So I wake up this morning, still trying to shake this weight of pending doom, and I just lie there. The pipes are worn and overworked from trying to heat the flat for so many months now. They creak and whine. The window frames are rattling, defenseless against the rain that has seeped so deeply into the wood, that they barely stand straight anymore. My mum’s got a shift at the hospital to get ready for and I can feel the resentment through the walls. How disparate are situations are right now. Me, desperate for work, desperate to get on….she, in need of rest and respite from the long, understaffed hours.
I keep my eyes closed and focus on my breath. Even though it’s not just me who’s out of balance right now…the whole world is out of whack…you have to start somewhere.
I read an article yesterday – a pleasant one – from Kino MacGregor about taking time out each day to check in with yourself. She was saying that even if we can’t do a full practice – then 5 minutes is fine. Anything! It’s not about how much we do, it’s about recognising and honoring the fact that we deserve a little bit of “me-time” everyday.
It resonated with me, not because she was saying anything new, but because it was an appropriately timed and gentle nudge to do just that.
The first step is to identify the things that make us happy and give us a sense of peace and serenity.
Is it an early morning run along the river; a swim at lunchtime; being creative in the kitchen; knitting a scarf for a friend; playing the guitar; catching up on the phone with a loved one…it doesn’t matter – we all have something/many things that makes us feel good about ourselves, and if done regularly, make us feel better-equipped to cope with even the shittiest things that life throws at us.
As I scoured my body – patch of skin to patch of skin – felt patches of heat and the rise of irritation and frustration, followed by trembling and anxiety, I knew that it was the Pitta and Vata imbalance in me that needed to be addressed.
The uncertainty and lack of routine is agitating my Vata; the food I’m eating and temperament of the flat is flaring up the Pitta; and the cold, wet winter is most certainly playing its Kapha-part in dampening spirits and discouraging action.
So I take a look at all of that, and I think about all the things that make me feel better about myself, that make every day – whatever happens – a good day all-in-all, and I realise how I’ve let all of that go, and I need to start bringing it back in again!
My problem is that I have developed a rather elaborate ideal daily routine. It consists of meditation, pranayama, yoga (preferably in the shala), a strict Pitta-pacifying-Vata-Kapha diet, any number of weird little eccentricities of tongue scraping, abhyanga, neti throughout the day, and to top it all off a recognition that I need to be following my heart, and doing what feels right in order for things like friendships, family and love to fall into place. It’s quite a lot to hold together and maintain, especially at this particular stage of my life. I’m trying to start up my own business and its going to be a while until I’m self-sufficient.
Its all too easy to fall back into old habits – eating crap, watching too much tv, putting off my practice until x,y,z sorts itself out – and blame my circumstances and the hand that feeds me. It’s the coward’s way out.
And every now and again…I’m a coward.
That’s ok. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. We are all cowards, as we are all brave. We are everything. It is the awareness of such that enables us to make changes and grow.
So what am I going to do about it? Bearing in mind that I can’t control the weather, I can’t change the moods or temperament of those around me, and I can’t force people to have massages or hire me for some part-time work.
Well, I meditated this morning which is a start. I rolled my mat out, and did ten minutes of surynamaskara As and Bs. I did about 3 minutes of pranayama, and have just finished my pitta-vata-pacifying rice and coconut milk porridge.
It’s hardly the 3 hour morning ritual I’d climbed to at the peak of my health and spiritual well-being….but once again – I’m not going to beat myself up over it.
I won’t compare today to yesterday, or long for what I want tomorrow to be. It just so happens that in this moment, I’m struggling ever-so-slightly. My enthusiasm for life has taken a bit of a dip, and my focus and dedication to my practice has waned.
Kino says she walks down to the sea every evening to listen to the ocean and watch the waves crashing against the sand. Of course, her environment is slightly different from mine. Eastbourne is not Miami, but we do share the sea. What’s here may be a little more grey, and pebbly, but it’s beautiful all the same, and perhaps that’s just what I need. Not just my yoga or my meditation or my pranayama – but a blast of fresh air, and the incredible sounds of the motioning waves.
- Elemental Rest: an Ayurvedic Approach to Restorative Yoga (octopusgardenyoga.com)
- An Ayurvedic Look at Living with the Cycles. (elephantjournal.com)