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.