Remembering Bad Mojo?

Saturday, we launched the new choreography for Body Attack and Body Balance (sorry, no photos were taken after all). We’d been stressed and excited about this all week. We really wanted it to go well, we wanted a packed room, we wanted our choreography to be perfect, and ourselves to be full of life and energy so that we could give our participants a knock-your-socks-off class.

But the best laid plans of mice and men do stray… Rhiannon had been sick on Thursday and Friday; coughing and throwing up. Along with Emma and myself, she was scheduled to teach 4 tracks in Body Attack (the push-up, run, split room & high kick tracks). Rhiannon was adamant that she would be there, but I didn’t expect her to be able to teach at all. In fact, I expected to have to learn 2 extra tracks and for Emma to do the same. On Saturday morning, however, Rhiannon got herself out of bed, started practicing her chorrie, teased up her hair (we were having an 80s theme with big hair and fluro head bands). Then she went off to the gym and immediately took it on herself to decorate the room (15min before the class was due to start.).

I’d been out bush (you might note this from a previous post), and was incredibly stressed and exhausted from not sleeping. I was stressed because time out bush (as much as I enjoy it) means less time to practice chorrie. I was also stressed because whilst I had the Body Attack choreography licked, I was still learning the Body Balance chorrie. There was one track on the Balance release (the core abdominal) that I couldn’t get … and it was hard. The hardest abdominal track I’ve ever seen in 10 years of teaching Les Mills programs. Today, I am still sore from this track. Which is really saying something.

Well… after us building ourselves up for this day, and handing out special invites and talking to people … we didn’t have a packed house. We only had about 16 people. We were all disappointed. A big class means lots of energy: as instructors, we get energy from our participants and return it to them. To make matters worse, I couldn’t connect with the class. There’d been some negative comments about a smoke machine that had been set up to give atmosphere to the class, which I turned off after the complaints and that put a dampener on it. Also, I hadn’t rehearsed my introduction. I was just flying by the seat of my pants. Normally, I think about the message and focus of each class and rehearse mentally what I’m going to say. I’d been so busy and stressed, I missed this out. So for me, I didn’t feel fully prepared, I couldn’t connect and we all sensed the ‘flat’ atmosphere. At home after the class, Rhiannon commented on how disappointed she was with it all. I felt the same. Miffed. Upset that it hadn’t gone to plan.

And yet …

After the class, participants came up to Emma and myself (Rhiannon went home straight after her tracks) and said how much they’d enjoyed it, how they absolutely loved the music and had so much fun. Two people made a point of coming up to me to tell me how much they’d liked Emma’s teaching – Emma has only recently trained in Body Attack and is new to town. In other words, the participants’ perspective of the class was positive!

But what is really interesting is that I didn’t remember any of the good things that people said about Body Attack until Sunday morning, when I was writing in my journal about it. What I wrote there was: funny how you always remember the bad things over the good.

Why is this?

I’m sure there’s a biological reason for this, probably something to do with avoiding nasty things that could gobble us up back when we were running around the savannas. Learning to steer clear of deadly plants and sabre-toothed tigers had real benefits for our ancestors. Sure, it’s got it’s uses now …  like remembering not to test an electric fence with your bare hands!

But what does magnifying the bad things over the good do, really? Make you feel guilty and even worse?

I guess you could say it gives us valuable lessons: we learn from our mistakes. Ok, I can live with that. But that’s no reason to not remember the things you did right or that went well. But for some reason, we just don’t seem to remember those things.

There seems to be an awful lot of prompting from external sources, too. There’s the marketing and advertising industries that make us feel bad and guilty about how we look/feel/think and what we don’t have. And there’s a entire magazine industry devoted to gossip about celebrities and what’s wrong with them … and us.

And then there’s all the well-meaning lessons you get early in life: always wear a singlet under your clothes (GRRR!!!), take a warm jacket, a spare pair of undies (I always wondered how you’d have time to put a spare pair of undies on in an emergency) etc.

For me, the lesson is to let go of the bad things and move on. Not to avoid the lessons that ‘bad’ things bring. So I went to the self-help shelves and looked for some tips on how to drop the bad mojo and move my perky butt forward (those of us who do Attack, Pump, Balance & yoga always have perky butts!).

Tips for Letting Go of Bad Stuff

First off the rank is Fiona Harrold and her book: The 10 Minute Life Coach.

In this book, Fiona devotes a whole chapter to this behaviour, centering around the concepts of guilt and self-forgiveness. She says:

You absolutely must get comfortable with the concept of forgiveness in your life. You need to become adept at spotting when blame and guilt are taking a hold, and deal swiftly and decisively with the issue. Right now it’s likely that you’re holding grudges against yourself. It would be unusual if you did not blame or resent yourself for pain that you were responsible for. Picking and scratching at yourself keeps the wound from closing and healing.”

