He awoke early with the sun for a change. Groggily, from a late night when sleep did not come, as it often did not. He waited for slumber to arrive like a spouse waiting on the partner who had to work late: restlessly. To pass the time before her return, he watched a digital video recording of thin, super strong young men riding their bikes across Spain. A place he’d been many years ago and found himself pining for. He pined a fair bit these days, to anyone who would listen. About his underappreciated, unpaid blog and book writing. Or the aches and pains of an aging cyclist. And his unwillingness to settle for another low-paying job with a boss and all that jazz, while he struggled to start being an self-employed contractor. He couldn’t figure out how to do the job without a car but paradoxically he needed money from a job to get a car. After 13 years since his vehicle was smashed by a reckless driver, a car seemed like it would be nice. Yet it could also mean certain death to whatever modicum of fitness he had, he thought, because biking is sweaty, hard and uncomfortable, and driving a car is easy. And easy is boring. Which rhymes with snoring, which is what he should be doing, he mused.
The other day I had a rare headache, and someone near me said, “Why not try some alternate nostril breathing?” I did, and it helped. Then the little voice in my head kicked in, and I started kicking myself. “Why didn’t you think of that before?” it mocked. “Why don’t you do more pranayam every day?” it jeered. And so on. If you’re at all like me, the inner critic is never far from bursting through the front door of our conscious mind and raining on our parade, to mix metaphors.
Have you ever noticed that we don’t have a name for the inner compassionate person? But we should. Our inner Dalai Lama, perhaps, or whatever spiritual teacher may appeal to you. But after my last post about yoga, I’ve been thinking about the other limbs and self-compassion is a big one. So here are some thoughts that might help you, whether it’s starting or maintaining a regular practice of writing, walking, yoga, cycling or whatever, just being better with your self, or maybe becoming the next President of the United States, a job which should be coming open pretty soon, from the looks of it. Continue reading