Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Don't Make it Hurt so Good

I realized on Monday that I haven't felt sad, despondent, unsure, unworthy, or otherwise depressed in a remarkably long time. I don't remember when the last time was...well, the last time there were strong, negative emotions was September. Of course the reason I realized it is that Sunday night my husband and I had one of those talks about where I'm going with this yoga thing, and this circus thing, and this writing thing, and how I should channel my energy, efforts, and time into the enterprise most likely to make money, rather than the one that arrests the rhythm of my heart, pulling it into time with its own deafening beat. I managed to avoid all such conversations with my parents, at least up until I lived several states away and had the option of hanging up the phone, so maybe this is some form of corporeal penance. It, as always, left me questioning myself, my decisions, my life, and brought to light the possibly abnormal or bad fact that I have no role models in terms of lifestyles I want to emulate. I went to bed, and woke up Monday morning, feeling sad, despondent, unsure, unworthy, and selfish. Selfishness isn't an altogether uncommon negative emotion for me. I wish it was.

I might have avoided at least a portion of my ennui if I dragged myself out of bed at 8:20 as planned for the Mission Week Mass at church at 8:45, but I hadn't slept well, and was unable to resist the siren call of my cat snuggling under the covers with me. I got up later, felt awful, didn't feel worthy even of putting on clothes and teaching yoga, and almost ran late as a result, and while brushing my teeth remembered out of nowhere that though I had dreamt that I attended the Teacher Meeting at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, I in fact did not do so in real life. I did make it to my yoga class on time, but I was exhausted, and hoped that no one showed so I could just go home and be depressed some more. As fate would have it, four people did show, and my co-teacher and retiring-director Emily was there too! In spite, or perhaps on some level because of, my mental and emotional landscape, I taught an awesomely well-balanced, playful, challenging, useful class. At the end of the class I responded to a text from a teacher at another studio, letting her know I could sub her 3:00. She was quite grateful. Why the universe saw fit to make me such a useful person on this day I don't know, but it sure had a better effect on me than finding a quarter, or being offered free cookies or some such thing would have.

I ate lunch with Emily, collected my things, and headed for Namaste. I got there early, and had a lovely discussion about the school system with the director of that studio and her husband. I went from depression to elation in a six-hour period! Ah, the vacillations of the mind. They can move one to awe, in a bit of a horrifying way. But that's not the only point I was trying to make. The other was, that Sunday night, attempting to lull myself to sleep with the warmth of my husband's body and the sound of his breath, I detected...a strange sense of satisfaction, of wallowing and wrapping up in, my own desolation. My ego loved how self-centered these feelings were making me, even though the state was induced by fairly ego-bruising thoughts.

So, beating up on yourself, focusing on your weaknesses and failings, is no way to take your ego down to size, or manage it at all. There is a healthy kind of self-love; a self-love of the true self: the beautiful, strong, compassionate you who loves every being in the universe, not the petty, often selfish, small-minded you. I think, just go back and read the paragraph before this one. That's the really pivotal one. And maybe the next time your arms are really burning in Warrior Two, and your thought is, "I can hold out just two more breaths!" take your hands to Prayer. Your ego just might be a bit of a masochist.

Omily yours,
~em

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