Thursday, April 15, 2010

Get Off That Wheel, Little Hamster!


(Lilly and Toby and some passion vine...signs of the summer to come.)

"I really am feeling like that hamster on a wheel...my little legs just going, going, going, but I'm still in one spot."

I found myself saying this to Marcy the other night, and it was disturbing. We've always tried very hard to stay mindful of the day to day rhythms of our life together. We've made choices that create more serenity and open space.

Suddenly, as I embark on fully living my passion and purpose, I find myself being...typical.

What?!

Here's what I mean by "typical:"

Always working. I'm rarely ever just being.

Constantly judging my projects as successful or not.

Looking for ways to bring in more success.

Feeling an anxious need for more, better, bigger, and faster.

Going through the motions in order to mark things off my "to do" list. (Even with the "spiritual" components of life.)

Or just skipping the spiritual components all together because they take time, focus, and silence.

You get the idea.

After saying the above to Marcy, I added, "The way I'm acting, I may as well have a job in a cubicle."

Luckily something woke me from this stupor -- the nightmares I wrote about recently.

It hasn't been so much the actual nightmares but some things I've done to deal with them. I mentioned that I would be doing a 40 day kundalini kriya -- a morning chant to Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.

Marcy thought I should try something a bit different. I got out a prayer card I have for Joan of Arc and placed it by my bed. At night, I use the card right before going to sleep.

The Kriya lasted one day, but I've been working with the card every night. My nightmares are gone, and I've been sleeping exceptionally well.

I've also been more mindful of pre-bed ritual. And I realized, as much as I teach other people to use Kundalini yoga breaths, I myself have completely stopped using them unless I am on the mat.

Physician heal thyself... Walk the talk... Practice what you preach...

Time to step off that wheel and treat my life with the respect it deserves. Time to re-institute the ritual that gives my life meaning. Time to slow down and breathe.

Here are some things I've not been doing that are important to my soul and my creativity and my emotional health:

Pre-bed kundalini yoga. A small, short but powerful set of movement and breath that works to "turn down" the nervous system.

Deep breathing in my pre-bed hot salt bath. I don't remember the last time I did this on a regular basis, and last night, it felt wonderful.

Reading for stretches. Not reading for stretches is a big indication that my focus is way off.

Re-committing to my movement journal.

Sitting in the yard and watching birds and not doing anything but that.

Sitting on the floor and playing with the cats.

Playing with dance rather than just working on my body.

There are a lot of other things but that's enough for now. In general, I need to slow down and breathe in deeply this joy that I have found. This is not a race.


8 comments:

Rachel @ Suburban Yogini said...

One of the reasons I took a break from teaching last year was because it became too much like a job, you know? It's easy to do. And it's great that you are noticing it so early on! Good for you. Much love xx

Lisa said...

Ah, yes.

This a perfectly timed post, dear Christine.

Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. Valuable lessons for all of us, indeed.

SUNRISE SISTER said...

"Life is not a race." Great thought for the day. I'm "goin' with it!"

Lhia said...

I really needed to hear this
thank you so much
<3

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

Life is indeed not a race. And, it's not about reaching a destination, but about making the journey.

ellen said...

"Reading for stretches. Not reading for stretches is a big indication that my focus is way off."

I like that point, and I'm the same way. Need to be reading!

Also the point about rushing through things that should be spiritual, just to check them off the list. That's kind of ironic. I'm guilty of that. Now that I've finally got a small yoga routine going, morning and evening, it's tempting to rush through it to get to the next damn thing.

Great things to be aware of.

Melita said...

this post really resonated with me. it's as if i needed to read this today (don't you love how that works?!). i'm going to work on my own little list of what i need to be doing that i've ignored for a while. thanks for the reminder. hugs!!

Jaliya said...

What a great, synchronistic post this is, Christine ... Thank you so much ...

I can't help but wonder about what it's *really* like for Little Hamster to run, run, run in that wheel ... even as s/he is stuck in a cubicle ... !

I love how you write of finding yourself "being...typical." Typical is not ordinary, is it ... I see "ordinary" as the soothing quotidian; whatever and whomever the everyday brings to ease us ... "Typical" feels more habitual ... rote ... in a rut ...

... Could you provide some online linkage or a post about the pre-bedtime yoga you practice to quiet the nervous system? That would be a gift :-)

A few days ago, my beloved and I met with a therapist who co-conducts a course for resolving (my word) and working mindfully with the effects of trauma (geared towards couples and families; we will be participating) ... Both of them zeroed in quickly on my inability (thus far) to slow myself down inside and *stay* slowed down in a moderate way ... Each of them described how they perceived / understood this, and I sat there staring at them like I *didn't have a clue* ... !!

Perhaps the hamster on the wheel is a semi-fried nervous system ... I don't know about hamsters, but would they run themselves ragged like that in their natural habitat? I never could understand why anyone would want a poor little creature who lived alone in a cage, scrabbling incessantly around that wheel ... I always found it exhausting (and heartbreaking) to watch. As a kid I instinctively shied away from hamsters ... as an adult, if I see one now on its wheel, I wonder if the wee thing's going (gone?) mad (and I admit ignorance of hamster nature) ...

It's all in the slowing down one breath, one intention, at a time ... paradoxically, *so* much easier said than done for us moderns as we rush around our own ruts (so to speak) ...

(Sorry for blathering; you really got me thinking ... thank you & bless you!)