Posts Tagged With: greed

The hamster wheel of my greed.

I just passed my year mark of writing my blog. Geez it went fast. I am pleased that I stuck with it, even though at times I was doubting myself and finding it hard to create space to do it. But since it’s another new year, essentially another circle around the sun, I’m left with that reflective feeling. Which naturally pulls me to the place of gratitude. I am so thankful that people read my blog. But I need to keep the reality in sight that I’m not doing it expecting thanks. I’m doing it to hold my feet to the fire and to challenge myself by doing something that makes me uncomfortable.

There is nothing comfortable about writing for me. You all know why and that is because we all have a harsh critic that lives inside our head. No matter the activity, there is always a voice available to bring down the gavel of whether something is good or bad. Even without that voice, there is always the available sound of silence, where you can hear the crickets rubbing their legs together while you wait for the social media world to respond, waiting to hear that someone likes your blog, so that you are validated as a blogger. But if you look around you’ll soon pick up on the vibe that now a days there is nothing original about being a blogger. Everyone can do it and many do.

So, I remind myself that even though it’s nice to receive the support, it’s not the reason why I blog.  I blog to sharethe knowledge I have gained on my yoga mat. And yes, I do blog so that I can put things on paper. These are my ideas that I find worthy of exploration. I definitely do this to see an idea to its end. However, I have found that often times my ideas have no end, and a very poor beginning. I often find putting an idea on paper to be intimidating.  The whole sharing thing too, really rattles me. The process of sharing can really bring up stuff. I found myself a few years back getting ready to host a teacher training on yoga. As I was getting information together, I found myself confronted with my greediness (Aparigraha). That I didn’t want to share what I thought to be some of my greatest insights, cues and ideas behind yoga. I wanted to hang onto these secrets that I felt I had come to on my own merit of hard work. I found it hard to release these things that I felt were my personal gain from yoga, instead of seeing them as my personal contribution to yoga. I had this fear that if I gave up my secrets that I’d be helping someone else get ahead of me or they’d come about it easier than I did. That doesn’t really make me sound all that nice now does it? No, but it does make me sound human. That voice in my head  saying “I must get ahead, I must get ahead, I must get ahead!” – little does that voice know that because of greediness, it’s  a lot like running in place on a hamster wheel. You can not get ahead until you stop grasping things so tightly. So, I had a moment where I guess I got tired of holding onto all my secrets, or maybe I came up with a new angle of how giving away all my secrets would get me ahead, or maybe, I hope, I came to a place where I ditched the “I” and came on board with the “we”. That in helping other people grow, you grow as well.

5 simple words that changed me.

5 simple words that changed me.

What you get out of “we” and not “I” is growth. I started sharing some of my insights with the new eager yoga students and I found that in my sharing, I grew. That the actual holding on was holding me back. It was in the letting go that I changed. Recently a saw a funny magnet that read “Let go or be dragged.” When I read that it was like my Wiley Coyote moment of getting hit in the head with a anvil. It spoke of my behavior louder then anything else has. It was 5 tiny words. “Let go or be dragged.” See, I’m a grasper. If I were going to admit to you my dependency… it would be GRASPING! I grasp, and I grasp to things tightly. I do this out of comfort. The comfort you feel by staying the same. The definition of same/saym/ •adj. 1.unchanging 2. unaltered 3. constant 4. monotonous. Even though monotony might give you comfort, you might also come to realize it makes you boring, predictable and dull.

One of the reasons I am still so addicted to yoga is because it has changed me. My body and mind are different. Everytime I’m on the mat something new springs up. Yoga, when practiced  is a lot like a river. When you stand in a river the water touching you is always different, because there is movement. It’s never the same water twice that passes over your feet. That’s how yoga feels to me. Even if while practicing I’m resisting change, it is inevitable because of the movement the practice is facilitating. When I started to see this I became more willing to let go. To let go of ideas, to let go of the tricks I figured out to do a pose more gracefully, to let go of things I felt only my ears had heard from my teachers. How did I  let go of my grasping? I shared as much as I could with those (9) first time yoga teacher wannabe’s. Now I do it every time I teach, by not holding anything back. By being an open vessel of information. Is all my information right, well for me it is, because it has worked. That doesn’t make it absolute, it just makes it one path, or maybe a better way to say it is my ideas are just one river you could take to flow into the great ocean of information on yoga. Sharing will change you. It’s uncomfortable and makes you feel vulnerable, but it has movement and that movement will take you places. Places you never thought you would go.

So I’ve done it, with blogging I have found another way to grow, to change. I’d like to “thank” WordPress for making it easy for me to grow. I’d like to thank all the people that jumped into my river to feel the rush of movement in their own lives by opening up their mind to my ideas. Each and every person that has read, liked and or commented on my blog has taken that little step in sharing and I’d like to say “thank you”. It means the world to me that you share your thoughts. I hear them, value them and I use them to help me keep growing, to keep pushing through how uncomfortable I feel sometimes putting my words on paper. Thank you for helping me to grow, for helping me to let go so as to not be dragged.

The first 9 ladies I shared my growth with. Julie, Rachel, Jodie, Stephanie, Beverly, Janet, Polly, Christina, Me, Gwen.

The first 9 ladies I shared my growth with. Julie, Rachel, Jodie, Stephanie, Beverly, Janet, Polly, Christina, Me, Gwen.

