September 26, 2008
It’s an instruction we give everyone who comes to the studio, right? Leave your shoes outside the room. Respect the space. It’s a common sign of respect all over the world. Shoes are filthy things that we wear to protect our feet. Taking them off is a sign of respect
But for me, as Bikram taught last night, this simple request is also a great metaphor for how I should approach this Training, and my practice. Leave your shoes at the door. Leave everything you know, everything you believe, everything you thought you had learned at the door. Take off those filthy shoes, that old knowledge, that stale faith, and just leave it at the door. Come into the hot room with a clean slate, a fresh mind, and a willing heart. The hot room is a metaphor for the entire training, and the postures are a metaphor for the process we go through here as we purify, purge, and process all the junk we’ve been carrying around all of our lives.
I woke up this morning, NO – I went to bed last night, completely discouraged, exhausted, ready to get the hell outta here. Late nights, early mornings, endless lectures, movies, YOGA, heat, sweat, eating, showering, laundry…. It adds up fast. Add to that the anxiety and homesickness, and well, you get the picture.
But what Bikram was saying, I believe, laaaate last night in lecture was that this whole thing is about me letting go and just doing it. Shut up Karen. Remember? In the last blog? Remember the conversation I had in Ulysses’ class? Yeah. Shut up brain. Breathe, take off your filthy shoes and get on the mat.
Expectations are my enemy right now. Because no matter how hard I try to prepare, whatever expectations I have set up for myself end up making me miserable. The only way I can be free is to open my mind and let go. So this morning, I woke up, had myself a good cry on my terrace watching the sun rise and just let go. It doesn’t matter. But once I let it go, I could move on. I got up, washed my laundry out, changed, and walked down into the dungeon hot room. It doesn’t matter. All we have to do is leave our shoes at the door.
Edit: After some careful introspection, and some input from my readers, I have decided to no longer refer to the yoga room as the dungeon. I think you know why 😉
July 27, 2008
I’m sitting here at 11:30 pm totally unable to sleep. I didn’t intend to get up and write. But here I am. And maybe the blogging will help my mind to slow down and rest.
Today was great. I took regular class at 9:30 then took Advanced at noon. I feel great. My body is really showing up for me and I can’t believe I’ve come this far already. 68 Classes! Wow.
But as I get closer and closer to Training, I am finding it very hard to settle my mind. Especially during class. I am constantly thinking. Constantly thinking about Dialog, constantly thinking about Training, constantly thinking about being away, traveling, what I need to pack, managing my life away from my family for nine weeks. It’s maddening. Some days are harder than others. Some days it consumes my thoughts and my energy. A week or so ago I had a very hard night, where I felt the weight of all of it hit me at once. I’m a strong person, I’m determined, I’m stubborn, I know I can do this. But, man, it can eat my lunch from time to time.
Even tonight, I was laying in bed, with a particularly tricky chunk of Dialog running through my mind. I knew I wasn’t getting it, I knew something was missing. So my brain ran over and over it. Then I started thinking of how I have less than seven weeks to go, and well, it didn’t help the relaxing part. So maybe I should just vent it all out and be real and transparent and vulnerable here for all of you. Maybe that will somehow purge this vicious anxiety for me.
Going away is huge for me. I’ve never spent more than three days apart from my children, ever. I’ve never been apart from Dave since we’ve been married for more than five or six days. Nine weeks is a little bit longer than that. And I guess really, it’s not about the time. It’s not even really the distance. The thing that sets my mind reeling is the unknown. I know I am ready for this, I know I can do it. I know that. I know I can do the yoga, learn the Dialog, I know I can face my demons, but what else is there? The unknowns of Training are the scary part for me. I like to plan, to make lists, to keep things orderly. I like to know when, where, why, who, and how. Yes, I’m a control freak. I readily admit it. It’s part of what I believe makes me who I am. But it also challenges me. Because flying away to Acapulco for nine weeks with a slew of unknowns ahead doesn’t exactly lend itself to a controlling personality.
I can’t control what will happen while I am gone. I can’t control how people will respond to my absence. I can’t control the grief I will have over missing my family. I can’t control how my life will be managed by others for that time. I can’t control the if’s and when’s of being in class twice a day for nine weeks. I can’t control the uncontrollable.
What I can do is believe. I can believe in my support system. I can believe in the path I am on and the direction I am going. I can believe in my own abilities, the strength I have, and my own determination. I can trust that the preparations I responsibly make for my family will work themselves out over time. I can trust Dave. I can believe that things happen, in season, at the right time, when we are seeking them. I can believe in the yoga. I can believe in the process. I can trust myself, and never give up. I can do all of those things.
Tonight, I got up and came downstairs frustrated with my body. I wanted to control it, make it sleep so I can make it get up and make it go back to my mat. I wanted that control. But Michael reminded me, “Your body doesn’t want to sleep, so listen to it.” He’s right, and I have. But the root of the issue is that more than just listening, I need to let go; let things be unsettled and messy from time to time. Let it go, Ren. Get on the plane, go to Mexico, do the Training. Let things be as they will be.