I’m 22 days late, but I want to share some life experiences with you all anyways.
I’ve recently started a small project. I created an Instagram @yoga_explorations and I’ve started my own challenge on there. The real purpose for this was simple, I wanted something that held me accountable to this challenge I gave myself. Nothing makes me feel like I have to finish a project quite like sharing it with the world. Every day for thirty days I’m posting a fifteen minute (or more) activity that I did. The activity has to line up with the first Yama in the Yoga Sutras – Ahimsa or compassion. It also has to be an act of ahimsa for myself, because I truly have learned time and again that it begins within before you can change without.
All this to say for the last twenty-two days I’ve been making a point of it to do something kind for myself for fifteen minutes, and I’ve had some interesting thought processes.
I want to clear the air first in that the biggest realization that I’ve had is that yoga is exactly what my teacher always told me, a life long journey. I know that these thirty days won’t be enough, that I need to make a forever daily effort to meditate and practice ahimsa. Changing my life time of neuro pathways is going to take dedicated work. I like to think I’m up for that, which is the real challenge.
Still, I’ve seen some serious differences. The most prominent is that I am becoming more intimate with my thought processes and how much my actions are manipulated by them. I can note that an argument I’m holding on to is actually just caused by a fear of abandonment. Lashing out is now an opportunity to see where my insecurities are buried. Kindness is a more sacred act, a conscious thought, and something I put into the world with genuine effort. I am becoming more mindful of my inner and outer workings. This isn’t always fun and enlightening. It’s actually been heartbreaking and terrifying. Coming face to face with my own self hatred was like stumbling into a room with a hungry lion, I knew instantly it was going to eat me up. Well, it has been eating me up. It’s been causing chaos in my life and holding my love hostage. Now I at least know it’s there, but I don’t actually know what to do with that knowledge. I think most people would say all you need is to be aware of it, but I’m not really sure and I would definitely appreciate thoughts.
I’ve also reacquainted myself with my enjoyment of small moments. Making an effort to sit for fifteen minutes and become immersed in an activity allows for a focus I lost in my smart phone. I’m enjoying the small, strange things I used to blissfully acknowledge. Things like the change of smells from one space to another while driving, the way light falls in certain rooms of my house, daily sounds like tires on wet pavement, physical touch, and so much more. I feel as if I’m actually coming back into my body and my senses are able to communicate with my mind properly again. Of course, I also lose this quickly if I spend too much time on my phone again.
Then there is a creeping kindness. An almost imperceptible increase in forgiveness. I am an angry person. This is a real, true statement. I become enraged at the smallest things and often have no idea how to let go of it besides to say some mean nonsense, including to myself. It’s a work in progress. This practice is a daily reminder to at least think about kindness. Ahimsa is something I have to mull over, try to create, and practice with myself. When I begin to berate myself for not being a good enough person, my practice reminds me that is the opposite of ahimsa. I also have been hearing references to how we are not our thoughts, we don’t need to take them so seriously. With that in mind it becomes easier to tell myself to cut the crap, it’s just a bad habit and it’s time to let it go.
There is plenty more to share, and I promise I’ll share them in a later post. If you want to check out this little project feel free to follow my IG. Also, I offer that people who struggle with ahimsa like me, try it out. There’s no time frame, you can create it and do it whenever. You don’t have to share it. It’s just an idea, a small practice to try to build up the compassion, for anyone who feels like they might need to reconnect with compassion.