ROCK YOUR BOAT
and just keep showing up
My 83-year old mom told me that she thinks she’s finally “getting” to her new boyfriend. But, more on that later on.
Remember when you were first starting out at something you’d never done before? Or maybe right now, you’re starting something new.
Are we going to be experts right out of the gate and feel 100% confident?
When I first started teaching yoga I did my training and was eager to start teaching. Did I feel confident? No … Was my class smooth and flowing back then? No…. Did students respond positively to the class anyway? YES
YES, they did. Mind you, I did get a few slam-dunks back then which was challenging to say the least. But what made most of them respond positively?
For one thing, it was simply them practicing yoga asana and meditation and had nothing to do with me. The practice itself takes people to that inner dwelling of spaciousness and it feels good.
But the other factor was an intention that I brought to the participants.
I would consciously have an intention within me before class started, which was a deep understanding that it wasn’t just me standing there teaching. I was aligned with something much larger than myself. (This alone helped me to step out of my comfort zone)
And then my intention: which was (and still is) for my students to know the inner dwelling of spaciousness and the true self. I don’t think I worded it that way back then. It may have been for my students to feel relaxed and peaceful.
I might have been as wobbly as all !@&%, before teaching but each time I just showed up.
By class end it passed and all I felt was the love and joy of teaching. I became a conduit for something larger than me each time I agreed to show up.
The point of this story is that often we can forget that when we are first starting out with sharing a new passion, embarking on a new endeavor, it takes time, dedication, practice, and just showing up to do it over and over, one step at a time, to get better and better at it. If you are truly passionate and love it, it will sustain you and keep you showing up.
I admit that I forget this at times, especially when I am in the thick of expanding into something new.
This is when I find the inner critic having a party inside my head. It’s the time to pause and remind myself of what I love and remember other things in the past that I started as a novice and by just continuing to show up and do it, I got better and better at it and was able to keep learning, growing and re-calibrating.
HOW TO MOVE FROM CRAMP TO SPACIOUSNESS
No I’m not talking about when you get a cramp in your foot or leg while practicing your yoga asana. It’s the cramp inside you that the ego-mind creates when it succeeds at getting ALL of your attention focused on an old habitual conditioned thought/belief/emotion. It wants every bit of your attention focused on the old outdated way of thinking because it’s comfortable there and it doesn’t want you to“rock the boat” and change anything.
When you give over your attention to the inner-critic-of-habitual-thought it feels like a cramp because around and around it goes and tighter and tighter it winds you up.
What to do?
Focus your attention on connecting to your inner sanctuary of spaciousness that is within you. I know that when you’re in the throws of the inner critic this seems impossible, but it’s not.
You’ve got to find a way that works for you:
Go for a walk, write, draw, dance, listen to music that makes you feel good, speak with your coach, meditate.
I like to meditate because I can do it anywhere at anytime. It’s not dependent on the weather or the time of day or night.
What do I mean by meditate?
Eckhart Tolle says, “one conscious breath is meditation”.
I love that. It makes it do-able, right?
Well sometimes I need more than one conscious breath, but truly it works. With continuous deep mindful breathing, the “cramp” does waver and dissolve as the focus of attention is now placed on the ever-present inner dwelling of spaciousness, rather than the cramping thoughts. This is where we see clearly how we have the autonomous choice of where we are going to focus our attention. We have the power of choosing what we attend to.
And as you keep the attention on the waves of breath it relaxes and unwinds you.
And the very good news is this … Hugely good news!
(You know there is always a gem of wisdom when you are willing to see it, even in painful moments)
When you experience the mind cramp, the relentless inner critic … you can be assured that you’re on to something BIG. That you’ve expanded beyond your comfort zone, connected to who you really are and the source of all that is.
You are rocking your boat!
This is exactly when the egoic mind feels most threatened and fires up the inner critic.
Keep breathing deeply and keep going and keep showing up and keep doing whatever it is that is your passion. Hold it close to your heart and soul and celebrate that you are expanding and the universe is applauding and supporting you, all the while the inner critic fights desperately to hold on to winning your attention.
If you make it a priority to continue a consistent practice of focusing attention on your inner sanctuary of spaciousness when you’re not in a mind cramp, it will be so much easier to align with this spaciousness when you do find yourself rocking the boat and the mind is rebelling big time and the inner critic is screaming loudly.
Don’t forget that we’re here to “rock the boat”, expand, grow, renew. Don’t give over to the inner critic that wants everything to stay the same and never change.
Now … speaking of rocking the boat. My mom told me that she thinks she’s finally “getting through” to her new boyfriend. He’s not the type to show his emotions, hasn’t said the “L” word and he steers clear of anything “mushy” as she describes it. But when she said, “I think I’m finally getting to him” as in breaking down his armor, I asked her, “how do you know that?” To which she replied,
“he told me that I rock his boat!”
OMG I just laughed for days thinking about that one.
Here are two wonderful hopefully helpful intentions or sayings that you can use to keep a bigger perspective when you’re rocking your boat whether you are teaching, being with your children, giving a public talk, painting, writing, blogging, …
They have become my silent daily mantras:
1 – How can I help, how can I serve
Just sit with this and let it guide you.
2 – “The participants will summon from me what they want to hear and I will find the words to help them hear it.” (from “Abraham” Esther and Jerry Hicks)
Love to you, You are love,