Monday, October 6, 2008

Benefit of the doubt

Though there is a rash of instructional and self-help books out there for idiots, it’s plain to see that we can think of ourselves in an attempt to be humble perhaps, as less than capable for the tasks ahead.

Yet, this may instead of lowering the bar to create a “comfortable welcome” for those who are unsure, or just aggressively humble, play into and perpetuate the dumbing down of anything from pregnancy (how is this possible? Oh indeed it is) to complex software applications. People subscribing to this low self esteem as a postive trait, probably think it is virtuous and are convinced it is best not to speak up even when you see something is askew—what are you some kind of idiot for asking such a question? Or should I say, people might be thinking what you didn’t read the idiots guide to this class before you signed up…?

Which brings me to the main topic of this chapter- the benefit of the doubt. What a simple and yet wonderfully elegant and powerful way to wise up about your self worth – not just what you know, or can do or be, but truly who you are. The benefit of the doubt can become as simple a practice as making it into a mantra (I offer myself the benefit of the doubt, I offer others the benefit of the doubt).It is just one way to create your own process around this concept.

For if anything is truly part of reality it is that we are unable to see it fully in a whole way from our limited perspective and therefore those areas that are shady or not even on the map are in someway our benefactors- for this is exactly why and how we must benefit fully from this doubt which is based on knowing that we most probably don’t! Yes, it’s true we most likely don’t have the corner on the complete clarity perspective, in fact we may just have a clue despite our ego’s self-assured sense that it is all grasped, judged and decided. So are you ready to give your self and others the benefit of the doubt?

Are you ready to know you don’t know, and thus willing to have faith in your ability to adapt? You can try this in baby steps. Sometimes by just listening and turning to silence or nodding agreement when something is unclear we can allow time to give us the next sign of how to respond. These murky gaps can be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to stepping towards clarity, no matter how small those steps may be. And, yes this does rely on that sometimes elusive and ever marvelous virtue of patience, which we now know can be steadied by a passionate dedication to evolve, however slowly.

And now for some practices to help you begin taking strides towards confidently tackling the future no matter how murky or thick!

Did you know you can experience the ground best in the water? That’s right it’s time for the practice of detoxifying through dirt. Peat is a clay that draws out the impurities in the body through the skin, and with the instructions below it can help you also redraw your path with more focus and clarity.

First, ensure you’ll have a few solid hours of alone time, and nothing scheduled.To prepare, make up a bowl of fresh fruits, some rice and steamed vegetables and lots of water. I order the peat from, it’s excellent quality. Make a hot mud bath, with peat preferably, don’t over do the temperature and be sure to have lots of water to drink while you’re soaking.

As you get into the bath allow yourself to really sink into it with the intention of losing all of those chemicals, emotions, thoughts, etc that are no longer serving you. Those things that are byproducts that are accumulating you and creating a sluggishness that holds you down. Let the mud soak up all the fears, obstacles (usually more fear, yours or that of others), and nervous energy about your performing or being or having those items or situations you’ve been polishing with the mitten of shame and defeat. Allow your skin to merge with the dark waters. Make it sacred, grounding, and safe. Norah Jones music, a notebook you’ll never write in, whatever you need-except those substances like alcohol which may help you feel relaxed (out of habit or in reality is not certain) so it is not the best choice seeing that you want to sink into grounding.

Grounding can be contrasted to relaxation in the metaphor of a glow that you get from a memory or interaction that lit up your entire being compared to the glow you get after a facial scrub, if that makes sense. So, back to the dirt, put some on your face for a lovely tightening mask, which is a metaphor in itself in how restricting the act of wallowing in the mud of self-defeating behavior can be. 15-25 minutes should do, and then you can shower, ending in as cold of water as you can stand to for a full minute (I often take this as the time to rinse out conditioner and formally soap and rinse my body).

As you dry off you’ll notice within 15 minutes how wonderfully cleaned and replenished you feel. Lots of water, rest fruits and steamed vegetables are a great follow up. Without a doubt, the best way to get clean is to get really dirty- the contrast is a great reminder of the purity that is within you just waiting to shine forth. Good change.

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