30 December, 2014

Nothing lasts forever

Today was vinyasa with Chelle.

Yesterday I got the news that my brother needed to have cardiac bypass surgery. It was not deemed to be an emergency, in the sense that he didn't have a heart attack or anything. But they decided to do it immediately, and that meant today. My brother will be 65 years old this year. That alone is hard to really absorb. It is an age that I can remember my dad being. In fact, when my father was 65, let's see... that would be in 1990. So I was 22. The math adds up to one truth. We're all getting older.

I didn't really stop for long to consider the fact that my brother could die, because I actually had been slightly misinformed about the severity of the procedure until after it was already done. And he didn't die. But he will someday. My mother did. My sister did. My father will (though he will probably live to be 150). And, eventually (hopefully later, rather than sooner), I will.

Nothing and no one lasts forever.

I took that with me to practice today.

Though I took class at the studio yesterday, and plan to do so tomorrow, and I could have easily decided that today would be a home practice, or no practice, I decided that today was as good a day as any to show up on my mat and do whatever I can do to keep my body and mind healthy, in the hopes that the later, rather than sooner, will be the outcome for me. Thinking about "The Big Picture," I found it surprisingly easy today to maintain focus and intensity through the entire class, and not get angry or frustrated at the long poses, or the fact that my arms and legs were burning. Because burning is not bad. It is uncomfortable, but temporary. And enduring it always brings about some positive inner change. As does learning which instructions to heed and not to heed. Today, "Go deeper into your lunge" was a "No" for me. And it was not because I can't. And not because I don't want to. It was because, right now, I shouldn't. My hip has told me this, and so I listen.

I don't mean to be morbid here, with the "death talk," though I do tend to become so at this time each year. But it's really hard to fathom that end that will surely come. I live each day, often wasting massive amounts of time, completely repressing the inevitable fact of how the time we have is finite. And even when I do start to think about that fact, I still don't know the right answer to the question "So, then what should I be doing with the time I have?" Today in yoga, Chelle read from Melody Beattie's book, and there was a bit about the reason we are here is to find and bring joy and compassion. But that's a kind of religion, in and of itself, right? It's a belief system. It's an Eastern belief system. I like that belief system. But it still doesn't tell me what I should be doing. I don't know should I be working at Google? Should I be living a simple life in the forest and eating berries? Should I be "living life to the fullest" and going on epic adventures, brushing up against the limits of both the physical and emotional worlds? What should I be doing?

I still don't know (yet).

But I know that showing up on my mat is not heading in the wrong direction.

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