Right now I’m on day five of a seven-day cleanse. I’m not allowed wheat, sugar, dairy, yeast, or vinegar, and I am eating according to a pretty strict schedule. Not only that, I’ve seen a zillion types of practitioners, like a naturopath, an herbalist, a chiropractor (I regret this one), a therapist, and a regular doctor. And there’s more to come. I’m hoping balancing out my body will help balance out my mind. At the very least, it will eliminate one possible cause of my craziness. That is, if my body is perfectly healthy then that leaves…my mind.
I talked to my grandma this morning, and she said she’s never stressed and never has been. She said, “I guess I always thought there was nothing you could do about it,” it being life. I have a lot in common with her but here we diverge and maybe that’s a result of the times. Now there are so many choices. There is an endless, overwhelming number of options. This is the problem. Now, one must learn to be a good choice-maker. Maybe my grandma is just seeing the past through rose-colored glasses, but maybe there’s a truth to be found there. Choice makes us unhappy unless we have the skills to listen to ourselves.
I realized that maybe I've been using the noble concept of the power of choice to AVOID what I really need to do. Like, I often choose the milder bridge pose rather than go up into a wheel backbend because I get a sore low back after wheel. When I do this, I think “how mindful and conscious I am, and responsible for my own body! Yay me.” But gradually I started to realize I was missing out on the exhilarating, detoxing feeling of wheel. So I asked Uschi last week about the low back pain. She said she used to feel it too and that if it’s just dull it’s probably ok.
Cut to Kira’s class today. We did some stuff that for me brought up feelings of anger, pain, frustration…so when wheel came I just wanted to curl up and feel sorry for myself. But somehow something happened to that sadness and I let go of my thoughts for a split second, removing the element of choice. Almost like the physical version of the resigned feeling that makes you sigh and say “ok fine I’ll do the dishes.” And then you do and afterward it actually feels good. My lower back didn’t hurt and I was really happy I did wheel. It saved the class for me by somehow dissolving some of my self-pitying energy. And effects like that are why I do yoga.
The lack of choice provides a constrained environment in which what I really want becomes more obvious. And allows me to differentiate between what I want and what’s good for me (more sugar? bridge pose?).
Maybe finding out what I want is step one and step two is finding out why.