The other day in yoga I was in “Happy Baby” pose and suddenly I felt very small. And vulnerable.
I found myself saying, “It’s okay, sweetie. I’m sorry that you were hurt. I’m sorry that you were lied to. I’m sorry that has made it hard for you to trust people.”
I started crying as I thought of all the people that I have loved. All the people that I haven’t treated as kindly as I wished. And all the people who haven’t treated me as kindly as I wished.
I just let myself really feel that sadness. Then I whispered,
“It’s okay. I forgive you.”
Then my body just relaxed and I felt something shift inside me. Like a lotus flower opening. I opened to that feeling of deep compassion for myself and others and awakened to the realization that we are doing our best at any given time. It’s often only through a reflective practice that I realize that I could have done better. And how I could have done better. Even with that kind of practice, I still mess up, because I’m a messy human.
I found something in one of my journals that said, “I take negative, punishing, withdrawing action when I feel I’m not being valued. I get flustered and regressive or shut down.”
I wrote that a year ago and yet I’ve done that exact thing multiple times since then. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I could take it back but that’s not how life works, is it? We get lots of practice, don’t we?
I shared this with my therapist today and she said, “That’s how change works. You realize what hasn’t been working and change it. When you’re mindful, the old behavior becomes less frequent or gets replaced by new, more positive behaviors.”
This is true. Rumination, people-pleasing, care taking, and a host of other things have been replaced by new, healthy choices. Like yoga. Like self-care. Like forgiveness.