Saturday, October 28, 2006

Let Yourself Off the Hook Today

Still, nothing. Here's another relevant passage from my journal last spring, and something to remember as the days grow shorter:

When I was in Oakland, Jonna and I went to two yoga classes taught by her teacher, Baxter Bell. He said something so profound during a meditation. He said, “You may notice that your mind wanders off. That’s fine, you don’t need to be upset about it. Just lead it back here. No need to be mad at yourself. Just come back, over and over. Let yourself off the hook, over and over.”

I realized, that’s what I have been trying to learn over these last few months. How to let myself off the hook, over and over. It’s a practice. It’s not as if you do it one time, and now you’re ready for the world. It’s like building a muscle, or stretching a muscle. It happens over time.

Being a mother presents a unique opportunity to see oneself as a failure in all respects. After all, can you ever love your children enough? Can you ever be there for them enough? But if ever there was a job in which you need to let yourself off the hook every day, it's parenting. Otherwise, perspective is easily lost and pretty soon you're popping Xanax because the two-year-old won't eat.

Twelve-steppers know that you change your mind one day at a time. You recommit every day, you practice every day, and you only expect it of yourself today. Tomorrow is tomorrow and you can face it tomorrow. For today, do today. It’s a wonderful way to set yourself up for success. Changing behavior requires building upon small successes.

I learned that with dog-training and kid-teaching. Do it until they have a measure of success, and then stop and do it again tomorrow. It's a good tactic to use on myself.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I don't think I've ever let myself off the hook before. It seems so right and natural as you wrote it, but I never thought to do that for myself.

I blame this on the way we males are raised - especially with sports. We're yelled at ny our coaches and told to get our shit straight or we'll be benched. Negative motivation at its finest!

Huh, just let myself off the hook...I'll have to give that a try!


susie said...

Right on. Let me know what happens the first time you try it.

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure I know how to do that! It's a tall order for a type A with perfectionist tendencies. My habit is to not meet my expectaions then beat myself up over it, ad nauseum. It really isn't very much fun. Thanks for helping bring this to my consciousness. I think I'll start tonight with one thing. Bedtime always provides plenty of opportunities for losing it... -V