When you’re in a hole, don’t mole

Image credit: Alexa Opal Hamilton

Ever get in that place?

Yeah, I have been on the express bus to cranky-town lately. My work is going through a number of transitions with the summer coming and my kids classes coming to an end with the end of school year. I am exploring options for doing some non-yoga work in addition to teaching. Things are up in the air. I don’t know how it is all going to turn out.

This makes me cranky. Actually, it brings up a lot of issues of uncertainty, insecurity, and doubt.  Not to mention that mental racket that tells me I should have it figured out already and what’s wrong with me that I don’t. Being already irritated with myself, I get increasingly nit-picky about everything I do and frustrated by situations beyond my illusive control. Ironically enough, it gets harder and harder to take steps that would make me feel better (such as practicing yoga, hanging out with other people, getting outside, etc.) It occurs to me as I surf Facebook, finding further evidence to support how much more exciting and accomplished everyone else is than me, that this might not be the most uplifting or worthwhile activity.

The difference is I am realizing when I get into this hole and most importantly, when I start to mole deeper down into it. I dragged myself kicking and screaming to my yoga mat (ok, maybe just mentally sticking my lower lip out). My irritation continued on the mat. “I don’t wanna do this yoga sequence. I don’t wanna hold the pose any longer.” Still I kept slogging through pouting all the while.

But something my instructor said stuck with me. He had us become aware of the ways in whichwe self-deprecate and lack compassion for ourselves and asked if we could be be open to the possibility that we can change how we feel. Not that we have to change or want to or even believe we could feel differently. Just being open to the idea that we might be able to make this mental shift.

I felt as if the negative harness cutting into my skin had suddenly slackened. Here on my yoga mat I was given permission. Feeling great was not a requirement for entry, nor was it mandatory I feel great at any point in the process. The only thing asked of me was a willingness to be open.

Back when I was in the middle of my teacher training, I remember having one day where I was completely exhausted and frustrated. I wanted to extend a middle finger to my teacher and the assistants. The thought of more relentless feedback or another round of elbow to knee pose was unbearable. At the end of the day, one of my fellow trainees asked me how I was doing. I answered honestly about it being a rough day. She responded, “Some days the success is just getting through the day.”

Some days are like that. Success is sometimes just showing up and getting through. Although I might still be in the hole, not really sure how or when I will get out, I can be open to the possibility of finding a way to climb out.