Spring break week this year found me at the beach for the entire week. That meant more than a week with no yoga - nine days to be exact. It's the longest I've gone without practicing since starting over seven months ago. I knew going back the first time after such a break would be challenging. The week off was rainy and cold and blustery. Much of the time was spent curled up with a book, or wrapped around my computer. Even the long walks on the beach I managed every day did nothing for my yoga body. Not a lot of stretching, and no heat at all.
I spent Sunday trying to decide whether to go then, or wait until my usual Tuesday morning. I also spent a good amount of energy Sunday kicking myself for having paid for an entire year just before the break (it was a special that saves a bunch of money). If I hadn't paid I could think about not going back at all. And believe me, the last thing I wanted to do was to subject myself to the pain and discomfort I knew was coming.
My arguments were all rational: I haven't lost any weight. My hip still hurts. It takes so much time I could use for writing and I use a ton of gas to get there.
But I'd already paid. For a whole year. The longer I delayed, the worse I knew it would be.
Sunday afternoon at 4:00 found me in the studio, beginning the hour and a half session with the standard breathing exercises. I sort of enjoyed the heat, managed to stay in the room and to do all the poses, although my face was redder than usual. Okay. That wasn't so bad.
Then Tuesday morning I woke up with a slight headache, feeling not sick exactly, but not well either. Again I considered not going, but again got myself out the door and into the studio. I was not happy to see my favorite teacher because she's intense and it's so hard to slack in her classes. The room smelled like a filled vacuum cleaner bag had been opened and strewn about. And the heat was hot.
We had just begun the second set of breathing exercises when the door flew open and a woman scurried in. This woman is late every single time and has no sense of space, often crowding between two people so that it's impossible for them to do the poses - so those two people end up having to shift somehow. So far she's not invaded my space, in part I'm sure because of the energy I send her way. But on Tuesday, my force fields weren't working any better than the rest of me, and she set up just behind me and forward halfway up my mat. I wasn't happy, but managed to mostly ignore her until she reached down and moved my water bottle and towel so she could do a pose–instead of moving herself.
So here I was in a yoga class–headachy, nauseous and pissed off. I felt stiff as beef in cold storage, balanced as an embezzlers check book, and close enough to tears I was grateful for the sweat running down my face. All this after just a week away? And I've forced myself to be here for another whole year? What the hell was I thinking?
And that's where I ended yesterday. The story came to a halt and I had nowhere to go. I searched high and low for the lesson, a message, a way to end on a note of hope. Nothing. So I took Toby for a walk, cooked dinner, enjoyed American Idol with Walt. Thinking, okay, maybe the message will come in class tomorrow.
Instead, what came was Late Woman who set up in my space again, this time so close I had to move my mat. I fumed. I glared. I spent much of the time I was supposed to be focusing on my practice rehearsing speeches guaranteed to make her change–and pronto.
You're probably way ahead of me on this. Some lessons take longer than others to take hold. I have a habit of needing to be okay as quickly as possible. To do anything it takes to not feel mad or vulnerable or weak. Making someone else wrong. Ignoring my body. Discounting pain. I'm sure I could fill the page with a million other strategies for avoiding not being okay.
So I had a bad day in class (Tuesday). Today I felt well and back in the groove. Except of course for my inner drama with Late Woman. Which I allowed to be way too big a part of my practice. Here's what I think I know: Shit happens, I get angry, I feel intensely whatever feeling arises. That's okay, even though I'm not okay in that moment. I get sidetracked when I try to do something to change the outside circumstances (fixing Late Woman, denying wounds, building walls) rather than sit with the pain and discomfort long enough to learn what they might have to teach.
I'm assuming she'll continue to come late and invade my space until what I think I know becomes what I believe and can release. Until it doesn't matter any more what she does, and I'm okay with not being okay.