The Great Dictator

I’m back in business! I have returned, ready to write again. It’s been a challenging couple of months, and I haven’t really been inspired to write until now. I hope you enjoy reading the post.

In case any of you are wondering why the title of my blog post sounds familiar, it is in fact also the title of one of the few famous Charlie Chaplin movies in which he actually talks. GASP! Yes, it’s the one about WWII and Germany’s attempt to rule the world, and though this post isn’t at all about either topic, it does involve a dictator, but maybe not the kind you envision on first seeing the word.

Recently, I was training with my teacher Debbie, back in Houston, and during a workshop, she told us all something that has stuck with me since then. She said, roughly, “you know, the mind can be really mean. In fact, it’s really kind of a dictator. It tells us to do this and to do that, and just like any oppressed citizen under dictatorship, it’ll only be a matter of time before your body flips it the middle finger.” And isn’t that the truth? I’ve had my own personal experiences with that over the last couple of months, which I’ll write more about down the page. But first… I couldn’t resist adding in this little clip from The Great Dictator, which kind of fit my vision of what Debbie was talking about.

I think finding the humor in our inner authoritarian is so important in learning to soften ourselves. And now, every time I catch that dictator mouthing off at my body, I can think of this clip, and how hysterical it all really is. Thanks Charlie!

How has this manifested in my life experience?

Well… it all started one beautiful day in July while I was still in LA for training. I was biking with a friend when I wiped out going downhill, falling on my right side, and bruising the hell out of my body.

Little did I know that this insignificant little accident would teach me huge lessons about intention and attachment a few weeks down the line. Unbeknownst to me, the fall caused my body to form a gripping pattern all along the left side of my spine that caused me to develop bursitis in my right elbow and a hell of a lot of tension in my left side. I’ll talk more about the emotional experience of the last two months of rehabing my body in another post. What I really found pertinent to this post is just how much my inner self resembled that short man above, throwing his temper tantrum… scary, huh…

Don’t underestimate the body, because it’s REALLY intelligent. So intelligent, in fact, that it knows when your intentions towards it are less than honorable. Interestingly enough, in the process of healing my body and realigning it, I experienced firsthand the rebellious reaction I wrote about earlier. When I’d sit down to practice with more rigid goals in mind, such as “today, you’re going to release this part of your body, and you’ll be able to go back to your routine,” I’d end up getting frustrated when I didn’t achieve them, and start throwing an internal temper tantrum somewhat like the one above, and you know what? My body would tense even more, as if in a state of defiance. But when I’d practice with a softened mind, simply observing the process without expectations of it, my body would yield and soften beautifully.

So, what’s the lesson here? Intention! Intention! Intention! How we approach our daily lives and practices sets the stage for the results. Like I’ve said many times before, if we resist the energy of the universe, it will resist with equal and opposite force. Are you prepared to fight it? I know I’d prefer not to! So, keep observing your mind, and do your best to soften yourself, and be mindful of that inner dictator that enjoys throwing tantrums 🙂

Namaste y’all!


About eastsideyoga

your neighborhood yoga studio! with our warm welcome, peaceful vibe and experienced yoga teachers, we aim to transform the body and bring stillness to your mind through the timeless teaching of yoga. eastside yoga is a friendly community of people who love yoga and meditation. we strive to nurture beginners and help deepen your yoga practice. our yoga studio and class schedule are convenient for residents of the east side and downtown austin.
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