I got older this weekend. I mean, of course I did – I get older every day – but this weekend the calendar marked the occasion. This fact by itself doesn’t bother me. In fact, for a couple of months now I’ve considered myself as old as the calendar just made me – and said as much to anyone who asked. So it clearly wasn’t the looming birthday thing that had me all funked out all weekend long. For days I couldn’t quite pinpoint what exactly was wrong – but something clearly was. I was stuck on my couch, watching hour after hour of Frasier reruns, wishing the rain would never stop and that I could curl up with my grey and gloomy attitude for evermore.
I hiked on Saturday like Rumi and I do most Spring, Summer, and Fall weekends and while I felt better – much better – I was still off. Not quite right. Incomplete somehow. Empty.
When I woke Sunday morning it was worse than ever. Somehow despite the sunshine, despite the freedom of a whole ‘nother day off, despite the promise of my favorite brunch with my favorite person – something was wrong. I couldn’t place it.
I had a wonderful day, a lovely evening, and still went to bed ‘off’. I woke up this morning in the same frustrating place. I wanted to stay in bed have my next three meals delivered – along with several desserts – skip brushing my hair and my teeth, and wallow the day away. Instead, thanks to a couple of incredible women who were depending on me to lead a yoga session at 9am, I dragged myself out of bed, commenced with the brushing of the things, and dressed for the day.
By the first Downward Facing Dog I felt better. By the second Triangle, I felt really good, and by Shavasana, I got it; I had been all funked out because I stopped DOING my BEING things.
Over the years, in my quest toward a more deeply connected and loving self, I have adopted a couple of tools that have worked wonders for me in getting to a higher state of being. They change, of course, as I learn and grow, but the fundamentals are the same. I find a way to give myself at least an hour a day, usually an hour and a half. Currently, I spend at least a half hour in my yoga practice, and then I split the second half hour into at least 15 minutes of gratitude and visualization, and 15 minutes of quiet, present, meditation.
But, you know, because of birthday…. Sturgis Rally… Summer… I had taken the week off. Consciously. I had DECIDED not to practice yoga or enjoy my quiet time for four days. I thought it would be nice. Kind of like a stay-cation.
And it totally jacked me. I felt empty, disconnected, listless, apathetic, even brinking on depressed.
All of that fell away in the first 20 minutes of my nearly hour long yoga session. And when I took some time to meditate afterward, I opened my eyes and I felt full – brimming with hope and peace and comfort.
I’ve learned this lesson before, but was reminded this week – perhaps more profoundly than ever before – that I WANT to commit to doing in order to be a deeper being. It sounds a little crazy but it works for me.
It’s a little like eating really healthy for years and then suddenly indulging a craving for a twinkie. You remember how good it used to taste and you’re disappointed in the first bite because it isn’t that good anymore. In fact it’s kind of gross. Suddenly you miss your salad, or at least your sweet potato chips. By the time you’ve finished the artificially-un-delicious thing, you wish you hadn’t, and two days later when you’re still feeling sluggish and just a little bit sick to your stomach you wonder why you ever thought it would be fun to jump off the healthy-and-feeling-great wagon in the first place. “If I was feeling so healthy and great,” you say to yourself, “why did I think doing the opposite of that would feel good?!”
Many a more scholarly soul than I has written about the value of BEING over DOING, but for this particular being, sometimes there’s value in the doing. I can BE more peaceful if I DO the dishes first. I can BE more focused if I clean my desk. I can BE more creative if my my house isn’t a mess.
I can BE more quite, more still, more centered, more joyful, and perhaps most importantly, more attuned to myself and my place in the Universe, if I take the time to DO my work; my practices.
So the great big reminder as I embark on another revolution around the sun is that “doing” in an effort to DISTRACT myself = bad. “Doing” in an effort to BE more myself = good.
What, if anything, do you DO in order to BE more?
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