I teach yoga. I also curse.
And, sometimes, I do both at once…
Is that a paradox? Maybe, maybe not.
I like to believe I am a spiritual person, a good person, a conscious person, someone who strives to learn and grow from experience and leave those around me in a better place. I have the luxury of spending more time contemplating issues that revolve around conscious living than the next guy, because that’s part of my job.
But I am on a journey, just like everyone else.
I make mistakes, I say and do things that hurt, bother or otherwise upset others. I have good and bad days, good and bad moods, emotional highs and lows, huge successes and failures, desires and aversions, moments of deep empathy and compassion and other moments of ignorance and disrespect.
No matter how much I “practice” conscious living, it’s still just that…practice.
And, no matter how much effort I put into that practice, there’s this thing I still can’t shake. Actually, I don’t want to shake…
I’m still human.
Which creates an interesting scenario that, at some point, we’ll all likely experience on some level. Part of the challenge when you are held out as a committed participant or even a leader in some kind of movement or exploration, be it online, in your local community or even among a small handful of others, is that a certain number of other people tend to lose tolerance for your humanity.
They’ll hold you in judgment for your imperfection.
This tends to happen most often when you first hold yourself out as perfect, or pretty darn close (something I’ve always shied away from, personally). But even when you proclaim to be nothing more than a human being with foibles, if your voice on an issue is strong, you may still take some heat.
Actually, it goes much deeper than that. In fact, as Jonathan Haidt writes in The Happiness Hypothesis, in an odd quirk of human nature, many people, even close friends and family, will secretly wish to see you stumble, especially those who perceive themselves as having similar abilities or inclinations as you, yet stood on the sidelines while you dove in. Because, in your stumble, in your failure, they’ll find validation for their unwillingness to try.
So, what can we do about it?
All I can tell you is what I do.
As much as I practice and teach yoga, study and write about conscious living, I am not enlightened and I do not expect to be within my lifetime. So, while others might hold me to a higher standard of perfection and have lesser tolerance when I don’t meet their standards…my only aspiration is to practice.
To be present as much as I can. To be loving, empathetic and compassionate as much as I can. To learn and grow from experience when I am not. And, to just…
Yes, I make mistakes. And, can you believe, on rare occasions, I actually don’t practice what I preach. I even curse here and there, because that’s just me. And, it sometimes happens when I speak and when I teach yoga.
I don’t do it for effect, I don’t do it to offend or polarize. It’s just part of how I express how I feel and observe the world around me. And, I make jokes, I poke fun, most often at my own expense, sometimes, at others. Not out of spite or malice, that’s not my style, but rather out of a good natured sense of ribbing or observation about the quirky side of humanity.
Some people don’t like that I don’t walk the middle line, that I’m human…
And they either tell me (occasionally, with language or behavior that’s far more offensive than the language or behavior they don’t want me to use) or just leave the conversation or community. That’s sometimes sad and, depending on the scenario, it’ll sometimes rattle me. But, by and large…
When I work from a place of authenticity, most people accept me for who I am…
They see the greater energy I share with those around me. They see the fact that, though I make mistakes and the way I express things may not always conform to the norms they wish I’d follow, I generally do my best to live and act from a place of love, a place of compassion, a place of authenticity and respect, a place of creation and innovation, a place of significance and sincerity.
Simply put, I try to be real.
I try to learn and grow. I try to do my best.
Because, in the end…that’s all we can do and be.
How about you?
Join our Email List for Weekly Updates
And join this amazing community of makers and doers. You know you wanna...