On Sunday October 6th, I had the pleasure of teaching at a Philadelphia Area all-day yoga festival called Namas Day. It was such an exciting day of all different styles of yoga and workshops coming together and it brought a really great group of people together to practice. I taught a workshop on The Alchemy of Fire: Unlocking Your Inner Potential. Sounds great, right?
When I got in my car after teaching, I felt a familiar and unpleasant presence arising: my INNER CRITIC. During the drive home and continuing into the evening, there she was in full force, tearing me to pieces. My rational mind was fighting that I did an excellent job leading the practice I outlined, giving people an experience of something new in their minds and bodies. I also acknowledged that the short lecture portion of the workshop could’ve been a little smoother, as I was pretty nervous during that part.
Even louder and more vicious was Miss Inner Critic, taking everything from my rational mind and chewing it up and spitting it back out in torrents of self-hatred. Oh she was ruthless in pulling out all the stops. She even became quite overdramatic, going to the lengths of statements like: “You shouldn’t even be a yoga teacher.” “What are you doing with your life?” It was like a tornado of self-torture in my mind. I tried to shut her up, but that just made her more ferocious. I felt the urge to back down, to run away and quit.
Then, like clouds parting in an internal storm, a strong and clear voice from deep within (welcome INNER TEACHER!) said, “ NO. Be a buffalo. Stand in the face of this storm that the inner critic is creating, and you’ll learn from it. You have the tools to turn this around.” I felt a wave of relief and strength wash over my heart.
Throughout the evening, whenever inner critic came to visit, I’d stop whatever I was doing and become still and notice how my body felt. I would bring my attention to the fire in my belly and the light in my heart and remind myself that I can face this aspect of myself that has been getting in my way for way too many years.
I realized that every moment I stay present with the inner critic, every moment I listen without reacting and stay in the sensations, is a moment that will remind me that I am bigger than that part of myself. The more I welcome her instead of cringing when she’s around or letting her beat me up, is a moment where I DISARM her. I’ve spent too long meeting her with failed fists only to then hide or run from her.
So hear me now, Miss Inner Critic, I’m not going to hide from you, I’m not going to let you win. I have assembled tools and techniques to incinerate you ...I will go searching for you in my inner world, find out what you're clinging onto, and burn that seed. My inner fire will burn brighter than your boring, old, overused monologue!
What does your Inner Critic say to you and how can YOU tell it to get out of town ?
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