I once heard a recording of Oprah saying what she prays for... That she used to keep on asking God for courage, but then she found that God kept giving her opportunities to become more courageous... she laughed at herself as she said "I don't pray for courage anymore." Along those lines of 'Be Careful What you Wish For' it seems that recently all of the self critiquing voices in my head have actually popped out of my head and taken on human form. Forms that have stepped directly into my path asking to be reckoned with. Ugh. I know I set the intention of forming Quality Relationships this year, but c'mon Universe, you Know I meant the happy love-y dove-y easy kind. Not the kind that need me to step up, stand and hold my ground, be subject to critique or set limits. Oh Man, that is SO not what I was asking for.
But. It appears the Universe wants me to know about how to have Quality Relationships in all forms. It's not enough to just take the easy relationships and make them better. What is even more interesting and a greater opportunity for growth in my case is to take those more challenging ones... the ones that rub my skin raw, and see where I can transform them too.
I tend to be Debbie Doormat in challenging relationships. Walk all over me and I'll just keep quiet. Then I'd like to run to my friends, or colleagues, or parents or whoever to complain and complain and complain. It feels like that's fixing the problem. But in reality it doesn't change the situation and passing the buck does not help me build the I'm not going to be treated this way skill that I was too scared to learn when I was younger.
If I take this onto my yoga mat and into my body it looks like lots of opening without direction. My body is soft and flexible, but ask me to hold a pose for any real length of time and you'll see me start to crumble. It also shows up in not asking myself to move further in my practice. How long have I wanted to practice inversions without the help of the wall? and how often do I continue to use the wall rather than asking myself to try to rely on my own strength and inner poise? Limits and boundaries on the yoga mat for a person who tends to be more physically open, like me, can be the saving grace. They give us strength and stamina as we work to hold the alignment in a form without just collapsing into nothingness. They keep us out of injury by protecting joints from being over stressed, muscles from being over worked. They are challenging and ask us to hold the line in our bodies - but that is the proving ground for holding it off the mat too.
It is totally scary to me, but I'm starting to slowly but surely step-up on the mat and off. I'm ready to move forward out of some old patterns that aren't going to serve me in this next iteration of my life. On my mat I've started holding poses longer, going deeper, and simply trying things I never thought I was ready for. (still not going for handstand in the center of the room quite yet though). And in a recent conversation with the 'you are an awful mother' form, I was able to neither lash out or run away, and was able to cut off the power that needed to be shut down. In another case I was able to at least soften the blow of some harsh words. But in other situations I'm still being walked over but at least I'm aware of it and so irritated by it that things will most certainly have to change soon.
The crux of what I'm beginning to understand is that Quality Relationships come in all forms and require many different and shifting skills to keep them healthy and vibrant. Some skills come easily to me others are going to take some conscious cultivation on my part. But if I want to be the person I want to be in the world, this work is ultimately totally worth it. I am worth it. (and YOU are too!)