November has come and gone…it is over 6 weeks since I last posted an article. Time has passed by so quickly.
At the beginning of the month, I ran a week retreat in the Drakenberg. Being in the mountains is a joy for me and being able to work in an ecologically balanced context is such a gift. Every morning at 6.30am we started the day with tai chi. My body thrives on the gentle stretching and slow movement as I establish my internal balance for the upcoming day. I start the day on the front foot. The chi kung breathing exercises increase my energy and vitality as I draw in the fresh mountain air in a slow, rhythmic and balanced way; inhale and exhale working with each other in a harmonious, inter-connected way.
The retreat in the mountains is a time when my fantasy of how I would like to spend every day of my life, is given full expression and becomes a reality.
In contrast to the retreat, my predominant feeling about my experiences during the rest of a very busy November was captured during a yoga session last week as November drew to an end. As I prepared to go to class I remember thinking that I was mad to be rushing off to exercise. What I actually needed was time to rest, to pause; but instead here I was pushing myself to get to class. While moving from posture to posture, I was confronted with the same dilemma – ‘I don’t want to, but I have to, so I do it’. Before every posture, I experienced ‘I don’t want to’ – it was such a powerful, all-consuming resistance. As I engaged this resistance, I just wanted to stop. I wanted to give up; to throw in the towel. But at that very moment another part of me got activated and I found myself moving into the posture. It took a lot of effort, but nonetheless, ‘I did it’. This continued for the whole of the class – 90 minutes of encountering my resistance of ‘I don’t want to’ and then still having what little energy I had to ‘still do it’.
The class was unlike any other that I had experienced. I had never before encountered such a stubborn and enduring type of resistance. Although I felt I had conquered it after each posture, it still reared its ugly head at the beginning of the next posture. In fact, the resistance was still with me as I walked out of the studio. So I hadn’t actually conquered it. Usually any resistance that I bring into the class gets neutralized by the process and eventually dissipates, leaving me peaceful at the end of class. But not this time.
The yoga class may have been a metaphor for my experiences during this very busy November. I had packed a great deal into the month. While I felt proud of what ‘I had done’, I also felt that I could have encountered the demands in a more effortless way. Being able to respond to life’s demands with more ease is certainly something I want to work on.