Monday, March 28, 2005

Radical honesty here I come. I'm pretty sure, anyway.

I read an article the other day that has stayed with me since, and continues to unfold in new ways. It was a piece about sitting with "aggressive" emotions. So like anger and fear but also extreme excitement -- "good" and "bad" emotions. I recall the piece saying that either way we tend to want to react or even just label these emotions but that doing so only causes suffering. The trick, it encouraged, is to be patient. Rather than tidying it up, just sit, and watch.

Skip forward a couple of days and while reading the paper I came across a word, used in proper context, that I've been using wrongly for months. Ouch! Immediately my mind reeled through its catalogue of conversations I've had with various people (why couldn't it have just been one?) in which I had used it. I scolded myself: what a fool. I anxiously thought about calling each person to tell them that I used the word wrong and what I really meant to say was this but instead I said that. Rats. Can't do that. Too neurotic. Doh! Okay so then I thought I'd post it on my site -- maybe there's a chance that my friends will read it and know that now I know I was using it improperly. Then I ran to the computer. Maybe there was a secondary meaning. Not a chance. As I stared at the definition in front of me I felt embarassed and dumb. I sat, writhing in discomfort, trying to think of a way to make it better, but something in me was whispering, "patience". And so I sat with it. And I decided not to clean it up.

Later that same day Hannah and I (more on her later) were taking a class in which I had already given my opinion (I'm not sure it was solicited) on the instructor. However, as I took the class I realized that my assessment had a lot to do with qualities I don't like in myself. Hanging out in Warrior II, I made a mental note to tell Hannah of my revelation after class. I guess I wanted to clear it up so she knew that I saw how things *really* were. But again that voice -- patience. I spent the rest of the practice focusing on my breath and allowing myself to wallow in, without judgment or pity, how it felt to be wrong.

It wasn't until my drive to the office this morning that it hit me -- my lifelong habit of always trying to clarify or apologize or really just tidy up my opinions or mistakes has less to do with righting a wrong or being humble, and everything to do with trying to make the imperfect, perfect. It feels so raw and uncomfortable being in my imperfections that I naturally try to clean them up as quickly as I can so that it stops stinging. I had already felt the lightness from not "fixing" my grammatical faux pas and misguided assessment, but this new understanding brought an overwhelming sense of freedom and empowerment. Granted, this approach is in its infant stages, but I'm starting to feel released from the always-losing game of managing perceptions.

On Hannah: She's been incredibly inspirational. A natural teacher, she's open, courageous, and smart. I'm so thankful that she decided to come to Austin. I've learned a tremendous amount from her already in and outside the yoga room. Perhaps most importantly, she's teaching me honesty without fear. At times I feel like I'm back at L2 all over again and it's really great.

Today I got a promotion at work. I guess it's official now. I knew in October I was up for a change in work in March but I wouldn't have guessed this. And though I don't think I'm finished w/ the quantum change that I've been going through lately, this new role is offering more flexibility with more responsibility. It’s a good combination.

Ryan and D played w/ their band, The Strands, tonight -- first gig ever! -- at 710. I thought they sounded great! They had a ton of energy (Ryan did a really cute knee slide) and Durham was the consummate entertainer. He looked like he was having so much fun -- I felt super happy for him!

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