Saturday, December 22, 2012

Just Sit with It!

Jeff was getting ready to run an errand, the boys were decompressing, and I decided I needed to write a post before going into the Christmas festivities. I asked Jeff what my topic should be. He said, "Surviving the holidays!" Ha! But actually, he's right. How to survive the holidays...that's a good one...

My youngest is on the healing side of 36 hours of lethargy and vomiting, but thanks to good ol' ginger ale, he's on the upswing. Just the thing we needed to start our holiday season, to be sure. Here's hoping we've all had this bug before and can skate through the holidays unscathed.

So instead of "surviving" the holidays, I brought my focus back to yoga. What would a yogini do? Hmmmm....what about sitting with the feelings and gently recognizing them for what they are and giving thanks to be able to put a name on the feelings and move on. There's nothing more than the present. The past is gone, and the future is yet to be, so I can be here and now and know that I am guided and protected and happy...even in the sadness, I am contented.

One of the hardest things to learn in yoga (it's a never ending practice--no perfection) is to sit still and breathe. Meditating on or just the act of acknowledging a feeling and breathing into the moment can dispel the enormity of the emotion. Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion,  deals with just this topic: finding calm amidst the confusion and hustle and bustle of everyday life. Finding that inner calm can be one of the most daunting tasks ever known (at least that's how it seems to me.) I am grateful to be reminded of the necessity of calm in order to survive the holidays. Using her experiences as this reminder, I think I will re-familiarize myself with some of my favorite meditations from Rod Stryker.

So maybe, just for today, I will "Sit with it" when I feel anxiety, depression, worry, fill-in-the-blank decides to visit my psyche. Maybe this can be a reminder for me. Just these three words. This might just be the New Year's resolution I've been looking for. The New Year is going to be amazing...I just know it, I can feel it. May you feel all your blessings and enjoy this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Price of Perfection

I have been unable to put into words what I've been feeling these past few weeks, but I think I’m starting to understand something about myself: how important it is  to NOT be perfect. I have struggled with perfectionism all of my life. I have striven to do the best and be the best at everything I do. If I put my mind to it, I can achieve it has been a worn-out mantra in my life--and possibly the root cause of my chronic pain.

Well in the past three or so years, I've not been able to keep up with that level of perfectionism.  It has a price, and it’s being paid in pockets of pain, samskaras, within my body and mind. In fact, a couple of months ago, my therapist said to me, “You are having a hard time learning how to be human!” When he put it that way, I could see the absurdity of it. Yes, I was having a hard time learning how to play the fool, learning to accept defeat with my National Boards, learning how to let go of the insignificant day-to-day stuff that we all seem to pack into a day, learning it's OK not to have all the answers. But what I’m finding, if I’m patient and try not to force situations to unfold the way I expect them to, is unexpected gifts unfold all the time. I'm not talking about the material gifts, but the gifts of the mind, body, friendships, and most importantly, gifts of the heart.

In my post Compartmentalizing Feelings I talked about being able to be present with every interaction I can. As a teacher, a traveling one at that, I meet many people. If I slow down enough to really give every person I meet my full attention, I find that there are beautiful gifts to be found in each one of these people. To deny myself this gift is a shame. I often get harried when I experience interruptions in my day and may not be able to give a person my full attention because of a time crunch or a deadline. And unfortunately, if my behavior, as a result of these interruptions, is not a reflection of my soul (inner guide, spirit, fill-in-the-blank...), this will affect how I live my life day-to-day. And in essence, be stored in my body and mind to be dealt with at a later time...this I will try to be more aware of as it happens.

Case in Point:
As I was finishing up this blog post, Jeff was putting dinner on the table. I just needed five more minutes, but already we were an hour late getting to the table on time. So I turned off my computer, and said, "Jeff, I've been working on this post for two weeks now, but I can't post it 'cause it's not P_____. Ah, the P word. I actually caught myself saying it, and decided that, perfect or not, this needed to be posted. Regardless of the imperfections. Which I'm sure are many....alas, it is OK, just as it is. Namaste.