April 18, 2010

finding peace through awareness: resentment as teacher

This is more of a journal entry; today I will allow myself to share it here.

For me right now my healing is happening a bit unpredictably. In reading some literature yesterday I found myself in a bit of a resentment, and I think being honest about it may be of help to me. Once I send this, I hope to be healing for me...

Here is the story: This week, I was attending a Yoga class that takes very seriously the issue of rehabilitation. I am rehabilitating physically, and takes patience. I shared with the class that I did do the routine a few times that week. I shared in particular, to take the heat off of a fellow who had not been able to bring his practice home, yet. Of course, I did not do the practice as slowly as it was done in our two hours together as students, but I did my best and did the exercises a lot slower than I would have normally on my own. Someone else chimed in and said, "Oh it takes me twice that long." I gently put myself back in my "place", and laughed at myself. The point I'd made was simply that I did bring it home and I started with ten minutes and I wanted to share so others would know that change could start simply and be very beneficial. Also I was wanting to be a good student, I admit that. I let it go.

What bugged me, in my memory was that the teacher got a little laugh at my expense, and said, "Well, Smitty is in the fast lane, she needs to get her foot off the accelerator."

I wish she had said, "It is great when Yoga becomes a habit for us to check in with ourselves and begin to do these exercises in our own homes. I hope ... Smitty you will allow yourself to slow down even more. Each of you are worth that time." But, reality is that she did not do this. In many ways that was fine at the time.

Yes, I feel the slow burn of resentment, and the start of tears. Yes, I will get over it. My anger is not right nor wrong, it just IS. And it felt like old feelings of shame I had had in classes before, in ballet, where I did not know which side of the body to use first (was I supposed to mirror or to use my right side just like the teacher?) or where I tried very hard and was sure I was right and would please the teacher, and still was corrected!

Nor was my instructor bad. I took what she said in my own way, based on the stuff inside me (that I think will get addressed in my current step four) that I have overlooked up til now in my program.

The problem is, that I took a little splinter home with me and it was activated yesterday. Suddenly I accessed the feeling of inadequacy that had come up, unnoticed, in the class. I HAD taken that remark about me, to mean that I was a bad example. That hurt me; I felt shame at being caught being inadequate.

As I accept both realities--my instructor is not bad and I am not bad for being angry-- I can let go of my resentment. As I realize how the resentment echoes other injuries that created certain habits in the way I react, or talk to myself.... then I can begin to question my thinking..and learn new habits.

Again, I am not wrong for having delayed anger. I think my angry response has its reason; it is misplaced empathy for myself.

If my next lesson involves feeling the anger in her class (there are three more coming) I do not need (and shall not) JUSTIFY my anger and mouth off at her.... I can honor ME and my challenging emotions with love.

In our Emotions Anonymous program, I know we avoid criticism of others, and I guess in Yoga I will as well. For this instructor is so good in so many other ways...

Let me begin by loving me... Let me also be more in touch with my feelings while in class, so that I can address them as soon as I feel conflicting feelings. Let me be guided by my HP to hold my tongue with love or to speak my truth simply with love. I could not have done it in the context of this rather public class, but I am so glad to be able to do it here. Thanks for witnessing

Best, Smitty


  1. I think the fact that you recognize why you're upset and that it's not right or wrong is the first step in feeling better. I use to really let what other people did or said affect me to a point where it would ruin my day or week. But being able to see it from the other side and realizing that no matter how much I stew over the incident, it's not going to change it. I'm the only one who has control over how I feel and it's not the responsibility of others. Good post :)

  2. Great stuff here Smitty. I too would take to heart and make personal comments that others would make. Even those that were meant in jest. I thought that meant the person didn't like me. This was especially bad during high school and during years with the alcoholics in my life. After coming to Al-Anon, I realize that I don't have to let another ruin my day or take every thing negatively. Thanks for sharing this. I like these journal like posts.


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~