Whose idea was it to do yoga at 6 AM anyway?
One of the things I love observing with compassion is the process of self-hate. Some folks call it resistance, some call it procrastination — some call it the devil incarnate! I’m used to calling it self-hate, cause that’s what it feels like to me, (although devil incarnate can get quite close sometimes.)
So here’s the scenario: The night before, I get super-jazzed about doing yoga at 6:00 am, (anyone else out there who gets super-jazzed about exercising early in the morning the night before?) I go to bed and set the alarm so I can be sure I don’t sleep through my commitment. I pull the covers over me in my warm flannel sheets and snuggle into my pillow with a smile on my face. The star-studded movie of Mighty Me doing rock-solid power yoga in the morning while the sun is on its way up flickers on the screen of my imagination.
It’s gonna be good.
Fast forward to 6:00 am… with that alarm making an intense ruckus.
“That %#!!* alarm!”
My eyes roll in their sockets and I curse the idiot who thought that getting up out of bed at 6:00 am was a good idea — let alone doing something as RIDICULOUS AS YOGA!
I sigh and grumble.
After shutting the alarm off, I habitually roll over onto one side and dimly stare into space through crumbly peepers.
And then it happens. The Great Debate and The Bargaining For My Immortal Soul begins:
You don’t really feel like getting up.
You could do yoga later in the afternoon or tonight.
Or even tomorrow…
You just did yoga the other day.
You really don’t feel like it.
How about yoga every OTHER day?
What are you trying to prove anyway?
What difference does it make if you do yoga now or later?
It’s too cold and dark to do yoga. Better to wait until it’s warmer and brighter.
Tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow. That’s why God created tomorrow.
Maybe just a few more minutes in this warm, cozy, comfy bed and then see how you feel…
Eventually one of these hook-line-and-sinkers nabs me and drags me toward the desired outcome: Not doing yoga, and ultimately — feeling bad.
Here’s how I lay out the process:
- The Set-Up
- The Follow Through
- The Beating
The Set-Up happened the day before with the fantasy of how yoga was going to be. Expectation and the promise of perfection.
The Follow Through is the resistance that met the commitment. If, however, I had committed to eating a box of donuts, drinking a gallon of coffee, or even playing video games first thing in the morning — I would have gotten nothing but “Hey, great idea! Party time!”
I decided to do something that would take care of me, make me feel good, and probably energize my entire day and set a good tone for everything to follow. This is the reason I call it self-hate. ’Cause the insidiousness of the whole process is that it leads to The Beating.
Let me rustle up the voices again for you. Here’s what The Beating has to say:
Geez, you didn’t do yoga again!
What a loser!
You can’t do anything you’ve committed to!
And you wonder why your life is crappola?
Some discipline — and you think YOU can HELP others?
Physician heal thyself!
What a charlatan.
That’s right, yet one more thing you can’t get right.
After spending a sufficient amount time being pounded into the earth — having traded the possibility of doing yoga and feeling good for a morning dose of “Feel Like Doo-Doo” — the following may start to creep in around mid-day:
You know, you can always do yoga tomorrow…
That’s’ right! All is not lost!
This could be a good time to create that schedule you’ve always wanted to follow.
Remember when you made that schedule and you followed it for half-a-day?
Boy! That was a smokin’ half-day!
Let’s do THAT again!
And put yoga on at 6:00 am!
Heck, why not 5:00 am? You want to see the sunrise, don’t you?
I hope you can see the cycle back to The Set-Up.
I’m being set up.
More expectations, more opportunities for failure, more feeling bad.
All of this dialog could turn in to an excuse for doing unfortunate behaviors. For instance, since the rainbow just showed up and tomorrow is looking brighter, I may just get talked into downing that box of donuts and that gallon of coffee.
I deserve it! I’m the superhero again going to tackle yoga at 5:00 am in the morning, aren’t I? Heck, superheroes need reinforcements and treats and the “good stuff” in life. If I’ve been suckered into this drama, (read “yet another Set-Up”) then what follows is no surprise: THE BEATING.
How could you eat every $%*! donut in that box?
You feel like excrement.
Have you no self-control at all?
Boy, you really DO need help.
Time to roll out the diet and regimen AGAIN…
This process always amazes me. I admire the geniuses who concocted it because it truly deserves a patent. A real guarantee for misery.
Look to see what YOUR version of this process is. Do you try to lose weight? Do you try to eat healthier foods? Do you try not to shop so much? Whatever it is, see how this shows up for you.
Write out what the voices say:
THE FOLLOW THROUGH
Here’s a bonus video that I created at the monastery to compliment the cartoon. Enjoy!
And remember, breathe in and breathe out! 😊
This is a chapter and a cartoon from my book, Meditation and Reinventing Yourself.