…if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end.”
(My favorite quote from film “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
I celebrated 12-12-12 with a group of women from my dance class. We all brought items to create a beautiful altar space…sacred objects from diverse traditions, rose petals, fruit, photos, and candles.
We sat around a glorious fire and chanted as we released anything that might be blocking us in our lives. Then we chanted as we offered prayers of gratitude and then prayers for ourselves, our loved ones and the world. The energy in the room was a palpable blend of joy, release, love, hope, faith and peace.
The next morning I woke up at 5:30 am to prepare for the high school swim team’s December birthday breakfast. You know the saying: “After the ecstasy, the laundry.”
I temporarily found myself catapulted from the other worldliness of our gathering to the shocking reality of breakfast tacos and teenagers. And in my temporary state of forgetfulness I inhaled 2 pieces of (delicious, homemade) birthday cake.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating birthday cake. But mindlessly inhaling caramel cake on day 2 of a juice fast isn’t exactly how I had envisioned the day.
What to do? I almost slipped into an old pattern of self-loathing and self-punishment – but then I remembered that the whole point of the juice fast is to release ANY old patterns that are limiting me, so I knew I needed to do something QUICK to keep from slipping into those old thought patterns.
Here’s what worked for me:
- Laugh. Out loud.
- “Out” yourself to a friend and laugh with them.
- Go for a walk.
- Listen to ‘change your day’ music. (Today I listened to Michael Beckwith’s “Trascendance”)
I know that if I had continued along the road of self-punishment and self-loathing I would still be sneaking leftover caramel cake. But instead, I easily and effortlessly slipped right back in the rhythm and enjoyment of my juice fast. All on the same day.
Has this ever happened to you? In the name of a ‘spiritual practice’ have you ever taken the practice so seriously that it became a heart-constricting practice rather than a heart-expanding one?
If so, what do you do when you catch yourself slipping – especially when you are slipping into self-loathing and self-punishment for not doing it ‘right?’ I’d love to add your strategies to mine for the next time….