you, I would love for you to share any items from your list with me in the comments below.
Sharing big, warm, loving hugs with you all.