Saturday, May 28, 2011
**Disclaimer: This is my first EVER blog entry--on any site. Please be gentle. I'm not quite sure how this goes.***
I'm entirely conscious of my inner critic. I mean, certainly there are probably some deep-seated issues that haven't come to the fore--if it were that easy, I can think of a whole field of people who'd be out of a job. But I've spent many years now digging deep, and while the journey is ongoing and constantly evolving, one thing I've become very aware of is the way that I talk to myself, the way I treat myself. And while I can write a volume of works dedicated to why I think I tell myself I am stupid 20 times a day when I know that I haven't gotten this far in a doctoral program by being an idiot, that is not what this particular composition is about.
This is about something I caught myself doing just the other night. I had stuffed myself full of--well, does it really matter? I was stuffed. I went to bed a couple of hours later, still stuffed. I wiggled around in my bed for a few minutes, mostly trying to get my dog to let me have enough room to get both legs in bed (she is always so put out by my insistence in sleeping in bed with her). I had finally gotten comfortable, when--and who of you has experienced this?--I tried to indulge in one of those deep, peaceful, relaxing sighs that kick-starts that journey on the road to dreamland...and I stuttered. It was painful. I'm no physiologist, but it's as if my diaphragm couldn't move because there was a big, fat belly full of food-stuffs in its way!
It dawned on me right then--all my body wanted was to indulge in its own breath. She didn't want all that food I kept shoveling into her. She wanted air. My body is drowning and I just keep pushing her head under water.
I went for a long walk today at the dog park. My dog was racing through the tall grass, down hills and up hills. I was trying to keep up. I thought to myself "Man, I'm having fun! I have my favorite album pumping into my ear drums, the sun is shining, the breeze is a relief from the mid-day sun! Huzzah!" And then I stopped for a second, just a tiny second to watch my dog wade in one of the many ponds out at the park. She wass up to her chin in the pond, carelessly wading through the water. And watching her luxuriate in the way that water felt surrounding her body, I started to think about how my body was feeling. She must have been feeling darn fine with all this exercise and all this fun we were having!
Well, before I could tell you what she was feeling, I had to unclench my jaw, pry my fingernails out of my palms, and consciously un-tense every muscle in my body. Then, and only then, could I sense her indignation. That is my constant state of being. I forget to breathe. And I don't mean figuratively. I really forget to breathe. I've always done that. Everything I do, I do holding my breath. Including eating. It's a problem. I need to relax.
I was turned on to kundalini yoga by a friend of mine. I joined a 6-week beginners series a few months ago, and I was blown away. It was hard as hell, especially for someone with a LOT of extra weight to manage, but I walked out of every single session feeling--crisp. Fresh. Cool. Present. For 90 minutes straight, my body got to breathe. It was amazing.
When I felt myself holding it in again today, something occurred to me: I contort my body as if I am perpetually bracing myself for impact. Holding my breath, tensing up my muscles, clenching my jaw, eyes closed, waiting, bracing myself...for...what?