I’ve been feeling like a complete fraud lately. Until last Tuesday I hadn’t practised yoga or meditation for six weeks – in which time I also joined two committees.
Fortunately, unlike medication, meditation doesn’t wear off – so I was able to keep the monkeys at bay and a relatively still mind for the weeks that Annemaree was traipsing through India.
In fact, I had a bit of an epiphany about The Y&M Effect. I thought – and had been feeling – that I was supposed to be feeling calm – all the time. In actual fact, it is about being mindful; being present; being aware; feeling fully and letting each thing pass – as it always inevitably does. The trick is to notice how you feel, feel it fully, sit with it and examine it for a moment and then let it go. The thing NOT to do is feel it, feed it, succumb to it and take as many people as you can hostage on the way through (recall: Christmas / husband / headlock).
Being calm all of the time – whilst a refreshing change from being completely loco – would be a bit dull. Variety is the spice of life after all, and who wants to sail through it like a lobotomized chimp anyway?
Over the past months I have actually come to quite like myself. Being kind to myself, instead of being my own harshest critic and taskmaster, has brought me to appreciate my quirks and idiosyncrasies. Meditation has opened up a rather pleasant internal conversation – which results in my own happiness, contentment and gratitude by and large. No, I’m not hearing voices – it’s not THAT sort of internal conversation.
I know that I am warm, generous, funny and kind. I have a lot to offer and want to offer it up in any way that might help my local community or others less fortunate. This seems to involve becoming a committee-tart – but as a home-based Mum I have the time to give and so I give gladly.
Liking yourself is quite handy when you embark on spending extended periods of time alone with yourself in a dark room, with your eyes closed under a blanket. As far as I am aware, meditation never made anyone go blind either.
As an Aussie, liking yourself, ( or daring to admit it), is just not the done thing. Our mob subscribe to more of a “tough-love” approach, believing that life is bound to disappoint you anyway, so best we let you know you’re not ‘much chop’ before you hear it from strangers. But to be a part of our mob you must be smart and by God you’ve GOT to be funny.
Our mantra could be this saying I came across recently “If you find yourself losing an argument, start correcting their grammar”. Aussies are sometimes the product of long lines of intelligent, slightly depressed individuals with superiority complexes and smart mouths (albeit, on the whole, hilarious).
It is exhausting trying to maintain the mask of being the funniest / wittiest / cleverest person in the room and, for me at least, all behaviours were a form of armor to keep people at bay, so I couldn’t get hurt. Oh, and ALWAYS with a drink in hand.
Through Yoga & Meditation I have softened – I have ALLOWED myself to soften through letting go of the armory. I am easier on myself. I am easier on myself because I have come to quite like myself. Today I prefer to let my character develop and manifest through my actions, rather than just being the ‘cleverest Dick’ at a dinner party.
I am finding it much more rewarding and fulfilling to simply learn and become educated without having to form an opinion which must be defended to the death. Attaching to an opinion – for me – shuts down such a big part of my brain’s ability to take information in – like trying to “live in the moment” whilst thinking what your next facebook status update will be!
Until next we meet,
Om & out.
This article has been contributed by student, writer & eternal work-in-progress, Anita Quigley Atherton.
Great article Anita! It’s the second time in as many weeks that I have heard comment about Australian society’s unwillingness to allow people to live themselves. I was lucky enough to hear Dr Sally Cockburn (Dr Feelgood) talk about exactly that. In the schoolyard you hear “look at her, she just loves herself sick”. But really, is that so bad!? Something to think about when guiding my own kids through the jungle of school.
And by the way, what’s wrong with correcting grammar??
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