Month: October 2014

J.Alfred Prufrock and New Friends

This past weekend was another yoga teacher training extravaganza. While I didn’t have any panic attacks or  self-harming, I did have another break through…well in a way. I found two other lovely ladies who are rising above the same situations as I am. I felt so alive and happy to know that I am not alone. When you suffer from ED’s or other mental health issues you feel alone and that no one understands you. Then you find someone else you automatically feel relieved and have that extra support. It was such a blessing to discuss our situations and become support sisters! Now, I know that if I am having a depressive mood or feel overwhelmed with this training I have two other ladies that I can talk to openly and not be afraid of what they will say because they will understand where I am coming from! Joy. O the 12 Steps at work….this sharing is a prime example of Step 12 (sharing with others to help them on their recovery journey).

While on my drive home I began to think about this weekend and one of my favorite poems: The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock. It is such a sad, powerful, emotional poem. Ever since I first read this at the age of 16 it struck a chord with me. I knew the sadness Prufrock had. How it can be overwhelming to be in crowds and talk to people (even though I am EXTREMELY extroverted), that we all prepare our face to meet those new faces/hide a bit of ourselves or all of ourselves, will one change we make really change the world/can we change it?/do we dare to make the change?, the losing of precious moments, gathering the strength to make the next move and just to live fully. There is so much that this poem encompasses that literally I could write five blog entries on it alone.

There are so many beautiful lines that scream heartache and self-doubt, which all of us, not even those with mental health issues, can face. We all have our own love song. What is yours?

~~~

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
               So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
               And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
               And should I then presume?
               And how should I begin?
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
               Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
               That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
               “That is not it at all,
               That is not what I meant, at all.”
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
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I am not my body-a meditation

This weekend was another emotionally taxing weekend at yoga teacher training. After last sessions anxiety attack I didn’t think it could get much worse. O was I wrong! This past weekend it was all about stripping down, tearing down our outside, being our own witness and looking deep within. This stuff always makes me uncomfortable (be it therapy or yoga) and I always fidget and avoid, avoid, avoid. I have very high walls around my heart and inner soul that I really don’t like to be torn down because I hate feeling vulnerable. Vulnerability makes me feel out of control and I HATE LOSING CONTROL. I know I still, even in therapy, have not fully let go. A part of me just cannot let go of the hurt, self-deprecating, and negative emotions. It is comforting to me even though I know that that statement is a lie. I have such a hard time letting people truly see me and letting control, maybe it is because I don’t know who I truly am. That is one reason why I am embarking on this yoga journey, that I can clear up the fog in the mirror and look deep into my own eyes and not be afraid of what I see.

This weekend we did a meditative practice(that I did not hate), that really  moved me. It spoke to me in a deep way that got me into my body in a good way. When my yoga mama read it, I knew that I had to share this with my fellow ED recoverers and strugglers. Please read this slowly, meditate on the words and see what this stirs up inside of you….

~~~~

Who am I? Meditation by Sri Ramana Maharshi

 

I have a body, but I am not my body. I can see and feel my body, and what can be seen and felt is not the true Seer. My body may be tired or excited, sick or healthy, heavy or light, anxious or calm, but that has nothing to do with my inward I, the Witness. I have a body, but I am not my body.

I have desires, but I am not my desires. I can know my desires, and what can be known is not the true Knower. Desires come and go, floating through my awareness, but they do not affect my inward I, the Witness. I have desires, but I am not my desires.

I have emotions, but I am not my emotions. I can feel and sense my emotions, and what can be felt and sensed is not the true Feeler. Emotions pass through me, but they do not affect my inward I, the Witness. I have emotions, but I am not my emotions.

I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts. I can see and know my thoughts, and what can be known is not the true Knower. Thoughts come to me and thoughts leave me, but they do not affect my inward I, the Witness. I have thoughts but I am not my thoughts.

Affirmation:

I am what remains, a pure center of awareness, an unmoved Witness of all these thoughts, emotions, feelings, and sensations.

~~~~

Peace and Namaste.

softening up

As I go through my yoga teacher training I am continually opening myself up to new forms and practices of yoga. I am normally a power yoga, vinyasa yoga, inversion, junkie. Fast pace, breath filled movement is the way to quieten my brain. Yin yoga and restorative freak me out. Being still for an hour!? Holding poses five plus minutes. Ugh! Yoga torture!

I am always filled with stress or really up tight but the fluid movement of vinyasa or the crazy amounts of Sun Salutations in a power yoga class really calm my sea of chaos. The other styles of yoga seem to make my chaos worse, even though my  mentors say that is what I need. The great thing about yoga teacher training is you experience a wide range of classes and I also observe multiple classes. Each teacher training weekend my mentors keep telling me to explore the softer side of myself and yoga. That I need to not be afraid of the quiet and see what the quiet does.

In my three months of teacher training I have made it through a two hour restorative class and more recently a yoga nidra class. I am even able to be quiet in corpse pose for more than 5 minutes, well depending on the class I took. But it took me a few years to even be still in savasana/corpse pose for at least 5 minutes.

My first successful “quiet” class was a 2 hour restorative class in my RYT training. Out of all my classmates/peers I was the only one dreading this class. I could not imagine just laying there in poses, being still, restoring myself. An hour I could see, but 2…as class started I used my blocks, bolsters, straps, and breath to calm down and restore my body. With the help of the instructor and beautiful adjustments I was able to be quiet. Except in pigeon. Pigeon is my worst pose, I cannot do it and seeing everyone else melt into it was very difficult. My perfectionist, competitive side came out. I almost cried. But even after that I was able to calm down and find my inner stillness. I will say, after that class it was the best I felt ever! It even lasted into the following days. My body moved better, my inner workings seemed to be calmer, and I felt peaceful. I woke up that next morning with an inner peace that I hadn’t felt in quite some time or ever. Now I cannot wait to do another one and then learn to teach it and pass on this wonderful practice!

On Sunday, I took my first yoga nidra class. For those of you not familiar with yoga nidra, it is also known as yoga sleep/sleep yoga. In this practice you will hover between this state of awake and sleep. It is without a doubt the strangest thing I have experienced. Luckily there were Tibetian singing bowls to help ease into the process of nidra. I definitely spent the first ten minutes of the time fidgeting around but as I gave myself up to the relaxation/guided meditation and the sounds of the singing bowls I started to fall into the nidra, well as much as I could. I started to meditate and do the meditation exercises focusing on my breath (thank you Hanh) and continued to focus on the nidra. The next hour I just spent time getting into my body, feeling the vibrations, not beating myself up when I fell out of the nidra. Just like the restorative class, this hour flew by! I thought I would be sleepy afterwards, but I was revitalized. Energized. And hungry! Starving. I was so thankful that I got to experience yoga nidra and just like restorative, I can’t wait to try it again.

Now I can go to my mentors and with joy say that I have been still for hours, and have finally made an intention to explore the soft side of myself. Not only in yoga, but with my daily life in practicing self-lovingkindness and gentleness. I even want to take these practices off the mat and into my life, and others lives. So I challenge you today to embrace your soft side or try a challenging practice. Peace, love, and namaste darlin’s!

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