With every up, there is a down. With every down, there is an up.
I was pretty crushed the other night. The feeling of separation from my New Zealand friends and especially Clodagh is wearing on me. The lack of sleep, the relentlessness of this process, the feeling of falling behind and falling behind. Eventually it just reaches a breaking point.
I felt like today was a bit of a breaking point for me, but not in any huge dramatic way - I just had so little energy I couldn't do anything. In class, I managed to attempt the poses, but the entire time I was just trying to find energy just to stay present. I kept falling asleep for 20 seconds in the floor series savasanas, and waking up abruptly everytime Emmy said, "Second Set" or "Sit-Up". This would be the perfect alarm clock for me - a recording of Emmy saying, "Sit Up".
There was a weird upside to all of this, though. Almost every day, I beat myself up constantly during yoga practice - I hate that I'm so weak in the poses, I hate that my hips are so tight, I'm so fixated on the place where my pose "sticks" on its way to the perfect expression. I know that the "secret" is that, no matter if I do this my whole life (or several lifetimes, if I start buying into THAT whole thing...), I'll still be hitting a sticking point in my yoga - it'll just move further and further in, but still be every bit as difficult, physically. But... just maybe, my mind will get calmer. I feel like that started to happen today, for a weird reason: I was too tired to think. My mind would start the usual, "Oh shit, Standing Head To Knee is coming soon, I fucking hate that posture, it kicks my ass" and just run out of gas as I stared blankly at somebody's water bottle. And class was calmer, less of a panic. I feel like this is my battle right now - or one of them - not the physical part, but letting the mental chatter pass me by.
Of course, reading over that, it all feels almost scripted - but, it's happening, so there you have it.
Dr. Lillian Glass, "Speech Pathologist to the Stars!" came and gave us a lecture yesterday, after our Anatomy/Physiology lecture with the very unusual Dr. T. Anyway, it was a very strange experience... it felt very distinctly like a "motivational speaker seminar" that business people pay lots of money for based on ads in the back of magazines that they give you on airplanes. She was very succinct and effective and did manage to unblock a few of the most challenged public speakers amongst us, and she had a few cool pieces of advice (my favorite was, "Be Interested, Not Interesting"), but...
My mother gave me a piece of advice when I was in high school that has stuck with me ever since then and feels like one of my most useful social tools - it goes, "Don't Take Advice From People Who Don't Have What You're Looking For". And applying that to this situation - while I enjoyed Dr. Glass's instruction on interpersonal communication - it seemed heartless and superficial on some level, and at the end of the day - I don't want to end up communicating the way Dr. Glass did to our class. She seemed uncompassionate and superficial - not entirely, she did smile very geniuinely at us, but it was bizarre to have what we're doing framed in terms of "selling" and "being a winner, not a loser". I am aware that these tools and mindsets help us achieve our larger goals of helping others and ourselves, but I didn't feel that conviction underneath it all. With Bikram, despite his grandstanding, I do genuinely sense a basic, fundamental desire to help people. And I just didn't feel the same compssion from the lovely speech pathologist. Still, I got up and made a stab at public speaking - expecting to be given a shopping list of things to fix, and instead being told, "Perfect. A+. No changes". Heh...
I was expecting this experience to be all about adding new abilities and new features to myself, and so far, it seems to have a LOT more to do with coming to accept and celebrate the abilities I already have. To stop being so critical of myself. In shorthand, I guess, to stop feeling revulsion when I see myself in the mirror. (Which, little by little, is starting to happen). I find it interesting that my entire assessment of my appearance, and subsequently self, is defined almost exclusively by the things I can pick out on myself that are undesireable. Instead of noticing that my shoulders are getting really rounded and defined, or that I'm smiling more often and easily, or that I'm not furrowed with frustration or anger really ever at all... I see my flabby stomach, or my chubby skin, or my messy hair, or whatever... Thank GOD this shit is changing, if only little by litte.
Dialogue delivery becomes more and more fun. The thought of returning to Wellington and forcing all of my friends and a few helpless strangers to kill themselves in a stupidly hot room tickles me. And - I love that if I screw up, or forget my dialog, it just means that they all have to hold the poses longer and have their muscles and minds scream at them while they shoot eye daggers at me. BWA HA HA HAHA HA!!!!!
Almost a third week down the drain. I feel weirdly torn - I'm anxious about the coming weeks and the challenges they'll contain, and I'm counting the seconds until I'm reunited with my friends, and yet.... this experience is so magical, so wonderful, so BIG - I never want it to end, in a way. I love that my life consists almost exclusively of getting my mind back in touch with my body and taking care of my health. Why did it take so long to get here?