"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The studio was not quite as hot for the last yoga class I attended - a little over a hundred degrees rather than the standard one hundred five. I didn't start sweating in earnest until the third pose, when usually I'm nearly blinded by the cascading drops two stretches into the first pose.

As as become my norm, some poses were easier than previously, some were harder. It seems that I have no way to predict which will be which, or to control the difficulty in any way. My body, which I've either treated badly or ignored for much of my life, is taking full advantage of this new awakening. It cooperates at its own speed and own unknown-to-me reasoning.

On this day my body allowed me to almost complete the dreaded camel pose. I got onto my knees, placed my hands on my hips, took a deep breath through my nose, and looked up, expecting the usual wave of dizziness and nausea. Nothing. So I tipped my head back a bit, ready to lurch forward at the first hint of stomach spins. Still nothing. So I tipped further, and got so into being there that I almost missed the direction to come out of the pose.

And as I was lying in savasana after the pose, I found myself wondering if the reduced heat was what made it easier for me to open up my chest and bend backwards. Not my unfinished emotional work. Just a physical factor that impacted what my body was willing to do.

From there I began to consider the possibility that I might need to rethink my attribution of cause and effect to other events in my life.

As an abused child, I needed to absorb responsibility for what happened to me to feel any power at all over my life. If my parents were ashamed of me, it meant there was something wrong with me.

As an out-of-control adolescent, my anger and don't-need-anyone attitude kept me from feeling the pain of loneliness and otherness. If a boyfriend broke up with me, I didn't really love him in the first place.

As a born-again cult member, I turned everything over to God and worked hard to be a worthy servant. If prayers went unanswered, it was because I hadn't truly surrendered and my heart was not pure.

Once free of the cult, I returned to adolescent ways, but with a determination to prove once and for all that I was a good person. Marriage to a good man who loved me deeply. A career as an elementary school teacher. Efforts to be a good daughter, sister, friend. A cozy home in the country and pretty yard complete with Golden Retriever and multiple cats. Therapy, recovery, spiritual searching. If none of that seemed enough, it was because I wasn't working hard enough or I was still paying for all those years of wandering in the wilderness.

The pattern is clear. If life does not go the way I want, need, dream - it's because of a deficit in my being or behavior. I am not enough. I am not working hard enough.

What I'm learning from my body these days - my strong, resilient, patient body - is that it might be time to reframe my attributions of cause and effect. Sometimes a sore back is a sore back and nothing more. Sometimes I'm not going to understand why, and that's okay. Sometimes.

picture from Flickr


Janna Qualman said...

Another wise post. I'm learning, too, that we can only feel how we allow ourselves to feel. And while others can do us wrong - and there's no excuse or justification, especially in cases of abuse - it's our responsibility to work through our own feelings. To weigh and assess and shift and reshape, if need be. Do you think?

Midlife Jobhunter said...

This is a great post. Written with such confidence while seeking something totally new. Sounds like the workings of a much longer essay. You share yourself very well.

FrecklesandDeb said...

I'm so proud of you for sticking with it! What a glorious feeling of achievement to face something so difficult and see those small steps of progress. Great post, Deb.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Yes. Sometimes. I love this. I love you. Now THAT'S healed behavior! (You're not tired of me writing that yet, right?)

Tabitha Bird said...

Love your posts Deb. And I love how you look at yoga and life :) May your body and mind keep stretching to those new dimensions.

patricia said...

Seems like a breakthrough. If I were to attribute every terrible thing that happened to me to the fact that I am inadequate somehow, I'd be living in a ditch using dirt for a blanket. You are good, you are kind, loving, worthy and more than adequate! AND, you are loved!

Genuine Italian Red Leather (G.I.R.L.) said...

This is what came singing to me as I read your post:

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.


Jerri said...

Even true seekers never know. That's why we continue to seek, I guess.

You are strong and wise. Trust yourself. And keep seeking.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I agree and say YES to what Patricia said!


Proud of you ....

Pam said...

This is wonderful Deb, and I too echo what Patricia said so well.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Now that you see it, I hope the truth never fades from your memory. Hugs

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