Monday, October 13, 2008

Long Thoughts

I entered Day One of my sixth yoga teacher training weekend feeling full of vitality and excitement. I was so excited to see all my people that I couldn't settle down to meditate.

By the end, though, I felt disappointed. I hadn't finished my homework. I hadn't given the kind of thought to our reading that some people had. The level of studentship among some of my peers was putting me to shame. Of course, many of my peers are not raising small children. Maybe they can spend as long as they want following their yoga thoughts.

Or their long thoughts in general. I read this idea somewhere, I think in an A.S. Byatt novel, about the near impossibility of pursuing long thoughts when one has little children. Long thoughts are cultivated over time. You piece something together, and build upon it, until it stretches out behind you and in front of you too far to see either end. Long thoughts are what I need in order to understand the Indian texts I'm reading, for sure, but long thoughts are also what keep me interested in life. They are what keep me feeling like myself. They are proof that my brain didn't slip out along with my placenta.

In class, someone announced that a visiting scholar of Ayurvedic medicine would be speaking tonight about one of my as-yet untapped fascinations, kundalini. I was all wound up - I wanted to go. Towards the end of the 6 hour day, though, I realized that it would be difficult for everyone in my family if I went. And that I would end up feeling guilty and greedy. This was disappointing. I wanted to be unfettered to follow where my mind wanted to go, to learn more. But my life just isn't like that.

In a last ditch effort to find a good reason to go beyond my own desire - some serendipity or synchronicity or kismet - I asked one of my yoga friends (one of those who put me to shame)if by chance he was going. He said no. So now it was up to me to be selfish and greedy or act with my family in mind.

As I rolled up my mat I felt the pressures of what my family needed from me pressing behind my eyes, pressing against my forehead. It was all so complicated. I only wanted to learn. I only wanted to weave long thoughts. But - shit! The class had run long. I was already 15 minutes late relieving the babysitter. I wanted to stay and chit chat with my people. I wanted to be paid attention to by them.

I left feeling unfulfilled.

But then I came home to happy children. We snuggled on the mohair couch and read a long chapter book. When Matt came home, we took ourselves out to a neighborhood family Mexican restaurant. By the end of the night, I felt more fulfilled, but still saddened by my inability to work deeply on my yoga assignments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had a similar situation. I was checking out a friends new yoga spot and was under the weather and the class was around dinner time and I could tell the family was going to suffer but I went anyway. I ended up feeling worse, more stressed because of guilt and irritated with my I think you did the right thing....
I so do not like that feeling of really wanting to go to something and going and then feeling miserable because you are feeling that nagging guilt the whole time---ugh!!!