Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Week two..being accessible....I'm an middle aged woman...this journey started a long time ago.

This week at Moksha we are supposed to be working on opening ourselves up to possibilities, and being non judgmental of ourselves and others.  Don't let the title of this post fool you, I do know that this is a life long challenge, but it is one that I have been working on for a very long time.  It becomes easier with practice.

I grew up in a small town.  On my street there were only two houses with kids about my age.  One house was home to three kids close to my age, all of whom had learning and developmental issues, and the other was home to a very delicate little girl with quite a few physical and intellectual issues of her own.  The five of us were a band of buddies, always playing together....mostly I admit because I wasn't allowed to cross the street, and these were the days before play dates.  It was very early on that I noticed that I could figure things out faster than my friends. For example, Christine was not allowed outside to play with us.  She was always dressed like a little princess, and looked like she would break if she was jostled around too much.  It was me who masterminded the great escape to the creek.  I was also the only one who knew enough to stay out of the mud, and looked oh so innocent when I ran for help to get them all out.  I was convinced that I was the smartest kid ever.  I looked at my first day of school as the day that I would truly be recognized as the genius that I knew I was. Imagine my shock when I went to school for the first day and discovered that I was average.  Not only that I was being teased and taunted by the other kids for being friends with "those retards."

I wish I could say that I acted nobly and even at the tender age of 5 used acceptance and non judgement, but alas, I am not an all knowing genesis. I did what most kids would do, I distanced myself from my friends, and I never played with them again. The three siblings had a very difficult time in school, and were frequently manipulated and taken advantage of by unsavory people.  Christine and her family had moved away when I was in grade 3, and she was still struggling with grade1.  I never gave any of this much thought again till one day, when I was 15 out of the blue there was a letter for me.  It was from Christine.   I have long ago lost the letter, but I know that it was written on lovely blue paper with roses in the corner, and the printing was large and scrawling, like a small child.

The letter read:
Deer Patti,
You are my best frend.  wen we played in the mud it was the most fun ever.  I like coloring with you too.  I was in grade 4 but now I stay at home.  What grade are you in?
love  Christine.

My best friend ever, the delicate little girl who squealed with delight when I handed her a frog, so many years before had changed the path I would take in my life.  It has been a long road, but as the years have passed, I have always tried to be non judgmental, open and balanced. You never know what an impact a little thing can make.  Be very careful of what kind of energy you release in to this world. It comes back, both the good and the bad.  I have been truly blessed, that one letter opened my eyes to a whole new way of viewing the world.

I received that letter 40 years ago. This was a time when Yoga was not part of the mainstream.  Meditation was something done by people on the fringe. I did not find yoga till a few years ago, but immediately it was very clear to me that this practice could make the path to acceptance and non judgement a lot easier than muddling through, and hoping for a letter, or feeling guilty because you didn't help when you could have.  It was the tool that I could use to find what I had been searching for.

I touched Christine's heart because when I was 5 I believed I could take on any challenge that life could throw at me. (and believe me it was not easy getting her wheelchair down the hill, or her out of it to sit on the bank of the creek)   I touched her because my heart was pure, and I only wanted her to have fun with the rest of us.  I accepted my friends just as they were.  Later when I did not feel so confident, I lost the benefits of unconditional acceptance the other three friends, and we all suffered.

Yoga has become the place where I practice being that 5 year old again full of optimism and open to all possibilities.  I constantly battle to come to terms with the fact that I have the body of a post menopausal woman, and need to be patient with myself.  I usually go to class grateful that I managed to haul my poor old posterior in to the studio......I tell myself every thing else that happens there is gravy.  I have to admit that I do start judging when I enter the room.  I have found that I can only go to the front of the class where I can see the mirror once a week.  When I am up there I tend to be critical of how I look.  I try once a week to take a realistic, but non judgmental look at my physical self.  The best that I have been able to do so far is well, you are getting stronger, but OMG the Buddha belly is disappearing in the most unattractive way.  It's kind of deflating like a beach ball, and I have a big old flap there.  This non judgement stuff takes a lifetime. I am trying to practice acceptance of myself first, and then it is easy to take that attitude off the mat, and out in to the world. I figure I should have this perfected in about another 40 years......(please don't do the math)

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