The master sticks to her tools.

                  – Lao Tzu (and probably more than a few fortune cookies)

For the past couple of months, I’ve been going to a weekly yoga/meditation class. It’s on Sunday mornings, so I’ve missed a couple when we were out of town, but I like the instructor and the class,  so I keep coming back. It’s hard, though. I consider myself in pretty good shape, but I’m about as  limber as an arthritic elephant. Instead of the usual gentle beginner’s yoga I’m used to, she has us do poses that stretch ligaments and fascia. The idea is to make it more comfortable to sit  for long periods of time and meditate.

About the meditation. One morning I sat for 15 minutes in my quiet darkened living room and kept bringing my focus back to the breath each time another thought scampered across my monkey brain. It wasn’t a bad experience – no worse than any in meditation class – but I haven’t done it since. Morning time, for now anyway, is for navel-gazing journaling and working out at home when I know I won’t be able to get out for a run or to the gym. I don’t want to fiddle with a routine that works, though I plan to  join a runner’s group that meets one morning a week for speedwork.

In my last post I said I wanted new writing and running goals, and both floated into my inbox within several days. The running goal came via an e-newsletter from our local running store.  The writing goal came in a post from Rising Woman, who’s off to writing camp next month. I may join her and you can too because the best part about this camp is it’s held in the comfort of your own life, which will require discipline but at least there won’t be poison ivy. It’s an offshoot of NaNoWriMo, which I’ve always wanted to try but the 50,000 word count loomed too large in my mind. Camp NaNoWriMo is still outside my comfort zone, but I can set my own goals. Now on to the simple task of picking what the hell I’ll write about.

The universe always seems to give me what I need. I’ve had another rough week that really bears no explanation because this is just Normal Life Stuff. And I’ve found help dealing with it in the handiest of places, like the internetz and from the people I love and even this book my yoga instructor recommended called Meditations from the Mat. It’s a daily collection of easily digestible teachings based on the eight limbs of yoga. I liked this book even before I learned the author is in recovery himself. (I love when I’m reading a book or blog and learn that. I feel like I’m meeting another member to some secret club.)

From Day 11 in Meditations from the Mat

We get the job, we don’t get the job; we get married, we don’t get married; our family is well, our family is troubled…our demons are melting away, our demons are at the door; we wake up with a love for life, we wake up with free-floating anxiety…Through it all, though, we come back to the mat…we do the next right thing.

The mat is literally a yoga mat in this case, but doing the next right thing became my higher power early in sobriety, so I like its real-world application. I do usually try to do the next right thing, but sometimes I don’t realize I’ve missed the mark until it’s too late. I can feel sorry for myself or deny any involvement, but the quickest way out of a low seems to be in accepting that life simply sucks sometimes and then looking at what I can do differently next time.

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  1. Good luck with the writing camp. Nice there will be no poison ivy but just in case you get nervous about the rival camp competition –

    Made six months sober today. Top of the world Ma. Something “becausei’mnotdrinking” interesting pops up most days. Not earth shattering, not always good, just small little life gems, somtimes surprising, occasionally purposeful. I am head scratching amazed and very grateful.

    Thank you and thanks everyone.

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      1. Ha, love that movie! Camp never looked more fun.

        So so happy to hear you got 6 months!! That’s huge, so I hope you relish it and celebrate. Love that you’re taking it all in with acceptance and gratitude. Really glad to know you.

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  2. “but the quickest way out of a low seems to be in accepting that life simply sucks sometimes and then looking at what I can do differently next time”.
    Yes – wise words indeed!

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  3. I love your searching around and seeking and finding and trying out and thinking through and all of it. I just love you! You’re so real and gritty and honest and brave and scared and up and down and present and aware and just a million wonderful lovely things rolled into one. Just wanted to say that. xxxx

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    1. Thank you so much for this, Mrs D, and for the sweet comment on my last post. Yours was one of the first sober blogs I found and your kindness and strength and honesty influenced me greatly. I am very grateful to know you. xo

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  4. I’m with you on the yoga thing – I am as flexible as a telephone pole in winter. Just sitting for more than 5 minutes in the same position hurts for me..lol. But it’s great that you’re stretching out (no pun intended) and doing these things. I have to remind myself that I too need to get out there and do these things for myself. Meditation for me didn’t come easily to me. It’s taken me a long time to get even to 15 min…my squirrely mind likes to get nervous after a few minutes and try to think of all the things I *could* be doing. Back off monkey mind! That is why mornings work best for me, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes I do it at night, but I am too tired and I start dozing. I have to find balance in it, and it will take experimenting and time. So give it some time. The journaling is great – and running can be it’s own meditation at times – just unplug the ipod and get a mantra going…I know some runners / athletes do that.

    They use the word “practice” when in yoga – that’s because we are constantly at it, learning, growing, stretching. Same with life. I think that we not only live it, but practice it…and practice spiritual principles and other things that make our lives and the lives of others better. Practice in this case never makes perfect, but it brings us to a better place. I hope things turn out better for you!

    Wonderful post.

    Paul

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    1. A lot of helpful stuff in here, Paul. I’ve been hearing you just have to stick with meditation, and I would love to do it daily if just for the quiet time. It seems one of the best tools out there, not sure why it feels so intimidating at first. Change is hard, I guess, but worthwhile.

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  5. Isn’t the universe amazing like that? You get writing camp, runners’ groups and yoga meditations. I get the Donkey Whisperer. It’s something like The Secret and the Law of Attraction or The Alchemist or something. I love it!

    And I love that you are flexing and strengthening your body, your writing and your running! That makes me sooo happy for you!

    Oh and I gotta say I read that intro as “a master sticks to her tools… And probably a few fortune cookies.” I certainly stick to my cookies too. 🙂

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      1. Yeah! Request to be in my cabin, OK?? My friend Kristin is already in my cabin, and she is awesome. We’ll be the best cheerleaders you could ever imagine.

        Speaking of which: what are you planning to write? Have you got a book already started? Or is this to be the ‘jump start’ that you need to get a book going?

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      2. I will do that (if I can figure out how). And I don’t know yet what I’ll be writing – is that a problem? 😉 I like the idea of jumpstarting it this way, and I do have a couple ideas.

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  6. An inspiring post! i’m curious about meditation / yoga and am thinking about looking into Tai Chi. i’m not a big fan of exercise so it seems like this would be a good way to get meditation and some physical movement.

    As for the writing…how exciting! i’ve never tried a camp but sobriety has kicked my inspiration to a whole new level and i feel like i could write 24 hours a day. Live it up while you’re there!

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  7. Love reading here…
    I wish I had an answer to why I am no longer writing as I used to; I never believed that passions worked that way. Anyhow, I am ordering that book as the single excerpt you shared was fab! Much like yourself, I am always adding, taking away, and amending my program of recovery as it applies to all facets of our lives. I SO need to sign up for a yoga class!!

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  8. HI,

    OK, here’s how:

    Go to the ‘Community’ tab on the main page, and click on ‘Cabin settings’. Then choose ‘I am looking for campers that match specific criteria’. A drop-dead menu will appear, including a space to type a camper’s name. My username is WarsawMichelle. What is yours? I’ll add it to be cabin list today. Tomorrow is the cabin assignment, so we need to get that info in our user preferences today, hopefully!

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