I had a serious blast from the past the other day as I recounted a period of my life when a lot was going on. As I retold the events to my friend, I realized how my life back then resembled a soap opera (haven't watched one of those since the 80s but I do remember the over-the-top so as to be laughable drama). So much so that it was only in recounting that time period did I realize how truly crazy things were, how crazy I was. I couldn't see it then -- the running from one thing to another without consciousness, the jumping into something before even getting out of what came before, the high of the drama of it all rather than slowing down and getting in touch with how I was actually feeling about my actions, my life, my relationships, myself (if I had slowed down, I would have realized that I wasn't feeling very good about any of it).
It reminded me of what I used to say my friend during that time period: "I just need a minute." Ironic how that was my mantra back then even though I never actually did take a minute. Oh, no, it was non-stop drama for me, one unconscious action after the next after the next. By the end of that time in my life, I was left with my head spinning, wondering, "Whoa, what just happened?!?!" I can tell you what didn't happen: I didn't give myself space to simply be and feel what was going on. I guess you could say that back then space felt boring, like admitting some sort of defeat. And, more importantly, space felt empty, which can be scary.
Have you ever had that experience -- the one where you automatically parrot back the phrase "I love you" when it's said to you even though you're not quite sure you really love the person you're saying it to (I KNOW this has gotten some of you in trouble at one point in your life, yeah?)? Or perhaps you've jumped from one relationship to the next without any time to decompress/evaluate/take responsibility and improve in between? Or you've loaded up your schedule with all sorts of busy action items because you want to avoid feeling something? Or you've packed your social calendar so that you never have to spend a quiet moment alone? Yeah, we've all been there. It reminds me of what so many of us do when confronted with a crying person -- rather than let the person feel those intense emotions, we rush to make it all better and often blurt, "Don't cry. It's okay." I'd rather be the person crying than that person I was in continuous motion/denial helping me keep my feelings at bay.
Recently, my friend and I were chatting about something we learned about a mutual friend -- this person got divorced from a partner of 13 years only to get re-married approximately 3 months later. My initial reaction to that news was similar to the message I was trying to give to myself during that hectic time of my life: "Whoa, take a minute!" My friend called the quickie re-marriage "a cry for help." Perhaps (or perhaps a boon for divorce lawyers??). While, I would never recommend that any recently divorced person to get married within the first few months, I think it's a fairly common occurrence. Suffice to say, I'm reeeeaaaaally grateful that I didn't go so unconscious as to get married during that time of my life.
Which brings me to what my friend and I love to say these days: "When nothing is happening, everything is happening." Oh, so true. These days I get my excitement from taking that minute and giving myself the space devoid of the drama and the continuous action. Let me tell you that I'm so far from bored it's laughable. You see, the space is where the good stuff is...and by good, I mean intense.
My yoga practice is the same way -- a mix of flow and holds. I like flow and sometimes my natural tendency is flow right on through my practice, leaving very little space for me to feel anything. Since I'm a fan of balancing things out, I add static postures into my practice because they go against my natural inclination (file this under: sometimes what you want isn't always what you need). That way I have flow but I also have the space to really get into my body and feel what's happening with me on any given day.
It would be an understatement to say that I never want to relive that chaotic time in my life again. I'm going to actually take that minute, hang out, breathe it all in, and act from a conscious place.
Anybody with me on allowing for space? Here's a little reading that's meant to be done s-l-o-w-l-y. Take that space that notice what feelings the word evokes. Then do the same on your mat. And then in your life.