29 June, 2013

There is always a choice

Today was Yoga Basics with J. Politi.

I was tired from staying up late. And, as has been the case for weeks, I did not sleep well. When people who are normally excellent sleepers stop sleeping, something is going on. So, uneven sleep, waking with a feeling of dehydration from yesterday's yoga, and staying in bed so long that I really had barely enough time to get myself up and moving for a noon yoga class. I am never particularly pleased with myself when I sleep later than 8:30 or 9:00 so this was way past that limit, though I can't call it sleep.

When I arrived on the mat for this class that I wasn't entirely sure I was ready for, immediately thoughts crept into my mind about feeling alone. First of all, I am not really alone. But that's how I felt. I am between jobs, which is surely unsettling at some level. I am not in a relationship, which has its positive aspects of feeling freedom, but the negative of not knowing what to do with myself without that kind of connection. Long story short, I started to panic. And I had to immediately shift to J's voice, telling us to really feel our breath and recognize all of the sensations in the body. Turns out, my "panic" was not physical. My breath was calm. My heart was steady. My stomach was settled. This panic was my head. Thoughts about non-essential things. Fear that I will have all this time on my hands and be alone and blah blah blah. I was able to reel it in.

Later in class, it bubbled up again, as I was drenched and fatigued. The thought of being in Hawaii, for a week, alone. To some of you that sounds like a dream. Paradise. For me, there can be a fear in the anticipation of that aloneness. Panicking about then "what ifs" of me having some kind of meltdown. I had one of those meltdowns once in Mississippi in 1995 during an aborted attempt at a solo cross-country soul-searching drive. I was at a pay phone at a gas station in the middle of nowhere and I called my brother in a panic. But that's not the same me. It is 18 years later and I have grown. The times I have done things alone, I have learned to thrive. But there's a place in me that still has a visceral reaction in avoidance of being A-L-O-N-E. Once again I was able to reel it in, though it was harder when fatigued.

Yoga teaches us to process with objectivity and presence even in chaos.

Today, I finally resigned myself to start modifying Triangle to accommodate the heel pain. It looks like my Triangle will be a little more like a Hatha approach with front knee bent. That removes the force from my heel. I love Triangle so it's hard to let go of that. But I need to modify it today so that I can keep doing yoga tomorrow.

There is a lesson in there. Delaying an immediate, though damaging gratification in order to create the possibility for a lasting and healthy reward in the long run.

Yoga. It works.

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