Yoga teaches us to stay, regardless of our comfort level. Connect with whatever is happening at this exact moment. It’s virtually impossible for most of us to live in that state for more than a few, short breaths but the impetus is to keep coming back–learning to urge our mind toward the present instead of getting caught up, hooked, and carried off by some dramatic story. Easier said than done.
Meditation is the practice of this exact thing. It’s not some esoteric, mystical, woo-woo state of mind that we sometimes picture. It is available to us every moment of every day. We simply choose to bring our minds back to our physical being. Our hands on our keyboard, our ass on the chair, our feet on the floor, our inhales and exhales. Whatever we might be doing; sitting on a meditation cushion or waiting in a long line at the grocery store. Meditation is possible at every moment.
If it’s this available and this simple, why is it that I’ve been totally out of my body for the past few days, not even paying attention to what I’m doing regardless of what it is? Driving to Boston for an ASL workshop…I don’t even know how I got there (granted, I was listening to a podcast the whole way). Doing dishes? Who did them? Because I certainly wasn’t there. Yoga? Are you kidding? GET ME OUT OF THIS FUCKING POSE NOW, IT’S KILLING MY KNEES. Waking every morning with a massive headache again. Where is the feel-good in sobriety, I ask!!??? I suck at this!
It really bothered me last night, especially after yoga. Here I am, a teacher fagawdsake. And I can’t even practice what I preach. What a loser. And then, right before I went down that spirally hallway of death, I stopped. I caught my breath, tried to focus on the moment, and failed. Tried again. Failed again. Fuck. I can’t even concentrate on this one goddamn piece of shit moment. Nope. Couldn’t do it. So, I offered it up and let it go. And by offering it up, I mean nothing. I just stopped thinking about it.
When I got sober for the second time I knew something was different. I didn’t know what it was, and I’m still not entirely sure but I feel like it has something to do with truth and honesty. Today, I’m kinda done with bullshit. I’m too old for this nonsense of telling myself stories about how great I am and how I’m really not an alcoholic I’m just doing it for health reasons and no, I didn’t need any kind of “program” at all because, hey, I’m way stronger than most people and can just quit on my own if I want to. This time, without trying, my lies floated to the surface. I didn’t like it, mind you. I ignored them every chance I could. But when I started looking at myself thru the eyes of others–my best friend, co-workers, my children, my wife…I started to see something much different. Not better or worse, just different. I could see how I would weave these stories in my mind to justify my behaviors. Good and bad. Gradually, with the help of the Recovery 2.0 book I’m reading and the recovery podcasts I’m listening to and the meeting I attended and the writing I’m doing, I am starting to open my eyes to something much different than what I saw before. I’m beginning to catch myself when I start justifying, lying, or exaggerating. I try to stop immediately. It ain’t easy. I fail a lot. But when I do, I recall the practices of meditation and yoga. And I trust that they are bigger me. And for a second or two, I let go. Then get caught up in my drama. And then I come back. Just like the breath in our lungs. In and out. The waves on the sand. Back and forth. And sometimes, sometimes, I get it.
And then I don’t. And then I do.
One thought on “In and Out”
As a fellow yoga teacher I understand the inclination to hold ourselves up to an unrealistic ideal.
It happens to me over and over again.
Of course, I don’t have the same expectations of others…because they are unreasonable!
So much of the practice is being kind and gentle with ourselves. Take all the support you can find. Try everything. And keep coming back to you.
Stillness and peace
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