"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

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not Okay

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.


M said...

"Late woman". I loved it!! It seems that we all have one in our lives...and whoever (or whatever) it is manages to sour our entire day. I'm glad that you're moving toward a point where she doesn't matter...that you don't have to let her ruin your day. Good ol' Glasser stuff at work.



Wendy said...

I've had that happen to me a lot in Yoga or another class like Pilates. It is hard not to lose it, when Yoga esp. is supposed to be for relaxation and and inner opening. The worst for me is when I'm next to someone who's wearing a horribly strong perfume. Even though the studio posts no perfume allowed. We're all human and some of us are just more sensitive to boundaries and space. Keep on doing what you're doing and maybe, just maybe Late woman will eventually pick up on your juju and go bother someone else ;)

Deb said...

That would bug me too. I work with people who are chronically late and it's just rude, it makes everything about them. I probably wouldn't say anything to the woman either because I wouldn't know how to say something without being very angry. I get so tired of having my space invaded. I want to yell, "Can't you fucking see me?". So yeah, I have a little work to do too:)

Jan said...

Are you sure you're not me?


Wanda said...

And maybe saying something to her is part of her awakening. It is okay to have boundaries and ask to be seen.

Bernie said...

A continuous journey, isn't it? Life lessons. Most times I hate them. Maybe saying something to her is part of your blossoming. You could always write up your conversation to practice dialogue. Might not need to have the conversation after that.

So honest you are about your thinking here. I easily understood talking yourself out of exercising or doing what truly makes us better. (Guilty for talking myself out of swimming today.) Doesn't seem right that a week's vacation should make you pay.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

That wasn't from Bernie - from me, Midlife Jobhunter. Sorry, logged into my mom's - trying to fix something for her. (She'd probably say something that made more sense.)

Suzy said...

wow, what a lesson for me.
I work next to a guy who is the most obnoxious person in the world.
NO ONE likes him. He is intrusive,to where if you are having a converstaion on the phone with anyone, he feels he has the right to contribute what he thinks.
He is disgusting,has been up for sexual harassment twice and still doesn't get it. Everyone seems to be able to take this fool in stride. I am ready to set him on fire. There is no waking this guy up, so I keep trying to figure out the lesson.
But all I want to say is - SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU MORON!!
Actually I think most people are waiting for me to say that.

Nice huh?

Love you

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

Hey Deb~~~ I'm trying to catch up !
I don't sign up for gyms or classes because I always end up wanting to quit and thinking;
" what was I thinking" ! I guess it's my reclusive nature. I don't
get out much except for " events" and errands. Love the " late woman" ! HA! XOXO :)

Amber said...

Mmmm, good post! Good good stuff...

So I guess you can't just turn around and say, "Hey, hi there fucknut. Why don't you move your ass over and out of my space? Nameste", right? That would be frowned on, I guess... ;)


patti said...

WOW! You did a fabulous job of capturing a fairly common feeling in "organized exercise!"

Love this blog.

Devon Ellington said...

I take my yoga mat with me and practice every morning, even when I travel. Actually, I'm more ferocious about protecting my yoga practice when I travel. It helps other things stay in focus and in perspective. i've got a travel mat I can fold and toss into my writing bag.

Normal routine is up early, feed cats, start coffee, do yoga, write my first 1000 words of the day. The yoga and the first 1K of the day are sacred - no matter where I am or what's going on, that start to my day must be honored.

Those who don't honor that need are excommunicated from my universe.

Having bad days -- even bad weeks or months -- part of being human. I don't think we'd appreciate the joys if we didn't have to fight for them sometimes.

All best wishes.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

WHO was it that said you don't know how to write funny? NOT that there is ONE thing funny about people that are LATE and RUDE!

I will offer that perhaps she really does have a disabling condition that makes it hard for her to read social cues, and perhaps debilitating anxiety that makes her chronically late. Maybe she doesn't, but you may want to play with this scenario just to see if it helps offer compassion.

Little Miss Know-it-All