It's late. I usually go to sleep at 10 and it is 10. Well, actually it is my intention to go to sleep at 10 and I usually get to bed before 11. I have been learning to cut myself some slack about my expectations. I have many ideas about how I'm supposed to be and what I should do. Most of them are good for me. The combination can feel tyranical. Giving myself slack means I don't do everything every day. Conscious kindness means I enter the possibility that I am OK if I don't exercise, practice yoga and meditation to my specifications every day. My intention is to do thirty minutes of yoga and thirty minutes of meditation and walk for an hour. Today I sat for 30 minutes stretched for ten and went to a yoga class. Then I walked to the bank for half an hour. It was freezing and I was proud of myself for going out at all. Walking to errands feels so good to me I get an extra woo hoo for that. Part of this is I know when I practice my disciplines I feel so much better. I am less reactive and more peaceful. I am more fun to be around both for myself and for others. The best plan is to do what I can and let go of what I can't. That means being kind to myself when my behavior doesn't measure up to my expectations. It is so easy to be focused on what's missing instead of what's there. Something is always missing and something is always there. Today at yoga there were 16 students. I made up a story that the teacher was a better teacher than I am because I have less students in my class. I caught myself in mid- "focusing on what's missing" mode and acknowledged myself for my awareness. Woo hoo for noticing focusing on what's missing. I felt jealous that the teacher was younger and more energetic than me and able to teach a more vigorous class. She also is able to tell her left hand from her right enough to mirror the poses which I do not. What do you know, here it is again. Focusing on what's missing mode. Woo hoo for noticing. So I say to myself and the little girl inside me," I am here for you with the focusing on what's missing mode. I can understand that you feel this way and I care about you. You are safe with me. It is safe to feel whatever you are feeling. I will be here. Andie, the little girl inside me, is sad. She doesn't like being criticized and compared to others. She wants to be loved for who she is. We feel the sadness together. Criticism activates a deep wound within me from my mom being so critical. This is an opportunity to release some of the layers of the pain-body. I learned if I criticize myself first, criticism from outside of me won't hurt so much. Now when I feel discomfort, I criticize myself. It was uncomfortable for me in the yoga class. There were things I wasn't flexible enough to do. I think because I am a teacher I should be able to do everything, and do it well, according to my expectations. Cutting myself some slack would be to notice the pain under the criticism and to soothe myself. I am triggered back to when I was a fat little kid who always got picked last for the kickball team. The captain would grimace and say," I guess I'll take her". I imagine holding Andie and saying, I am here for you. I know it is hard when other people can do what you can't. It's OK to be sad about that. You are a beautiful person however you play kickball. I love you and you are safe with me.
I pick you to play on my team. I can feel a smile and a releasing in my chest. My breath comes easier. I am aware that it is pretty cool that I am a student and teacher of yoga at sixty. Woo hoo! I am aware that I take really good care of myself. Woo hoo. I want to continue to take good care of myself by noticing what is and celebrating that. Writing this blog helps me to notice how well I am doing taking care of myself. Maybe this will spill over into my relationship with Gary.
If I can cut myself slack and be kinder I imagine I will be better able to do the same with him. It is quite an adjustment living with another person even if it is only four days a week. We are both challenged by how much we want to be in control. We both can be angry and critical when the other doesn't measure up to our expectations. It is my intention to be kinder to Gary and cut him more slack.
I also want to cut myself slack and soothe myself before I lash out at him. That is my intention. I want to notice when I am actually doing it and woo hoo myself and forgive myself and Gary when doing the best we can hurts each other.
How can you cut yourself some slack? What could you be easier on yourself about? What would that look like? Would you be willing to begin now?