Thursday, May 27, 2010

ugh... or, aversion and attachment

So I am feeling a little ill reading over my last post here. How self-absorbed must I have been? (Mel, you were too kind in your comment, as usual~) My, how things can change. Last week my husband suffered a separated shoulder in a horrible scooter accident that could have been so much worse. I am finding that the 'flow' of things has been disrupted in my life... or rather, that what is flowing is not at all what I want. Money issues, termites in our house, difficulty saying 'no' graciously, eating unhealthfully, feeling de-centered despite my attention to the contrary... it's all clogging up my days with gunk and leaving me feeling a bit (okay, a lot) depressed.

I did have a great meditation and yoga event last Friday with some gracious and sweet participants. We raised almost $600 for my friend whose husband (at 34 years old) suffered a debilitating and paralyzing stroke. It's hard to reasonably be depressed when you know someone close to you is suffering like that.

But I think I am letting too many things influence me these days: the clutter in my attic, the news (Gulf Oil Spill), the internet (seen today on Facebook: "I feel bad for people who are too stupid to be Vegan." WTF?), and the tv show LOST which thankfully is over after six looooong years.

All of this stuff has led me to think I need to pare down, not just my belongings but the means by which I receive information. Right now I am feeling so bogged down by all of it that I can't tell which end is up. I think a thorough purge of my friends list is needed (sadly, I'm going to have to let people go that I am sure are very sweet "IRL" but who post negative stuff-- FB is there for my enjoyment, entertainment, and convenience, not for unfettered access to lurid details of what you're drinking, eating, smoking, and who you disagree with-- or worse). I think I am also going to have to "un-join" some things I thought were a good idea at the time.

My resolution this year was Let Go. It seems like as long as I was focusing on that all felt pretty effortless and fluid. Since I got away from it things have felt forced, sluggish and clogged. I don't think this is an accident or a coincidence. I am reclaiming my power here and now. Realizing that "power" is not the right word, but neither is "control." Suggestions for a better word?


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yoga Sutra 2.3: Avidyasmita-raga-dvesabhinivesah klesah

"The causes of suffering are not seeing things as they are, the sense of "I," attachment, aversion, and clinging to life."

Today a student told me I was "awesome." I am not sure whether this is a good thing. Of course the ego in me (the sense of "I") loves it, is all over it, smiles broadly and pats itself on the back. But on the other side of all that celebration, it makes me wonder if too often I identify with the approval of others as the end-all be-all. Who doesn't love a compliment? Am I attached to this sort of affirmation? Am I averse to negative feedback? A critical word will set me back days sometimes and cause me to completely change course.

Rolf tells us that as teachers we need to "get over ourselves for the benefit of our students." (He's very fond of witticisms like this, and so often they are right on target. He also says that marriage is "getting over yourself for the benefit of the other person.")

I love a compliment, but the resulting lilting boost I get afterward evaporates when I realize that I don't know what that means. It's not like you can stop the person and say, "what exactly is awesome about me?" I'm not an expert at the 'performance' of asana. I trip over my words all the time, and laugh about it sometimes nervously. I have many, many shortcomings as a teacher in the area of adjustments, class construction, connection with students on a personal level, and just general self-confidence. I just move forward with faith that the love I have for teaching will shine and all the rest will take care of itself. All this self-doubt and the icky 'suffering' that comes up as a result... well, I'll just have to keep letting go of it and accepting that at least to one person, as a teacher, I am "awesome." Whatever that means. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

My mother is not with me in body any longer. It's been 11 years, but she was gone from me long before that. I have spent the better part of my adult life figuring out what this all meant to me and how I would let it affect my life and my life's work. I wrote the following on April 12, 2009, on the ten year anniversary of her death. The only things that have changed are in terms of how I view this situation... and the degree to which I hold onto the feelings of blame and guilt. I know I had no control over her situation, that she lacked personal knowledge (as we all do on some level, to some degree) of her worth as a person of spiritual significance, as part of a greater consciousness. I forget too from time to time, but her life lesson reminds me not to get so mired in the day to day that I don't remember my value.


My mom passed away on April 12, 1999 from complications due to alcoholism and the resulting cirrhosis of the liver. My mom was all about fun. She lived to feed her need for fun. She was a great mom when I was young-- when I was in elementary school, she led our Brownie and Girl Scout Troops and always planned fun camping trips with lots of creative things for us to do. In middle school, even though her disease was starting to show itself, she was PTA President and very involved in fundraising efforts for my school. In high school my mom's illness started to become a burden to all of us, but she did her best to hide it and to keep pushing on. She tried to stay as involved as possible in my life but increasingly began to check out and into her own darkness. By the time my junior year of high school ended, my parents had split and my mom had tried to create a new life for herself with a new man.

The time period after that and leading up to her death was a difficult one filled with so many of the cliches associated with substance abuse... I probably don't need to list them. I tried to keep a relationship with my mom, but it became more and more difficult as she not only removed herself emotionally from my life, but geographically as well. Painful things were said on both sides during that time that still ring in my ears and I cringe at their memory.

In 1998, she did get to meet Ben, a fact for which I am so grateful. Years later he became my husband, but of course my mom did not live to be part of the planning or the ceremony itself. She was not here to see us buy our first home. She won't be here if we ever decide to become parents. It's hard to accept all of this, even having had ten years to get used to the idea.

If I could go back 20 years, I'd be 15 years old. I would try to tell my mom in a way that would convince her how much I need her in my life. Her absence is felt so strongly as I watch my friends and relatives become moms themselves, and as I begin to reach my own milestones. I'd say, please take care of yourself. Please find healthy ways to deal with your stress. Say whatever it is that you need to say to help you get over the regret and pain that makes you poison yourself every day. Eat well, exercise, be open and happy, cultivate healthy relationships. Don't settle. Be creative. Forgive people. I forgive you, and I want you to be there when I grow up.

I am trying to be the kind of person my mom decided she couldn't be. I don't know how else to put her life's lesson into action. But I'm trying.