Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seasons and Patterns

For the first time ever, I left yoga in the middle of class today. 
I forced myself to go because I know its good for me, and I almost always like it when I am there, and I always love it when I am done. 
It isn’t my favorite yoga class, but the time works well and I glean different things from this class and generally use it to my advantage.  So, I had actually forgotten that it wasn’t one of my favorites.  I laid the mat down, already annoyed at something minor.  (O.K. I wasn’t going to say it because of how petty it is, but in the spirit of honesty, I will. The view from the room is peacefully gorgeous.  It looks out on a marsh with birds flying around, and forest in the distance. Someone had left a TV used for a presentation parked on the left side of this view. It annoyed me so I went to the back of the room. Thats it. Really.)  Then I went to the bathroom, got some water, and tried to settle on my mat.  I could not get comfortable. My mind was still racing from a troubling conversation from last night. 
Without writing all the boring details, I tried my best.  I was desperately  wishing I had taken my ritalin this morning.  I was not able to even sit to start, do any of the moves, the breaths, the letting go.  I started watching the clock.  It had only been 15 minutes; there was no way to get through this.  What was the point? I can not do any of it.  Finally, at 8:35, over half way through, I rolled up my mat and left.  Immediately, I thought it was a mistake because my right side felt stretched and good and my left side felt tight.  Oh well, imbalance is my specialty.  
My mother sent me an email last night asking how we are doing.  She said, “I figured it is half way through June and ya’ll are settled into your summer routine.”    I almost cried.    I am so far from settled into any summer routine. Or I could just end the sentence at settled.  I am so far from settled.  
Reading your post this morning reminded me to take a deep breath. Reminded me to be in the present.  This IS a transitional week.  They were still in school last week.  This is the first full week of summer, even though you wouldn’t know it by the weather.  I say this flippantly, but the unusual coolness messes with the senses when you are shivering and covering with towels by the pool and at the lake. Perhaps we rush from thing to thing, season to season, without honoring the transition.  Can we compare the last week of school to surgery? Jumping from one row of squares on the calendar to the next row of squares cuts into our daily routine like few other times in the year. Can we really move seamlessly from one to the next? Although I am new at it, one thing that is said repeatedly in my yoga classes is, “ Honor your body. Honor where it is today.”  Perhaps we can honor the transition time. Especially if we are more prone to feeling goodbyes, rather than hellos.  
At the beginning of the yoga class that I went to this morning, the teacher was telling us of a training she went to yesterday on therapeutic yoga.  She likes to give these little updates; perhaps it’s her way of sequeing from the every day into the practice.  I sometimes find it annoying but often come back to it later.  Go figure.  
She said she needed to process the training before she integrated it into her teaching, but would give us a little glimmer.  Much, if not all, of what we do is determined by patterns that we create consciously or unconsciously.  For example, wrap your fingers into steeple pose.  Now do it the other way.  It just doesn’t feel right.  It is not better or worse, but an exercise in feeling from a different perspective.  
Thinking about patterns in my life, I do not need to classify them as good or bad.  Some patterns work at times in our lives, but not others. I can not follow the same schedule in the summer as I do during the school year while I have school age children.  After having a baby, I can not return to the person I was before I was pregnant.  There are different circumstances.  The question that your writing provoked in me is this:  Are we always the same person emotionally, or can that, too, change? 

Will you always “inhabit a dense, mostly dark place, speckled with blindingly bright stars?”  Or if inhabiting that place becomes too much,  could learning that, acknowledging that, and living that for years be enough? Could this be a familiar pattern? One that is easy to slip into, like a favorite glove? 
It has taken a surprisingly long time to write this post. Most of the day, actually.  Rarely do I take this time, but I had the time blocked for writing and this is what became of it today.  It was triggered by Lindsey’s post today.  It started as a comment on her blog and then morphed several times into an essay, then a letter, in several different voices.  I “killed several darlings” to get this out.  At first I was writing to her, then to some vague audience, then myself. 
Ultimately, it landed here.  Seasons and patterns. One we can’t change.  One we can.  


  1. How much we can change these essential parts of ourselves, consciously or simply as our lives move forward, remains a question I don't know how to answer. What a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece of writing this is. Thank you!

  2. Oh I hear you on the summer transition. It's hard. I will say that once I gave myself permission to take time with it, it got easier almost immediately.

    Anyway, I loved this. You bring up so many questions that I often think but don't articulate. I too wonder whether we can change emotionally. I have no idea. I do think we can change patterns but maybe not our basic personality? I am right there with you trying to figure it all out! I am far from settled too!