When I was in the third or fourth grade I discovered flavored lip gloss. Fantastic! It came in different colors, flavors and tasted faintly sweet. What’s not to love?
One day, in CVS I saw some root beer lip gloss that I had to have. We learn desire and suffering so early. I had to have it. My mother said no. So my grubby paws and racing heart palmed the lip gloss. I know, I know, I know…..
In the parking lot walking next to my mother, I pulled out the lip gloss. (I said I was desperate for root beer lips, not necessarily the sharpest tool in the shed). Needless to say my mother went f@cking apeshit because it became clear too her that she had given birth to a budding criminal. I was marched back inside the store and required to report my crime to the manager. She was none too pleased and if memory serves (which is tricky) I got in pretty big trouble. But like all good moms- she forgave me. I went on to do even bigger and more stupid things and she forgave me these trespasses as well.
It always seemed harder to forgive myself. I would let the shame or guilt coat my skin. Rather than let things go and start fresh I became a series of bad things I’d done.
I guess we’ve all done things that make us less than proud of ourselves. Yoga has helped me let go of my past while staying accountable so I live my best life in the now. In some cases I’ve been lucky enough to be forgiven for some of my past transgressions. I’m forever grateful for the people in my life who have loved me unconditionally.
In other cases I haven’t been so lucky and I’ve had to lose people because I burned a bridge. Living a life through the breath helps me feel okay with the idea of things being what they are even when they are good and bad. Because even feelings or things that are bad can end up being good. I’ve also realized that a big part of this whole process of becoming enlightened is learning to forgive yourself.
I am more that the bad shit I’ve done.
I am more than what I do for a living.
I am not the stuff I have.
I am not the stuff I don’t have.
Last week in class I lost myself. I became too connected with my breathing and missed a cue from the teacher- in a effort to catch up I rushed through my flow- completely reacting to the idea of catching up rather that truly remembering why we do the asanas- to connect to the now.
Eddie my teacher, gently said- ‘if you ever miss a cue, don’t worry- come back to downward dog. It’s okay no need to rush- forgive yourself.’
There’s no perfection.
I felt a flash of shame. Not because of what he said, but because I still struggle with the idea of saying to myself, ‘you’re forgiven. Let it go.’
And then something happened- I let it go. I actually let the shame of it all go on an exhale into a forward fold.
Not surprisingly, the rest of class was like opening of a flower- I wasn’t stressed- I didn’t hyper focus on technique- I went with my flow. I gave myself the ultimate gift.