At this rate I should be successfully posting on this blog every six and a half weeks. That kind of timetable really reduces the pressure, but also begs the question, “why bother?”

Because I’m clearly not a prolific writer with loads to say, I didn’t come to an easy answer. So I did as my mom always suggests I do, I made a list.

REASONS TO (DIS)CONTINUE POSTING ON RDY BLOG

Pros:

  • Discipline of writing regularly (you know, every six and a half weeks) – I hate to say it, but I could always use more discipline. I usually have to involve other people in my efforts at establishing discipline – someone to answer to, the thesis advisor or the practically non-existent audience of an infrequently updated blog.
  • Documenting my experience – I like ponderin’ livin’ – plain and simple – might as well take notes.
  • Creative outlet – I enjoy developing, crafting and editing stories about my experiences. It’s occasionally painful, but I also like how the process helps me establish my own ideological/philosophical/spiritual views and identify the inconsistencies.
  • Community – I like reading stories other people write about their everyday living experiences. It’s remarkable that people all over the world can connect instantly, and almost effortlessly, to share their accounts of not only life changing events but also everyday occurences.  I want to share in that!

Cons:

  • Distraction – there are a number of other (worthier) endeavors (i.e. master’s thesis) at which I could aim my writing efforts.
  • Documenting my experience ON THE INTERNET. Eh…I don’t really consider myself an exhibitionist, but isn’t that statement rendered false by the very act of posting it on the Internet?
  • Criticism – Yikes, Criticism. You scare me. I’m very sensitive.

OK, so the pros outweigh the cons. I kind of knew it was going to go that way, or I wouldn’t have bothered with this post. As for the list of cons, I think it’s the final point, criticism, that makes me the most reluctant. Distraction isn’t really an issue. I mean, let’s face it, a once in every six or so weeks blogging habit really isn’t keeping me from getting anything done.

The discomfort I experience at the thought of exposing myself in such a public sphere is eased when I consider that I’m in control of what I share. And, what I want to share and discuss are ideas about living well, learning and practicing yoga and creating a balanced life.  Towards that end, I offer this quote:

The closer we are to Self-realization, or enlightenment, the more ordinary we become. Only seekers striving for liberation as if it were a trophy glamorize the yogic process and themselves. They want to be extraordinary, whereas liberated beings are perfectly ordinary. They are as happy washing dishes as they are sitting quietly in meditation or teaching their disciples. For this reason, Yoga has from the beginning celebrated not only the path of the world-renouncing ascetic but also that of the world-engaging householder who uses the opportunities of daily life to practice the virtues of a yogic lifestyle.

Georg Feuerstein, The Deeper Dimension of Yoga, p.23

Most of the people I know who practice yoga would fall into that “world-engaging householder” category, though I could present a handful of yogis who might be most comfy at the “world-renouncing” end of the spectrum. Regardless, for those of us who study yoga philosophy, the modern world presents numerous daily opportunities to put into practice the guiding principles of the sutras. Sometimes this is more difficult than I expect. Sometimes I have no clue how to navigate the confluence of philosophical ideals and the demands of modern life. And, sometimes I fail miserably or don’t even try.

In the interest of growth and in the pursuit of greater understanding, I’d like to document and reflect on this journey, but I’m hesitant to share my life and my beliefs, which brings me to bullet point three: criticism.

Who’s a fan of criticism?

No one I know.

But, in it’s defense, criticism, in its many forms, can make us better, and it’s really the intention behind the critique that’s most important. Thinking about how much I dislike receiving criticism forces me to consider how I deliver it. The most obvious example in my life is the asana (posture) critiquing I do as a yoga teacher. Any suggestion I make is motivated by the desire to create the safest, strongest, most sustainable version of the pose possible for that individual.

Everyone receives criticism differently, and the circumstances usually figure in significantly. A seasoned practitioner is usually eager for adjustments and pointers, whereas a self-concsious beginner prefers not to be the center of attention and often hears personal criticism (we’re harshest on ourselves, no?) rather than postural criticism. Humor and compassion can go along way in delivering criticism, and I use different approaches with different people.

I’m a newbie to the world of blogging. Just like the student in her first yoga class, I don’t want to be the center of attention (which works well with having a small audience!) and I’m feeling vulnerable enough to take criticism personally. This insecurity coupled with the desire to share my experience create quite an impasse,  for the thing I most want to share is the thing I hold most dear and it’s scary to expose yourself! It’s scary like the first time you did a headstand without the wall, dropped back into urdhva dhanurasana or, and this is really everyone’s biggest fear/fascination, farted in yoga class.

I think this new experience writing about both the difficulties and  simplicities of  trying to live my yoga will result in growth and insight. Contrarily, it will also produce discomfort, uncertainties, challenges and the occasional “fart.” Inevitably, I’ll be criticized (by friends and strangers, aloud and silently) for my short-comings, failures, choices and beliefs. I think the best way to deal with the scary possibility of being criticized publicly is to rely on the same tools I utilize in delivering difficult criticisms myself: compassion and humor.

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