Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


When my Critic is Quiet

This weekend's retreat was unsurprisingly powerful and emotional. I felt very strongly supported by my Portland friends, something CK helped to remind me of by prompting some friends to send me very positive text messages on my way out to Great Vow, and by the Sangha there. Looking back at the weekend I can see the many ways the residents at Great Vow were supporting and helping me through a retreat I came to very reluctantly.

One thing I figured out that was good to learn are the times when my Critic is silent. That critical voice or sensation in my body is so often present that it feels like I am never with out it. However, when a Dharma sister from our Portland program and I agreed to talk about when it isn't there, since the conversation was shorter, she helped me to see two times when I am utterly free from this feeling.

Unsurprisingly cooking was one of those times. When I am engaged in preparing food there is no critical voice. I am merely present to the activity of my hands, the timing of the cooking, and the food I am transforming. When I serve a new dish to someone the voice comes back, but most of the time I'm pretty confident that what I've prepared will be delicious.

I also realized that when I teach yoga there is no Critic. Even if I am anxious or terribly upset right up until the very moment I begin a class, once I start to teach the voice goes away and I am present and alert. When I transmit the Lineage of Yoga there is no space for the Inner Critic. None.

It was good to connect with these two times when I am clear and free of my Inner Critic. Now I'm wondering when else it is gone!

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