What a wicked experiment that was. A daily practitioner of Yoga, I decided that it was okay to do only a couple of weak sessions during a ten-day jaunt through Europe. In the meantime, I drank wine daily and saw the most beautiful sites in Switzerland and Italy.
You're thinking: Sooo what--that's totally the right thing to do isn't it!?!
Well, my return to regular life, start of a new job and attempt to get back into the swing of my Mysore sessions was quite the twelve-day, uphill struggle.
The thing I love about my morning Mysore is that it's so challenging and requires so much discipline and will power that it renders everything after it seemingly easy. It's also a cherished time of very minute and nuanced accomplishments and inner strength tests passed as well as a time that is, believe it or not, nurturing and sacred.
But my practice--this relationship I've built with myself in the mornings and stuck to consistently--was not very happy when I decided to go out and neglect it. It seemed to stand before me every single morning for the past two weeks, arms crossed and frowning, not saying a word, dropping never a clue as to how to get back in good with it. And while I'd go through the motions, it held a grudge against me and I felt about as light as lead, almost depressed in a way.
In fact, I felt at points like I could barely feel any passion for my practice, like we were going to go through a separation and perhaps a divorce ... wait a second, I kept thinking, no ... nope, never. Deep, deep down I knew it impossible to live fully without my practice. My love for it is so deep and the relationship so fulfilling when good that I decided to keep going back, every morning, to that frowning, b*tchy response within and kindly ask permission to have a mildly fruitful physical conversation.
This on top of the fact that I have a torn meniscus (a 12 year-old injury that I recently had officially diagnosed and the explanation for radiating pain from my inner right knee after long, padmasana-heavy sessions of practice and meditation). A setback around the right knee but not in the way that this 'cheating' session in Italy did. And somehow, my practice knew--I stepped out voluntarily (with no good excuse) and there was nothing I could say that would make it okay. I'd just have to show up and prove that I care.
Indeed, every morning, recently, I woke up and wondered what I could I do to woo my practice back into a happy state. What could I drink? What could I nibble on, to get the energy? I didn't even try though. I knew, the feeling was not hunger, it was not lethargy even, it was deep resentment from an unknown being I've created, a commitment that exists as just that. Even still, at the end of each practice I squeezed out, each morning, I said my intentions and focused on gratitude for going through the difficult/confusing time in a fully-awake and accepting state. Forgiving it all. Forgiving my body even though it was perfectly fine. Forgiving my practice for the standoff. Forgiving the universe--actually thanking the universe for such a powerful lesson that I was sure would end in clarity and increased knowledge/understanding. And it did.
The lover's grudge lifted, this morning saw me bounce out of bed, eager to move, eager, for the first time in two weeks to hit the mat. And boy did I!
Why the hell am I talking about all of this? Because I guess this made me realize from a totally new, and from the deepest possible, perspective what it means to be in love and to hang on through tough times. It made me realize that hey, it's not good if I can help it to go straying away from a partnership (my practice) that is so rewarding and advertise that I take it for granted. YET, something in my life might step in between us anyway and that climb back up, that awkward period of indifference on the other side, well, that is not permanent so long as I keep showing up and keep on knocking at the door.
Another huge help, when things felt dark, was when my Ashtangi mentor here in Doha told me that others go through this with their practices and that this is when it's important to lean on the community. I was at the studio for Mysore that morning and indeed it was easier, not easy by normal standards, but easy by this ugly struggle period's standards.
Sure feels good to be back on track, with lessons learned as a bonus!