Every so often I google my name and that of “doxasoma” in an effort to keep track of things on the internets. While doing this I ran across a very old entry on someone’s forum about DoxaSoma which basically said I was going to hell. It was a very strict group of christians who were discussing yoga.
There were several fearful, accusatory, judgmental posts about “christian yoga” and then a pasting of something from my site which describes why I chose to stop teaching and taking yoga and decided instead to create a new kind of practice, one in which I felt comfortable in moving along with prayer.
They clearly did not understand what I was doing with DoxaSoma and I had no way to defend it.
I do not call it yoga because it isn’t yoga. In fact when I describe it to people I say that yoga and DoxaSoma are similar the way that volleyball and basketball are the same. They are both sports, they both use a ball and a court and a net. No one who had any passing knowledge of the games would confuse them, however. They are not the same game at all. One did not proceed from the other. They were developed as the game they are now, not as a derivative of another.
Diatribe aside…as comfortable as I feel with the honor and integrity in the development and as wonderful as the affirmation has been the last 10 years around the practice I am reduced to nothing when I read this criticism FROM 2007!!
I realize I am quick to give up the joy for the shame, every time. I was probably already a little tweaked yesterday. It gets to be February and I’m looking at where we are with homeschooling and how much media the kids are taking in and how they are behaving and I go straight to doubt.
I also received yet another rejection on a piece I had submitted so my affirmation bank account was at an all time low.
Last night I laid in bed and waited and worried. I wondered what the hell I was doing with my life, why I don’t just simplify everything…hit up a mega church and blend in, put my kids in school, stop standing in submission rejection traffic and hide away. It’s so much easier to hide away.
And then it occurred to me, the shame is strong because I hide away. It’s loud, it’s bossy, it’s in charge. It’s my newly discovered hubris that tries to convince me that I can handle it all and then my shame steps in and sucker punches me. I am not at all invincible. I climb up in that hubris tower and every momentary event that has shame as it’s fuel can hit me in that tower sweet spot and shake it hard.
No wonder I’m a wreck, holy crap.
As I was panicking about this whole dynamic and wondering what kind of medication is available for this or at least what kind of medication I could muster from my pantry I had another thought…truth.
The only truth I can muster against shame comes in the body of prayer. Things I say while praying are true. My life of prayer this last few months has brought so much anger and grief to the surface and it’s because the words are true, they are pure. My typical prayers before I began Orthodoxy were well intentioned, crying out for help, crying out for peace, but they were still colored by my fear and doubt, by my shame, my reluctance to admit the utter mystery, the strange dichotomy of “have mercy on me, I am a sinner…”
This one line…this one prayer…which says that the Highest of High and Lord of All might have mercy on me, a sinner rather than push me aside, choose to turn away, leave me behind.
Oh my, you see…I’m not worthy…and I am valuable to Him. I am not worthy of His love and mercy AND I am loved and forgiven and supported and nurtured.
This is where I want to start swearing again. This time I know it’s because I’m angry that I let my “self” give shame so much space in my heart. All this time, all these years the true value of me has been squelched in the name of “false humility.” No, I’m not worthy…I’m absolutely not worthy and yes, I am a sinner…every single stupid day I choose poorly…and yes I am forgiven and I am loved despite this.