choose love / by vanessa

This weekend I assisted BPYI at the Yoga Journal conference. It was really hard work (about 6 hours of assisting a day) but SO much fun. I saw a lot of people I've been to bootcamps with, got to assist w/ my friends from the Boston and Cambridge studios, and it's always a treat to have Baron teaching.
And here's the not-so-great truth: I spent much of the weekend in self-doubt. When our work at the conference ended last night, I felt drained. It wasn't from the physicality of the work though; rather it was from being so hard on myself. First, I have gained a lot of weight since moving to Boston -- well a lot for me b/c I'm only 5'4" -- and I felt exposed and embarrassed. Rationally I know that's ridiculous, but it's what I was feeling at the time. Second, our team repeatedly received compliments from YJ participants, and I kept thinking: they don't mean me. So much focus on me me me, and naturally I was exhausted by the time I got home. After the workshop, Kristin and I were talking to Philip (our amazing head assistant who taught me much about how to be a leader -- more on that later); specifically we were talking about drinking. Philip repeated to Kristin something he and I had talked about at L2 last year -- that one day he realized how hard it is to drink. Not how hard it is to stop drinking, but how hard it is to drink. It struck me that his realization about drinking is akin to the way I talk to myself. If I equate self-doubt and judgment with drinking, well it's just harder to live like this than it is to accept myself exactly as I am. It's just so much effort to maintain this rigid standard and really, it costs too much. So today, I'm practicing love.
Now about Philip and leadership. He's the chairman of a company he founded and a teacher of A Course in Miracles. This was also the first time he'd led an BPYI event. He did a fantastic job made even more remarkable by the fact that he hadn't had previous experience in the role. His communication skills are impeccable, and I learned from him the importance of being clear and essential when giving directions, or more poignantly, when well, complaining. I was telling him that I was annoyed b/c I didn't feel like everyone was ready when we were about to start a session, but because I can complicate things it was taking me forever to articulate what the problem was. He helped me to distill exactly what I felt angry with, and then it was over. The next opportunity we had to be ready for a session to start, we simply were. No residue. It felt really clean. I think the think that I appreciated most is that he gave people chances. I realized that it's not that he thought everything went perfectly, but rather that when he saw something that needed changing, rather than saying "you did this wrong" he suggested that we do it differently next time, or showed someone how he wanted it done. Specifically, there was never any blame. It was amazing. I'm so conditioned that when I do something that doesn't meet a manager's approval, or when someone does something that doesn't meet my approval, that I either expect blame or have given blame, e.g. this was done wrong, here's what needs to change. Philip simply removed the first part and suggested the second part. I never realized how unnecessary the blame part is in asking for change. I'm so excited to use this approach at work, and really in life.
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It's a beautiful spring day here in Boston. Bob, Kristen, and Dan came over this morning b/c we're all starting a 40 Days together. This is our second or third attempt at it, and it finally feels right. I'm being shown the beauty/truth in the importance of timing. There's really no rush and everything has its place.