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Perspective & 5AM

You know that feeling you have when you’re with someone you totally love and adore, and they begin to share with you about how they feel inadequate, inferior, unworthy, and generally like the biggest loser you’ll ever meet?  Your eyes grow wide with surprise and shock, your jaw opens, and your lips form words like, “Are you kidding me?”  And, “You are so totally awesome – how can you not see that?”

I’m sure you know it.  It’s happened to all of us a few times in our lives.  And likely, you’ve been the one confessing your loser-dom to someone who thinks you’re the best thing in the whole universe, and they’ve said as much in response.

I think we all go through this, to some extent.  Life can be harsh; we take our experiences and we distill them into irrefutable facts about our selves, and thus: low self esteem is born.  I have spent the better part of the last15-20 years sorting through all of these so called truths and discarding those that do not serve me.  It’s a process full of pain sometimes, relief, fear… and ultimately wonder.  I thought I had it all sorted.  I faced my deamons and beat them.  I re-wrote my truths, and life was good.

Then I became a mother.

Turns out, I had only resolved part of my issues.  Who knew?!  Certainly not me.  And you can be sure too that the past 9 and a half years as been full of early mornings, late nights, wet beds, midnight feedings, middle of the night fevers and so on that I really haven’t had a chance to delve deeply into these newly surfaced “truths”.  It was only after coffee with a friend a few weeks ago that I decided that it was time to bring my issues to the forefront.

This is a fairly new friend, although I’ve known her for about 5 years now.  We’ve just started making the time to get to know each other, and as you do, you share your foundational stuff.  You know, what your job was before kids, how you met your husband, and so on.  It was during this “discovery” shall we call it, that I said, “I never wanted kids.”

She was shocked!  Her eyes were wide, her jaw hung open and she said, “Wow!  But you’re so good at it!”

Then it was my turn to be shocked.

Really, I know this parenting thing is tough.  I look at all the people around me with kids and I know that they are doing the best that they can for them.  I do not judge them, I accept them where they are, and honour their struggles.  I do not afford myself this compassion, however.

In fact, it’s been coming to light for sometime that I don’t afford myself much compassion at all.  I see my faults in glaring harsh light.  I count my failings continually.  I am fretting over the current interaction I’m having, hoping that the person I’m engaging with won’t run screaming when they realize it’s me they’re talking to.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’ve got to get out of your own way”?  I have heard it a few times, and used it myself in fact.  Recently, others whom I respect and admire have said it to me, and so I’ve been pondering what it means and how to take it’s advice.  I asked a few people what it meant, and what came back usually was something about making excuses.  I asked MOMD – since wordsmithing is his craft – and he had an explanation that really resonated for me.  He said, “Having the awareness of the patterns and behaviours that prevent you from success or attaining your goals.”

Huh…  The key for me in that is “awareness”.  Have an awareness of your patterns and behaviours.

And so: I began to think on all of the instruction and teachings I’ve received over the past 5 or so years.  What do successful people do?  What patterns serve them to achieve their highest and best?  How do people who feel good about themselves behave?

How do I tell myself that I love me?

Which brings us to the 5AM Club.

The jist is that successful people get up early.  They spend the first hour or so of their day focussed solely on serving and nurturing themselves.  No emails, no texts, no phone calls.  No reports, no letters, no research.  They exercise.  They meditate or pray.  They read for their own personal growth and development.  They spend the first hour of their day caring for them.

Two days ago, I joined the club.  They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and I am committed to this for that long at least.  When I was practicing yoga yesterday at 5:20AM, I had a salient realization: I had nothing to think about but me.  I knew where the kids were (sleeping), they didn’t need anything from me, no one was expecting to see me for another hour at least, and I could set it all down and care for me.

Sure – I’ve taken a day here, a day there, to relax and rejuvenate.  But really: over the past…  really 10 years, I haven’t had a moment where I was not concerned with someone else’s needs, someone else’s expectations of me.  In that moment, that unexpected moment at 5:20 in the morning, I drew in a deep breath and cared for me.

In doing so, I am telling myself that I love me.  I am supporting myself so that I can stretch, reach and achieve my personal highest and best.  I am inspiring me to greatness.

And that….  that is awesome.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Oversharing, Self Love, Sickness/Wellness

 

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Faithful Evolution

I was reading an article this morning on a site I’ve started checking out regularly.  The author was talking about how she and her family are practicing Christians, who made the choice to send their kids to public school.  You can read the article here.  I gathered from that piece that they like the idea of being in control of what their children learn about their faith, and appreciate that no religion of any kind is taught in public schools.  (I imagine that last part is a large deciding factor in her school system choice, since Catholic schools in Ontario – maybe across the country – teach world religions starting in high school.  Based solely on the piece I read this morning I assume that the author would not be comfortable with her children exploring other faiths.)

She was writing about being upset to discover that a yoga instructor came to the school and taught some basic yoga to one of her 3 kids.  Her position is that yoga is a faith, that clearing your mind is not the same as praying, and is really just upset that any form of faith was taught in the classroom.

Is it just me?  It’s possible – maybe it is just me.  I thought that yoga had become totally mainstream and sanitized.

I was raised in a Catholic home.  My Mom was a reader, Minister of the Eucharist (meaning she could administer communion alongside the priest), founder of the pre-school Sunday School program, and later the founder of the school-aged Sunday School program.  I myself was an alter server, a reader, I sang in the choir, held the youth seat on the parish council, taught the pre-school Sunday School program and later founded a youth group.  To say that my roots are Christian is a very fair statement.

I do not today call myself Christian, however, so maybe my perspective is skewed.  The thing is,  I do not see yoga as a faith.  I get that it’s roots are, but so are the roots of Christmas and Easter, and how many of us still celebrate those holidays even though we don’t accept Jesus as our saviour?  I see yoga as exercise.  I see it as relaxation technique.  I see it as a way to release stress that our daily lives bring to us consistently, that are proven to be killing us.  And you know, even in my very Catholic upbringing, when we kids started to get out of control of wound up, my Mom would say, “Stop for a minute.  Take a deep breath.  Okay, and now take another deep breath.”  She did that because she knew it would clear our minds of the craziness that was happening in there.  She did not feel that in doing so we were “inviting the devil in” to quote one commenter from the article.

In my upbringing, I grew to understand that you need to still your mind to hear the voice of God.  It’s in the quiet moments that God reveals Himself to you.  I still believe this to be true.  We need to calm the white noise in our heads – there is so much chatter there, all the time, that it’s a real gift when you are able to stop the noise for a moment.  Yoga can do that, and that should be seen as a good thing.

I think though, more than my lack of understanding for her position that yoga is a faith, I am upset that this seemingly progressive woman, living in one of the most liberal provinces in our country (British Columbia) is so closed to diversity.  From my perspective, your faith must not be very strong if it cannot handle a little discussion about other faiths.  Some will say that it’s not her faith that she’s worried about – it’s her children’s faith.  I hear that.  Again though, it’s a great chance to reinforce your family’s values and to discuss the similarities and differences between the 2 faiths.  In order for our society to move forward to a place of peace and acceptance, we need to be able to talk about what makes us different.  Our children need to feel free to explore the world around them, and know that we want them to come and talk to us about what they discover.  By telling the teacher (as the writer did), “Please let us know if you plan to do such a session again, so that we can take Graham out of school that day,” she is effectively cutting off any discussion and exploration.  And to me, that’s just sad.

But what do you think?  Am I over-reacting?  Am I mistaken, and yoga is a faith system all it’s own, not something that can be used to cross a myriad of religions?  Should the writer be upset?  Help me see what you see, so my perspective can be broadened.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Opinion

 

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