YAMA KALI : “Restraint, Doubt” – As a practice, doubt puts you two steps ahead, not a step behind. Doubt allows you to see the same experience from different vantage points. Only when you say, “I don’t know” do you have the opportunity to grow and evolve.

Bring to mind some person in your life who KNOWS everything, who has an answer to every question, often before they’re asked. Or perhaps you know someone who ALWAYS expects the worst, in every case. “This is NEVER going to work out.” Ok, now that this person is in your mind, notice now how they are likely to be the most rigid, unhappy person you know. Just thinking about this person in my own life tightened my throat & jaw. NEVER & ALWAYS. Yama Kali refrains from these words as OFTEN as possible!

If you don’t give yourself permission to empower DOUBT, that is – say “I don’t know” sometimes, then doubt will turn into fear, anger and delusion. For example, “There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” See how quickly doubt turns to fear? Another interesting political strategy: repeat the same lies about your opponent over and over and over again so much that the lies become the truth. That’s delusion. 

It’s easy to see this in play on the political stage, but sometimes harder to see in your own life’s experience. Maybe, like me, you had a teacher in 3rd grade grade tell you, “You’ll never be able to play the violin.” Well I sure proved her right! We all have had well-meaning adults tell us lies about ourselves. And then her lie became my truth.

For a long time I told myself, “I have weak arms and shoulders. I just can’t do pull ups.” Now I’m not sure where this came from, perhaps exhaustive hours of swimming laps on my high school swim team. Regardless of its source, my affirmation I CAN”T became true for me. Recently I decided to give up that notion about my shoulders. I went from “my shoulders are weak, god I hate them” to “my shoulders are straight and strong. I shoulder my responsibilities with grace and ease.” And now I’m doing crazy pull ups and one armed push ups and all kinds of great things in my workouts I never dreamt possible. 

Take a cue from yesterday’s Kali and DESTROY something of yourself you’re certain of. Like me and my shoulders. See what happens when you turn your certainty into doubt. It’s a valuable practice. And I look forward to taking down other limited notions I have of myself in 2011. And I DON’T EVEN KNOW what they are yet! 

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