Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't Over Think It

I had a rare treat of taking a 90 minute vinyasa yoga class the other day with a friend. As my friend said "vinyasa" I just happened to observe a resistance arise in me. Now coming from a vinyasa back ground you'd  think I would be down with it and not think twice about it, but these days I prefer my own practice in the comfort of my own home, minus the music and mirrors where I can move at my own pace and ease into the postures I comfortably know. 
I prefer my comfort zone and practice just that - comfortably, on and off my yoga mat.

During this particular class I found myself thinking : What the hell is this? I'm looking in one direction only to be completely turned around, (lord knows how I got there) and then back around lowering into a one legged chaturanga just in time to hear the teacher say, "don't over think it".

Isn't that life though? We go along our way trying to maintain some sort of comfort and familiarity only to find our lives have been completely spun around and we are left in a  position having no clue how we got there, thinking what the hell is this?
Taking a look at my resistance to this specific yoga practice, I have found that I don't naturally flow and transition with ease through my life. Vinyasa yoga IS to flow and transition, to let go into this beautiful dance between breath and movement with ease no matter what posture is presented. The realization that the yoga practice that has been with me all of these years never really got carried over into my everyday life was a bit humbling to say the least.

How I approach my yoga is really no different then how I approach my life. They are fundamentally one in the same. I think how you approach anything is indicative to how you approach life in general.
Do I struggle on the mat and in life, or except and navigate consciously with whatever presents itself to me? Is there really a need to do or undo? Or can I simply just say yes to life essentially? Perhaps the very practice that makes me wince is exactly the yoga practice I need right now.

Using some of the principles of vinyasa yoga to learn how to go with the flow and transition with whatever life situations ensue, the comfortable and the uncomfortable, saying yes to the challenge of having my box expanded and as the yoga teacher said, "don't over think it".    





Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Being Mindful Of Impermanence With An Impending Divorce

"Keep the concept of impermanence in mind and maintain an awareness of assembled phenomena. I am aware of interdependence, being able to recognize this interdependence, I recognize impermanence." This is what I say and remind myself of on a daily basis.

As I've come to understand, feelings as in e.g. shame and warmth are different than emotions, e.g. anger and joy. Siddhartha discovered that at the root, it is our emotions that lead to suffering and in fact they are suffering. One way or another, directly or indirectly, all emotions are born from selfishness in the sense of clinging to the self. Emotions arise when particular causes and conditions come together, such as when you are quick to think that someone is criticizing you or ignoring you. Then is when the corresponding emotions arise. The moment we accept those emotions, buy into them, we have lost awareness and sanity. For Siddhartha the resolute for this was awareness. In essence, tend to your emotions and learn how to avoid getting "worked up".

For me, having this awareness also requires that I practice it. At this particular time in my life divorce seems to be the inevitable for my marriage. I was just told yesterday by my husband that he was going to ask for a divorce the night I told him I was pregnant. This was over two years ago now. There is also documentation from a year a half ago when I was four months postpartum, sleep deprived and alone with this new human being of something I allegedly said and did towards myself. Let me be very clear : I have NEVER thought of harming my son in Any way shape or form. He was wished for and loved the first time I knew of him and I would lay down my life for my child. Yes, I cry when I'm exhausted any one close to me will concur. They will also tell you I am open and will verbalize how I am feeling. ( So maybe think twice before you ask me "how I'm doing" you may not want to hear my answer :)

Observing the hurt that arises then evaporates, the anger that comes in tidal waves as it hits the shore to ever so calmly recede back, feelings of shame that my mind has created with thoughts of "not doing enough or being enough" enter then exist, the warmth that I feel when my son smiles and waves to me at the top of the slide has came and went. As with everything, emotions and feelings are always in flux.

As information has been gathered to try and bring question to my mental and emotional sanity (which I'm told will not be used against me?), we will take a quick look down memory lane. I took Lexapro for a couple months after I birthed a still born son a few years ago, yes, I was depressed for that year. As of a month ago I have a police report against me for domestic violence that my husband filed. I slapped him a few times (I did have the sense to put my son in his room and shut the door so he wouldn't see before physically going after his father). I was wrong for acting out in such a way. No amount of anger, verbal attacks, in your face finger waving constitutes such behavior. These two examples don't put me in the best light and I can probably guess correctly in that there is documentation of my other not so stellar moments that I may not even be aware of.

