I Have No Self Control. ~ Jennifer Bowen

Via elephant journal
on Mar 5, 2012
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Self control is an illusion.

If  “self” is viewed as the part of us that is pure consciousness, then the other part of the “who” we are is ego. The true self cannot be controlled as it cannot be manipulated or changed in any way. True self passes no judgement, and makes no effort to manipulate. Ego on the other hand, seeks only to control ego, to judge, and manipulate who we are and the world around us.

Yet ego does not want to be controlled, judged or manipulated. Yep, it’s the existential paradox that creates our on-going sense of conflict about ourselves and the world. Just as paradoxical is the fact that ego is vital to our very survival.

So I have decided that in reality, I have no self control. And what does lack of self control create? Bad habits, destructive thought patterns and unacceptable behavior you say? Why yes! In the spirit of no self control I have written a small confessional expressing a few things I just cannot seem to give up.  When I think of doing these things, I often wish I wouldn’t do them but just won’t let it go.

Here are five things I am willing to ‘fess up to:

1. I love (capital L-O-V-E) bad words. I use them a ton, hopefully without looking like I don’t know what else to say. They are especially satisfying when used in heavy-hitting combinations such as: [email protected]#cker”, and “[email protected]#ck”. Oh yeah. I do try not to be offensive, but sometimes I am.

2. Every now and then I smoke. A cigarette. And boy do I enjoy it. I started smoking when I was fifteen years old, and quit at twenty eight. Gee, if I still have one every now and again, I don’t know what that makes me.

3. I adore processed junk food. And I consume it secretly. Easy Cheese (yes, that comes in a squirt can) on Ritz crackers, Redbull, and (gasp) Taco Bell are at the top of the list. There are some mighty judgmental folks out there who I do not want to share this with, but there you have it!

4. I have had sex on the second date, even when I knew I shouldn’t. Okay, fine, I have had sex on the first date. I have never once looked back and thought, “Wow, that was such great idea!” On the contrary, it’s always a terrible idea with some major-league lessons.

5. I am vain, and a total show off. Always have been, probably always will be. I love being the center of attention. I love being photographed, filmed and complimented. Of all my bad habits, I have to say that this one has served me very well. A yoga teacher simply cannot afford to be too shy or quiet, and certainly should not fear demonstrating what she teaches.

I am certainly not endorsing my bad habits, only putting it out there that I too, as a committed yogi and yoga teacher have some behaviors that are considered to be pretty bad, nasty, and destructive. One thing I will tell you is that I am kind, never self-righteous and really care about the world and the people around me. I can put those things on my brag list. Bragging should probably be #6, but that was a list of five.

For anyone who is practicing self-awareness in the name of awakening, the high horse image of goody two shoes behavior is not only exhausting, it is unreal. We are all humans living in the real world. There is a reason enlightenment practices are called practices.

It is because we must try, try again. And as there is no perfect action, I find what is most obviously destructive behaviors to be a great teacher in balancing what I desire with ways I can channel my desires positively. And we can and naturally should make efforts to quit bad behavior. However, what seems more important to me is not necessarily to fall total prey to every impulsive whim or addiction, but to observe and be aware of what happens when we do.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta

Jennifer Bowen is a California native raised in San Diego. In 2006, Jennifer discovered yoga through a dear friend who became her first yoga teacher. In learning to practice breathe, observation, and awareness, Jennifer discovered a path of empowerment and potential for awakening. She primarily studies with Richard Freeman and continues to explore what yoga means to others through various talented and insightful teachers.Jennifer is a yoga teacher, former yoga studio owner, long time locavore and professional chef. After residing in Yosemite National Park for fifteen years, Jennifer relocated to Boulder because the yoga is good and the people are great.


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13 Responses to “I Have No Self Control. ~ Jennifer Bowen”

  1. What is your favorite "bad" habit?

  2. Bridget says:

    This is hilarious! It makes me smile 🙂 Thanks for fessing up Jen! It makes me feel a little free-er about my bad habits 😉

  3. Kristy says:

    I whole heatedly love this post. It’s very true. I agree! When people find out I meditate, they sometimes look at me as if I should be more perfect, but it’s just not the case…. Takes time to change that which we find awareness of. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our practice; we need it for balance and if there is hope of change. Love it Jen. Well written too:-)

  4. Rachel says:

    Jen, this is fabulous! Way to go for being authentic. I don't believe I'm a generally judgmental person but one thing that always gets under my skin and makes me judgy is when people on the path to self-improvement present themselves like they are perfect and that life is perfect for them. To me its the opposite of enlightened to be self-righteous but its also a very sneaky trap that so many fall into. Cheers to you for being a refreshing authentic example of a true yogi, sticking to your path and unafraid to look your true self in the eye. Thank you for sharing. This was delightful. Love and hugs to you, gorgeous!

  5. Becky says:

    You are truly inspiring. I often do compare myself to people like you and Kristy and feel less than adequate at times because you guys seem to have it all together. It's kind of nice to hear that I am not the only one who struggles with self-control. I love you soooo much!

  6. yogasamurai says:

    "Confessions of an Unrepentant Narcissist." I love it. If only all the yogini wannabes were so transparently honest. Not that it doesn't show anyway, mind you. :o)))))

  7. Sandiegobowen says:

    Hey cousin, I agree mostly with this article, except that it doesn’t apply to me. This is simply because I am the very essence of perfection itself. I, unlike most, am infallible. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried having flaws and bad habits it for some reason I’ve always been unsuccessful 🙁 HAHAHAHAHA, I LOVE ICE CREAM AND CANDY AND TACO BELL! Another great thought provoking read Jen. Keep up the great work!

  8. Heather Calluna Vulgaris says:

    Life would be really dull, though, if there wasn’t the occasional cigarette or scandalous one night stand. Am I right?

  9. Amelia says:

    Jen, I super-duper love you in all shapes and forms and I especially love the badassmotherf*cker parts of you!!!

  10. It shows in the most unattractive and condescending way when there is an attempt to hide the imperfect. So…I guess the fact is that we are all aware of the "realness" of us all, huh?

  11. Becky, you have always been a spiritual ninja. No yoga or meditation required. Woman, you know what's up.

  12. zephyr says:

    Alas, i also love easy cheese. Im so ashamed.

  13. […] I have no control when I eat one spoonful of your ice cream. It’s sweet and decadent and addictive. It leads to me binge eating. Almost every time. In fact, I have no problem polishing off a pint in half an hour. […]