Monday, September 24, 2012

asking for forgiveness

Over the past week I have talked to my classes about Yom Kippur, the day of atonement in Judaism, which is coming up this week. In the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we are supposed to ask our fellow man for forgiveness, but on this holiest day of the year we ask for forgiveness from G-d. I have talked to my classes about being their own Higher Power, asking themselves for forgiveness and then granting that forgiveness.

I have asked them all to practice with more, ahimsa, compassion for themselves, less judgement. And then I have asked them to take that feeling of self-compassion out of the studio, off the mat, and into their lives. Its a tall order I know, but as I speak about ahimsa, I can see what I'm saying is hitting home with so many of my students as they nod their heads along while I speak to them.

Increasingly I find myself awake in the early hours of the morning contemplating decisions I have made.  Don't worry my friends, I'm no longer lying on my mat in a crumpled little pile.  I've made it off the mat and back into the world, still knowing my mat is a little haven for me, and returning there with frequency.  As you can imagine accompanying all this contemplation of my decisions comes a range of emotions: regret, anger, self-satisfaction, pain, joy. And yet a lack of ahimsa.

I know I am my own worst critic.  I often think of it as being critical in a loving way, the way a parent pushes their child to do more, better, faster, stronger, I push myself.  It seems I may have found the tipping point of pushing myself to be better. I often ask my students to quiet the negative chatter in their minds when they practice, but I have been unable to do the same. I have found myself tearing apart every choice I have made over the past two years. And regretting a good portion of my choices.  I wasn't as loving as I could have been. I was selfish. I went to the library when I could have stayed and studied at home with my partner. I chose activities around campus rather than building my relationship.

I recognize the harshness with which I am treating myself. I haven't made all bad choices, but in this moment I'm having a hard time taking my own advice and treating my practice, my life, my choices, with ahimsa.

I would like to say that what I will do is spend more of my thoughts being compassionate to myself, but I can't promise that. I can promise myself that I will try for more compassion. I can promise I will keep trying to be my own Higher Power and to forgive myself.

Here is one thing that I know for sure, I'm good at asking for forgiveness. It can take me some time, but I can recognize when I have been wrong. When I get there I admit it and I ask to be forgiven.  So you can bet on Yom Kippur I will be asking my Higher Power for forgiveness, I will keep asking myself for forgiveness, and I will always ask the person I have harmed for forgiveness.

For right now that's the best I can do as far as ahimsa for myself.  I always tell my students that as long as they are truly trying the effort is what brings the benefit, I'm going to work on taking my own advice today.


No comments:

Post a Comment