Why share these not so nice moments with you? I have no fear in showing myself. I don't cover things up and make them pretty. If something is cause for concern I confront the person or issue. I don't go about as if nothing happened and file it away just in case it gives me some sort of future gain. I require honesty from myself and if you ask I will tell you. I have nothing to hide. I'm not perfect and don't pretend to be.

Does part my fault lie in the fact that I am honest with my feelings and people don't care to hear it or that I allow myself to openly cry when I'm sad, hurt, angry, frustrated or just plain tired. Is it somehow better to harbor feelings, turn a blind eye and pick up a gambling habit because one doesn't know how to cope?

So as I prepare for the worst and hope for the best. My heart is broken but remains open. I forgive easily.   Being mindful of what Siddhartha has said on impermanence, I can but only diligently practice and continue to remind myself of these things. Some days I will fair well and other days fail, as you have come know. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end to everything, and of all the things out there, personal relationships are the most volatile and a perfect example of impermanence.

As always I welcome your comments.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Move Where? Dallas? As In Texas?" A Conversation With My Husband.

My intent is not to offend, but if you happen to be sensitive about how your state (as in Texas) is perceived, maybe you should consider calling it quits with my post now. Now that that's out of the way....

Emerging from my bedroom early one morning wiping the sleep from my eyes, I shuffled over to my coffee pot (yes I shuffle in the morning), I happened to notice my husband sprawled out on the couch, computer in hand looking very intently at the screen. Not being a morning person I don't care for chit chat before my first cup of coffee, so if anyone has something to say it better be direct, because I only have the patience for "yes" and "no's". On this particular morning our conversation went something like this :

Husband : "What cities will you be willing to move to? I have a list. Number one, San Fransisco?"
Me: Looking up from my freshly poured cup of coffee, "Seriously?" (Insert my "Are You Kidding Me" face here) "YES! You know this."

Husband : "Just clarifying Stefanie."  "Seattle?"
Me: Now, Seattle has been dangling in front of our faces for years now. Seattle has this mystical feel for me rolling off of those waters and who doesn't want to live where Grunge music originated. Great coffee, rather cloudy though so I'll just buy a few of those Light Boxes for the house to help with my seasonal depression :) "Yes."

Husband : "St. Paul?"
Me: I know nothing of the place but it's gotten great reviews for living and working. "Maybe, it's cold though."

Husband: "LA?"
Me: I need a place a bit more grounded and heard the schools there aren't so great. "No."

Husband: "Dallas?"
Me: That alone was enough to make me speak more than one word. "As in Texas? They were at the bottom of if not dead last for education last year and the state seems to be very proud of the Bush's. I might just have to become a bonified liberal if we were to ever move there."
Husband: "But Stef, even people in Texas don't care for Dallas. Dallas is different from the rest of the state, it's pretty liberal as far as Texas goes."
Me: "Yeah, but didn't the state want to break away from the union? NO!"

Husband: "Chicago?"
Me: Too bloody cold and I'm an outdoors person (as long as there is a shower and clean comfortable bed awaiting me at the end of the day). Being stuck indoors for six months would be the end of me. No."

Husband: "Boston?"
Me: I feel a slight smile upon my face. Rich in history, wonderful schools, the water is right there, Baron Baptiste's yoga studio, New York City rival town. "Possible. Need to visit."

Husband: "Atlanta?"
Me: Thinking, thinking, thinking. It caused me to pause. A bit of a culture shock being the South and all, but I've been hearing about some amazing things coming out of that city lately. I would have to visit first though. It feels pretty good. "Yes."

Husband: "Last but not least, DC?"
Me: "Yes."

Only time will tell, we've come so close to moving before. This has been a lesson in truly being where you are - not looking too far ahead, because the likely hood of missing a blessing or something really great can happen. I have learned so much about myself and the world living in NYC. I would not trade any of my experiences in for anything. They have helped shape who I've become. I am proud to say that I am a New Yorker, open to people, cultures and  ideas. Thankful of the beauty of Central Park, the city's architecture, the museums of every art form known to mankind, performing arts, the little "unknown spots" that I've found, Warwick NY, the amount of activities to do with my child, the great restaurants, Balthazar bread, farmer's markets, diversity from one neighborhood to the next and the wonderful people that have come into my life. New York City will always be "Thee City" in my book.