So: I’ve finished the third week of my degree, school’s back and so is work. I finally have a media textbook, which took 3 weeks to cross the country, numerous phone calls and caused a certain amount of stress and confusion – not only for me, but for the bookshop and Australia Post as well. It’s kind of surreal actually. Anyway, in spite of all that, I felt like I was able to get in a bit of a rhythm. Except for my housework. Something’s gotta give, baby, something’s gotta give.
To be honest housework isn’t the only thing that has been affected. I was having coffee with a couple of friends the other day – one of them my yoga teacher, whose class I no longer have time to go to. I commented that I had been having trouble getting on the mat to do an asana practice. Even though I felt my body needed to move and stretch I had a tremendous resistance to any movement practice, and in fact, all I wanted to do was meditate! She replied that they have been holding ‘choose your own yoga’ bespoke-style workshops, and being winter, many of them have just been focused on restorative, opening yoga practices or yin yoga, where you hold a supported yoga pose for five minutes or more.
As she spoke, I imagined myself doing his type of yoga, and felt an intense wave of longing and relief wash over me, followed by an epiphany. “I know what I’ve been doing,” I said wonderingly. “In order to get myself into the headspace where I can do a degree, I’ve created a whole ‘commitment, drive, focus’ attitude for it – and then applied it to everything, including my yoga practice!” I didn’t need to kick my own arse on the mat as well as at the desk – I needed to relax, revive and regenerate.
As I was talking to my friends, I noticed how tight my neck was and how closed and constricted my body had become. Intimacy was out of the question because I couldn’t relax enough and worse still, I had developed this strange, occasional nerve pain on the right side of my face over the past week, probably due to, now I came to think of it, my rigid, shortened neck muscles. Sara, you are such a cool customer! So relaxed and easy going :).
Sigh. Anyway, what is beautiful is how the universe conspires to help you once you wake up and see what is really going on. When I arrived home, there was an email from Charlotte Bradley of Yoga Flavoured Life, a yoga teacher who sends me delightful things from time to time, and today’s missive contained a yin yoga sequence, complete with a neat print out. Of course. Yesterday I took my children to music lessons – singing, keyboard and guitar – and in the warm ups for singing, the teacher showed me some very effective isometric exercise for my neck. Nice one, Universe <3.
On the mat, I was shocked at how tight and painful my muscles were, how inflexible I had become and difficult it was for me to relax into each pose. I noticed how I still wanted to push myself to do something (anything!) when the whole purpose was to surrender and breathe into each posture. By the second time on the mat, I was able to surrender that little bit more, to breathe into the tension and release it, as well as regain some of my flexibility. Gone is the resistance to the mat as well.
Ah, yoga. How I love thee! Also, do not underestimate the benefits of coffee with friends.
How’s your body going at the moment? Are you being too hard on yourself ?
- My job :). I realise how very lucky I am to have this gig as teacher’s aide: I literally walk across the road to go to work, it is in school hours and I get school holidays off. Not only do I get to work with children which is wonderfully rewarding, but I also get to use my website and writing skills as well. Part of my job description is to create content for, update and increase traffic for the school’s website which is a whole lot of fun.
- What a great start to the term my children have had. My son, who was in trouble last term for his poor attitude and lack of effort bought home an award from yesterday’s assembly which said:
For: Wonderful enthusiasm and positive approach to all learning areas.
Thank goodness, he was listening! Also, my daughter went up a level in reading – at seven, she is only two levels away from reaching the end of levelled reading and being a completely independent reader, which is very impressive. She never fails to amaze me with her dedication to learning.
- This article from Scary Mommy: Dear Friend: You Are Enough. I love it all, but this paragraph particularly resonated because I think these things all the time:
Is she eating enough good food? Did I breastfeed enough? Am I reading to him enough? Is the school he’s in enough? Did I say enough about how much I love her? Did I relay to him enough how important he is to us? Is he safe enough and ready enough to venture into the world without me? Is she sleeping enough? Are we traveling enough? Are we exposing them to enough? Is there enough money to get them all they need? Am I home enough? Am I present enough? Am I doing enough? Am I a good enough example?
- This clip: Yes, it is a Dolmio ad of all things, but watch it. You’ll want one of those pepper grinders too :).
- This, from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. When I read this excerpt today, I remembered how the book has been on my to read list for ages. So, I went and bought it right then. It cost me $1.32 on my kindle. I know.
“You mustn’t be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if any anxiety, like light and cloud shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you its hand and will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, and depression, since after all you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change.
- About this, again (and again):
- I handed in my first assignment this week for my writing subject. It’s not a big deal – it’s only worth 5% and the required length was 250 words. Still, what I was asked to do: write a short piece based on an journey I have experienced and then write another short piece on how I have used the storytelling techniques that we have been taught over the past few weeks – gave my mind a good stretch. Not to mention keeping to such a short word count. Very challenging :).
- My media subject has also been fascinating – this is such an exciting time to be studying media. This week we have been talking about media convergence (the growing tendency to access the same media across different platforms), participatory culture (as opposed to passively absorbing media), the evolution of media broadcast and consumption from one → many to many → many and collective intelligence (where none of us can know everything; but each of us knows something, and between us all we can put together the pieces).
Why yes, I do put this section in for my own benefit :).
- This, oh this: The Crossroads of Should and Must: An Intelligent, Illustrated Field Guide to Finding Your Bliss by Maria Popova from Brainpickings. Now, you simply must click over and read the whole article, because I cannot publish the whole article here, and nor do I want to anyway. Here is something to tempt you though:
When we choose Should, we’re choosing to live our life for someone or something other than ourselves. The journey to Should can be smooth, the rewards can seem clear, and the options are often plentiful.
Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s that which calls to us most deeply. It’s our convictions, our passions, our deepest held urges and desires — unavoidable, undeniable, and inexplicable. Unlike Should, Must doesn’t accept compromises.
Must is when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own — and this allows us to cultivate our full potential as individuals. To choose Must is to say yes to hard work and constant effort, to say yes to a journey without a road map or guarantees, and in so doing, to say yes to what Joseph Campbell called “the experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
Choosing Must is the greatest thing we can do with our lives.
My friends, that is it for today. I am going to go and do more yoga and unravel myself a little more from my corkscrew. I hope that you show yourself some love this weekend – goodness knows, you deserve it!