“I’ve been knocked down a lot of times.”
— James Brown
So here’s the scenario…
The night before, I get super-jazzed about doing yoga at 6:00 a.m. (anyone else out there who gets super-jazzed about exercising early in the morning the night before?). I go to bed and set the alarm to be sure I don’t sleep through my commitment. I pull the covers over me in my warm flannel sheets and snuggle into my pillow with a smile on my face. The star-studded movie of Mighty Me doing rock-solid power yoga in the morning while the sun is on its way up flickers on the screen of my imagination.
It’s gonna be good.
Fast forward to 6:00 am… with that alarm making a ruckus.
“That %#!!* alarm!!!”
My eyes roll in their sockets, and I curse the fool who thought getting up out of bed at 6:00 a.m. was going to be a good idea. Oh, and on top of that, I’m supposed to do something as ridiculous as yoga!
I sigh and grumble.
After shutting the alarm off, I habitually roll over onto one side and dimly stare into space through crumbly peepers.
And then it happens. The Great Debate and The Bargaining For My Immortal Soul begins:
- You don’t really feel like getting up.
- You could do yoga later in the afternoon or tonight.
- Or even tomorrow…
- You just did yoga the other day.
- What are you trying to prove, anyway?
- How about yoga every other day?
- What difference does it make if you do yoga now or later?
- It’s too cold and dark to do yoga. Better to wait until it’s warmer and brighter.
- Tomorrow. There’s always tomorrow. That’s why God created tomorrow.
- Maybe just a few more minutes in this warm, cozy-comfy bed and then see how you feel…
Eventually, one of these hook-line-and-sinkers nabs me and lulls me toward the desired outcome — not doing yoga (and, ultimately, feeling bad). Here’s how the process goes:
- The Set-Up
- The Follow Through
- The Beating
The “Set-Up” happened the day before with a fantasy of how yoga was going to be. It’s the expectation and the promise of perfection.
The “Follow Through” was the resistance that met the commitment. Now notice how there’s only resistance to doing something beneficial. If I had committed to eating a box of donuts, drinking a gallon of coffee, or even playing video games first thing in the morning — I would have gotten nothing but “Hey, great idea! Party time!”
I decided to do something that would take care of me, make me feel good, energize me for the entire day, and probably set a good tone for everything to follow. This sabotage is the reason I call it self-hate. ’Cause the insidiousness of the whole process is that it leads to “The Beating.”
Let me rustle up the voices again for you. Here’s what “The Beating” has to say:
- Geez, you didn’t do yoga again!
- You can’t do anything you’ve committed to!
- And you wonder why your life is crapola?
- You have no discipline!
- What a loser!
- When will you ever get it right?
- There’s no hope for you.
- Why bother?
After spending a sufficient amount of time being pounded into the earth — having traded the possibility of doing yoga and feeling good for a morning dose of “Feel Like Dog Doo-Doo”—the following may creep in around mid-day:
- You know, you can always do yoga tomorrow…
- That’s right! All is not lost!
- This could be a good time to create that schedule you’ve always wanted to follow.
- Remember when you made that schedule, and you followed it for half-a-day?
- Boy! That was a smokin’ half-day!
- Let’s do that again!
- And put yoga on at 6:00 a.m.!
- Heck, why not 5:00 a.m.? You want to see the sunrise, don’t you?
- Heck, yeah!!!
I hope you can see the cycle back to The “Set-Up.”
I’m being set up.
More expectations, more opportunities for failure, and more feeling bad.
This process always amazes me. I admire the structure of it. It’s like a well-oiled machine — a real guarantee for misery.
Look to see what your version of this process is. Do you try to lose weight? Do you try to eat healthier foods?
Do you try not to shop so much? Do you try to meditate? Whatever it is, see how this shows up for you.
Write out what the voices say:
THE FOLLOW THROUGH
And pay attention to catch any voice that may try to come in to express an opinion about what you’re discovering. The voices would love to take your insights and use them against you. Why? Because it just keeps the whole thing moving again.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready…here are 4 ways I can help you with your practice so you can live The Zen Life wherever you are:
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Originally published at www.zenlife.coach.
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