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A Creature of Habit, I am

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I did make it to the mat yesterday, an abbreviated and somewhat shaky practice where I wrestled with my mind to keep it on topic. Some practices are better than others.

Today was much more my pattern. I got up, wandered aimlessly around the house for two minutes, swept the floor, unrolled the mat, made tea, turned off the phone, did my practice, meditation and then up to drink the now properly cooled tea and on with my day.

I already know today is going to be a good day. I have a load of laundry on the line, morning dishes done, and a doable “to do” list that will mostly be accomplished before the end of the day. How do I know it’s going to be a good day? I’ve had my practice. My highly fragmented mind is starting off from a harnessed position. It is all good. I always have a good day when I start it with a practice.

So then, oh wise ones, if I already know this, why is it so bloody hard sometimes to get my feet on the freaking mat? I think that when it comes down to brass tacks, I avoid practice because I know it works. Continued and steady practice engenders change. Now if I had some control over the change, I might be a little cooler with it. I’d like to direct it sometimes. Please, today, make the change go into, and only into, the spare tire around my waist — you can spill over into the endocrine system if necessary.  Tomorrow, I’ll take change in the musculature of my upper arms. This weekend, I’ll be fine with a little change in the derriere region. And oh yes, if you insist on all that mental, spiritual stuff, I deal with that on Sunday.

Unfortunately, not how it seems to play out over here. The change is without direction. I have zero control over it, where it’s going and what the final outcome is going to be. And I’m really not very good with that. One of the reasons I’m a really good police dispatcher is because I’m good at being in control. It’s not something I surrender easily. In fact, when push comes to shove, I’d rather be the one in charge. At least, I have confidence in MY decision making abilities…… any wonder I was on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown by the age of 40?  All Sthira; No Sukha. Pretty much sums my personality up in a snapshot.

Part of the yoga journey thus far has been learning to let go and now I find myself at that crossroads of letting go BUT ONLY SO FAR. I’m willing to let go, but on my terms, thank you very much. I’ll let go right after I get the money back guarantee. I’ll let go when you explain to me how it’s going to look when I’m all done with this letting go bit.

So when I’m aware that there’s “big, wierd, can’t control it change” lurking around the edges,  I’m very reluctant to hit the mat. And yesterday was a classic example of it. My friend’s unhappy news reminded me of things I’ve not let go of in 20 years. They’re not only part of my biography — they’ve become part of my identity, labels I use to describe myself, to myself and to others. So letting go of this means letting go of part of my understanding of who I am. And I’m not ready for that because I’m not in control of where the change is going.

In other words, putting feet on the mat and persevering in practice can become an incredible act of faith. Do it even if I don’t understand it. Do it regardless of outcome. Surrender to the will of the Universe.

Well, only so far. There’s no need to go to Hell with that joke. I still managed to satiate my inner control freak. Today’s practice was a very tonic and invigorating practice written by Claude Maréchal. The principle posture was a dynamic and held full locust which was prepped by a dynamic half locust and supine twist set. Now maybe I’m a little better armoured to deal with the vulnerabilities that arose out of yesterday.




About Kate MacKay

I'm a certified Viniyoga teacher, in Fredericton, NB. I was a 9-1-1 operator and emergency services dispatcher for 22 years. Surprisingly, the two worked well together, or as I liked to put it, from the sublime to the ridiculous -- all in a day's work. I'm currently off work as a result of a stress-induced cardiac condition that's thrown a few crimps in my lifestyle. I'm not actively teaching yoga in the classroom right now and probably won't for several more months. That said, this blog is one of the forms of practice I can do and I thank you for joining me in this exploration of all things yoga.

One response »

  1. Wow! I read this entry nodding vigorously, because I identify on so many levels. It *is* an act of faith – shradha, I think it is – and an affirmation of what we know: that our real ability comes not from control but from being – *really being* – in the moment, and that this can be scarey. Thank you. Thank you so much. I came home from a hard night on the streets, after an awful call culminating in a toe-to-toe with our local PD over scene safety. Trying to get out of my round and round, step off the adreneline roundabout, this was really to-the-point for me. The mat, always the mat. See you there 🙂 Christine


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