Compassion is a verb-
How does one go about distancing themselves from the prior two days posts? I suppose we could choose to ignore them or we can all come together for a big group hug and show some compassion towards ourselves and others?!? Just a thought …
Self compassion is at the very root of empowerment, learning, and our inner geek strength. When we choose to embrace self compassion, we value ourselves not because we’ve judged ourselves positively and others negatively but because we are equally deserving of care and concern just like everyone else. Self compassion means treating ourselves as we would a close friend or better yet, our spouse and kids! Rather than berating, judging, or adding to the dreadful despair, we listen intensively with empathy and understanding, encourage them to remember that mistakes are a normal part of everyday life, and validate their emotions without adding more fuel to the proverbial fire.
Self critical over achievers are not the only ones that lack self-compassion. Some of the kindest folks around do as well. Luckily, self compassion is a process that can be picked up pretty easily. It is a daily practice that can help us all become less self-critical of the world around us, by preventing stress accumulating throughout the day, allowing us to be happier, smiling more and pleasant to be around.
“Self compassion never finished a marathon in personal best time or powered through an intense three-hour long power yoga class! What! Got something to say now do you!“
Self compassion does not mean we stop rolling up our sleeves and working hard for our goals. Instead, self compassion is a change in our attitude(s) and is linked with greater personal well-being. Nor does self-compassion imply self-indulgence. For example, a runner who cares about their body and well-being will push harder the days leading up to a rest cycle, no matter how tempted they are not to rest, they do. Similarly, pushing yourself, exploring limits during yoga class may be appropriate in some situations, but in times of over-indulgence? Self compassion involves toughening up and taking responsibility for going too far.
Please be sure to check out Omaha Gives this morning, totally worth your time if you call Omaha, Home.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one-
I often feel like I’m cycling into a 40 knot headwind when it comes to writing about mindfulness, wellness and other stuff here on this blog-o-thing. From the yoga fashionistas who regard me incredulously when I say that “looking good” is a selfish goal to set in yoga class, to the pervasive but iniquitous message that we all just need to participate in more mud runs, be more extreme, elite, hardcore in order to live a healthier life, my increasingly strong belief that we are going about this all wrong is not a popular one to say the very least.
Every now and then I meet up with some kindred spirits during a walk or brisk bike ride, who confirm what we see every day, but choose to ignore: Despite being a society hopelessly obsessed with health, longevity, exercise and taking pictures of food, we are in fact unhealthy, unhappy and bereft of many of the simple joys of life as a direct result of our obsessions.
How about we abandon the idea of exercise as a virtuous counterbalance, absolve ourselves of the guilt that inevitably accompanies unfulfilled resolutions, tune out the constant exhortations to “get ripped”, lose weight and instead embrace the simple pleasure of putting one foot in front of the other, simply because we were born with the ability to do so and we too often don’t.
Let’s cut right to the heart of what’s wrong with our attitudes in regards to mindfulness and wellness. Despite the thousands we spend on failed gym memberships, seldom used exercise equipment and wearing the latest fashions to yoga class. We are tormented by self-loathing, guilt and doubt. We live in a world where our motivation to move is increasingly thwarted and sapped at every turn. The next time you stare out the gym window—you know the one, where everyone around you is trotting along on a dreadmill despite the fact that the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day outside? Ask yourself: Why is going for a run, a bike ride or walk outside such an absurd idea?
Look to a simpler place for your satisfaction this morning. Hint: It’s not in the latest edition of Shape or the ever so popular Yoga Journal. What you find may surprise you …
If you see some random dude(s) doing a spot of yoga in a park this weekend? Wave hello and join us!
Those who do not move, do not notice their chains-
Can someone please answer this seemingly “simple” question: What the heck is progress?
Let’s narrow our focus on yoga for our conversation this morning … Progress on your trusty yoga mat looks and feels rather different from a straight gravel road shooting up over the horizon. After a few sips of juniper berry infused mead, I like to think of progress on the mat as more of a dance, the rumba to be more specific. Two steps forward, one step back, a smile, loosening up a bit, three steps forward, two confident steps back. We seem to find our own pace, our own rhythm even if it takes a few drinks.
Progress with yoga often gets worse, much worse before it gets better. Being a dude I didn’t know this initially and I thought I was losing control of both my mind and body. I was confused (this is very easy for me) because I thought that yoga was supposed strengthen me both spiritually and physically – Instantly.
What I didn’t know at the time was that this dance backwards was the very beginning of taking a few gentle, confident steps forward. I had to regress before I could start once again to creep ahead. Just like an infant crawling on their little hands and knees, I needed to learn how to roll over, sit up, fall down and crawl before I could walk (literally).
Sometimes I didn’t want to get up after falling down. Looking back, I don’t know how I got up on my feet again after the trying times, life. Eventually I did. Then I stumbled and fell again back onto my mat. Clumsily I rose to my knees, then to my shaky feet once again. This morning I stood straight after riding my bike to work. This is my dance in life.
Learning to love yourself, to take care of your emotional and physical self. This is how I define progress.
It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream-
I’ve arrived at a conclusion this morning, that one simple, mindful day out of the year, set aside for us to do what we’re ordinarily not very good at: Recognizing our own limitations and identifying needs for improvement. Is a good idea.
Today, Dear Reader? You get the unblemished truth …
My cycling club had a “wellness ride” last month (ish). I participated, and because we are open and honest here … I won’t hide the truth as to what my motivation for attending was: I wanted the free t-shirt that went along with it. Seriously, what better way to break from the normal weekend ride than to offer me a mediocre, hunter’s orange t-shirt for a paltry $35 participant fee?
You’d be amazed and nauseated if I told you this was some sort of mistake I had wandered into. The ride was tremendously windy. My body was not quite feeling up to the task of a 50 mile single speed ride starting at 7am on a Sunday. Sleep had been non-existent all week, work was more stressful than normal, I failed to have my sweet ride up on the car the night before. The morning of the ride was chaotic …
Looking back, I was willing to go to great lengths to refute the objective information my body and mind were presenting to me, simply because I ignored it. I pushed harder and harder during the last few miles, paid little attention to my knee aching, my shoulders and hips tightening up. The walk into the house later that evening was pure hell and having my son see me in such a poor condition left little doubt to the pain I had caused this Sunday in late March.
I (you) do the same very “thing“, every single weekend.
You could write, painfully every day for eternity talking about self-deception and how much it has to offer and take away. Self deception allows us to remain resilient stepping off the scale, having not lost 10 pounds this month. Self deception also allows us to recover quickly from failure. It gives us dudes the balls to say, I know I’m injured right now, my body is weak and stressed, but I want a t-shirt and beer tickets.
My keen ability to keep failing to assume responsibility for my actions, which affect many other lovely people around me, I never fully seize the opportunity for actual improvement, whatever that is. I refused to surrender to the reality unfolding around me and I became an insufferable asshole up until this morning (if you are doing the math at home: One whole month), who no one wants to be around or kiss when you get home from work.
One day, maybe this morning? Grasp the importance and wisdom that arrives when we recognize the importance of seeing ourselves, for who we really are.
Be well friends and take care this weekend.