So it’s week 2 of Bindu Wiles 21.5.800 challenge and I’m having some unexpected results. I had intended to go to Bikram Yoga 4 times/week and do savasana at home once per week, and so far the opposite has been true. I planned to wake up at 7 am every day and write for an hour before beginning whatever else there was to do, and so far that’s happened twice. And I was very very sure that one way or another I would definitely write 800 words of ‘real’ writing (which to me means creative and expressive writing I wouldn’t be called on to write in an ordinary day) and so far I’ve missed 3 days (or, said another way, I’ve completed 5 days).
I’m surprised and somewhat delighted by my pull to lay in savasana. To spend 30 minutes on nothingness is an exquisite luxury – moreso, it feels, than spending 90 minutes + in yoga class. Inside of a Bikram yoga class savasana seems like just a nice break that makes moving into the next pose bearable. But an extended savasana taken on as a form of meditation is an undertaking of a whole different sort.
You may have noticed that I am not someone who sits still a lot. I have a rather busy life. In fact, dear Freckles wrote me a very loving big-sisterly note today that suggested, among other loving big-sisterly things
I wish you’d give yourself a break. I’m really just realizing now, having read your blogs lately, just how much you search out acceptance and approval. I’m sorry for whatever brought that on – it must be terribly hard, especially since I think your standards are set WAY higher than necessary and certainly higher than anyone else would expect/hope of you ... That constant striving and constant need for acknowledgement must be so hard on you and the men you are with ... You don’t need to be perfect at everything – it is impossible and will only exhaust and deplete who you are. What I mean to say is, I love you, I think you are great – especially the real you that hides inside. Seriously, quit filling your life with busy and start relaxing and enjoying it.
The girl knows whereof she speaks (and, I've never been one to defy my big sisters), so I'm looking into it. I think my body has known I need to slow down as well. Certainly Cowboy begged it of me over and over. And so itis with a clanging chorus of at least imagine approval that a roll out on the floor.
I so enjoy laying in savasana. I’m now up to 30 minutes a day of stillness. And that is remarkable for me. I will admit, however, that my mind is nowhere near still in that time. Today, for example, it kept thinking clever things to say in this blog post. I can’t remember most of them now, mind you, but they were there, and they were clever.
So my mind doesn’t stop entirely (and really, given how much of our body requires some automatic brain function, that’s probably a good thing) but it does slow down enough to allow some quieter, neglected bits to surface. Bits like clarity on friendships that are working and those that aren’t. And how the shushing of the tires on the road outside my open patio door sound so much like encouragement to return to stillness. Ideas of what to take on next in life (STOP IT!). And focusing moment by moment on my breathing, the inhale, the pause, the exhale, the return pause. I begin to notice when my breath and heartbeat race in reply to some thought. And when they slow in response to un-thought. I feel the weight of my arms, the automatic curl of my fingers, the heaviness (in a solid, reassuring way, not in a ‘Craptastic cankles, Batman!’ way) of my legs. The softness of my belly rising and falling, and the faint resilient ember inside it where stuckness has tried to quench a flame.
Today my head hurt – not like a headache, but my actual scalp. I thought perhaps I was not fully on my mat, but it turned out to be only a mislaid curl pushing on one spot for too long. And for some reason my lower-back begins to ache after about 20 minutes, and I wonder if it’s a true ache or some resistance to being still. So I lie there, and remember to un-think. And wait for the timer to indicate I’m done. Today I forgot to set the timer – it turned out I’d turned some other oven knob – and so when I despaired of it ever going off it turned out I’d been on the floor 35 minutes. So yay me, even if I was interrupted by a nagging, errant curl.
Anyone walking in and seeing me, still in my workdress (the pretty, comfy t-shirt material one that looks so great and feels like a nightgown), laying perfectly still on the floor might wonder if I’d lost my marbles. And I might just have to smile in response and say yes, but I think I’ve found them now.