the value of surrender

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For almost two years, I have been a regular practictioner of Bikram Yoga.   That’s the hot, sweaty, hold your balancing and strength poses for what feels like a very long time, yoga.  The instructors call it “a 90 minute moving meditation.”  Every day of practice teaches me many valuable lessons.

One of the biggest lessons from my practice has been the value of surrender.  I am not a come by surrender naturally type of girl.    I generally feel the need to meet force with opposing force.  One of the yoga instructors emphasizes “effort with ease.”  This is not my usual M.O.  My mindset has tended to be if you meet resistance, will yourself to push harder; if you feel like quitting, suck it up; if you’re tired, tell yourself that you’re not… you get the picture.  This is the mindset that got me through running a marathon, several half marathons and a crazy 10K mudrun.  I can almost believe that this mindset served me well in those moments.  However, it becomes annoyingly difficult to operate in this mindset in a 110 degree humid room full of hot, sweaty bodies, where you’re sweating like you’ve never sweated before and pushing yourself to your mental and physical edge repeatedly, all at someone else’s prompts.  In that room, at some point, it’s all too much- all of the feedback from my mind and body- and it is in those moments that I just surrender, because there is nothing else I can do.  That is not to say that I leave the yoga room.  Instead, I stop thinking about how hot it is, how hard the poses are, how inflexible my body is, what tasks I have waiting for me after class, how this class compares to the last one that I did, etc. and I give in to the yoga.  I do not will my body to do the yoga, rather I accept that it can.  The chatter and feedback that are generally ever-present in my mind fade away.   In those moments I am fully present in my mind and body, but also fully accepting of the limitations and strengths of both.  And oddly enough, there is a certain, dare I say, bliss, in that surrender.  Because I just don’t care anymore, and with that lack of care comes an almost exhilarating freedom,  and that is perhaps why I keep going back for more.

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Something to write

Photo on 2013-09-17 at 22.05I feel like I have to write something, anything. I have no idea where I am going with this post (which is unusual for me) but I can only hide from the fact that I have a neglected blog for so long.  I can only pretend that all of the ideas that keep materializing out of seemingly nowhere in my mind do not deserve to be voiced in print for so long.  So,  begrudgingly and ironically I am sitting down to write, today, now.  I could keep making excuses about how an unplanned 4 day hiatus from school (just a small natural disaster to blame) has left me with my 3 children at home and no time to write, but hey, this is my life and much of what happens in it, for better and worse, is unplanned.  The irony comes from the fact that in the not so recent past, I finished reading the book The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.  While the gems that come from this book are too numerous to mention, one piece stuck with me, and I have been trying my hardest to deny it.  “There’s a secret that real writer’s know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard.  What’s hard is sitting down to write.  What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”   I could write the book on resistance (no pun intended).  Resistance is a good friend of mine, we go way, way back.  But what keeps playing over in my head, for months now, is that if you want to be a writer, you have to actually write.  Not a novel concept (wow I am funny today).  Yet some part of me, apparently the part of me that doesn’t think that I can/should/am good enough etc. to be a “real” writer, keeps winning out over the part of me that desperately wants to and needs to write.

For all of us that is the easier road, at least in the short run, to let the resistance win.  It has all the rational arguments, it has all the ammunition of why you will fail at what you want to do, it will not hesitate to tell you how childish and silly you are to think that you can be something or someone different than who you are today.  But if you’re lucky, that meek little voice inside you that’s telling you to be different, to start something new (or restart something from your past) will be persistent, will bounce back from the continual bullying blows of resistance, and one day will force you to be who you were meant to be. Having at least written something today, I’m starting a path towards evening the score with my own resistance.