My youngest daughter at age 7, asked me if I have ever broken a promise I had made to myself.
My first thought was, “Shit what does she know!”..and then the ego dropped, along with my heart, as I thought she had just lost her innocence.
The moment when you decide to not live in alignment to your values is when we no longer feel that sense of wholeness or self-acceptance, and so we create a living hell, rather than a heaven. The opposite is when we actually achieve what we set out to achieve and so we feel comfortable within ourselves. Content.
In yoga, this deal breaking, is called the seer/doer split. The seer/doer split happens any time we make a deal with ourselves, like “I am going to start running 5 miles per day!” or “I am going to stop eating sugar!” and then we witness ourselves break this deal, over and over again. We are not living in accordance with our values, therefore we are entangled in the residue of our actions.
I asked her what she did. She said, “I made the promise to ONLY eat the cookies for snacks at school, and then had one at home.”
I told her that the easiest way I have found to deal with this is to replace the words
ONLY with OPEN, ALWAYS with PATIENCE, and NEVER with LISTEN..
This has been my practice of offering a more compassionate space for myself to be honest, vulnerable, and open to change. To embrace life fully, while maintaining my own innocence and trust.
She looked a little confused, like she didn’t quite understand what I was saying. She is only 7 ..I thought.
So I opted for another route.. To get to her through her emotions, since emotions are the impressions that create memory, and leave lasting impressions.
I asked her how it felt to break a promise to herself for the first time.
I expected her to say that she felt bad for breaking the promise, for she is my most compassionate child. If I just look at her sideways when catching her do the wrong thing, she has an emotional breakdown. In addition, I have spent many sessions as a yoga therapist and ayurveda wellness counselor trying to merge the seer/doer split. My main purpose is to get people to align their vision with their actions, to create a mission!
..And finally through my experience, of having a highly addictive personality, I know this seer/doer split well.
Her response was brilliant! She said, “I feel OK, because it was just too good!!!”
Changing our words to open, patience, and listen; when making deals and plans with ourselves is a preliminary course of action, but what do we do when we do catch ourselves out of alignment with “our plan?”
…We beat ourselves up, keep our feelings hidden, and make ourselves sick. It is just another way of measuring success and failure, which are illusions. It is another way of residing in attachment and aversion, pushing away what we perceive as undesirable and attaching to what we perceive as desirable. I will like myself… if and when, not NOW.
Kids are not worried about “failure,” They allow themselves to play, be open, patient; and to listen to how moment to moment actions make them feel.
My daughter couldn’t comprehend the knowledge I was trying to convey, because she had the embodied wisdom of a child. She broke through all the karma that the “Type A” personality could have spent a life time untangling, with the beauty of her innocence.
Sticking to our word IS important, in our relationships with others and ourselves, but shouldn’t we give both some space for change and spontaneity? The word balance also shows up in my work. We all want to achieve balance. Balance means to evenly distribute the weight; to not have to carry it all on our own. Take that load off of your shoulders and love yourself a little more. Most of us have been carrying it too long. Be open enough to let life flow in and allow spontaneity to arise.
Since change is the only constant, and as yogin, we seek to be present and new all ways; then shouldn’t we take ourselves a little less seriously. Discernment and alignment are part of the equation, but not if it is keeping you from being free. After all isn’t that what we are all seeking?
Let yourself off the hook and allow yourself to play, be in the flow, and rest in your innocence. Awake.