I am doing Elena Brower’s Approaching Acceptence 5 day course the first day is pause. We were supposed to become aware of contractions, pause, and use the breath to shift from contraction to attentive expansion.
This is the second time I have done this course. I remember the first time I did this I had such a hard time noticing contractions I was almost frustrated that I couldn’t identify many. Now I see that I didn’t notice contractions because I was in denial to the fact that I was in a constant state of contraction. I am so happy to have compassion for myself and allow myself to surrender to life that I can expand and now learning to notice when I do start to contract so I can soften and be open to how that changes things maybe it moves me back to expansion, maybe I stay contracted but at least I am aware.
Homework, Day 1
1. Write down at least 3 occasions when you noticed a contraction, what preceded it? Where it was in your body? Were you were able to transform it into an expansion using the breathing? What did that feel like?
1. I really want to work at this eco friendly landscaping job for the summer and I was getting ready to talk to the owner. I was so excited and then I started doubting myself and my ability. Thinking I wouldn’t be good enough. I could feel the contraction start with just doubting myself thinking, am I good enough to get this awesome job? As this contraction started I felt my skin getting tighter like I was actually contracting into myself and I also felt something in my heart like a sucking feeling. From here I had a choice I could feed my doubting mind and continued to contract. But instead I paused and said out loud to myself what was happening that I was contracting because I was doubting if I was good enough and then out loud I reassured myself. I have no experience but I am passionate, a hard worker, and a fast learner. I am good enough and I accept myself. This self acceptance allowed me to expand and I felt like my skin went from tight in a state of contraction to soft in a state of expansion. My heart also felt buoyant.
2. I was planning on taking Adams yoga class and plans changed and I ended up going to a community class at avenues yoga studio (where I just picked up a weekly class Tuesday 8:30-9:45am). I was looking forward to moving my body. I knew the class was not advanced but I was excited to be able to work on the anusara principles of alignment. Lately I have enjoyed taking other styles of yoga classes and applying the anusara alignment. When I went into the class the women teaching said that today she was going to do a yoga nidra instead of an asana practice and that she hoped that was ok. I smiled and said that was just fine. But as I sat at my mat and shut my eyes I could feel the contraction start in my brain. Like my brain was mad that what it had planned to do wasn’t going to happen. Again I had a choice as to how I would respond. I could make the contraction worse by feeding it getting worked up either complaining, leaving the class early, or pouting through the whole class. Instead I paused and breathed. Every exhale I was letting go of the attachment of what I expected and as I inhaled I filled myself with acceptance. I acknowledged that is what was happening and I turned it into a positive thing in my mind. I smiled thinking the universe is funny I have been running around all day and I still have a few more things to do after class and I didn’t get much sleep last night. This is the universes way of getting me to slow down. With this I felt myself expand. First the head thing went away and then my skin felt soft and I felt like I was glowing. I felt compassion for myself for not feeding the negativity and choosing to switch my attitude so I could I enjoy myself and accept the present moment. I also felt compassion for the teacher. I went from being a little frustrated to feeling lots of love for her for offering this to me and having the bravery to do that as a teacher. The class was wonderful I left thinking that is just what I needed.
3. I took a stone wrapping class and it was wonderful. The man Vern who taught it was so patient with me. He demonstrated a few times and it was so beautiful to watch I was so aware of what he was doing in the moment and I felt this happiness to be taking this fun class. This is something I would have never spontaneously done before when I was in the eating disorder. There was so much beauty as Vern dances the wire beautifully around the stone. Then it was my turn. I had watched and thought I understood but then my hands just couldn’t do some movement. The two other students seemed to get it quicker then I was and again I started to doubt myself: I don’t think I can do this. I good enough to do this? This contraction felt like my skin was getting tight and I felt anxiety and anxiousness. I paused and instead of making the contraction worse by continuing to judge, critique, and compare myself to other I choose to pause and breath. I said to myself that I don’t need to be perfect at stone wrapping. This is my first time doing this and I am doing this purely to have fun. I choose to accept that my twists are a little funny but I had fun and I accept myself and my effort.