I missed a day, so what?

It’s very, very easy to beat myself up for not doing something I said I would do. I agreed to write in my blog every day for 30 days and yet yesterday went by and I didn’t realize it until 11pm when I was too tired. I don’t know what it’s like for people who have really horrible addictions, but I do know what it’s like to hold the bar too high for oneself. It’s not perfection I’m after, I believe that perfect is the enemy of the good. And I’ve become much more relaxed as an adult than I was as a child. And still, it’s disappointing.

But the wonderful news is that I woke up today, I have the chance to do something great. Doesn’t mean it will be this blog entry, or showing up to my job, or telling my husband I love him. It could be something small and I may not even know I’ve done it because my actions may affect someone else. That’s what I hope for, anyway.

Kripalu, or a weekend of waking up

I wanted to take Jason away somewhere for a surprise weekend away, and decided that since he’s never been to Kripalu and is on this crazy path of self-discovery that he might enjoy it. Or if he didn’t enjoy it he would at least get something out of it. That is, even if he didn’t want to do the personal transformation sessions, he might still be able to do yoga, or in the least go for a run in the woods.

Turns out he’s enjoying the personal transformation sessions and getting a lot out of being here. It doesn’t hurt that this building used to be some type of convent… he says he’s felt the presence of Jesus and then his eyes get watery. That’s his way of saying he cries, except for that he never says he cries. He gets very emotional about Jesus, and I’ve never seen him get emotional about anything else honestly. Oh sure anger or excitement yes but not raw emotion. Only Jesus gets to feel that. I sound jealous. I probably am.

The weather is gorgeous so we went for a nice walk to the beach and walk the labyrinth. I keep wondering if we’re going to walk away from this weekend feeling any closer. I feel like we’re friends, we’re still raw though. We have a mutual appreciation for that right now, and maybe we’re not going to feel much closer until we deal with our own shit. I have to remind myself this is all new for him. These emotions, this way of looking at life and himself, the type of relationship that is not skimming on the surface but getting deep. I also have to remind myself to be patient and kind because even though he gets excited and determined and wants to try something new, I have a lifetime of experience telling me that real, significant changes take time. Sometimes a long, long time.

Forgive yourself

When I began learning meditation, about 20+ years ago, the school of thought was that you could force your brain to be silent – that is how enlightenment would come. Stare at the flame of a candle, think blank thoughts… when I hear this now, it seems preposterous. Through decades of research, we have a better understanding of the human brain. Learning to achieve a cessation of mind chatter, a silencing, is like training a puppy. Which, anyone who has had a puppy knows, can be frustrating, annoying, and requires patience and consistency. And now that mediation, yoga, mindfulness, and any activity that is supposed to bring about a greater sense of self is all the rage in the Western world, the pressure to do so – especially here in our United States of Competition, is great and inevitably linked to failure. In that mindset, if you’re unable to achieve a pretzel body and a quiet mind, its more likely you’ll give up and go eat a bagel. At least, that’s what I do. Along with some general beating up on one’s self. ‘It’s not for me, I’m not good enough, I can’t do it,’ yada yada. What we don’t learn, what we can’t learn until someone has brought us up this way or taught us, is that it’s alright to forgive yourself. It’s imperative, actually.

I read an article recently about the founder of Spanx. When she was growing up, at the dinner table her father would ask what she had done to fail that week. He’d high-five her if she had a failure to share, defining failure as ‘not trying’ instead of ‘not succeeding’. We can’t grow or learn without struggle, and failures. And so, I forgive myself – for not meditating the last couple of days, for not making a blog entry yesterday, for overreacting to something my stepdaughter said last week, for not communicating to my man about my needs, for making a social faux pas with a friend. I used to hang on to all of these failures. Each and every one, and they would pile up and I’d feel that I couldn’t possibly achieve anything – good relationships, self-care, progress in my writing, or ever truly realizing what good I am to the world. It is a work in progress to let these things go, to realize I was lazy – which is a quality I abhor in others – and that everything is still going to be all right. But I’m trying.