How does a writer know when something really needs to be written about? This feeling that I have right now. That “but I don’t wanna write about it” feeling.
How does a yogi know when the ego has permeated their practice? Upon injury. Upon the inability to take rest. That “oh crap I didn’t listen to my body” feeling.
So here I am.
Sore, creaky, grumpy, and really not wanting to document it.
This is the most important time to show up. The most valuable lessons we learn about ourselves are during times of struggle, trials and tribulations revealing more about our true Selves than we are often prepared to acknowledge.
I feel guilty, for not letting my body rest. No, that’s not entirely true, I feel guilty for not listening to my body. Guilt is dumb; it’s a wasted emotion. Nonetheless, by having listened to my body I would likely not be in this position. But, as it always does, the Universe surely has a divine reason for placing this little gem of a lesson in my quivering palms at this point in time. When one refuses to slow down, one is slowed down by external forces. Namely: patello-femural syndrome.
I’m calling it a “yog-injury” even though the “injury” has evolved over time and did not occur during yoga in particular. It crept upon me, exacerbated by a very active lifestyle and a job standing on concrete all day, all week. Someday I’ll be a writer and I’ll yearn for my daily walks and yoga practice; as of right now, my daily yoga practice combined with an active job has left me in a pile of aching joints. Disappointed, is what I feel. Guilty, as I already mentioned. Frustrated. Pissed off. Freaked out. Regretful (GAH, that cursed word, regret … it’s as wasted an emotion as guilt).
I start my yoga teacher training in five weeks. My free YogaWorks membership began on the first. JUST in time for me to reach the point of exhaustion, physically, that some serious rest is called for.
Insert four letter word.
I’ve reached out for comfort and advice, namely to the brilliant Jennifer Pastiloff, who has shed her glorious light on my ill-fated injury. Take rest, is what the prescription seems to be. That and physical therapy exercises, ice, pranayama, WRITING, and walking. Walking clears my head. Writing fills my heart. I know that I will return to my yoga practice stronger than ever, and that a short break giving myself time to heal is essential. This I understand. What I don’t understand is what part of my mind decided to override my rationality, urging me to practice till my shoulders ached, not allowing me to say, “Hey, I’m feeling tired and blue today, perhaps I’ll just take a nap instead.” I don’t understand the cursed EGO that permeated my filtered through my divinely personal practice and pushed me to try poses I am nowhere near ready to try. I don’t understand the part of my brain that pushed past pain and did nothing about it. I don’t understand the part of my brain (the majority of it) that’s obsessing over my recovery as I type!
Obsessing. Let’s talk about that curse word, shall we?
Obsessing is a behavior of mine that may as well have a permanent seat at the dinner table. It’s one I’m constantly trying to ignore. Perhaps that is yet another reason this predicament has found me; the fact that I’m obsessive by nature and yet completely ignorant of the fact that I’m nearly always obsessing about something is blatantly unhealthy…and yet I put up my horse blinders! Like, “What? Me? Obsessive? NO WAY. That is NOT me.”
Hi Kettle, you’re BLACK.
I am obsessive. To an extent, this is in my nature and is a trait I will have to embrace, be kind with, and gently work towards lessening. To another extent, the mind is energy and one must choose to regulate it. I must be aware of my obsessions, acknowledge them, and bid them farewell. (I’m obsessing right now over the fact that I just took ibuprofren for the first time in months and I’m distraught at the fact that my pain is not being treated via homeopathy). I must say, “Hello obsession, while I appreciate that I’ve not seen you since yesterday, this harrying of the issue will neither change nor erase it…let’s not wear holes in my stomach over something that must simply be let alone.” Or something like that.
What’s my antidote to obsessing? Writing. Walking. Yoga.
During my self-prescribed jaunt of rest, I will choose writing first and foremost, walking as a close second. I will surrender to unrolling my brand-spankin’-new-and-achin’-for-a-sweaty-vinyasa class Manduka mat for restorative yoga while I heal, trusting fully that my beloved sweaty vinyasas will be enjoyed once I have a better understanding of balance.
I will read. I am falling head over heels in love (or maybe ass over teakettle in love suits this statement better) with The Yoga Sutras. I am agape learning the yamas Ahimsa and Brahmacarya. I’m thinking, “Well no wonder you’re injured you non-Ahimsa and Brahmacarya practicing yogi!” Then I remember self-deprication does not fall under ahimsa either. Self-deprecation and stress are going to be what I tackle during my time of rest.
I will write. I will write all the CRAP I “don’t wanna” write. I will write the stuff that’s painful to confess.
I will walk. I will stretch. I will implement the physical therapy and yogic tools prescribed by my teachers. I will quell my stress. I will gently nurture my body with soothing practices that will, in turn, strengthen my yoga practice as a whole.
Confessing all of this, writing it all down, is my way of purging myself of the obsession. I have the urge to offer explanations for each obsession and each affirmation that follows, but I’m simply going to resist. I am learning a great deal about myself. I am grateful to be learning, early in life, that the “go go go” mentality manifests physically in the body, and not as wellness. All of our thoughts manifest physically. I’ve always believed this. So why should my obsessing over taking or not taking pharmaceuticals not arrive as tightness in my shoulders, and tension in my belly? Why should my burning desire to unfurl my Manduka and bust out some mind-clearing yoga flow not taunt my deepest aches, making them ache further? It does, it has, it will . . . unless I clasp hold of my sanity and regulate the energy that is my mind.
What are a few weeks in the grand scheme of things, hmm? Nothing. A bleep on the map. Particularly before delving into one of (what I hear is) the most exquisite, life-changing experiences for a yogi . . . teacher training. I ought to feel blessed. I ought to feel grateful for being able to walk, and stretch, and practice a modified practice. I ought to be thanking my knees and joints for putting up with the rigorous lifestyle they’ve been putting up with.
I was recently told by a mental health practitioner and dear friend that we’d all do well to ban the words “should” and “ought” from our vocabulary.
So I’ll replace “ought” with “am.”
I am blessed. I am grateful. I am thanking my body.
I am calm.
I am stronger for having experienced this.
I am healing.