Having spent the last week and a half dealing with knee issues and back issues, I have come to the not so subtle realization of the following truths about myself:
1. I am a master complainer. Honestly, you name the topic, I am complaining about it.
2. I really need to learn how to become less attached
Lets address the second point first.
Working on letting go of attachments is a difficult topic, and a challenge for all humans. However, it is also incredibly necessary in order to be completely happy. The more you “attach” to things, the more miserable you become (i.e. the more I attached to the asana practice, the more frustrated and miserable I became when faced with the fact that for a while, asana would have to be minimal to non-existing until I was done healing properly)
And the reason for my attachment to my asana practice, comes from the attachment to the joyous feeling I get when I realized that I (the girl who never really did anything physical for fear of ridicule, or pain) have finally been able to, over the past few years, become active, and dare I say it? Athletic…. Yikes! Even writing it down gives me a little bit of a thrill.
So, since I have become attached to this notion, and feeling, the cessation of asana made me miserable for the first few days.
Thankfully, my lovely teacher reminded me that “being sad about not being able to practice asana is an attachment that only causes suffering”. So, I took a deep breath, let go of all my attachments regarding my asana practice, and was finally able to rest. And I confess it made a huge difference in how I felt.
I was no longer sulky and miserable, but peaceful and receptive.
I was able to look at the situation differently and enjoy the fact that for a few days, I got a chance to meditate and work on my pranayama more than I normally do.
I was free to sleep in a bit longer, and use props to restore when I finally began to move again.
In other words, the choice I had made to release my attachment had made me free.
Am I saying that I will never ever become attached to anything or anyone ever again? Nope, I am not perfect, I know I will continue to attach, but I also know I have the choice to let go and grow from that attachment.
As for the first point, the one about me being a huge complainer, well, that was a lovely discovery as well. And it all began a seemingly annoying morning; when, having noticed some improvement on my knees and back, I decided to hit the mat, (gently, of course).
Now, I have known for years that restorative classes are not my faves, but also, that they are very necessary, so I have been making a conscious effort to incorporate them into my practice at least once or twice a month, however, it is a struggle for me.
Most of the time I am fighting back at every turn, and yup, you guessed it, I am internally complaining about stuff the whole time.
That was actually what caught my attention this week.
I had spent about 8 minutes of a 10 minute supine, supported asana hold internally complaining about my legs, and how broken I felt. I went through a mental list of things that were wrong with me and then proceeded to list out things I hated about all different aspect of my life. It was around minute 8 (I could tell because my little timer had dinged for the eight time) that I started to internally complain about how unlucky I was for having knee trouble and suddenly realized what I was doing.
My breath got caught up, literally, and I realized I had wasted half my practice doing this very thing. I had been putting myself into poses for over half an hour by this point, and all I had managed to do was complain about things and get more and more frustrated because of it. So I made a conscious decision to stop the negative chatter, and turned it around.
I thought about all the things I had been complaining about, and began to thank them and send gratitude toward them for being exactly as they should.
I moved through out the rest of the practice breaking little parts of my body down, and thanking them for being as amazing as they are. I thanked my legs, feet, arms, lungs, kidneys, eyes, ears, stomach, butt, heels, nose, mouth, shoulders, etc. Every new pose bought with it a new opportunity to be grateful to my body. And every second brought with it an opportunity to heal all the damage I had done to my very spirit for being such a negative complainer.
Class wrapped up, and the feeling of freedom, and joy that came over me during savasana was incredible. In fact, I can’t really even put it into words, all I can say is I felt like a new person, and I loved it.
So, I have been practicing off the mat to bring this same intention of gratitude out whenever I can hear or feel the negative complaint being born in me again.
It has been a challenge, and just as with the attachment, I know that I will complain about something sometime because, yes, I am human, and yes, I can sometimes forget and get carried away. But just as before, I know that I have a choice. I can choose to complain about x,y or z, or I can choose to be grateful for those things in my life.
Because if I am grateful for it all. The good, the seemingly bad, and the in-between, then I am truly experiencing life to the fullest.
“Choose to transform your complaint into a state of gratitude, then step back and watch how it changes your life.”