Balancing on the mat is difficult. There's swaying, adjusting, twitching, and, sometimes, falling. And when I fall, I tell myself, "it's ok... get back up and try again!"
I've learned to do the same thing in my life, which is usually a good thing. But sometimes, my "there's always tomorrow!" optimism can be a downfall. Like when I use it to rationalize my way into doing something destructive.
Have you ever been optimistically destructive? It can be as simple as having a piece of cake instead of some fruit by telling yourself that you'll go back to eating healthy tomorrow. Or it can be a little more destructive.
I'm really good at sabotaging my good intentions by optimism (it sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?). The really hard part is being honest enough with yourself to recognize the difference between optimism and optimistic destruction. Being honest with myself is harder than the balancing, and no one can really help me do it. Like everything else, I just need to practice.
One way I practice being honest with myself, though I didn't realize it until I really thought about it, is through yoga. Noticing feelings, whether they are physical or emotional, and deciding what I need to do with the feelings on a moment-to-moment basis, as part of being present during my yoga practice, is teaching me to recognize what I'm feeling and notice how I'm responding off the mat.
Now here's the really scary part... where I bare my experience. Tonight I really wanted to engage in my own special destructive tendencies--binging and purging. It's been a while since I've done it, and my partner was out having dinner with a friend tonight--which meant a few hours to myself this evening. First I wavered in the balancing: walking through the grocery store I picked up and then put down three different items that I thought about buying to take home to eat and throw up. Next, I played games: if I call Billy and he knows I'm thinking about it, then I won't do it because he'll be looking for the signs when he gets home. I also played the optimistically destructive card: "what's one more time; I won't do it for another few months afterward." Then still wavering, I took a long shower to delay my choice.
In the shower I thought about what I was doing, and I practiced being present and identifying what was really going on. I recognized the urge I was feeling as well as the optimistic destruction tendencies I was engaging in. I felt really uncomfortable with the urge, uncomfortable with the responses, and uncomfortable with being forced to make a decision. I felt like I'd lose if I binged and purged, but I'd also lose if I didn't fulfill the urge.
Then I realized that what I really wanted to do was get rid of all of the discomfort.
And, so, finally, I sat myself down in front of the computer to purge some emotions and balance the scales. And here we are. Do I feel comfortable now? Yes and no. I'm certainly standing back on two feet... but I've also exposed more than I typically like to. ...What I feel best about is the moment where I allowed myself to be fully present and honestly assess where I was and what I was feeling. Hey, it's practice.