Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Optimism park

Last week, as we drove around North Carolina after the Anusara CTG, I was deeply involved in a conversation with my boyfriend about self honoring, not as a concept, but as an every day sadhana, or practice. The point of the conversation was that I have a very hard time practicing what I preach. As an over-achiever, I strive for my best constantly, and like most perfectionists, think I'm falling short at every corner. I've been told I never miss an opportunity to shoot myself down. True enough. I get caught up in a fearful space of not being the best, or not getting what I want, so I fall into my default safety zone of pessimism. If I don't hope for anything, then I won't be disappointed, right? One certified teacher, named Paula, put it very well, "the inner core is the sharpest edge." Ouch. I realized that I had been living on that sharp edge for a while.

At the Certified Teachers Gathering, John Friend told us that words can have an emotional or physical charge. We must be skillful in how we decide what to put out there because it will build strength as it moves out into the world, especially when we unthinkingly repeat self defeating words to ourselves like mantras. John said, "Lay every part of yourself down with devotion." This clearly does not say, "Lay every part of yourself down with trepidation and clenching fear." If I want to live fully in the light of the Self, then I must be willing to be hopeful. I have to be willing to entertain the possibility of success. This way, I build a matrika that shows my Self the highest of respect. When I honor myself, I also honor the Self, the highest aspect of existence.

As this conversation got deeper and deeper, I vowed to myself and my boyfriend, who keeps me honest, that I would be more skillful in the matrika of optimism, rather than building the possibility of disappointment.

At this point, we realized we had overshot our destination and turned into a side street for a U-turn. Lo and behold, a sign directed us to Optimism Park. Seriously, Optimism Park? How could we resist? We accepted the invitation from Grace, and drove up to a small town park with trails, a pool and tennis courts. Hardly a place I would imagine making a vow to the universe in. But this wasn't a coincidence. It was a message. A funny one, at that. So we parked just long enough for me to close my eyes, and make a commitment to myself—to the compassion and respect that go hand in hand with it. It seemed right. Just like the adage, "You are what you eat," you are also what you speak. As a new resident of Optimism Park, I say this from my heart.

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