Friday, August 13, 2010

Life is easy. It can be far too easy for us to sit and berate ourselves for everything we haven’t done, for the emails we’ve missed, for the cobwebs grown around our “most important stuff” pile, for our misdeeds or for the times we’ve less than skillfully hurt someone, for the moments we haven’t followed through or the times we just missed “getting it right.”

It can be far too easy for us to slide on our commitments, to take the easy way out, to let our own vital energy slip from our bodies not unlike the way we suffer in our collective outer world with mishaps and mistakes.

What it is not so easy to do is to be accountable.

This week, I was reminded of the power of the practice of choosing and committing to maintaining a relationship with an accountability buddy. My Yoga sangha partner (we studied and sat for our comprehensive Yoga and Ayurveda exams together, years ago), Carrie Searles, in Denver, Colorado, revealed that she meets with her accountability buddy weekly. The two call each other out on promises kept and missed—without judgment or falling into the trap of fear and self-loathing. This inspired me so last night I made a commitment with my newly minted accountability buddy. We set our groundrules: a safe space, no judgment, we could speak about anything, we will speak weekly, our discussions would not go beyond our private space. And we will call each other out and enforce tapas (discipline)—holding our feet to the fire, as it were.

There’s a fine line sometimes between being held accountable and feeling guilty. We have to sweep out underneath the rugs of our lives—personally and collectively. But it does no one any good to do so with a leaden heart and pent-up anger. Our willingness to hold ourselves accountable takes hold best with an open heart.

Now, if we could only find a fierce accountability buddy for, oh, say BP and any number of other people and organizations.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

This is my editor's note from this week's LA YOGA Magazine email newsletter:

It all comes down to relationship. This life, this adventure, this play (in Sanskrit, the leela—the divine play) that we take part in is a dance of relationship. Or at least that’s how I’ve been seeing it. Yesterday, that idea was the core focus of my teaching, my process of editing, even updating my Facebook page and considering the upcoming issues of LA YOGA Magazine.

The primary relationship we have in our lives is our relationship with our selves. This is the relationship that frames our life from our first breath to our last. The nature of this relationship sets the tone for all of the other relationships we engage in during this divine exploration of life.
Sometimes our relationship with the self is supportive, loving, kind; other times, it may be insidiously, subtly abusive, controlling, or angry. There is a danger that we neglect ourselves as our attention is drawn outside of ourselves, and this can have negative repercussions for our health and well-being at a profound level.

The relationship with the self is one that requires daily attention and daily cultivation. Just because we were kind yesterday and practiced ahimsa, nonviolence or compassion, the first of the yamas delineated in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras—today is a new day. And if we didn’t practice ahimsa—well, today is a new day. Today is a new opportunity to engage in the love affair with ourselves. Today is a new opportunity to examine our choices, to pause before we speak (out loud or within the echoing reverberation chamber of our own mind) and ask ourselves how our actions feed this divine relationship.