So today was the first day out of the yellow Bat Cave and back to real life. I took it slow and easy … it was almost like tip-toeing my way around, learning to navigate the world with all of this new information and these new experiences stored up in me.
Almost immediately, I got my greeting back to the real world when a friend got angry with me first thing this morning. I am not a fan of conflict and I have a habit of doing things that aren’t what I need to do for me if it will please someone else. This was one of those situations. I managed to hold my own ground, though, and then didn’t fixate and worry about it once all was said and done. Trust me, this is progress.
This afternoon, I had a random pang of missing the guy I was dating before teacher training and felt myself starting to panic: “I don’t want to be thinking about this. I don’t want to hurt.” I stopped and collected myself and reminded myself that the reason the hurt was there is because I had the experience of loving someone and that was a really wonderful thing. This is just the other side of it and what happens sometimes when you’re vulnerable. It doesn’t have to be a scary thing or something to run from, it’s just life. Funnily enough, after I accepted that, the feeling passed pretty quickly and the day continued to roll along quite nicely.
I also had a bit of a revelation today. The Gazing Circle really got to me yesterday. It was wonderful, but it was also emotional–poignant is something close to the right word, I suppose. I thought about this a lot and had a conversation with a friend, and all of a sudden, it all sort of clicked into place. Over the years, I’ve dated guys of every stripe: blondes, brunettes, gingers; artsy guys and preppy guys; heroin-chic guys and athletic guys; hot guys and average guys. There are no commonalities amongst them and there’s no rhyme or reason to who I’m attracted to … with the exception of this one thing: They are all emotionally unavailable. With some of them (especially when I was younger) that was pretty blatantly clear, but I plowed ahead anyway; with others, I didn’t realize it until it was too late. Of course, I’ve dated guys who are emotionally available, but I’m outta there pretty quickly, or immediately put them in the friend zone.
I’m smart enough to know that patterns like this don’t happen by accident. I know that I am the common denominator in all of these relationships. But, nonetheless, for years I haven’t been able to crack the code about what I’m doing to constantly end up in this same situation, even when the specifics are vastly different from one relationship to the next. I know that I believe in love and I know that I have the capacity to love (which results in extremely painful situations when you combine that with emotionally unavailable recipients). Today, though (compliments of aforementioned Gazing Circle), I finally really understood the fact that I just don’t let people see me … and I especially don’t let the guys I’m dating or in relationships with see me. I don’t really know why this is. I suppose it has to be fear, but I don’t know where that stems from. I let them see parts of me, but generally when I’m dating someone, the focus is on him because I don’t want it on me. So, of course, how could anyone really love me when I don’t let them get to know anything other than a pretty 2-dimensional version of me? It’s not gonna happen. This was a huge revelation because I’m honest in my relationships and I’ve always considered myself one big ball of emotion … but I finally understood today that this doesn’t equate to emotionally available if I only know how to let love flow in one direction. It’s kind of a daunting habit to try to change, but at least I’m finally aware of it so I can at least try.
That got a bit tangential, I guess. Anyway, I very much missed training today, and I heard the same from a lot of my fellow trainees. I thought that I’d be happy to take the day off of yoga after ten days straight, but I actually found myself wanting to move, wishing I had a class lined up. I practiced for a bit at home, even meditating for a few minutes first. In case I haven’t already said it 72 times, I historically hate meditating because I just can’t shut my chattering brain off, so it ends up being more frustrating than anything else with all of the thoughts swirling around and then me trying to stop the thoughts because this isn’t what should be happening in meditation, damn it! But, the thing is, for the first time ever yesterday, I actually truly fell into a meditative state. It probably didn’t last for more than 30 seconds (and maybe not even that long), but it was enough to show me why continuing to attempt meditation is worth it.
In the end, it was a good day. I remained calm and happy even outside of the little bubble we’ve been living in and despite a couple of triggers. I feel like I’m in the process of opening up and learning some pretty revolutionary things about myself. I feel far more kindly disposed to myself than I ever have. And I’m certainly doing an immensely better job of living in the moment than I am apt to. I spent a lovely evening at an event downtown with one of my good girlfriends, then we whiled away about an hour sitting on a bench, drinking up the summer night while sipping on some tea. During every moment of it, I was soaking it all in and grateful for the simplicity of it.
That remains my overriding emotion: grateful.
P.S. I realize that a lot of this post (and blog) might seem painfully navel-gazing and secondary to the actual yoga. After posting this, though, a classmate of mine shared this interview with a yoga teacher with our Facebook group. These are just a few snippets from a longer article, but I feel like it perfectly explains why all of this is so relevant to (and, in fact, inseparable from) yoga.
We’re all here to make mistakes—to screw things up and to figure it out. We make mistakes on all kinds of levels, and then we try to clean up the mess, try to learn from it. We’re here to explore the things we can’t do, as well as the things we can—with love and attention. And that’s practice, that’s yoga. … Strange as it sounds, the practice of yoga is about being willing to be slightly uncomfortable. I mean, the first Dog pose is uncomfortable for most people. It doesn’t mean that we want to push the pose or hold it for too long, but I’m not sure we can grow and be comfortable at the same time. The word challenge is really quite rich for exploration. … I don’t see a difference [between yoga and self-exploration]; I cannot separate them any longer. What I believe yoga ultimately becomes at some point is who we are, not what we do. From that place, profound changes can occur.”
–Excerpted from “Power Your Yoga: Creating Space for Exploring the Present”