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Posts Tagged ‘self-care’

falling_through_the_sky_by_aeylita_9-d4qgxqb

 

I first noticed it a short time ago while on retreat – I don’t like feeling empty.  This plays out in a number of interesting ways.  For instance, on this day, I realized that I never fully swallow my food before I reach for the next morsel, or place food in my mouth.  There is always something that remains in the space; it is never completely empty.  It’s been months since I made that discovery and still, every day, I catch myself doing this same thing over and over again.  Never empty.

I also do this in my daily practice.  I find myself not fully releasing the breath.  I begin to move towards the next pose or sequence before I’ve finished my full exhale.  I’m contemplating what comes next instead of being with what is in the moment.  Never empty.

Last week I handed in my final paper for my Yoga therapy training.  I waited on tenderhooks to hear back from my teacher, fully expecting to do revisions, almost hoping for them.  Nope.  Instead, I was congratulated on accomplishing the task and that was that.  There was nothing left to do.  No more reading assignments.  No more case studies.  No more exams or presentations or written reports.  Nothing other than the pure joy of going in to the studio to attend class, but that’s not work.  All my work is done.  What does that mean?  That means S  P  A  C  E.  Emptiness.  Great blocks of time with nothing in them.  It means the freedom to do as I wish.  It means…………panic.

Panic comes after the grand question, “So, what now?”  Sneaky beggar, that one.  It takes me away from my experience, away from how I’m feeling, and it provides me with the illusion of taking up space.  Instead of floating in the pause, as I often encourage my students to do, my mind goes straight into planning mode.  According to Overactive Mind, if we do not plan and pursue and strategize, why, we’ll end up being a Masters student working at Harvey’s.  *sigh*  And my Wiser Self says, “Oh dear.  This again?”  It’s not like we haven’t been here a bazillion times before.

Reaching into the future instead of easing into the uncomfortable sensation of floating into space.  Reaching for that morsel of soul food to fill the gap. Creating a new project so I don’t feel the deep sadness that comes with this ending, the loss, the fear, the loneliness, and the sudden sense of isolation. My heart is broken.  The future is full of possibilities that I have yet to realize.  There is no ground beneath me and I am aching to fill up space.

I caught myself in the midst of this yesterday, pacing around my room, unable to settle into any one task, and I had to smile.  I was at it again – creating illusions in order to avoid my fear.  For the first time ever, I found myself softening to the experience.  I heard myself say, “It’s okay.  I’ve got this.  I’ll take care of you.  I’m not abandoning you this time.  Let’s just breathe together.”  All the things I would say to a beloved student, I finally said to myself. I committed to caring for my own fear….and anger….and bitterness….and any other emotion or sensation that I dislike and wish to banish. Pema Chodron writes in When Things Fall Apart:

To stay with that shakiness – to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge – that is the path of true awakening.  Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic – this is the spiritual path.  Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior.

I’m not certain I would ever call myself a “warrior” but I am getting the knack of catching myself, and staying with myself, when things feel tough. It’s still an awkward and uncomfortable experience but how can I not do this?  If not for me, then for my students and for my loved ones.  How could I ever sit with them through their grief and fear and discomfort if I continue to abandon my own?  We’re all in this thing together.

May we catch ourselves running away, and invite ourselves to stay.  May we catch ourselves when we cling, and invite ourselves to loosen the grip. May we cease trying to fix a situation that is not broken.  May we stay with ourselves in all situations.  May we float gently on the current of “being”. May we be free.

All the best, friends!

Tabitha

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Zen-Garden-Deluxe-Antimicrobial-Mouse-Pad-P11973912

Hello everyone!

It has been a long time since we’ve visited with one another.  Too long.  I miss this place, and I miss all of you.  I miss my little spot in the world where I can be free and creative, joyful and cranky, where I can make an offering and trust that it will land in the right lap (or heart) at just the right time.  I have, however, been boring down into the depths of Yoga Therapy training with all of its exotic Sanskrit terms, its treatment protocols, and its little hand-drawn stick figures that have become the bane of my existence.  I love it and hate it all at once.  Like an old-style can opener, it is prying open the creaky parts of my mind, and like the greatest teachers, it is pushing all of my buttons, forcing me out of my comfort zone and prodding me to evolve as a human.  Waking up this morning, the day before exam number 2, I realized I…am…tired!

And along came this little video.  I love when the most precious and necessary medicines get dropped in my lap at just the right time.  I calm right down just watching it.  My shoulders relax.  My jaw unclenches.  My breathing slows.  Heck, I even dare to smile!  🙂  

May I present to you, Mike the Hamster.  May he touch a part of you that needs calm, that needs healing.  And may we all learn to be as Zen as Mike, completely content with the most simple things in life, like a blanket and a carrot…and, of course, someone who loves us enough to provide us with said blanket and carrot.

Until we meet again, enjoy and be well!

Many blessings,

Tabitha

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