Sunday, July 15, 2012

Is what you're spending your time thinking about really what you want to spend your precious life thinking about?

Intro Note:
I started this post a week or so ago when I was frustrated with myself for not entering myself in new situations out of fear. Through working on this piece each day this past week, I empowered myself to attend a few events and take part in a couple of new situations, which all ended up well.

I would like to admit that I make too many excuses that prevent me from being fulfilled, for example: "I'm too tired from work to travel an extra 20 minutes on the train to check out the arts event later tonight that I added to my calendar a few weeks ago," or "Let me rest up tonight, eat a good dinner, and go to bed early, so that next time this type of opportunity comes I'll go for it." NOT GOOD. NOT GOOD because when given on multiple instances, these excuses indicate a bigger issue, that of being scared of breaking routine, that will certainly not be solved by NOT participating in the given event or activity I had at least at one time wanted to go badly enough that I remembered it or wrote it down.

I have been good at excuse-making my whole life, probably because I so often was in my head worrying, especially during new social situations, that I came to dislike them and steer away from them. Luckily, this tendency has decreased in frequency over the past few years, thanks to a few new best gal pals, my own growing sense of self, and yoga (maybe it sounds cliche to claim such a great benefit from yoga, but I know it's true). However, as much as I've grown, I definitely would like to keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, a lá BCI.

On a different, yet related note, I have for a long while struggled inside my own head about things that I imagined most people never worry about, like whether I should say yes or no to the ice cream offered to me when I only "sort of want it," or whether I should "save it" for another time when I "really want it," or whether I should take a roommate's q-tip or tampon without permission just this once or twice ("Taking even a little is wrong!"), whether I should push myself to call friends or relatives I have not spoken with in too long ("If you don't do it now, you'll keep pushing it off!") etc.

I beat myself up and then pick myself up. 'You need to pick that piece of trash up because there's no reason why not!' versus 'Don't pick that piece of trash up in front of the lady, maybe she'll think you are just doing it to show off what a good citizen you are!" or 'Put those clothes back on the hangers!' versus 'It's okay if you don't put the clothes back perfectly, the salespeople are bored and it's their job to hang up clothes.'

What has helped me get past this awful habit of beating myself up mentally? Forgiveness and grace towards myself, and understanding that what I might do one day in response to a stimulus might be different from my reaction another day. Without doubt, I owe this sense of ease with myself to yoga, which has helped attune me to my inner vibration, allowing me to shut out so much of the noise in my mind and feel happy with my core being.

I sometimes worry that the small lines on my forehead are proof to me and the outside world of my struggles, both past and present. But I know it's okay because I am already cultivating a feeling of gentleness for myself, and I know that is what matters from here on out. Going back to the topic I started with, excuse-making, I know that a sense of gentleness towards myself will continue to help me approach new situations with ease, few (if any) preconceptions, and excitement.

We create much of our reality with thoughts, so we better make sure the ones we have are positive, life-expanding ones. 

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