The Past is Done


Are you practicing the Yama of Asteya or are you stealing from yourself? Cathy shares her story of practicing Asteya.

So yesterday I met a guy, a guy I could possibly be interested in seeing again. He isn't the point of the blog, but he is an important fact you need to get you TO the point of the blog. You see this guy is 49....and my mind couldn't comprehend this fact.

WHAT? I am old enough to be interested in a guy that is almost 50?!?! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

So now I'm starting to realize that I'm middle aged. Again, how did this happen? It also started a reflection on what I've done with my life -- and I got stuck in regret. Specifically what I've done to my body. You see I haven't taken the best care of my physical temple. Too much junk food, too little exercise, not to mention a few years (let's call them graduate school) of too much alcohol and too little sleep. Caffeine and I are best friends and my treadmill is my favorite clothes hanger.

I had plans, I was going to give up sugar and eat a raw diet by the time I was 30 (and 35 and 40 and.....) I was going to start weight lifting and running regularly instead of only during a couple months in the summer (which doesn't even happen anymore.) Even as recently as last month, I promised myself I would increase my active yoga practice. So now I'm sitting around thinking of all the promises I made to myself and how I have failed at them. I don't think I'm alone in this cycle, just a couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a friend who was dealing with the same realization of time passing and missed opportunities.

As I sat dwelling in my regret, I realized I as violating one of the guiding principles of my yoga practice....Asteya or nonstealing. (Honestly you could probably argue I was violating several of the Yamas and Niyamas, but for today, let's just focus on Asteya.)

Initially I thought I had this yama down because I NEVER walk into a store and take something without paying for it! BOOM! I'm golden. But the more I learned about Asteya, the more I realized that it is about more than actually TAKING something. It's about your understanding that you really do have all you need. Maybe it is hoarding or buying more than you need (ouch -- my shoe collection!) Or, just like wallowing in my regret, it is stealing from the present moment by living in the past.

By spending time worrying about what I haven't done, or even making crazy plans for how I will get healthy next week, I'm stealing from my time in the present moment. Instead of feeling guilty about the past, I could have been at a yoga class, cooking a new healthy recipe, or just enjoying the moment I was experiencing.

So maybe realizing I'm old enough to date a guy that is almost 50 wasn't such a horrible thing. It forced me to face my past and then let it go. You see, my past is my past. It's done. I can't change it. It only has the power to steal from my future if I let it. Your past is your past. It is done. I won't judge you on what you did and I hope you won't judge yourself either. THIS is your moment. What will you do to live, love, and find joy in it?