For the past two nights, I’ve barely won a battle with myself regarding my attendance at yoga class. Both nights, I wanted to stay home and curl up in bed and just forget it. Both nights, my husband and kids told me I should go. I’m not sure if their wanting me to go relates directly to the apparently witchy behavior Facebook keeps accusing me of or if they’re simply acknowledging my stress level and hoping I will find some peace. If I had to guess, though, I’d say it’s probably 90/10 in favor of the first option. When I’m overwhelmed, I’m not the easiest person to be around.
I love yoga. I don’t love it enough to want to become an instructor or anything, but I do love that for an entire hour I can turn off the incessant monkey chatter that goes on inside my skull and focus on just one thing…tying myself into a pretzel. I try to practice during the day when my boys are at school because I like to spend the evenings with them, but this week has been crazy busy and I haven’t been able to get there. Getting to class at night is difficult for me, but I’ve made it and I’m grateful to myself for doing the hard work to get there.
Yoga is not simply about exercise for me. It’s a transformational event. It’s about giving myself the space to be exactly who I am in this moment rather than who I want to be or, worse, who I think I should be. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. While I try to schedule numerous appointments for my boys with psychologists for testing and evaluation and while I continue to receive and fill out packet after packet of information, I’ve been feeling myself slip away. Sometimes it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to carve out time to be the person I am rather than the person I need to be for someone else. Yoga offers me that space.
Last night, our beautiful instructor, Sybil, asked us to reflect on how often we think too much about the future or reflect too long on the past. Indeed, I am guilty of such sins. Then, she gently reminded us that the only thing that matters is now. What can I fix about this moment became the mantra for class. I’ve been turning that thought over and over in my head since last night. Yes. I have a lot to do to figure out how to help out our boys. I have stacks of paperwork to fill out, bunches of phone calls to make, and a 400-page book on dyslexia that I need to read judging me from its spot on my nightstand. I may get through it all. I may not. I don’t know. But, if I take my head out of what might happen for us in the future (how will the testing go, will we need to put the boys in a special school, will we need to move, what is the best place for them), the present seems a lot less complicated.
I do it to myself, I know. I think too much about things I cannot control, things I might not even be given the chance to live through. All I have is this moment and all I can do is my best right now. So, I’m going to relax a bit, set a list of priorities, and knock them down one at a time in the moment until the decision about what is right for our boys and our family becomes apparent.
Tonight I’m grateful for the reminder that the only thing I need to concern myself with is this moment. I can take care of all the other stuff when the next moment arrives. No need to rush from the now. The future will be the present soon enough.
Shortly after I moved to Colorado in ’82 I chanced to try downhill skiing. What I loved about it was it gave me no time for the crap of the past or the hope of the future. Going downhill at that speed, and doing well, allows no time for remorse, recrimination or glowing images about next Christmas. I had to be focused or else…wipe out. When I got back to town and the slower pace I yearned for that sort of immediacy, the ‘now’ you write of, so immaculately revealed in the downhill shoosh. I tried to search out how I could practice that immediacy within a slower flux. I returned to the slopes many times over the course of several winters. I hadn’t taken it up as a spiritual discipline, but it did have something to teach me about presence. TY Rossingnol and lifts and A-Basin.
You’re correct about skiing, Ken. Any day I am on the slopes I am happier. I need to find a way to bring that to my daily life.
You may want to add Carlos Castanda’s Jouney To Ixtlan to your reading list. It is the second in a long series of books about an anthropologist’s apprenticeship to an old Yaqui Indian sage/sorcerer. With chapters such as Loosing Self-Importance, Disrupting the Routines of Life, and Erasing Personal History, it is a handy guidebook to living the ordinary life in a non-ordinary way. Not necessary to have read the first book to derive value from this one. Last I looked it was available on Amazon for $10.00.
Sounds intriguing. Thanks for the recommendation, Ken.