Sunday, February 19, 2017

Let's Dig In: Q & A [How to Own, How to Forgive, How to Become Wise, How to Love Myself]

There has to be a balance between holding myself accountable (for my thoughts, words, and actions) and accepting/loving my imperfections. This is an exploration of those two things (which I think I've decided are NOT opposites -- at least for now.) 

In what ways am I accountable? How do I own my shit?

I write about it here. I live through it. I don't drink through it (most of the time). I don't hide from it. I face it. I take it to the mat. I sit still with it. I stay in my discomfort. I make amends. I apologize to my people. I turn over the rock. 

What happens to my accountability if I let myself off the hook too soon or too easily?

When I let myself off the hook too soon, I don't spend the time investigating myself to know more about my whys, whats, hows, and whens. When I'm too easy on myself, I miss out on learning. I squash my curiosity about myself.  

Is there a threshold where I am brushing off my failings disguised as acknowledgment of my imperfections? 

Yes, there is a threshold. The borderline comes from a place of hurt. When I fail, I go to extremes --either I beat myself up, take myself to the cross, talk about it; or I hide it, lie to myself, and keep it secret. How bad was it? The threshold is measured by the quality and depth of the sin. 

I need to distinguish between failing and imperfections. Or maybe not. What does it mean to me to fail? It means that I've gone against my own beliefs with purpose. I've done, said, or thought something that is against my own system of well-articulated, deeply researched beliefs. 

Imperfections are what make me beautifully human. Imperfections are the things that make us unique, that makes us loved, that make us different and special. But we are also taught, raised, programmed to be like everyone else. Deprograming. Guess what? We are like everyone else in that we are all perfectly imperfect, we are all misfits, special snowflakes and yet (the paradox) sharing the same experience, the experience of being human. 

How can I accept that I am imperfect while making myself an owner of mistakes and wins?

I am just like everybody else. We share the same breath. We are all imperfect and human and will fall and rise again and again. I accept this. I forget this. I remind myself and you over and over again. 

Now back to owning my mistakes. Now back to owning my successes. Taking responsibility, becoming an owner in my own life is what this whole experience of mine is about.  Moving from passive observer, from being the person who says, "why do bad things always happen to me?" to saying, "why am I making bad things happen? How can I shift my thoughts, speech, deeds to make better things happen?"  

My brain knows that mistakes breed invention (and reinvention.) I believe that. I would tell you that if you came to me and said, "H, I fucked up." I would say, "Where's the lesson here? How is this an invitation?" 

WIP

Can I raise myself up to higher living by pouring in self-compassion?  

Yes, I can. Will I? Yes, I will. It's a practice like all others. Be a friend to myself. Love myself. Be kind and give myself a soft place to land. Let me learn my lessons without harsh, critical, hateful, negative  self talk. Be my own coach. Own it with compassion. 

I'm really proficient in negative self-talk. Can I move that needle to elevate self-love without allowing bad behavior? 

Not all judgement is a negative thing. Judgement is a thing that keeps us alive by giving us discernment to pass up dangerously spoiled food and helps us to skirt dangerously spoiled people. Judgement is necessary. In the movement to be less judgemental of others I am also moving to a knowing place where I see my judgements as valuable, necessary, important, life-saving, life-affirming. As long as my judgements of others are NOT focused my limitations, my un-learning, my hubris, pride, jealousy -- it's wonderful to value my own voice, my own gauge, my bullshit detector. It gives me clarity, it's deeply honest, and it knows me very well. I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. 


I want to hold space for others and for myself. To give myself a soft place to land when I'm trying to learn something the hard way, by failing, by fucking it all up, by making a mess. I want to be nice to myself, to love myself, to have positive, friend-like self talk. I also want to keep that judgement in tact. That voice that says, ok sis, now you've landed softly, you've been coached by your inner friend, now, let's get to work and suss this out. Why are you re-learning this lesson? Now that you've been through this, what are the consequences and are you ready to own those? Can you sit in this knowing and come up with a plan for more work, reformation, attention (not detention), and lessen attrition? Can you then ask yourself new questions, regain your curiosity, and openheartedly move forward? Where's the invitation?

Move the needle. Elevate. Self-love. 

Now what?

Stories written, stories released, stories forgiven, become wisdom. Explore. Write. Forgive. Become wise. Repeat. 

Now the practice begins. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Go Back In (I Am Never Done)

I worked through feelings of worthlessness and isolation and profound loneliness, my feelings of self-betrayal, self loathing. I've read, danced, laughed, cried, and yoga'd my way to a safe, sound, foundation of self-love, inner peace, and freedom. And yet... when left alone, instead of feeling full, surrounded by my gurus, my god, my love, my loved, I fell back into the shame, fear, worthless frenzy of me before I started the work. The old me. The old shell. The old script. 

In my Christian family, this was called "backsliding." It means simply that you found faith, and then lost it. That you found God, found The Way, and then, lost your way to Him. In judgier circles it also meant that you drank beer again, or smoked pot, or danced on tables, or fornicated -- but whatever the thing was, you had heaven in your grasp and then you turned back on heaven and moved toward the depths of hell. 

I traveled alone to a town where (almost) nobody knows my name. I worked and happy-houred and dined and slept. And then I found myself alone, in a city, invisible, isolated, off-course, far from the people and places that keep me honest, and I slid right back into that old script. The one that I've written about too many times, the one that I thought I burnt, I buried, I wrote and reread so many times that I exorcised it. And then, there it was. Drink another. Drink alone. Try on danger. Do it. Feel alone. Revel in your loneliness. After all this work you are still a scared, drunk, stupid, danger-seeking, little worthless piece of shit. Boom. [The inner critic lives.]

All it took was taking myself out of intention, out of breath, out of my light, and I was back into thoughtless, reactive living. I looked away from heaven. I looked away from what I hold that holds me accountable. My mat. My loves. My yogis. My family. Me. 

Then I inserted the self-loathing. That old comfortable beat-up, worn-through boot. You know the one. Even though I've bought new boots that are comfortable and beautiful and feel great to walk in for miles, I have that one old pair in the very back, dark corner of my closet and they just feel so good when I slip them on. (They do, don't they?) 

Downward shame spiral. Self-loathing. Self-admonishment. Shame on me. I know better. Why are you doing this to yourself? Who are you? How quickly you lose your way? What the fuck, H, what the fuck?

I'm so hard on myself. Can you imagine me saying this to you? Can you imagine that you had a bad night, and old-script night, and that you came to me to confess? I would sit you down and shame you. Nope. That would never happen. 

I would say -- this is the work. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, "Go back in." 

But, I already did this work. I already re-wrote this script four times and it's done and I'm done and I'm all better, see? Nope. Go back in. This is the work. 

I'm going back in. I broke my own heart again (but no one else's this time, thank God.)  It hurts as much as always. This time I have so many ways to sit with it. So many ways to forgive it. So many new skills to cope through the pain and the pain and the pain again and again and again. 

Go back in. Burn off the impurities, tapas. Light the fires and step into the flames. Here I am. Here I go.