Sunday, 29 September 2013

September: Done

Holy moly, where did this month go?! My first month at the Himalayan Institute concludes today. I can't believe it. At the beginning of September, 11 of us arrived for the month-long program. 5 of us are staying on, for another month, and the rest have already left or leave today. Next Thursday, a whole new group of people will come for the next month, another 10 people to join our remaining 5. It should be interesting to see what personalities and characters will come.

So today I am a little reflective of what this month has been for me.

It has not been quite the restful time I thought it would be. Karma Yoga and practicums Monday-Friday make for busy, scheduled days. I feel a little resistant and frustrated about that. But it does give me the chance to look at how I handle busyness and tasks and schedules. I don't handle them well, I'm learning. I tend to stop breathing, to get grumpy, to get overwhelmed. The past week I've recognized the same feelings of anxiety and spinniness that I experience on the "outside", even though I'm in a place that is meant to allow for rest, healing and peace. Interesting. I wonder what that's about!! I happily am in a place where questioning and inquisitiveness is valued, so I can take time to be curious. Why, if I'm in a place of rest and beauty and simplicity, am I reverting back to my old patterns of anxiety, stress, jaw clenching, non-breathing, etc? Guess it must be a pattern I brought with me:) Because even though my situation and circumstances have changed, very dramatically, I am still me, with my ways of coping, of dealing with life, of seeing the world, or responding. I brought myself with me on my journey, habits and patterns and all! And I realize that I have a deeply ingrained pattern, a deep groove on my record, of wanting to get things right. wanting to figure things out and become perfect at them. now. I want to take the teachings I've received in the last month, on meditation, relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, eating habits, and asana practice, assimilate them all right now and get them all perfect right now, and start doing them all perfectly right now. and if I don't, then I am failing. I am weak. I am no good. Man, we are sometimes so unkind to ourselves. cruel words, cruel judgements. so I've watched that happen this week, this build up of stress at not getting things right, not accomplishing, not perfecting things. And then I've had several wonderful conversations with people that reminded me that nothing has to be accomplished. nothing has to be perfected. all these things are interesting tools, that I can play with, explore, discover, try out, over the next many years of my life. they are meant to bring joy, ease, to uplift, to relax, to bring peace. if they bring stress and anxiety, then I can back down for a while. I can soften. That seems to be the message for me in this journey. I need to soften. I do have a tendency to throw myself at things and give 110%. I see this in my attitude towards jobs, tasks, friendships, so many things in my life. Only eventually I burn out and lose all joy and feel stressed. What if I could learn to soften, and give maybe 75% most of the time, 25% occasionally when I need to rest, 100% occasionally when something needs an extra push, but averaging 75%? I know that is so contrary to the working world, corporate world, our society's values. But that 110% push doesn't seem to be serving me very well. I see the pattern of push push push, and then crash. over and over in my life. what is the definition of insanity? doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results? I seem to have been a bit insane in the past few years. I can admit it:) but maybe I'll try a little experiment in the next month that i'm here - I'm going to soften. to back off a little. I don't need to chop veggies with uber-intensity. I don't need to approach meditation with uber-intensity. I don't need to be super strict with my schedule. I'd like to try to slow down, notice my breath, and soften a little. that will be my intention for this second month. and see if I feel more rested and less stressed in the end. i'll let you know how it goes!

In fun news, the past two weeks have been apple picking time here! what a glorious way to spend the mornings, picking in the sunshine. thousands of apples that will feed the community here, and make yummy apple cider!

The weather has been amazing this month, I am so grateful for that! sunny days, cool nights for sleeping. The deer are regular visitors, as I mentioned in an earlier post, but yesterday morning they were literally 10 feet from the building as I went out for a morning walk!

Sunset Pond is a favourite spot of mine (I have so many!), to read a good book or journal or just nap in the sunshine. Isn't it a sweet spot?

The leaves are changing colour here, as they are all over this part of the world. a sure sign of the changing of the seasons, even though the sunny days feel like summer time! I'm so grateful to be in a place where nature is everywhere around me, and there is time to stroll, notice, enjoy the beauty. it is good for the soul!

Well, dear people out there, I wish you a joyous end of September, and hope you take time to breathe, and to enjoy the beauty in our world. Peace to you.

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