Categories: For the beginner, My viewpoint | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

“When-to-say-when”

Our country has a “say when” problem. It’s something I am reminded of every Tuesday evening in my neighborhood when people put their trash out for the week. Trash just seems to over-flow. Don’t even get me started on the fact that some people aren’t making an effort to recycle. This “when-to-say-when” problem exist in other ways. Credit card debt is a great example of, yep you guessed it, they didn’t say when to the fact they had no more money. “When-to-say-when” is showing up in the form of obesity, too. People are not realizing when they are full, and so they keep eating. People keep buying more, and more, and can no longer park their cars in their garage. We are overflowing in our homes, bodies and trash cans. We are living in a world where we feel pushed all the time for more, and more. So it’s no surprise to me that the “when-to-say-when” shows up in the yoga room. Yoga is where I would like to address the problem. As I am not a financial advisor and I am not a dietary expert. When is enough…ENOUGH?

It’s all about what you grasp and and how you grasp it.

Aparigraha – Grasping would be the word yoga would use to describe this affliction. The sutras advise us on grasping in the yama’s, the 1st limb of the ashtanga yoga system. Sutra 30, Chapter 2 says “Aparigraha sthairye janma kathamta sambodhah” – For one who establishes a non-grasping attitude gains a deep understanding to the meaning of life. Holy crap, that’s a big one. Aren’t we all searching for the meaning of life? Well, I’ll tell you this; The meaning of life is not greed. We are not here to strip the earth of all it has to offer. We are not here to strip each other of the light we were all born with, and we are definitely not here to strip our body of its vitality.

But we are stripping our body of its vitality (prana). What we put in our body, what we do to our body, and what we think about our body can either be good for us, or bad for us. What we really need to come to understand, is there is a great benefit to emptiness. That it is ok for our bellies to be empty. It’s definitely ok for our minds to be empty. That is why a meditation practice is so good for us. It gives us time to clean out some of the clutter in our mind. Just like not eating for a while allows our body to become empty, and allows digestion to take a break.

What about what we do to our body? You might think I mean to suggest doing nothing, in the case of our body. On the contrary, we need to move our body to empty it of past scars, patterns (samskara) and waste. But even in yoga people come at their practice with greediness. They want to be able to do this pose, and to do it now. Like the girl from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, Violet Beaureguard, who turns into a giant blueberry from her greediness. “I want it, and I want it now!” That kind of thinking in yoga will likely lead you to injuries, fatigue and even disinterest. Burn out is a great example of greediness (aparigraha).

People walk away from yoga all the time and they say things like, I got bored, or I don’t have time anymore. If you have ever fasted, you are blown away by how much time you get back in your life when you are not eating food, preparing food, buying food, and even thinking about food. At least that’s what I learned from the two fasts that I have done. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t eat, that would be crazy. What I am saying is we can eat less, spend less and we can always make time for things we value the most. As far as boredom and yoga, I don’t understand it. Because for as long as I have been at this, I have never been bored. Ever! I find my body interesting and always changing. There are ways to keep things interesting though; things that can stave off the boredom excuse, practice at a new time of day, try a new teacher, or better yet, realize that your boredom might be a reflection of your will power. Your ability to see things through, even when they can become as routine as brushing your teeth.

If some of the people that walked away from yoga were willing to tell the truth, they would probably tell you it was because it became confrontational. Things weren’t happening as they wanted, on the time line that they were trying to control. By doing yoga, I have learned how much I try and control everything. There are the graspers/over indulgers, the lazy/lack of perseverance and then those that are steadfast and diligent.  The graspers are going to run into injuries and resistance, and the lazy/lack of perseverance will run into boredom and slack, the kind of slack that allows you to “cut yourself some slack” for not practicing. The diligent/steadfast type will embrace the practice with humility and become willing to relinquish their control.

Yoga is a process, and usually a slow process. There will probably be a handful of poses you will excel at right at the start, but the rest will take time. I like to say, “Your body didn’t get this way over night.” The tightness, weakness, and instability crept in when you forgot to make time for your health. (If you don’t believe me, read my  blog called “Paying it forward.” ) What are we willing to sacrifice time for; people will wait in line for hours to get the new i-phone, or to see the latest trilogy movie, spend hours tailgating before the big game, or camp out in chairs in 32 degrees for black friday shopping deals so they can cram their houses, garages, body and wallets with greed. If we don’t make time for our body it will break down and the wheels will fall of, so to speak. It’s amazing how quickly people will get to a doctor when that happens, and then want someone else to fix what they broke.

It’s time to eat less, spend less, buy less, throw away less and do more. More yoga, more meditation and most of all more reflection on why you roll two full garbage cans to the curb? Why do you have to work more to pay off greater debt? Why do you have an injury that won’t go away? Why do you need to buy more clothes, because you’ve out grown the old ones? Why do you need to take more pills to fix the things that are failing you? If you could just make a little more time in your life for exercise, stop making the excuses, don’t over do it and see it thru even when it gets hard, boring or routine, you would be doing yourself, your family, your employer and the earth a great favor. The new year is fast approaching, don’t make the promise that this year you’ll do this, wake up tomorrow and make it a lifetime commitment, not a January one.

Let this yoga sutra guide you. Sutra 30 Chapter 1 –  Vyadhi Styana Sansaya pramada alasya avirati bhrantidarsana alabdhabhumikatva anavasthitatvani citta viksepah te antarayah – The obstacles that distract the mind are illness, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, overindulgence, illusions about oneself, lack of perseverance and instability. If you are struggling with “when-to-say -when”, then you just need to look at the “when” as ” Now”. As the very first yoga sutra says “Atha yoganusanam.” – Now, yoga.

Categories: For the beginner, My viewpoint | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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