I have an on going self-improvement goal to be more mindful, accepting, at peace, centered and less worried, frazzled, judgmental. I know this is difficult – it has been on the resolution list for several years and still feels unattainable. But, hey, my other long-standing and previously unattainable goal – paring off 3-5 pounds of middle age weight gain – has, in fact, been achieved. And although no one noticed this surprising breakthrough and I myself neither feel nor look different, it did happen and it gives me encouragement that I might one day reach the state of mental bliss I am searching for.
To be honest, the last several months have been stressful for me. Most of this is not being able to control the mental gymnastics of worrying about things that may or may not happen. But there has also been real stressors – my perfect part time job grew into an exciting (and stressful) nearly full time job and I have simultaneously needed to take on more responsibilities for my mother and her husband. So, I combined the guilt of working when I should be stepping up for the family with a pile of resentment for having to work and step up my responsibilities. Woe is me. I can happily say that some equilibrium is returning and I feel fortunate to again have time for blogging, cooking, exercising. And pursuing self-improvement goals.
Like going to yoga class. Yoga is not my favorite exercise, but I acknowledge that it is a respite from my usual classes which I love, but that my muscles and joints protest. I like the Friday morning yoga instructor who is gentle in her corrections, and always reminds us to set positive “intentions”and to let go of stuff we don’t need to carry. And she finishes the class with lavender oil head massages followed by an “invitation” to send positive energy to someone who might need it. Sometimes we all send our vibes to victims of natural disasters, but mostly these are personal. I like how I feel, physically and mentally after yoga.
I am not the only one who likes this class – mat space is at a premium and you have to arrive early to get a prime spot. I think some folks place their mats the night before, because there are always several mats that precede their people. Today I arrived a little early to secure my desired spot. Maybe it is narcissism (looking to admire my physique minus 3 pounds) or maybe it is because it helps me achieve better form, but I like to face the mirror. I am not alone in this, and was happy to be able to place my mat in prime position. Shyness not withstanding, I greeted my neighbor with a quiet good morning. No response except to turn to her neighbor to the left and comment, “now there is no space for so-and-so” I was challenged by this anti-yogic reaction, but chose to ignore and warm up with some deep breathing. Which, if you have been to a yoga class, is pretty much what you are supposed to do. I couldn’t push my negative thoughts away (why does someone own this space? Don’t I pay the same membership dues? Saving spots should not be allowed. I hope I am never so set in my ways as these people!) while internally vowing to out-pose my yoga neighbors. At some point, though, something switched in my head and I began to question these thoughts. Why was it important to me to have this spot? Doesn’t that show the same rigidity I am accusing others of? Can I accept the situation and not judge?
Turns out, I can. I can let the inner constant comment go. I can focus on warrior pose without being a warrior. I can accept my mat neighbor and myself. I can receive my lavender head massage and send my end of class om energy to a person who might it need it. That person, whom I don’t know other than that she strives to save prime mat space for her friend (who never showed up by the way), will perhaps never feel this positive vibration, but, like my minor weight lost, I will know it happened.
Lo demonstrates both mindfullness and good posture.