Honor the Process of Processing

I am not one of those people who can just “let things go” very easily. I love resolution, I prefer confrontation if it is a means to an end, and I have to talk things out ad nauseam to process, re-process, and for good measure, just make sure I processed it all the way through one more time. Doing this, of course, whilst singing an off-tune version of Frozen’s “Let it Go” just for emphasis.

Healing or the act of catharsis can often feel like a long drawn out process with no light at the end of the tunnel. Just when it feels like the incident, the hurtful words, the memories, the ghosts that haunt seem to loosen their grasps ever so slightly, something else will trigger that all over again.

And, then, the vicious cycle continues. The processing restarts and the guilt settles in for having to continue processing something that as an advocate of mindful living and meditation-teacher-in-training, I should have let go by now! You see what I mean?

This past week, I’ve tapped into my life gurus as I walk (really, I’m crawling) this path to healing. I was reminded that the things people say echo in eternity. And, that I should honor my process and honor my outrage (or insert other negative emotion). Beyond that, this book I’m reading had some incredibly salient advice about the concept that when people hurt us, we (most often) are not to blame but we are responsible. We are always responsible for how we choose to react and choose to continue the narrative. And, finally this gem from the Daily Stoic:

“We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

One of stoicism’s fundamental principles is that we all have a “citadel of the self”: a fortress that we’re constantly building and strengthening. That fortress can only be breached by us, when we let an opinion or a thought go past the walls. Whether that happens—whether we give ourselves over to someone else’s judgment, opinion, slur, thought, action—is a choice.

Sensing a theme here? It’s about choice. I cannot choose what happened to me. I cannot choose that my process takes longer than most. I cannot choose that I will never receive resolution in the ideal way.

But, I can choose to honor my process. I can choose to stop contributing to the negative narrative. I can choose to re-build and become stronger than ever. I can choose to know my self and not let anyone breach my fortress, my citadel.

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Practice Does NOT Make Perfect!

Practice: often defined as doing one activity or another with some semblance of frequency and consistency in an attempt to improve said practice. 

“Practice makes perfect.”

In any mindfulness class–whether it be meditation, or yoga, or any variation thereof your attendance will often be called “your practice.” One of the most fundamental and foundational principles of yoga is accepting that you come to the mat with an understanding that there is always something to learn and improve on in your practice. Therefore, never really reaching a state of “perfection.”

But, there’s the rub:

When you first start writing your name, you practice and practice so you learn your letters and and the right curvature of each one.

When you play a sport, you practice diligently, consistently, frequently in an attempt to perfect (or at the very least significantly improve it).

Most of our lives, we have been told that if we just keep at it that our practice will pay off and we will–in a sense–get to the point of perfecting the craft, the art, the sport, etc.

I have been practicing a headstand now for the better part of a year. 

I still can’t do it.

I have broken several things attempting to do the damn thing.  And, it’s driving me insane. There are probably hundreds of gifs that could be made of flailing and yelping as I tumble back to gravity as quickly as I get to that final toe off the ground.

“You’re so close!” my yoga teacher tells me…every single week.

I have struggled with the concept that I may never actually be able to do this and that I must continue to practice with an acceptance of possibly never getting there, and that acceptance doesn’t mean I’m giving up.

Hell, I knew I was never going to be good at math and I accepted that real quick and haven’t looked back since!

Perhaps practice could take on the new meaning that practice is well…just that. Practice, is something you do with intentionality and at the end of it, know that you did your best and your body saved you the perfection you think needed to achieve.

Alright, headstand you win, but I’ll always win when it comes to corpse pose.