Ever notice that, on the days you don't get enough sleep, you get off-balance easily? I get super clumsy--dropping things, making way more noise than I ever mean to, and my hip bones meet more countertop corners and doorknobs than is statistically possible. I get grumpy, sensitive, with about as much confidence as a slug in a salt mine.
That stuff? That's your clue, your test. Over-thinking, over-taxing in those moments will almost guarantee that you never find balance, good sleep or no.
I've started this habit and, I don't know, maybe it's akin to knocking on wood, but if I can't hold a balanced posture for more than thirty seconds (and breathe at the same time), then that's not the time for difficult decisions, conversations, or delicate work.
No, that's the time for hands-in-the-dirt, vacuuming-dusting-scrubbing, or tinkering-under-the-hood kind of work. Big work, hard work, non-thinking work.
No one telling you that you're strong enough will ever convince you otherwise. So I'm not here to tell you that. I'm not here to tell myself that, either.
What I am here to tell you is that standing on the edge sucks big time. I'm not a lover of edges. But you know what else? I'm not too enamored of becoming a backing-away-from-the-edge kind of girl, either. That's almost as bad, far more stifling, and far more paralyzing than stepping to the edge, double-thinking, triple-thinking your decision to be there in the first place.
My good goddess--even a lousy crash and burn is better than the anxiety of waiting, the anxiety of giving up control to some third party to make the decision for you.
Think about the landing--the splash, the sting, or the effortless dive under. You'll survive them all, you'll have a story to tell, and finally (finally), a question answered.
I am incredibly socially awkward *if* I am do not take a moment before entering a space and, I suppose, reset myself. I have to remind myself of who I am when I'm alone and carry that person into the space with me.
You see, it's like this. I read a book once that made this so abundantly clear. The main character was a hermit, not because she was terribly shy or feared people or had had a traumatic experience, but because as soon as she walked into a social situation, she lost all sense of herself, and this other being, this unwelcome persona, would bubble up and say something so terribly *not her* that she felt misrepresented by her own body, her own mind.
I read that and I was like, yesssss. That's it exactly. I, too, seem to step back and out of my body and watch, with mild horror, as all these so-not-Amy words come out of my mouth. And I'm yelling at myself to *shut up* already. Just take a moment of silence. Recollect the sweet soul you came in with, and pull that on...
Only we can drop the weight we carry. And, you know, I don't even think someone else can point out that it's still there; this is a lone, sole, no-net sort of venture.
In other words, it's not like having a hiking buddy who can lift the pack from your shoulders after a day on the trail. This is total, complete self-sufficiency and it's the test we set for ourselves when we bought our boots and paid our fee.
Some nights just hold a message for you, and though these messages, unpackable as they are, seemingly only come in sleep, it's not like you sleep. Not well. It's like these dreams are starving, too long held at bay, and they lull you into apparent unconsciousness, then eat your sleep to feed the vision.
I don't know. But it's odd and unsettling, and somehow feels important, though how or why, I suppose will come in its own time, as the dreams did.
Time means something different, if it means anything at all, while the world is sleeping.
It's like standing on the threshold of a dark corridor, candle stub in your hand, one match, and knowing that candle will get you, unharmed, to the other side, into the garden you already know is there.
There's a series of twists in the Ashtanga Yoga practice whose challenge, so it is said, isn't their physical difficulty (they aren't difficult, compared to other asana) but in the positioning of the gaze--the practitioner must look into her past while remaining steady and grounded in the present.
Now, if you read my latest newsletter (or this blog, come to think of it), you'll know that I've been stepping away from yoga as a disciplined practice, that it, for now, has stopped resonating quite so strongly with me. But that doesn't mean it isn't part of my being, a philosophy whose structure and values I find so ingrained in who I am (it's been close to 18 years since that first class, after all), that to extricate myself from it would be impossible, even if I wanted to, which I don't.
I'm not sure when this most recent shift occurred, but it was gradual, an overwhelming desire to be on my feet, to be outside, to be on my own trumped anything else. Anyway. It's...
I call it energy vampirism, and it sucks. (Ha! I hadn't planned that pun, but we'll keep it).
I do pretty well with my virtual garlic and crosses these days, but sometimes they sneak up on you--just one more question, just one more piece of advice that won't be taken, just one more story, just one more near-miss...
And then I think of Satya--the Sanskrit word translates not only as truth, but as transparency. And I realize that when I ask, "what can I do for you?" or "how can I help?", then I'd better mean it--because those words are commitments, though we pass them off as casual. They are cosmic pacts and you will be held to them.
Instead, I say that I will hold them in my heart, but that this well needs time to refill, and that can only be accomplished in silence--mutually spent or in solitude, but silence nevertheless.
Keep an eye on your own well, pets, because once it's gone, you too will have to draw from someone else's.
Which is good, really, since it's what our generation (age be damned) was born to do. We've got the hardest part done--that huge rope is over our shoulders, we've arranged ourselves in one long line up the mountain--
now all we have to do is heave it over the top and watch it roll its happy way down the other side.