I have recently discovered some insightful books by Dani Shapiro. One is an audio book called Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love. The other is called Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage. Dani Shapiro also has a podcast called Family Secrets, through which I have discovered some other beautiful authors as well.
So this week’s Saturday share is a quote that resonated with me from Hourglass.
Wow. Yes. Time is ever falling away. Be present to your life, as much as you can. And don’t take it too seriously. It’s only life, after all.
She looked at the clock which read 12:45 and said: I didn’t realize the time had gone so quickly! Me, thinking that people had forgotten to turn the clock back thought: 11:45! I thought I had been dancing for longer than 10 minutes! In fact, the time was ~12:05…
I hadn’t looked at my phone and wasn’t wearing a watch. Eventually someone got up to change the clock to the “correct” time.
But the point had already been made for me – when you are lost in a moment of flow, or the pure enjoyment of a moment, you lose all sense of time.
Also, the idea of “correct” time had me thinking of the fact that time is designated purely for arbitrary and convenience reasons. Daylight savings time changes are archaic back and forth switches that mess with our natural circadian rhythms.
It has been difficult for me to explain to people that when I am completely in “writing world” or perhaps doing something I enjoy, like dance, yoga, or sometimes even working at my new job, time can feel suspended. I have no sense of the “feeling” of time passing.
In contrast, when I am doing something I do not enjoy, or immersed in chores that aren’t my favorite, I am keenly aware of the time passing.
When I first started to meditate, I could sit for maybe 3 minutes before I would want to bolt. All of that silence got my mind stories to play far too loudly and it was hard for me to relax. I’ve since learned that anchoring with the breath, with sensations in the body or the sounds around me has helped reduce the “noise” of my mind.
People who study quantum physics, as well as many mystics, often say that time is an illusion. When the leap was made from linear, 3-dimensional thinking to quantum, infinitely dimensional thinking, suddenly the space opened up for new relationships with time.
What is your relationship with time? Do you think there is never enough? Do you feel an abundance of time when you can be fully present?
May you, my dear readers, be curious and open to the experiences that captivate your time.
It is our fifth and final week of this series exploring the Yamas and learning asanas and soma yoga practices to support these principles.
Aparigraha is often translated as non-possessiveness, non-attachment or non-clinging. It is about understanding impermanence and honoring the divine flow of life. Nothing that is vital and growing stays the same. This teaching can help us to realize that what we cling to can keep us imprisoned.
Many of us cling to possessions, like cars or homes, fearing what we will become if we don’t have these things. Sometimes we cling to friendships that have come to an end, not realizing that the energy to maintain those relationships is actually stealing energy from other relationships or own vitality.
Aparigraha can also be applied to our expectations of ourselves or of other people. How often do we become prisoners of our expectations of others, rather than letting people be who they are? Can we learn to let go of those expectations, understanding that we not only free the other person, we free ourselves too?
One of my favorite parts of the practice of aparigraha is the letting go of old ideas about ourselves. Sometimes this is scary. We have told ourselves a story of our limitations and this has kept us from being vulnerable, from being truly seen. By getting truthful and current with ourselves (practicing satya), we realize there is growth and possibility that we miss by being stuck in the old story.
Letting go of beliefs and thoughts we have can be facilitated through coaching or mentoring. This is because it is sometimes hard to realize we are not stating “truth” but rather just re-playing an old pattern of thoughts. While they are not true, the may feel true, simply because we have repeated them without examining and questioning them. A good coach can gently challenge our beliefs and help us begin the process of letting go.
For the over-thinkers among us, letting go of worries and concerns may be challenging. In yoga, we settle our nervous systems in preparation for meditation, a practice of watching our thoughts without attachment. Often a mantra can help when watching the breath may not be enough. A mantra or phrase repeated again and again can keep the mind busy, so that the quiet openness does not tempt the mind to run off. And when it does (as mine inevitably does) we apply ahimsaand gently bring it back.
When it comes to letting go, what is most challenging for you? Feel free to post a comment. I am curious.
—does it seem there is extra craziness in the air?
Here in North America in the central time zone, the autumnal equinox occurs at 4:50 a.m. on Monday the 23rd. I have also noticed there is a weird “craziness” that seems to occur as the seasons change.
We had our last official YTT-200 call on Thursday night. A number of things made it difficult for me to get there on time: there was an unknown game at the University of Minnesota. It was not on the schedule I had printed out, in order to advise myself of times not to get “caught” in my parking lot. So there’s that.
I saw the marching band walk by, and the frat houses were tailgating around 6pm when I was leaving the office. It occurred to me as I watched the line of dozens of cars trying to exit the parking lot where I typically park, that I would not make it home by 7pm for the call.
So I locked my bag in my car, thinking I would grab something to eat for dinner in the meantime, and then call in via voice, perhaps not video call. I opted to go back to my office so I could grab my headset and perhaps listen in on the call on the way home. I had my badge with me, so I was able to get into the office. But because I brought my purse and not my bag, I didn’t have the keys to my desk. 😦
So I took the call from my cube, in an empty office. Oh the joys of “variable attention”… my gift is my curse sometimes.
Other yoga sisters had some similar stories. One was fighting a migraine, and others were able to log on a little late. Our teacher mentioned that it is autumn, which is a season of change. Indeed.
Be gentle with yourself in this season of change. It will all get done. Technically all you have to do today to survive is breathe. So keep breathing! Big, diaphragmatic breaths…
This week I express gratitude for the therapeutic value of music when it comes to calming and centering yourself.
On the way home from work today I listened to Cloud Cult and there are two particular songs I have come to love, after a fellow trainee in my YTT class shared one of her favorites.
It is called The Show Starts Now and it brought tears to my eyes when I heard it. The message was one I needed to hear. My heart was very full that day, and the song resonated with the knowledge that my yoga sisters and I were leaving this lovely experience behind. We are now moving to another phase of our personal work and teaching practice.
I explored other songs on the same album. You’re the Only Thing In Your Way was another one with a message I needed to hear. Sometimes poetry and music can express and help you process emotions in a way that no other medium can reach. Perhaps this is why social movements always seem to rely on the collective experience of music to unite people.
Another lovely piece that I wish could become an anthem for all women is I Am Enough by Daphne Willis.
Rhythm and resonance have the power to move us all.
What music resonates with you when you are in a place of tenderness?