Or as my friend Kathy would say, Another Fucking Opportunity for Growth or AFOG. I'm not sure that she said it herself or if she got it somewhere but I just remember seeing that on her Facebook page a while back and it stuck with me. Why? Because it seems like I am forever getting AFOG! And here I thought that year my husband was paralyzed pretty much covered my growth quotient for awhile. Oh no. Recently when AFOG presented itself, this time I think I did actually grow. And if it could be physically measured maybe a few feet.
Late last year, some drama started brewing with some family members. I don't want to get into all the details here as to not compromise their privacy, but suffice to say it came out of the blue, was completely unfounded and insane at the very least. And most of the drama, well, all of the drama was centered around me and ways I had or had not behaved with these family members, including some pretty ridiculous but serious accusations.
When I first heard about this I literally laughed out loud because it was that ridiculous. Then I started feeling bad and was like wow, what can I do to make amends? Then after I tried to make amends with offering an apology, asking to be forgiven and trying to talk it out I started getting angry. I got angry because my apology was not taken and I was not forgiven for seriously minor social infractions. Nor was I offered an apology for the serious accusations that were being thrown at me.
And then there I was angry. Cursing about it, cursing the family members (not that I don't curse other times but this was serious cursing) and trying to figure out why on earth people would treat me that way. And my feelings were hurt. And it caused a certain amount of stress in my own household. The very reasons that I strive to stay away from drama.
Day to day I wasn't feeling the anger but it was there nonetheless. Another attempt at making amends went down unsuccessfully. Then in June one of these family members got sick. AFOG had arrived. Now what to do? Can I let go of my anger towards this person to let them know I hope they get better? Do I care if they get better? Do I want them to get better so they can continue creating drama in my life? Oh, tough questions. Ultimately, deep down inside, I don't want anyone to suffer in any way and I want to exude loving kindness and compassion, or ahimsa.
So I sent a get well card, albeit not in the same manner that I would have prior to all that drama. No personal note, just a to and from kind of deal. Not much growth there. Still feeling the anger and maybe a little bitterness but at least acknowledging yes I do want you to get better.
Then I went to Kripalu for a seven day Chakra intensive. And guess what kept coming up for me, over and over and OVER again during that intensive? You got it, ahimsa. I remember on the throat chakra day you had to define what you are trying to say and then the whole group sings it back to you. "I am compassionate to myself and others." There you go!
You see, I can be kind of a hard ass. On myself and others. I can be very pragmatic as I am very grounded in reality. And sometimes people don't like that. And I come across as maybe not so compassionate. Or maybe this is what I think. When I shared this with a few people they were all like YOU? Yes, me.
Operating from a place of loving kindness and compassion does not come easy or natural to me. And I feel like as much as I want to think, speak and act from that space, I do find it really, really hard. In certain places and situations it is all natural, like when I'm teaching yoga. No problem practicing ahimsa there. In others, often my expectations get in the way. Ah ... expectations, I'll save that for another post!
Anyway, so ahimsa, I need to work on that. Ok, I will. Well little did I know I would have that opportunity, in fact, AFOG so soon. Back to the sick family member whose doctor has recommended they do yoga. Oh man! You know what that means. And I so wanted to resist. OMG, did I want to resist doing the right thing. But bottom line anger vibrates way, way lower and keeps us stuck in the muck. And regardless of how I may be treated or what's been thrown at me, I do not want to stay in the muck. I want to shine.
So, yes, I agreed to go over to this person's home and teach them some simple yoga. I had to let go and rise above my anger and feelings toward all that drama and the person. Just like that. And I did. And it felt really good to do that.
I read something recently that says if it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you. So I faced that hard challenge. And I grew that day. For real.