Critical

Argh! Save me from my critical mind!

Woke up kind of cranky this morning, thinking about the fact that my parents are moving into the area in a few weeks. Yes, within 40 miles. They’re lovely and all that, but I’m not looking forward to this at all. For all the reasons those who cringe at the thought of having their parents close by understand — and for those who just can’t understand what the problem might be with having family in the same area, well, I don’t think I can explain it to you.

I’m sure it will all be fine. The Cop keeps reminding me of that, but damn, I’m having a hard time with this one. They will stay with us for a few days upon arrival. Their stuff will move from Florida by moving van. My mom called and cheerfully said that they’d be with us for 7 to 14 days, waiting for the stuff to arrive. I had a brief (internal) fit, and then put it down. Spoke with my sister later and she had the brilliant notion of putting them up in a hotel as a surprise gift. They’re going to be about 40 miles away from me, so the hotel “surprise” will give them a chance to spend some time in their new town (versus hanging out here at my house). So three days here and then to the hotel. I am dreading springing the hotel “surprise.” My sister thinks they’ll be fine with it. I’m not so sure.

So anyhow, not the best way to start the day.

Led class was busy this morning. A workshop of some kind that ran late (of course). So we started in a little later than usual. Hey wait a minute! Why do we always finish our class on time, but no one scheduled in ahead of us ever does?

See? This is what I’ve been like all day.

Lots of new people today. No idea why. I asked Sanskrit Scholar if there was some kind of advertising going on, but she didn’t know of any. Next to me was a new guy, like a totally new guy — no yoga experience at all. To his other side was his friend, a woman who seems to have some Ashtanga background, and who apparently dragged him into class. She tried whispering to him to explain everything as it was happening, but of course, everything happens too fast, so she’d say a few things to him then go on with her practice, and he just kind of sat there looking bewildered. He did give a pretty good effort through standing, but then he seemed pretty exhausted and overwhelmed. I felt bad for him. Surely this is not a good introduction to yoga. Seriously, if I had gone to an Ashtanga class as my first intro to yoga, I think I’d have given up entirely.

Okay, so I was cranky about his friend. What’s with me? And just to add a twist to my criticism fest, as we were chanting at the end of class, someone spoke up and announced she was a shaman and that some of her other shaman friends are in the grip of black magic. And that we should chant for them.

Sigh.

Okay, whatever. I have a relatively weirdo spiritual belief system myself, so I really value tolerance. The universe, though, is messing with me on this one, right? Poor new guy. As if the asana and chanting in Sanskrit weren’t wacky enough.

So I have the deeply uncomfortable experience of hearing all the judgements in my head. Oh, yeah, they’re always there — I just don’t usually hear them so clearly. I get this same thing after long zen retreats, and I hate it. This time, though, I think it’s happening because practice is going so well. No kidding.

Practice is coming along really nicely, and I mean practice beyond asana practice. I have been feeling really centered and clear and open in real life, and it’s been terrific. Very useful at work. (Why, when I read Ashtangi.net blogs, do I get the impression that all yogis hate work? This will be subject of another entry…) Anyhow, not unlike at a zazen retreat, “breaking through” my usual habits/thought patterns (which is what is going on with yoga practice) seems to come with an increased sensitivity to the critical soundtrack in my mind. Not just other people, either. It targets me, too. Ack! What a bother!

Truth be told, I’ve run away from this issue in numerous retreats. Never really just sat and lived with it. The yoga may be forcing the issue, I guess.

I have been admiring Yogamum’s attempt to give up being critical of others, and I’ve been giving it a shot myself. Suddenly, today, this huge backlash effect.

Okay, fine. I’m going to be stubborn about this. I am going to be aware of the judgemental and critical thoughts, and I am going to acknowledge them, and then I am going to let them go. And I’m going to abstain from saying judgemental or critical things. About others, and about myself.

Already I’m laughing at myself. Good freaking luck, right? Well we’ll just have to see what happens…

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9 Responses

  1. Thank you for your honest post.

  2. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s high praise, coming from you, the Queen of Honesty!

  3. Well thank you!
    Some might say it’s a curse, it works for me though.:)

    I feel for that guy in class…I would have chortled out loud.
    But you know, my first experience with ashtanga was full led primary.
    Competitive freak I am, it totally inspired me.

  4. Karen/Donuts: on so many levels i want to reply to your post.

    I have a total love/annoyance relationship with my parents, who live in Scottsdale. We have food issues with each other. Because of these issues, which mean that my husband, son and I don’t get enoigh to eat when we visit, I want to stay in a hotel. But we can’t, because my elderly parents would be so upset.

    Yogis that hate their jobs: perhaps they are just the ones blogging. I love my job.

  5. Oh yeah, as soon as you decide to do something, here comes the Universe to test your resolve!

    To clarify: I decided to give up *saying* critical things about others (Phase One). I am still having plenty of critical thoughts and judgments!! But I’m more willing, as you said, to watch them arise and then pass away…I wonder if they will start to diminish as I continue to not express them.

    I always say if I had known what I was getting into when I enrolled in my first “Hatha Yoga” (actually intro to primary series, but I didn’t know that) I never would have done it! Poor guy!

  6. Suzie, the love/hate thing is hard to deal with. I guess an opportunity to practice equanimity… LOL! I can say that when I am feeling strong and hopeful about getting along with them, but it’s MUCH harder when I actually have to do it. And as far as my job goes: I don’t know that I would continue to do it if I won the lottery, but I really like it for the most part. And I am always kind of interested in trying to see if yogic principles work in a corporate environment. No reason they shouldn’t, right?

    YM: Yes, not saying critical things was my first thought — and here I am now, dealing with the thoughts! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s kind of interesting, as if making critical comments helps let some of the steam out of the feelings. I’m hoping that less expression will eventually mean fewer judgements and critical thoughts. It seems to make sense. If the mind’s habit is to be critical, and you give it fewer and fewer opportunities, then the habit should diminish… (I hope!)

  7. Hilarious about that class.

    RE: parents nearby, what do you think The Gift’s views will be of living near you? My fingers are crossed that Principessa and MTB will wind up near us, but it seems the American thing is to seek to flee far from your parents. With my parents, I couldn’t wait to move to college, then flee Michigan; but we found ourselves back here wanting to be near them ten years later, when the kids hit school age. The relationship is very different now. Complicated, complicated.

    ps sorry for the late comment; I’m just catching up ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hey Tim,

    I don’t know what’ll happen with My Gift re: living close or far away. I just want her to live in places she loves, as I always have. I spent my college years in Boston and Cambridge, my grad years in NYC, and a number of years in the Bay Area. Loved ’em all. Whatever makes her happy is okay with me. If she’s close, great. If she wants to be far away, that’s okay, too. That may be kind of easy for me to say because I like technology, as does My Gift — we text or email a few times a day, so it’s like we always have a conversation going on, no matter where we are physically located.

  9. My kids have decided that one of them wants to live in San Francisco, and the other in New York City! I’d be happy to visit them in either place but I would prefer to stay here in Colorado. I hope they go away for some period of years, then come back when I’m a grandma ๐Ÿ˜‰

    My folks are talking about moving out here after my mom retires in a couple of years and I’m really excited. I know some aspects of that will be difficult but if they time it right, they’ll be here for my kids’ teenage years and my mom is really great with teens (she’s a high school counselor). I need all the help I can get!

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