Namaste and merry Christmas!
I hope this email finds you well and in peace.
From all my heart I am wishing you a restful holiday season and a smooth and resourcing transition in the new year.
How are you doing? How is your year ending?
In most countries including Denmark, we have dealt with lots of sudden policy changes recently; restrictions imposed, then alleviated… to be enforced again… and not sure for how long. We’re back on lockdown. Many feelings are up I am sure. How about frustration and… anger? This is definitely the case for me! I have been doing some reflection on anger and blame, two feelings or actions that have come up quite often lately 😉 I’ll share those thoughts with you in this post (to go directly to the upcoming events, just scroll down!).
This pandemic is bringing lots of challenges up for everyone – politicians and “normal” people alike. Not only do we have to cope with understandable frustration of having to readapt to external measures in our daily lives, but also the fear and angst the virus brings for many of us – of course, for good reasons, getting sick, spreading the virus to vulnerable people, loosing income, etc. – is another factor that affects us quite significantly.
Strong feelings, including fear and anger, are not easy to deal with. Well, they are potentially so challenging that we might deal with them by making others responsible for them: i.e. blaming. Blaming is a form of anger, and anger a form of protection… most likely from fear.
Blame happens at many levels. With the recent, second lockdown I found myself particularly frustrated at the politicians because I became afraid about my business and the yoga industry. I could easily find other people in my situation who also were ready to blame the people in power. This happens all the time at the more “meta,” general level. At a smaller, individual scale, blame can show up too towards ourselves when we judge harshly ourselves for something we regret or a shortcoming we have. The other day I was talking to a friend while driving (safely on hands-free 😊). I had never drove home from this place in the city, and the GPS took me on an itinerary I did not know. While talking to my friend I had silenced the GPS and missed the recommended route a couple of times, ending up driving an extra 15-20 minutes. I became quite frustrated at myself for having such a poor sense of orientation and missing the instructions twice, and my friend kindly reflected at me: “Cédric, you’re quite hard on yourself!”. Indeed, I was simply blaming myself and getting stuck in it. Ouch!
The tricky thing is that blame, differently from anger, has the power to bring people together – against something or someone. As long as we hold the grudge on something or someone else, including a part of ourselves, we might let blame turn into more destructive patterns such as hard tone towards someone, resentment, sarcastic comments, mocking, and sadly potentially all the way to hurt and violence.
Anger, which hides itself in blame, is not a bad feeling per se, but rather a healthy indicator of a need for clearer boundaries and protection. Anger is a natural feeling that simply testifies that we are human and normally constituted. We all experience anger one way or the other. The difference is what we do with it; acting it out by yelling at someone, road rage or sarcasm, repressing it deeply inside us, or working with it more constructively.
Yogis saw expressions of anger as ways to return to its source, i.e. the same powerful and creative lifeforce that fuels every act and thought, and use this power. As nondualists put it, we are simply reflections of each other. Thus, blaming someone else is just the same as blaming oneself, and acting out anger to hurt someone is equal hurting ourselves.
Reflecting on this past year, I can see that I did project my anger and blame at quite a few people, and thus at myself. Although I know I can get stuck in it, I also realized that working with our blame and taking it back at us is a powerful and very insightful tool of personal growth and transformation. As you might have notice, I like to come up with simple systems and practice for self-knowledge, and here is one I’d like to share with you😊
The Blame Game (10-12 min)
- Reflect on one person or thing (external, to begin) who irritates you and triggers you. Someone or thing you easily can blame.
- Pause for a moment, and notice the sensations in your body. Take a few deep breaths and make space for whatever arises, also gently allowing the sensations that might feel uncomfortable. You might notice heat, a “stuck energy” feeling, or vivid impulses in your arms. Try to let go of the person or thing you are blaming and just focus on the sensations for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Take your journal and reflect for a few minutes on what (disliked) parts of yourself this person might actually be showing you. How is this person reminding you of yourself? How can you make space for these parts of yourself?
- Now, return to a more mindful state. For a moment, let go of the blame, and notice what is left once you do that. What remains, once you release blame?
- Take a few minutes to journal about your experience and insights.
Let me know how this works for you!
When I get fixated on how “wrong” someone else is, I like doing this mini-practice and try to remind myself of the opportunity to explore an unknown part of me I can learn about.
Yoga teaches we have the power to be free; actually we are already free. It is our true nature. This is described in the Sanskrit word “Svatantrya”, one’s own freedom. I am grateful I had the opportunity to practice with you this year, in person or virtually, and I can’t wait for more opportunities in 2021.
UPCOMING CLASSES and EVENTS
PUBLIC YOGA CLASSES
On the bright side, this lockdown period gives us the possibility to practice online wherever we are. I’ll be teaching over the next week at the following dates from Pakhus Yoga and Yoga Flat. It’d be very lovely to see or at least “feel” you. For Pakhus you can just show up and make a donation. For Yoga Flat you can easily sign up in advance and register on Yoga Flat’s website:
Sunday 27/12: 9am (Flat) & 4pm (Pakhus – Gentle)
Monday 28/12: 10:30 am (Flat) & 5pm (Pakhus)
Tuesday 29/12: 9am (Flat)
NEW: MEDITATION CLASS
How about we start 2021 with even more presence together? For the first time I am offering an online 3-class series in January: A Sense of Presence. A way to cultivate presence together, from the comfort of our homes, and step in the new year with more grounding and stability in ourselves. Everyone is welcome.
YOGA RETREAT MAY 2021
Although times are uncertain, I am still planning on having a 6-day retreat in Slovenia in May, and if you have not looked at the venue yet, do it! It is a stunning and unique place, and I truly hope we can meet and resource ourselves there together. Discounts if you sign up 3 people together, and there is still room. Read more about the retreat here.
I am always happy to support you and still available for private sessions, yoga, coaching or more holistic body-therapy. Read more on the webpage or contact me directly for more info.
If you need a last-minute Christmas or a New Year’s present, consider supporting your favorite studio, teacher or business owners with a gift card or the like. My thoughts also go the most vulnerable groups in this time of the year. Maybe you’ll join me in sharing a gesture or donation towards the causes, organizations or charities that touch you the most.
Thank you for your practice, and a powerful year together!
End 2020 well, and start 2021 even better.
May these last few days of 2020 and the first days of 2021 carry you back to your own sense of freedom from whatever is limiting you.
Many blessings for your journey and the new year to come.