Many people in the morning get a caffeine fix. Maybe it’s a cuppa with their slice of toast or a skinny, half whipped, freeze-dried, no foam, non-dairy, extra shot, double chocolate-d cappuccino from their vendor of choice en route to the office.
My morning fix is yoga. And boy did I need it this morning! I woke up on the wrong side of the wrong bed. Don’t get excited. It was the back bedroom as my nephew has my room each Wednesday. I’d gone to bed late after scrolling through past memories on Facebook. Photos of my last 4 birthdays were on there – me happy and actually rather slim (oblivious at the time), with friends, family, cake, presents and alcohol. There’s one photo of me on my 30th in a beautiful dress and it looks loose around the tummy (my oldest bugbear) and I thought to myself “will I still get in that dress?” “I should try it on.” “No, don’t, in case it doesn’t fit”. Next my mind flitted to the old friends on the photos that I haven’t seen or spoken to properly for ages, like my old housemates, people who I shared my day to day life with. And I felt sad. I missed my old life, my London life, my independence. And then it all spirals doesn’t it? An exchange with a family member became fractious, and difficult personal issues in my life came up and I ended up sobbing in child’s pose for a good 10 minutes of my morning Yoga practice.
I hate to be the one to tell you that there’s no quick fix to being happy, to being content. It’s like when you book a holiday in paradise and for the first 2 or 3 days it’s just perfect. You’re moving there. Life is a beach! But by day 4, there’s a cloud in the sky, you’re sunburnt and sore, there’s a hair in your new favourite dish for dinner, or someone has taken ‘your’ lounger! You start thinking about what you have to do when you get home, the washing, the catch up at work, and even begin planning your next trip away.
So despite the change in lifestyle, the healthier diet, better sleep, and a more rewarding job, I still have struggles with myself and I am not happy 100% of the time. And as suspected, my pattern of reflecting back around my birthday is not dead and buried despite my sincere gratitude for my life and those 33 things.
I have realised that slowing down and living for each day as opposed to striving to ‘achieve’ the next promotion, buying a house, finding ‘the one’, getting married, having children, is hard. It’s unsettling. And once you let go of the distractions you are left with a feeling of emptiness, of silence, of space to engage with your self. And we’re not used to this. I am still not used to it. I think part of my issue is getting caught up with the highs and lows – the flirtation of a new man, followed by the flatness of it failing to be anything, the class that’s full of 15 students one week but 4 the next. And what is it that is causing this cycle for me? Comparison. Comparing my day to yesterday. Comparing my birthday to last year’s birthday. Taking myself out of the present moment, getting caught up in my emotions and then spiralling down into negative over-thinking thought patterns like: “well, maybe now things are slower in my life I have no excuse not to find a boyfriend..” Putting pressure and judgement back on myself. No one else is doing it!
So today I will sit with these feelings and acknowledge that at least I am aware of what is going on in my ‘monkey mind’ and that I have a choice to indulge my sadness, my distractions. I can try and breath through it all and focus on one ‘real’ thing at a time (like cleaning my teeth, eating breakfast, writing this post). And I will avoid trying that dress on! Becoming aware is the starting point of finding peace and happiness within and if needs be then my yoga mat and child’s pose are always there. And that’s what Yoga is for me. A resting space. A safe space.