“Only the closed mind is certain”
It has been a little over a year since I began performing as an aerial artist. It has taken most of my spare time and energy, but has been worth all the effort. Yoga gave me the strength and the wellbeing to follow my heart and aerial arts continue to full my passion. My whole life I have been making excuses for why I wasn’t getting on stage; too big, not properly trained, not good enough, too old….no more….I have been having such a good time! I would have laughed my head off if someone told me two years ago that at 39 years old I would be starting my first official performance year. Well, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. It is hard to feel down when you get spend so much time up in the air! I am so proud to be performing with the Red Light Variety Show and hope to continue to get on stage in some capacity till the day I leave this world.
The next Red Light Variety Show opens next week! For all of you Boise friends that plan to attend please hang around after the show and give us all a big hug.
“We would be running on parallel tracks destined never to cross again.”
~The Selected Works of TS Spivet
Illusionary statement: if the tracks are parallel they can not be destined to never cross again since to be parallel they could never have crossed before…. How can one little word, such as ‘again’, cause meaning to shift so drastically and therefore imagine how often our own intentions are lost in translation. Be gentle with those for whom you do not understand or those that misunderstand you…it could easily be a simple slip of the tongue.
So many of us are afraid of thinking too highly of ourselves or appearing prideful, but what about always assuming the worst. When we lack self-compassion and continually judge ourselves it becomes easier to do the same to others. It is almost impossible to judge only yourself harshly. Unfortunately judgement and negativity becomes a viscous cycle that can be hard to break. So how do we let go of negative self perceptions without swinging to the other side of the spectrum? Tuning into the truth as it is right now in the present moment………..Ok, easier said than done. Personally I have found that cultivating the skill of acceptance has been extremely helpful. When I first starting learning about 3rd Wave CBT (Mindfulness and Acceptance based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) I was really turned off by the concept of acceptance. It sounded too much like resignation or just plain giving up. Luckily I investigated further and discovered something more subtle and gentle. Acceptance is about being honest with ourselves and acknowledging our truthful feelings, possible biases, and basic desires. Acceptance is the opposite of resistance. When practiced with awareness and an open mind, acceptance can teach us a lot about ourselves and the world around us.
For example, I was recently speaking with some friends about the conclusions we jump to when we don’t get an expected response from a person we know well. It is easy to assume that someone didn’t laugh at our joke because they are mad at us or we just aren’t funny. Usually the reason has less to do with us. A usually jovial friend who doesn’t laugh is probably distracted by a task, received somber news or just is not having a good day. When we engage in acceptance we keep our mind open to current information and not succumb to making assumptions. There are assumptions that seem to be common to many of us. These are often referred to as cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are basic PSYC 101, but I never quit finding value in revisiting them.
The below list of cognitive distortions was retrieved from healthymind.com:
- All-or-nothing thinking: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
- Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
- Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.
- Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. You maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
- Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.
- Mind reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you and don’t bother to check it out.
- The Fortune Teller Error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly and feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.
- Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick.”
- Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
- Should statements: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.
- Labeling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him, “He’s a damn louse.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
- Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event for which, in fact, you were not primarily responsible.
From: Burns, David D., MD. 1989. The Feeling Good Handbook. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. Agatha Christie
After several years of teaching primarily private yoga classes I have decided it is time to teach an open studio class. If you would like to come practice yoga with me, my new class is Monday evenings 5:00-6:00 pm at Ophidia Studio on Chinden Blvd. Drop in rate is $7. I am excited to begin sharing yoga with another group of yogis.