Saturday, June 25, 2022

Unraveling the Nots


Through practice, we become the masters of our thoughts, our words and our actions. Photo by Laurie Kasperbauer

Through practice, we become the masters of our thoughts, our words and our actions. Photo by Laurie Kasperbauer

“Your mind is your instrument. Learn to be its master and not its slave.”

~ Remez Sasson

During my yoga training a few years back, we did a little exercise that that was eye opening for me. To be honest, the entire 200 hours of training was eye opening, but some parts are tattooed in my memory in indelible ink. One such moment happened when we were talking about “mind chatter.” We all experience mind chatter, that voice in our head that has so much to say, all day, every day. Sometimes, the pestering self-talk even interrupts our sleep. Often what the mind is spitting out is repetitious and at least 99% of the time, it’s not even true. So, during this discussion about mind chatter, our facilitator asked us to write down the words that our subconscious was dictating ad nauseum. Simple assignment. We all had something written down in an easy minute. We then were instructed to share the words our brains rattled off with one other person, but before long, we were all buzzing with the common theme that wove its way into each of our mind-chatter musings. The word NOT.



All eight of the trainees, the two assistants and even the facilitator herself, used the word NOT to describe the message being repeated more than a thousand times a day, by our own inner voices.

“Not smart enough.” “Not thin enough.” “Not strong enough.”

“I can not.” “I have not.” “I am not.”

“I should not.” I could not.” “I do not.”

Where did we all get this notion that we are not enough? And not enough for whom exactly?

In the days leading up to the recent Super Bowl I might have mentioned to my husband that I thought the Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady was, well, easy on the eyes. And my husband agreed. In fact, he went on to say that QB Brady has everything; good looks, fame, fortune and a super model wife. From the outside looking in we might even convince ourselves that Tom’s talent as an athlete, and his chiseled jaw, are surely enough to quiet any negative mind chatter he might experience. But then again, in the hours after the final horn sounded in the Big Bowl game, I imagine Tom experienced a little “not” in his head. Not that self-deprecation is appropriate, but only to make the point that even someone who appears to “have it all” often still “does not have enough” according to their monkey mind.

The “nots” that are transmitted from the corners of our mind are similar to the “knots” we experience in our shoulders, or our back, or the base of our neck. They’re annoying. They’re painful. They beg for attention, and they generally don’t go away without mindful intervention.

I have a persistent knot in my right shoulder. Some days it’s barely discernible, and other days it protrudes like a walnut, and screams like Tarzan. Without taking his eyes off the TV, with his left thumb scrolling channels on the remote, my husband can dig the knuckles of his right hand into my shoulder in a gesture of merciful massage, and I get relief from my knot.

On the other hand, I have a persistent “not” in my head. I’m not fit enough. My thighs are lumpy, and loose skin pools around my knees. Some days I can soften the volume of the voice in my head that reminds me of what’s lumpy and what’s loose. Other days the message clamors and echoes from one ear to the other like the bass drum in a marching band. Wisely, my husband avoids this particular “not” altogether.

So, how do we release ourselves from the “nots” we have concocted? Where might we find relief from the powerful and painful words of our inner narrator that insist we are somehow “less than”? How do we become the master of our mind, and champion of its voice? I believe it begins with practice. Practice using loving words to describe ourselves to ourselves. Treating ourselves with the same compassion and understanding that we would extend to our dearest friend. Creating an environment within our heart that speaks lovingly and truthfully to ourselves and to others. I’m certain we have the power to overcome and eliminate the “nots” in our heads. At the very least, we can soften the volume of such boisterous banter that serves no purpose and extols untruths. Summoning patience, and with engaging persistence we give more attention to the “loves me” than the “loves me nots.”

Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.

Yoga Class Schedule

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 5:30 PM

Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday at 8:30 AM

Guided Meditation: Tuesday at 6:30 PM

Meet at the south end of the beach, just south of the Apollo Condominium and Sunset Grille. Cost is by donation, $10 suggested.

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