I woke up this morning and the first thing I wanted to do, after seeing I had no phone-calls and no e-mails, was check Facebook. Especially now, I am dying to know what my friends are up to. I went out for the morning, leaving my phone behind as well, and when I came back… still nothing! It is taking a lot of willpower to stay away from Facebook right now. Blogging helps a bit.

Am I really that dependent on Facebook that I would have needed to look at it twice today already? Better question: would I have gotten anything from it? Well the person I am interested in, I already know what he is doing, so it is doubtful I would have read anything other than a vague insight into maybe what he did last night, or something else that I would consider equally frustrating and likely misleading.

This makes me think how shallow that form of communication truly is. Even with someone I know quite well, I’m granted a cursory look into their psyche at best. At worst, the friend has a manufactured list of interests, hobbies, and well-liked literature or music to try to fit into a character. The internet really affords people the ability to become someone who they are not.

It reminds me of the old days, think my seventh grade (1999-2000) when AOL came out with instant messenger, AIM, and my girlfriends and I thought it was terribly exciting to talk to teenage boys in other states, and pretend to be people we weren’t. The truth is, for all we knew (and our parents loved to caution us), those “teenage boys” could have been middle-aged women.

The internet makes for a very believable mask.

-C

Advertisements

This is a continuation of the series of posts I have been writing on pain. Emotional pain, physical pain, spiritual pain. Pain.

Yoga is painful. There is no way around the fact, that one of the goals of practicing yoga, is learning how to be comfortable in uncomfortable physical situations. I have already written about how that is applicable both within and outside the studio, but there is another aspect of pain that I have not discussed.

A question I have been playing with in my mind is why people do things that they know have the potential to cause them pain. For me, in my specific situation, going to a place of pain tells me where I am on my way to healing my heart. I know it’s stupid, because I don’t want to be brought to my knees by something that is really nothing, and I don’t want to hurt. At the same time, I want to feel something, because so much of what has passed feels like a dream, or a vision from another world. I want to know that it was real, and I want to know how I feel.

Pain is one of the most acute sensations. Emotional immediately centers you. It can take over your world in an instant. For me, pain can bring clarity to my life. It can help me place myself in this crazy mixed up world of ours.

Going to yoga can have that same effect. If you make your body hurt, there is no question that it is real, and it is there. Your body is reacting in a normal healthy way to certain stimuli. Health, life, and vitality are all confirmed by pain.

-C

I am going back to yoga. If peace is the baseline of the spirit, the measuring stick that we can use to assess where we are emotionally, then both pain and happiness are impermanent.

Things, people, places, all can inject us with emotion. Being around someone makes you happy, being away from someone makes you sad, being in a certain location makes you sad, buying shoes makes you happy. Me happy anyway. These items are band aids. These items aren’t good for the spirit if peace is the goal.

The person who said this to me said that he strives to live by this mantra, and that the material items he does invest himself in, are vessels through which he can reach permanence. Of course I immediately am trying to define for myself what permanence is, and all I can come up with is that it could be a personal sense of peace.

I’m going back to yoga, because it gives me peace. It allows me to reach out to something greater than myself. I have talked before about the energy of a class, the seemingly ironic sense of intense introspection coupled with the distinct feeling of being a part of a greater, moving, entity. The class moving together, sweating together, experiencing sensation together, yet each person having a deeply personal experience at the same time.

I need this feeling that I am not alone. I need this feeling that I am part of something bigger, and I need something that brings me peace in the midst of uncertainty. I have forced myself back into a place of deep thinking, and it has brought with it sadness, but also a sense of hope that is flickering but bright.

-C

It has occurred to me recently how quickly things can change. I experienced something I have not experienced before in a yoga class today, and that was anger.

As I went through my postures, I felt exasperated by the repetition of the practice. I have always believed in two things regarding Bikrams: 1. that it really can in some way cure all ills, and 2. that it is important to let all feelings flow freely through you, but anger is not a feeling I ever expected to feel.

I was angry because I feel helpless in so many ways. I feel like life can change in an instant, and the monotony of Bikrams, the meditative repetition, did not prepare me for that. Things life brings at us — death, a new job, a move, a break up — don’t come in repetitive waves. These things come at you suddenly, leaving you to handle them however you can; leaving you to struggle to make the best of them, or just live through them.

What about one day when you can’t do Bikram’s anymore? What about one day when you can’t get out of bed anymore? Do you struggle on? Find new things to live for, new people to count on? Someone once told me that I was so strong, but when things changed around me, or happened suddenly, I became paralyzed. “I don’t know why you do this,” he told me, “but it scares me.” Bikrams has taught me how to move through a series of steps, how to follow along a path when I already know the way. I don’t know how to make a new one.

-C

I completed my thirty day challenge.  I’m done.  Today was the last day.  And my last class was…. just like any and every other class.

I was kind of disappointed.  I thought for some reason this class would feel different.  But you know what?  Just because it felt the same… no major breakthroughs, no epiphanies… doesn’t mean I haven’t accomplished something.  Because I have definitely made an accomplishment.  I’ve challenged myself, I’ve met the challenge, I’ve changed my mind and my body, I’ve found strength within myself that I didn’t know was there.

I can honestly say now that I have done yoga.  I’ve done it in the rain, I’ve done it in the snow, and I’ve done it in the sun.  I’ve done it sick and healthy and everything in between.  I’ve done it on lazy days, and I’ve done it on the busiest days of the year.  I have definitely done some yoga.

People keep asking me what now?  Will I keep going a lot?  What will I do after my challenge?  Well of course I’m going to keep going!  I have found the best exercise in the whole world.  I’m going to keep going.  Maybe not every single day.  I actually think taking a day off here and there will be a good thing for me.  It will give me time to reflect and relax.  It will give my body time to recover and regain strength and stamina.  I think taking a day off here and there will be good.

But having done thirty days in a row has been an amazing experience and I really hope that some month you will give it a try.

I’ve learned so much about myself and so much about my body.  I feel like a different person now… and it only took a month.

You can keep reading, because I will keep writing.  I still have a lot more to say about yoga… and I still have a long way to go with my practice.

Thanks for reading along this past month!  And thanks for your support!

Now I’m gonna go get ready for my Christmas party.

-Claire