I participate in my own oppression by expecting myself to be different, more evolved, more “healed.”
Mostly I don’t do this; except when, of course, I do.
I participate in my own oppression by worrying about what isn’t happening.
I do this much less; except, of course, when I do it.
I participate in my own oppression by imagining the worst about me, about you, and us; mostly, I don’t go there. Sometimes, I do make tiny visits to those thoughts.
I participate in my own oppression by making do, rather than going for the gold, which for me is joy and pleasure. I’m currently working on this one—will keep you posted.
I participate in my own oppression by allowing my mind to run the show, by handing the car keys over to the ten-year-old rebel in me, who wants to screech through Berkshire County, causing chaos. Mostly, the adult that I am drives the car, determines the direction, the course, the speed. But not always.
Sometimes the untamed kid is driving.
I continue to participate in my own oppression, even though I have been sober and clean for a while now, even though I have been on this yogic path for a damn long time, too. This human dilemma is remarkable to me; we long for what isn’t real, we expect so much from ourselves, we push against reality, we ignore our bodies, we listen to the wild minds that plague us, we are driven by the hungry ghosts that haunt us.
Welcome to the human dilemma.
Many years ago, in the early ‘90’s, I created a program with my Kripalu colleagues and friends, Steve Cope and Adam Mastoon, that we instantly named The Yoga of Recovery. I was mesmerized by interplay, the parallels between yogic philosophy, thousands of years old, and the principles of 12 Step Recovery programs, created in the 1930’s. Remarkably, I found, these two systems so support each other, so mirror each other, so supplement each other. I have spent these passing decades since investigating, exploring, wandering through the worlds of 12 Step Recovery and Living Yoga.
I’ve taught this program consistently throughout these years.
The Yoga of Recovery lives.
I live this program. Of all the things I teach, this is home-base for me.
I believe that all habitual thought, all negative thinking, any compulsive pattern can be attended to, through radical compassion and the right use of will.
I believe that these practices change the brain, the body, and behavior.
I believe that through the wisdom of body-centered practices and principles of recovery, we can choose our behavior and live into who we want to be.
I believe that we can create sustainable strategies to quiet our minds, to realign our actions, and to lean in the direction in which we choose to live.
I absolutely believe these things.
What profound promises! What hope, what possibility exists for us all.
What about you?
Dear readers, how do you participate in your own oppression?
Do you have negative self-thoughts?
Do you try to control the behavior of others? (Good luck with this, fyi…)
Does choice slip away from you with substances like wine, food, chocolate, or sugar? Do they run the show and make decisions for you? Do find yourself in habitual, unchanging behavior with substances?
If any of these mirrors reflect you, please consider coming to Kripalu and taking The Yoga of Recovery with me, November 9-11th. I am positive that the space we will create through our intentionality and purpose will carry us closer to ourselves, to one another, and to the ways in which we choose to live.
What is my plan for this day, this day of changing light and morphing trees, of wild, kamikaze squirrels and soft grey skies?
- To relax into whatever I am feeling—as best I can.
- To move my body through this autumn moment with purposeful kindness—as best I can.
- To open my eyes and my heart to what is—as best I can.
- To remember that it is all Grace—as best I can.
- To allow myself to be exactly where I am—
- As best I can.
And you, dear readers? What are your intentions for this autumn moment? And please do pass on this invitation to The Yoga of Recovery to anybody in your world who might benefit. Keep in touch! Hearing from you all is a blessing. I am firstname.lastname@example.org.