English: Door in Sidi Bou Said village, Tunisia Français : Porte dans le village de Sidi Bou Said, Tunisie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You know how it starts — The first third of a semester is engaging, from the expansion of your mind, exposed to new & glorious wonders………. The first six months of a relationship are as a honeymoon, with this fabulous gift of a person that heaven has bestowed upon you ……….. The first year of living in a new city is enthralling, with all the excitement of new discoveries ……….. The door to a glorious, gratifying new life is there before you, beckoning.
Then, the slog sets in – You can barely drag yourself to class, & your brain rebels at the mass of information it is expected to grasp ………. The power struggle has begun, & you can no longer overlook the things you have been ignoring, lest you lose yourself completely ………. You’re starting to see people who remind you of the ones you didn’t like in the old city & the new job has turned out to be just like the old one ………… The friggin’ door seems to be jammed, & no one hears you knocking.
An old door (20th Century CE), Kashan, Iran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It’s always the same, isn’t it? Thrill, slog ……… Upliftment, SLOG ……………….. Re-creation, then slogslogslog, that mind-numbing time when the interest wanes, the dazzle becomes dulled, the frisson fizzles. You’ve knockedknockedknocked on that door, annoying the entire metaphysical neighborhood ……. why does no one respond??? At such times, it is difficult to remember that sometimes, some times, continuing on, mostly because you just have to, will reveal something to make it all worthwhile. There’s that gem of information that changes forever how you understand life & living……….. Now you know that being vulnerable doesn’t mean you’re weak ……….. You’ve realized that no matter where you go, or what you do, it is still YOU there, for all the better, or all the worse. And continuing on from that point may bring you that degree, or that life-long love affair, or that sense of finding your place in the world. The door, while no longer so beckoning, far more formidable, is yet still there.
So, it’s no surprise to me that this same process is happening with my yoga practice; I’ve been in, through & all around it with my meditation practice too. Some days, I have to f o r-r-r-r-r ce myself to start the routine. Some days, I notice myself finding bazillions of little tasks around the house that are so much more urgent! & important!! & necessary!!! & that must be done right now!!!! Whatever made me think that putting myself through those first few Sun Salutations, when my hamstrings are so goddamned tight, was worth anything?! The enlightening commitment now seems a burdensome obligation, & who the hell really cares if I roll out my thick towel palate & stand on my head?!? It’s not anyone else’s business if I do yoga, or if I don’t!! For Christ’s sake, it doesn’t make any difference in the long run. I don’t have to do it, I don’t, I don’tIdon’tIdon’t! And no. one. can. make. me. PBTHPBTHPBHT
And, if I give it up ……….. who will know??
Well, I will, I guess. I, who am my own best friend, & not just my own worst enemy. I, who am old enough & life-experienced enough & familiar enough with my own silly mind to know that I will feel bad about myself if I give up on this yoga practice or ((enter a commitment)). I, who can recognize the opportunity to create something to regret, if I quit. It is my growing-up self, the Wise Woman Within, who understands that the act of slogging still means you’re getting somewhere.
As Jalaladin Rumi, the Sufi mystic, put it in his golden way,
English: A door in Morocco in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Commit yourself to a daily practice, your loyalty to that is like a ring on the door.
Keep knocking and eventually the joy that lives inside will look out to see who’s there ….
So, there you find yourself, still, before that ever-present door, your existential knuckles bloodied & bruised, but ….. what is that?? Footsteps on the other side????