August 20, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Here it is, the end of the first day and boy have I gotten some insight. The asana portion was fairly easy: M & I did sun salutations, an inversion and a twist, followed by a lovely sivasana (corpse pose.) We also did Pranayama (breath control – breath in for a count of 8, retain, retain, retain, breath out for a count of 10, rest rest — repeat.) The good thing about going around all day practicing compassion was the instant karma thing. Everyone returned in kind. But, not so quick there, I didn’t knock it out of the park. Please allow me to explain. I had a lot of trouble with a really difficult person in my life: me.
As some of you know, I’ve been training for a 5K (a repeat of what M & I did up here in Wisconsin last fall.) My time last year was 43 minutes. Let’s act like I haven’t turned 61. Let’s act like, with sufficient training I could better my time, regardless of my age. I’d like to pretend I’m not competitive, but unfortunately every single one of you knows differently. For the last month I have been working at getting my time under 34 minutes. In fact, my time last Friday was 34:18. I figured today would be the day I broke through, but, due to what was probably the fault of a sun spot, my time today was 36:18. I berated myself, picked apart every minute of the run trying to find where I had FAILED (yes, that is the word I used.) BUT THEN, I caught myself, realized what I was doing and told myself today’s time was fine — I’d do better next time. I gave up on trying to find where I got off track (was it that JET song?) and hit the weights.
Now, here’s the thing that’s funny. Even though I had compassionately let myself off the hook, somewhere, deep inside, I really hadn’t. Let me illustrate. I have been trying to get scull crushers into my weights routine, but haven’t had anyone to spot me. Today a young man was there lifting so I asked him if he would be so kind as to help me out. Of course he kindly did. He had just finished with the awful triceps-killer, so I asked him how much weight he was using (so I’d know how much weight to take off.) He answered “probably not enough – only 40 pounds.” I took off two fives, intent on lifting 30 pounds (completely forgetting the weight of the bar.) The polite young man looked at me like I was some crazy, middle-aged woman, but leaned into help anyway. Now here is where the actual crazy part comes into play: 30 pounds plus the weight of the bar is … that’s right, 40-ish pounds. I immediately realized I was in trouble, but no, I couldn’t bring myself to stop. I didn’t say, oops, I’ve put on too much weight. Instead I nearly killed myself squeaking out a bare minimum number of reps. I’d planned to do some more lifting today, but after that stint, I was toast.
Was this kind? Was this compassion in action? In case of point, I can barely type right now. I ask you: how can I go through the day being compassionate to everyone but myself? Seriously? The deal was, in catching myself; I didn’t stay in that state of mindfulness. Instead I easily slipped back into old patterns. For whatever deep-seated reason I needed to suffer. This is a hard thing to admit, and an even harder thing to accept. I need to figure out how to fix that thing way down deep inside me that makes me want to punish myself when I think I’ve failed. I need to REALLY, REALLY be compassionate to myself, all the dang time. Whew, glad that’s out in the open.
On the plus side, I was too exhausted to let my manic mind take over meditation (Dhyana – – see, I told you we’d get to it.)
Friends of mine: I’m going to have to take a do-over tomorrow on Compassion. I know, I know … there’s plenty of time. You’ll wait for me to catch up to you.
Yours in compassion, Chris