Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Self Study: Seeing Things as They Are
Living with Multiple Sclerosis, I find it difficult to manage doing too much with doing too little. Just because my health isn't ideal it doesn't mean I don't want to give to society, have a rockin career, take care of my loved ones and entertain friends and family. What it does mean is that I need to be vigilant of how I choose to expend the limited amounts of life force energy that living with MS leaves me with. Yoga practices help immensely in creating energy, soothing my energy and even when there's no energy to speak of soothing my heart and helping me lovingly accept that as well.
One of my favorite Yogic teachings comes from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Sutras 1 through 3 begin to unpack this gem of knowledge. In a nutshell- Yoga is the process of seeing things as they really are. Imagine you have 3 crystals. One crystal is clear and you can see things as they really are. One is rosy in color and when you look through this crystal you see things more rosy than they really are. The last crystal is cloudy in color and through this crystal you see things more murky, negatively and unclear. The goal is to see things as they are- to see things through that clear crystal.
Last week I was looking through a rosy lense. I wasn't seeing things as they are. My intentions were good. I thought I would be able to help many more people by teaching them Yoga practices to bring themselves to a place of greater balance and ease. One afternoon I crashed and hard. After struggling to make this thing work that I saw as sooo rosy, I realized I was not only neglecting my needs, I was allowing my well to go dry. I wasn't making time for my Yoga practice to refuel my energy. I wasn't even allowing time to go to the grocer for healthy energy giving fuel. After feeling entirely drained and depleted, I lied down to meditate to get some of my energy back. After 20 minutes, I was still feeling empty so I stayed and meditated another 20 minutes. I began to feel better and I was better able to step back to witness things as they really are.
I want to be the best version of myself. I want to be the best teacher I can be. I want to be the best girlfriend, daughter, friend, sister and more as well. I cannot do this unless I refuel and refill my well. Basic math here- if you take out more than you put in then you're left with... that's right, nada baby!
I continue to practice finding the balance of living well with MS and of living the life I want to live. I realized I need to stop and take little breaks every day to ask myself if I'm seeing things as they are or as I'd prefer them to be (through the rosy lense). Balance needs tending and once left untended Whoa! what a ride I took myself on.
Today, ask yourself, is your well stocked or depleted? How would you describe the balance or lack of balance in your life. Living with Chronic Conditions compounds this, in me, for sure. I found it hard enough with a healthy body to maintain balance, living with MS provides even more challenge for me.
Find some time today or tomorrow to sit alone for a half hour. Make this a priority as YOU should be your priority anyway! Ask yourself how you're doing with balance. Are you seeing things as they are or are you seeing through lenses (cloudy and rosy are but two but they can be many). In the past, I've even caught myself seeing through lenses of what I thought others needed, felt or wanted. Write down all the things you do to restock your well of energy/ life force/ prana then list the things (or people) that drain that same energy from you. You may be surprised... I was.
Remember, as I remind myself & my students often, this is a Practice, not perfection. Perfection is boring anyway. Listen to your heart. Allow yourself room to be, to grow and to make mistakes too. Then, let your awareness rest on your natural spontaneous breath and over the next several minutes or more allow yourself to smooth and even that breath. Just like at the beginning of your asana (posture) practice- Just as in Life!
Rock Your Practice!