Black is the New Black

Because of a lame train into Union Square, I was a little late to yoga class today. I peaked in the room to wait for a decent transition time to grab my props, lay down my mat and jump in where the class was. As I made my way to the very front of the room (and I’d like to take a moment to say how cool it is to work above 5th Avenue with the muted taxis beeping and humming in the distance) I heard the instructor say, “remember we’re working with our shadow side today.” My subway reading of late has been The Shadow Effect by Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson. I’m about two-thirds the way through so this felt like synchronicity.

The long and the short is we did a lot of hamstring pulling poses. We used straps to open our legs to each side. We did pigeon poses on the ground. We did standing splits up the wall. Apparently, we carry a lot of stuff from the past in our legs, just below our asses.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about the parts of me that aren’t so nice. My anger, jealousy, greed and competitiveness. When I make fun of people or intellectually bully them. The times I’ve given up and disappeared. Mostly, I’ve thought about when I’ve ranted and raved about someone and how impossible or terrible he or she is.

The thing I’m learning is that when you do that, you’re really doing that about yourself. The times I’ve said I’ve hated something about someone else are the times I haven’t been able to say that about myself. I’ve just been blinded to it. I think Debbie Ford says something interesting on this. If it informs you, you probably are learning something and are not projecting. If it affects you and you start pointing your finger, you are more than likely projecting.

We all have these dark, unpleasant places inside of us. A lot of times, we do things to move away from them and not deal with them. Our society is built up to distract us from those things about ourselves we’d rather not think about. I keep thinking I’m dealing with it all, but then I uncover a new layer.

I was given a long fuse in life. If anything, I get on myself too much for not being able to master something new immediately. Or attack myself for not being perfect before anyone else can. I can deal with people with compassion for the most part. That is, until a certain line is crossed.

And sometimes life sends a stampede over your border. I’m far from perfect, have too much to prove, am frequently wrong and not always the most fun to be around to say the least. But it’s those times when you don’t feel like yourself and your stuff comes up that you find out who you really are.

I sometimes envy people who seem to have a firm grasp on who they are, whether they like it or not. I still am searching to figure out who I’ll be. I think there’s a lot more dark inside to be allowed to be safely expressed.

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One thought on “Black is the New Black

  1. Jeez, dude, you've always been fun to be around, at least in my experience, and I've never seen you bully anybody – intellectually or otherwise. And I bet your grasp on who you are is no more tenuous than the next guy's.
    As for this – “I still am searching to figure out who I'll be.”

    Most people have given up searching by the time they are our age. Most people aren't that brave.

    As for Yoga – dang, I used to be able to splits up against the wall. Like, fifteen years ago!

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