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“You are what you practice most.” ~Richard Carlson
“What are you practising?” she asked in a gentle, lilting voice.
The entire class was in triangle pose, and at that moment I was comparing my triangle to the young woman’s right next to mine, scolding myself for wobbling out of the pose and simultaneously harassing myself for not being “further along” in my career. (Because if you’re going to hate on yourself, my motto is GO BIG.)
“Are you practicing judgment or comparison?” she tenderly probed.
“WTF!” I thought. “Does this woman have a direct line to my brain?”
“Are you practicing worry or blame?” she continued. “Perhaps you’re practicing patience and love. Notice what you’re practicing and know that you become what you practice. What you practice is what you live.”
I was three days into a five-day yoga retreat and I was far from blissed out. In fact, I had deftly managed to tie myself into a knot of comparison, self-doubt, judgment, confusion, shame, and embarrassment.
With my inner critic having hijacked my brain I was a total wreck, and caught myself, more than once, crying through one of the two yoga classes I took each day.
I should also mention I was pissed to be spending days of supposed relaxation and inner communion bumping up against every old demon that laid buried within me. Not a productive use of time, and if there’s anything I hate, it’s feeling unproductive.
I had gone on the yoga retreat (my first ever, and a huge indulgence according to my inner critic) for a good dose of soul care. I was craving reconnection badly and knew an idyllic yoga retreat in the Berkshire mountains was just what I needed to come back to myself. Little did I expect that to get to that reconnection, I first had to wade through a number of stinky layers of self-perpetuated crap.
And so there I was, wobbling in and out of triangle pose, in full blown comparison mode and hating on myself for not having written a book yet, for not being on SuperSoul Sunday, and for most certainly not being Zen during a yoga class.
And then her soft words plucked me out of my maelstrom of negativity.
“What are you practicing?”
I took a breath.
And then another, letting the fresh oxygen pulse through me.
I took another, solidified my stance, stretched more deeply into the pose, and faced all I was practicing.
I let the comparison and self-doubt wash over me. Let the judgment and shame flow. Let the embarrassment of this entire emotional debacle be there without feeling bad for feeling any of it.
In the breath I found that I wasn’t practicing the negative feelings and old stories. I was experiencing them. What I was practicing in feeling them (without kicking myself for experiencing them) was compassion.
I let the compassion grow, filling every edge of my body, and watched it morph. First into curiosity for my feelings, then acknowledgement for my pained state, and then into deep love for myself for finding kindness where there had originally only been gripped anger and a cold heart.
What I found in the instructor’s question was this: I can experience any number of painful thoughts and feelings, and in approaching them with compassion, it’s compassion I’m practicing, not negativity.
I wish I could tell you with that realization my struggle ended, my demons were forever released, and I quickly became the blissed out, wise yogini I had wanted to be at the start of my retreat.
Not so much.
It took another few days (and will probably take the rest of my life) to continually soften, to come back to the breath, and to remember to practice compassion.
But what her question did do was loosen the knot.
It created space to find compassion where there had originally been none. It sparked the sloughing off of old layers, the questioning of painful stories, and the unfurling of my most sacred knowing to allow me to reconnect with myself.
“What are you practicing” is a brave question, as it often brings us face to face with the uncomfortable emotional space we’re in. And yet, it’s in letting ourselves ask the question and getting curious about it that a crack is made for compassion to squeeze through.
The next time you catch yourself in a maelstrom of comparison, anger, self-doubt, worry, or judgment, take a breath and ask, “What am I practicing?” Be gentle with what comes up (no judging yourself for being judgmental) and notice if in embracing your experience with tenderness, compassion has a chance to blossom.
Know this. It’s impossible to practice love and patience all the time. That kind of every-second-of-every-day bliss was not built into us humans. We suffer, and that’s okay.
And when we can be compassionate with ourselves when we’re practicing things other than love, our heart softens, our grip loosens, and suddenly we have a greater access to the love we were seeking all along.
9/11...the day that launched a million+ deaths (civilian and military and has cost
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'Incontrovertible' is a film made for the purpose of acting as a practical aid in combatting the mainstream media's propaganda and its outlandish lies about the 9/11 attacks.
This is becoming an increasingly important task today, as countries like France enact legislation to censor websites expressing views
with dissenting views from official propaganda and mega-corporations, like Google are forced to lose money and to dishonor their own founding principles by changing their Terms of Service, in order to put independent journalists out of business.
The film focuses on the honest, candid views of police officers, firefighters and soldiers, as they express their incredulity and dismay over the official explanation for the events of 9/11.
Importantly, this film was made with the express purpose that it be viewed by police officers, firefighters and all those serving in the armed forces, as it is the belief of the filmmaker, Tony Rooke that this group of people may be the most strategically-positioned to change mass perception to one that is more realistic.
If you have friends or family who are serving in any of these and other first-responder capacities, the filmmaker asks that you please pass this film along to them.
Thanks to Chris P.
1,100 chemicals that are banned in Europe are still allowed in the US in personal care products.
This smart video tells us that the average woman exposes herself to 167 different chemicals on her body and face during her daily beauty regime.
It continues to offers points on what to avoid. Grab a pen. You DO want to read the small print from now on.
Might we be able to just do without some products?
A fascinating explanation of how it all came about, with commentary from a variety of particularly lucid people. I was enthralled for all 44 minutes - no real idea why?Santa Claus, presents under the Christmas tree, mince pies, holly, hollidays, festival meat eating!
Where did they all come from?
This explanation covers everything I can think of from the origins in the Norse Yuletide and winter solstice celebrations, the essence of children in Christmas, the involvement of government in Christmas, the singing and gathering together, all explained as the elites vie for control over the natural will of people.
Worth watching twice.
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