This afternoon I got to see the contrast of not being in the flow. I went to an intermediate yoga class that is part of my yoga teacher training. I had no business participating with my neck being so recently operated on. I stubbornly attempted to do several difficult poses. The instructor's voice was too quiet for me to hear and after I asked her to speak up twice I resorted to craning my neck to see what she was doing. My neck wasn't at all pleased with this and soon I felt nauseous and dizzy.At that point I had the good sense to go into a resting pose. I felt very discouraged and spiraled down into this all too familiar place I call "I can't". It goes like this:
I can't do these poses, what am I doing in this program? I can't teach these poses because I can't even do them. What is the matter with me? What was I thinking? This is a wrong choice. Maybe I shouldn't be teaching yoga at all. I can't really teach yoga anyway........ Etc.This "I can't"pattern can carry me deeply into negativity. Just writing it out is helpful. I can see that the content of the pattern varies and the purpose is to let myself know there is something wrong with me. After class I felt very discouraged. I took myself out for some food and overate to stuff my suffering. It helped momentarily but soon reinforced the pattern. When I got home I went for a walk telling myself the story of what I would say to the head of the yoga training tomorrow and fantasizing about quitting the program and not teaching yoga anymore. I did notice the beautiful evening and take a moment to be quiet and say my water prayer by the stream. Being in nature is a good antidote to the pattern. I said to myself, I can understand that you feel this way and I care about your suffering. That helped too.I breathed into how sad I felt and allowed it to be there.I could feel the sadness underneath the I can't pattern beginning to lift. When I got home from my walk I lay down on the floor and read my favorite magazine, The Sun, and didn't make myself do anything I didn't want to.Gary called and I told him how I was feeling. He listened and didn't try to fix me and then appreciated things about me. By then I felt relaxed and ready to enjoy the rest of the evening.I am grateful for the flow. It is always there even when I choose to go against it. Going against the flow gives me an opportunity to return to the flow. My "I Can't" pattern is a vehicle to return to the flow if I can be mindful of it and have compassion for myself.Do you have a pattern that you use to convince yourself you suck? What might it be? Would you be willing to use mindfulness and compassion the next time you notice yourself caught up in it?