I must say I’m doing an admirable job keeping up on my January challenges. I have been managing to do my 20 minutes of Jack Shit, writing and posting about doing Jack Shit (which is a LOT more work than I realized), and have been keeping up with the daily email cardio assignment from The Lady Who Claps (Today’s workout is a “Full Body Explosion” and that sounds more than a little off putting). Of course, I’m only half way through the first week, still full of the vim and vigor of the new year. I am no fool though, and I know exactly what’s going to happen two weeks from now. All the elevation and inspiration wear off, and then comes THE SLOG. But that’s a post about obstacles we’ll need in a few weeks, right??
In the meantime, there are initial obstacles to address. Like, why can’t we do Jack Shit with ease? Mainly, because we’re human, and doing stuff is a fundamental and wonderful part of existence. The world is a beautiful place to explore and experience, and our bodies are built to receive sensory input and enjoy the things we do. The world is also fraught with chaos, disorder, and threat, and doing stuff is how we stay alive and avoid getting eaten by predators, or tossed out on the street by landlords. So, in short, doing stuff is a good thing.
Being completely unable to STOP doing stuff, even for a short time, is the Bad Thing. What fuels this constant busyness? This answer varies by the individual, and it is worth it to mull this one over for yourself. “I don’t have time” is a common limitation for most of us, and a quick Google search using that phrase will reveal a host of books, articles, and gadgets meant to help us battle this feeling into submission. We’ll talk more about time this month, but in the meantime (ha!) let’s do a short meditative self-inquiry exercise.
Close your eyes and sit comfortably in a chair with the head, neck, and trunk in one long line. Think about the things that need to get done today. Tell yourself over and over “I don’t have time” and generate the emotion that goes with it. Don’t get pulled into the story of all the ways you don’t have time, just stay with the feeling this thought brings up. What does it feel like in your body? Where? Is it a fluttering in the chest, churning in the belly? Are your shoulders or jaw or hands clenched? Observe where you feel it in your body. Physically relax what muscles you can, then intentionally breathe. On every inhale, see, feel, or imagine you are bringing white light directly to the chest or belly or wherever in the body you feel the sensation. On every exhale, the light gets brighter and sinks deeper into the body, like spring rain soaking into the soft earth. Feel the light brings with it the sense of spaciousness and limitless expansion. Stay with this sensation of space, and return to it if the mind starts to wander away or back into the “I don’t have time” story. Bring this sensation of space into your 20 minute practice, and repeat your favorite resting posture from the last three days, or just continue to sit without moving.
Practices like this will often bring up observations and awareness when you don’t expect it, like the light bulb going on over the cartoon character’s head. This visualization technique can also be done during moments of stress for a few minutes, and in any position and even while moving. You don’t have to be sitting perfectly still or lying in a yoga pose to find calm. Feel the stress sensation in your body, breathe into it over and over, and observe while it slowly dissipates.
Back to the work of doing nothing!
I want to share with you the yoga I practice, teach, and live.