How big is your pile?

I’m back to the blog after more than a month. I wish I was driven to write more.  I want to be able to write a blog everyday, or every other day, but honestly, at this time in my life I’m just not that inspired. I’d rather my blog be meaningful than sounding like a long list of Facebook status updates, which I think can happen when bloggers prattle on with little inspiration but a need to share in order to process life for themselves.  But I digress.

A fantastically frank friend of mine was counseling me today and said (and I’m translating here to relate to this article) that in life we each have our own “sack of shit.”  We have our own problems.  Our sacks or piles of shit stink, figuratively (and maybe literally), and they may be very real problems in our reality.  But if we didn’t have our problems, we’d have another list of problems. So if we were to get ride of our current problems, we may just be trading one sack of shit for another.  

Which, until we find ourselves enlightened and without problems altogether, is an honest assessment of life.  It can be so easy to get caught up in our own problems, get so deep into our own pile of shit that we can’t see out anymore.  I know for me, in dealing with my injury and other things, some days I’m so far into my pile that I shut off from the rest of the world; I turn down invitations from friends and stay at home, where I can cry the makeup off my face without worry, dissolve into a puddle in front of the TV, or bury myself in mystery novel.  

I’ve found that just often enough, something comes along to push me back out of my pile and into the living and breathing world.  A good, honest friend, for example, who can put things into perspective without enabling my samskaras, or habitual patterns, that keep me locked away in a sea of self loathing.  For me, the other push is yoga.  

I’m a do-it-yourself-er.  As much as possible.  I make some of my own clothes, including yoga attire, cook at home, bake bread, paint the house, landscape, etc.  Often times in the past, I’ve preferred practicing yoga at home, so that I can practice in peace, without being distracted by the grunting man in the corner or the woman who ads bind to every posture. Practicing at home is great, as long as I stay motivated.  One of the most interesting and frustrating parts of my injury is that I’ve seen myself lose motivation, which frightens me.  I’ve always been able to wake up at six o’clock a.m. for a five or six mile run, yoga practice, or surf and be to work or school by eight, excel throughout the day, make myself a healthy meal for dinner, and find another enterprising activity to accomplish at night.  Now that it hurts to exercise, I’ve not only lost the stimulating release of endorphins I was so addicted to, I’ve also lost my addiction to them.  The bottom line is that I need a push to motivate.  I especially need my teacher to lead my yoga, no matter how much I may have to modify the postures that day.

Yoga helps me out of my pile if I’m in one, but also back into the pile if I’ve come too far out.  See, our pile of shit is there for a reason.  For me, it’s trying to figure out what the driving force is behind my spinal dysfunction; both the physical and the emotional. Until I do, my body will continue to experience pain.  If I get too distracted trying to live a “normal” life, like I did before pain, then a challenging day in asana practice will remind me that it’s time to dig deep into the pile again and look for answers.

So really, digging into the pile isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Neither is hiding in a book for a day or two if that’s what it takes to find the courage to keep digging and find the way to the bottom of the pile.  If digging through my pile offers a nugget of golden information or two, then it was well worth the stink.

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