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Author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" and "Life in Bite Sized Morsels".  "Yogic Tools For Recovery, A Guide To working the Steps": the workbook for which will be coming out May 15, 2018.
I have been a yoga teacher for several years. My primary focus is on classes designed for people recovering from addictions. I take my classes to recovery homes, halfway houses, detention centers, and jails. I also lead Y12SR groups in the south SF Bay Area, CA. I am a certified Yoga of Recovery Counselor. I have designed a certification course for yoga teachers titled S.O.A.R. - Success Over Addictions and Relapse which I teach in person and ONLINE.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Universal Laws of Being Human and the Seed of Change

I have a note on my desk. I don't know where it came from but I have saved it.  I pick it up from time to time and say to myself - "oh yea!  I forgot about this."  It is the Six Universal Laws of Being Human.  I don't know where it originates.
The six universal laws for being human
  1. You will be given a body.
  2. You will be taught lessons.
  3. There are no mistakes in life, only lessons.
  4. If a lesson is not learned, it gets repeated.
  5. The more often a lesson is repeated, the harder it gets.
  6. You know you’ve learned your lesson when your actions change.

Ok - numbers one and two I can grasp.  The rest remain alternately elusive and redundant.

Number One: You will be given a body. This doesn't state what condition it will be in, what I can or will do with it nor how it will age.  Just that I get one.  Check.
Number Two: You will be taught lessons.  I didn't always consider the occurrences, challenges and even the joys in life were lessons, but I do now see them as such.  
Small disappointments- how do I handle them, how did I get into being disappointed, how do I manage or not manage to get into similar situations where disappointment may or may not be a result?   This is the nature of a lesson.  
Harder to see is the lesson as the result of terrible things happening; to myself, to family and to others. Illness, accident, surgery, loss. These "lessons" come from outside.  Sometimes they are do to life choices, life styles, or behaviors. If I persist in a dangerous or toxic behavior there is a great possibility that I will receive a lesson in the form of an illness or loss.  If I am harmed through a random event there is less I had to do with the event and no likelihood that I could have avoided it.  The lesson, again, is how I respond and how I engage in the outcome.  
Even joy has a lesson:  do I trust my joy, to I grab ahold of the joy trying to keep it, do I watch the joy. observe it and let it go.  Trying to hold on to joy can result in choking the current experience and missing the next.  In trying to maintain a level of happiness or pursing happiness as a goal can sour the present moment with the fear of losing it. So even joy has a lesson. Check.
Number Three: There are no mistakes in life, only lessons.  Now to a more obscure law. Mistakes are unintentional, they can be random.  A mistake kind of absolves me from responsibility.  "It wasn't my fault that X, Y, or Z happened - it was a mistake."  Things that happen in life which are seen as mistakes can also seem cruel;  the death of a child, the loss of a job, and unjust incarceration.  How can these not be MISTAKES?  And then I think again,  while they were not correct- they were opportunities.  Opportunities to learn and grow.  An event may be a universal fluke - but a lesson can be derived, saving it from being a useless occurrence.  Having something happen and writing it off as a mistake - would be a mistake.
Number Four: If a lesson is not learned, it gets repeated.  I have experienced this many times.  It surprises me in its simplicity and in its relentless truth.  There are times I learn a little, but not all. I learn some of what there is to be gleaned from the event, but only the surface. I need to experience the lesson a few more times to get to the bottom of it, to get to the fundamental truth I have to face.  Being a woman in recovery I do spend some time mining my past for the lessons.  Many of the events, dramas, and instances I have been party to, have created or been victim of seem to be teaching me one thing, when the real truth is something different.  A simple example would be that I close down when my feelings are hurt.  A word or a look said in anger can slay me.  I shut down.  I used to think I was shutting down to punish by withdrawing.  I now know I shut down to punish AND to protect.  I protect myself from further harm by abandoning and cutting off the person who has hurt me.  (there is a further lesson here about boundaries; another subject for another day.) I dig deep , I find my piece, I understand my reaction, I get a lesson.  If I don't get the whole lesson the process gets repeated.  
Number Five: The more often the lesson gets repeated the harder it gets. It took me a while - but I see this now. There are probably only a dozen themes in my life: financial insecurity, fear of abandonment, desire to be seen / heard, the need for companionship, and feeling like I am not enough  are a few of them.  I avoid the negative and grasp for the positive.  This grasping and avoidance cause me problems. I get lessons about the difficulty this grasping and avoidance creates in my life.  I wish the lesson would STAY LEARNED, but evidently I forget.  I have felt heard, I have felt being seen and accepted - and the feeling dissipates.  The difficulty comes when I look outside myself for the security and resolutions. The more often I reach outside the more painful the disappointment. Looking inside, I am content. The lesson is look within.
Number Six: You know you have learned your lesson when your actions change.  Yes.  I have had a very successful experience with this in terms of my addiction.  The Pain of using became greater than my fear of stopping.  The lesson was learned, the actions changed and... the lesson stays learned.  In other parts of my life I seem to go back to numbers 3-5 again and again. I eat more than I need to and I gain weight. I eat more wisely and I lose.  My actions changed.  And then they didn't.  I have become much less defensive in recent years.  Defensive reactions caused aggressive or dismissive behavior from others.  I changed my behavior, became more matter of fact and clear and others began to treat me differently.  I changed my behavior and my situation changed.  

With these six laws of being human I can both feel myself being part of the universal connection with others, that my difficulties and dilemmas are not unique.  I also see the path out.  As in recovery the path out is ACTION.  I must make a change for there to BE change.  The struggle comes in finding out the nugget of change the seed of change the internal core that needs to be addressed. I need to find this OR my issue leaks out in another similar behavior and I am led to the same lesson.  
Being patient, being slow, taking time with the examination of the issue and the lesson will guide me to the action that I need to take.  So it isn't so hard next time.

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" and a leader of Y12SR classes.
Kyczy is the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse). This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.
  http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html Scroll to the end of the page and sign up now.