20 April, 2014

Pondering triggers

Today was vinyasa home practice.

Felt very focused today and did an intense Baptiste practice. Didn't cut any corners, and it felt good. Focus was there mostly the entire way. It's so hard for me to say why some days are better than others. There are times where it's obvious but then, days like this, I could have imagined I would not want to practice (in fact, I didn't really want to do it before I started). But once I got into it, I knew it would be good.

Yesterday we adopted a cat.

There's a reason this is related to the yoga blog. The cat was nervous on his first night here. He stayed up all night, meowing, and wandering around the house. I probably should have just confined him to a small room with food and litter to let him sort it out for a couple of nights. But I felt like it would be punishing him. Instead I punished myself and nearly had a meltdown. As the night wore on, and I was unable to sleep, I started unraveling into panic and worst-case scenarios... this was a huge mistake... why did I have to get a cat... I am never going to sleep again... I am not going to be able to get my work done this week because I will be too tired... and these thoughts induced panic, which further kept me awake. I dozed a little here and there, but was mostly awake until 2am and then again from 4am to 6am. Finally, at 6am, I put the cat in the bathroom downstairs, and had three wonderful hours of peaceful sleep.

Why didn't I do that in the first place?

I really don't know. There are often such simple solutions to avoid suffering. The cat stopped meowing once he was in the bathroom. The small closed space was less stressful for him.

I wasn't seeing clearly because of panic. So the key is to not get to the point of panic. When is the tipping point where ability for discernment, reason, rationality goes out the window? What are my triggers for the flipping of that switch? My bet is that it is the self-implantation of some extreme, impractical negative thought that triggers it. I create my own fight or flight. For example, "I am never going to sleep again!" or "This is going to ruin my relationship!" (probably more likely the latter was the trigger). In a habit of mine, which is worst-case scenario fantasizing, I create the whole panic that disables my normal coping mechanisms. It is some consolation to note that it used to be much, much worse. But there's still something there that I am barely starting to recognize.

What can I do on my mat to help this? What's the analogy? The crises on the mat have become far fewer than they used to be. Perhaps I need to create mat crises to practice?!

Anyhow, that's what's happening.

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