Tuesday, January 22, 2008


So how great that it is water week and it was raining tonight! So from the openness of the ethers to the firm resolve of the earth we move to water. The water element informs our studentship by reminding us to be fluid, responsive, reflective and receptive.

This is a great lesson for me today as I had some interesting interpersonal/political situations get called to my attention this very morning. Evidently things are going on I did not even know about that are nothing more than ignorance and confusion, joined with projection directed at moi. Ugh. One yoga siddhi (power) I have yet to cultivate is the ability to "suffer fools well." I just really suck at it. Truly. It is a big weakness of mine, I think. And while it sounds harsh since you do not know the story (and it is not at all appropriate for sharing in this forum) that is really what is at issue- a handful of people acting foolish. By foolish I do not mean that they are bad people. By foolish I mean that they are making assumptions about me, my motives and my actions and then projecting the worst on to each (me, my motives, my actions) and then making a big drama out of it. This is foolish behavior. Understandable, but nonetheless, upsetting. Heart-breaking, really.

My first impulse, as you might guess, is more in the fire domain. But since water was on my mind, I cultivated it consciously in this very long phone call I had this morning. Anyway- what it brought me to think about was how important each element is in dealing with life and choosing our responses to circumstances rather than just reacting to them. Water is a responsive element and a reflective element. Think about how water reflects light or an image. Well, when we can be reflective, even under stress, then we can actually choose a response that is more optimal, rather than just simply react out of our conditioned habits.

So after this phone call this morning I did a great practice which brought me back to just how much I love practicing yoga and how good it is for me and what a blessing it is to have yoga. And as I thought about water and as I practiced I also realized that water will often just go around obstacles. In this case "going around the obstacle" is largely internal, which is awesome. Whenever I can find the solution to an issue within my own way of looking at something or working with something I am so psyched because I am in charge of that process and there is a much better chance of changing myself or my attitude than changing an external situation. Pretty much always.

So back to classes- we worked on Inner Spiral a lot in both classes. The flow class did a fun flow of twisting and turning and simply "riding the wave of the breath". And we did mega-hip opening in the 6:00 advanced class. It was a fun evening which brought me back to the simple joy it is to teach yoga. I was so happy to see the folks that were there and as usual, teaching brought me out of myself, which is another blessing of teaching.

The only sad news to report is NO DOUBLE DIPPERS!

We have EYE OF THE TIGER THIS WEEKEND. Sunday. January 27. 12-5. Potluck to follow.


Anne-Marie Bowery said...

Curious title you have.

I taught Nietzsche's Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the greeks today which starts with the following observation

"If we know the aims of humans who are strangers to us, it is sufficient for us to approve of or condemn them as wholes. Those who stand nearer to us we judge according to the means by which they further their aims; we often disapprove of their aims, but love them for the sake of their means and the style of their volition."

but in terms of the title of your post, the first philosopher he discusses is Thales who claimed, of all things, that the primordial origin of the universe is WATER.

Pamela said...

Okay, I read this AFTER I sent you my email tonight. If you haven't read it Christina, get with the program. My unsolicited advice, that is ... I am good, you know, WAY good (just ask me ... or not, I'll tell you regardless.) And by the way, if I could have, I WOULD have double-dipped.

Love you, Love your hair. Gonna be you for Halloween in '09!)

whatnot said...

believe me, I would love to have been double-dipping, rather than sitting on the LaGuardia tarmac for what felt like an eternity.

then again, three seats to myself. so, I napped.

politics and gossip are as inevitable as breathing. that doesn't make it okay, just, um ... inevitable.

okay, i think i need to eat something now. eight hours since last solid food. and what did i do upon arriving home? come straight to the computer. good lord.

Dale said...

It is really quite difficult to accept criticism and attacks, be they from friends or foes, intentional or just foolishness. It usually takes me a day or two to give it all over to God & remind myself that he is in control & let go of it.

I try to just observe the feelings instead of being owned by them, but that doesn't discharge the emotional energy - I'm probably not good enough at that technique. But when I am finally able to rest in the fact that God sends all things - easy & hard, pleasant & unpleasant, what I see as good or bad - for my long-term benefit - then the negative & destablizing emotional energy is released, & I am no longer bound by the offense, because it ultimately came from God, and ultimately, it serves as a tool and opportunity for me to become more like God.

Apparently I will have a whole lot more offenses to deal with :-).

I also take two really powerful and useful lessons from your story - "By foolish I mean that they are making assumptions about me, my motives and my actions and then projecting the worst on to each (me, my motives, my actions)," The first lesson is to seek first to understand. I cannot count the number of times that trying to understand has saved me from acting the jerk. And of course, we should always start our emotional engines with the assumption that someone who does something strange is acting from positive motives, instead of judging them harshly without really understanding.

And there it is - the ugly, ugly, ugly root of many evils, feuds, hates, and wars - judgement. Deciding the heart-motives of someone from their actions. Deciding that someone is an evil person because they did something that I think is wrong.

Most of us have felt it - the sting of being misunderstood & judged. Maybe we even actually committed the offense, or not. Maybe we offended out of ignorance or carelessness or anger. But we did not intend the hurt, or at least did not intend that the hurt would be so big.

Or maybe we just flat didn't do whatever the judge thought that we did.

Or maybe we are judged by totally nonsensical criteria - like the color of our skin, our language, our religion, or dress, or income, or even gender.

>> Christina - I can tell that you are sensitive to this by your language and your whole attitude - you are, naturally and rationally, angry to have been misunderstood, judged, and probably slandered. But you emphasize that these are non-bad people acting foolishly. My appreciation of your heart attitude :-). <<

So, while I have my soapbox out :-), let me recommend the following Really Good Ideas for when someone pulls some really freaky sh*t that really offends you:

1) Seek first to understand. Try to understand what actually happened, and ask the person to help you understand why.

2) If you just totally cannot avoid assuming _something_, assume that the person is acting from some positive motive, or at least from non-malicious motives. Maybe it was an accident, or had nothing to do with you, or maybe they were trying to protect you or someone else, or maybe they felt trapped or were hurt by something on such a fundamental level that they were driven to do whatever. And really, 90% of the time, the motive has nothing to do with you :-).

Anyway, sorry you got judged & jacked - I remember your pain.


Christina Sell said...

Thanks everyone. Such good advice. Such good support. I am truly blessed.

Svetha said...

It's parent-teacher conference week, I get to sit in a chair for hours each day talking to parents instead of making it to class (and double-dipping).... ah well, at least i share the same sentiments as you do about loving your "job" of teaching and that's what brings you back....