It was also the recrimination, which I had resisted so far but which Reeducation finally drummed into my pores, that made it so hard to work. A year or two later a friend mentioned that he was trying to stop “yelling at himself” and I realized it was what Reeducation had taught me to do. Since being an intellectual was my principal sin, it was very hard not to engage in self abuse around intellectual activity. I had realized that this was blocking work and that I was further compounding matters by calling that “procrastination.” I had not realized that what I was doing constituted “yelling at myself” or that it would be legitimate to stop doing so.
I notice that in all the yoga classes, the idea of mastering something and increasing strength and power is considered to be positive. In Reeducation, however, I learned to give up mastery within myself. I then had no recourse but to become as small as possible while people rolled through and over me. I had to think of ways I might entice them not to roll with quite as much force. I was learning to live back to front in those days.
In one yoga class the teacher told us that in meditation we could be ourselves. “Not that person who is very good at her profession. Not that person who manipulates her husband so he thinks she is really something. Not that person who gives her children all her money so they will like her.” I was horrified at what this teacher seemed to know about the class.
She knows people from Reeducation’s world but I really do not think I was ever there. It was poor advice, being told I had too much power in my life, because it was so untrue. And it is poor advice I give myself, that what I need is a stricter schedule, more constraints. What I need is expansion — personal power — breath.