Fiona’s tips are:

  1. Tell the truth to yourself. Write it down. Make a list of what you blame yourself for. Then you know what you’re dealing with.
  2. Show compassion. If a friend or loved one had made the same mistake, done the same thing, how would you act towards them? With compassion? If yes, then remember this and treat yourself in the same way.Do penance not punishment. Try to feel genuinely sorry for what has happened, show contrition (accept responsibility) and move on. But don’t dwell on it … don’t be a martyr!
  3. Make amends. Demonstrate remorse. Take some action. But try not to draw attention to yourself. Do it subtly (i.e. Rhiannon and I taught an absolutely kick-ass Attack class on Monday afternoon following the launch in which we gave our all but no one knew).
  4. Lighten up. Smile. Laugh. Let go.

Fiona says: 

Don’t be at war with yourself. Please show the same kindness, compassion, understanding and forgiveness to yourself as you would to another person. Be reconciled to yourself. Draw a line under the past and move on. Guilt, blame and resentment will putrefy and poison your system. Left to fester, they’ll demand punishment. They’ll create conflict, confusion and war in you, about you. Happiness, contentment, joy and vibrant health find it hard to flourish in this environment.”

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    I’m going to share (again) some tips from one of my very favourite books: Karen Kingston’s Clear Your Clutter. This is an amazing little book that almost jumped off the shelf in Dymocks at me at the beginning of this year. Without it, I would never have been able to afford to have four months study leave and a trip to Bali this year. So there’s got to be something in it.

    If there was only one self-help book I could ever own, it would be this one.

    Here’s Karen’s take on letting go of bad mojo:

  1. Stop worrying. Make a list of all the things you’re worried about. Get it down on paper and out of your mind.
  2. Stop criticising and judging. Basically, the things you’re criticising and judging in others are things you don’t like about yourself. In other words, these are beliefs about why you’re not good enough. Instead of criticising, silently send good vibes, thoughts (or even an inner smile) to others.
  3. Stop gossiping. No surprise here. If you can’t say it to their face, why say it at all? It’s just more bad mojo in your mental mojo-bag.
  4. Stop moaning and complaining. Ohhhh god…. I can’t write about this. It makes me want to whinge. (Actually, you should hear me every week when I have to go grocery shopping! I hate it and make sure everyone knows!) Focus on good things, not bad.(My strategy for dealing with shopping is to take Gary with me – he makes me laugh- or put on a podcast I’ve been saving up).
  5. Stop mental chatter. Get meditating. I guarantee this really, really helps. Fifteen minutes a day is all you need to make a difference.
  6. Actually, clearing out your physical surroundings is what this book is mainly about, and that is a really good place to start with letting go of any mental crap.When you’re feeling upset, or hanging on to bad stuff, Karen recommends you take to the nearest junk drawer and start hoiking stuff you really don’t need.

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    The last book (I could go on and on but I won’t) is Lynda Field’s Fast Track to Happiness.

    Fast Track to Happiness

    This book is a ten day course to work on getting happy. I used it at a time in my life when I was really unhappy and it made me feel good (but then, yoga & meditation were the things that helped me get santosha happening in my life again … so you do need to work at being happy). Anyway, what does Lynda Field have to say about getting rid of unwanted self-critique?

    She recommends challenging negative thinking and says that the negative inner voice can be one of the most destructive and persistent little goblin stalking our mental worlds: “It reminds us of our weaknesses and past failures, and when we are about to take an assertive step it will question our right to do so with such comments as ‘Just who do you think you are?’ The inner critic is also very good at below the belt tactics; it knows our weak spots and works on our guilt by questioning what we ‘should’ be doing and what we ‘ought’ to be thinking.”

    Lynda’s recommendations for dealing with bad mojo are as follows:

  7. Hear what it is saying and then challenge it.
  8. Ask yourself if it’s speaking the truth.(and listen carefully to the answer. Chances are the negative inner voice is speaking crap with a capital ‘C’).
  9. Replace the bad thought with a good one… a positive affirmation if you’re into those.

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In summary, we can learn from our mistakes and grow from them, but it’s not healthy to hold onto the bad mojo (I need to work on this). The point is that challenging negative thoughts and writing them down seems to be an effective way of dealing with them.

Well that’s enough blah blah from me. We’re going camping at Owen Springs on the weekend!  I can’t wait. Yeehaa!!

Namaste.

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