Every year or so, we move for my husband's job. A move from Europe to the US sounds like a pretty big deal, but I've done it a number of times so you'd think I'd be used to it by now, right? Wrong. This move is different because last year we were going to be returning to the same town in Europe. That's not the case with this move, so everything feels really final and this week has been crazy. Am I sounding like a broken record? Wait, don't answer that.
Mentally, I don't exactly feel stressed out, but physically my body is telling me otherwise. I'm getting maybe five to six hours of sleep per night. My joints, which have been nearly perfect for the last few months, are starting to swell and click in the recent days. All signs of stress. In anticipation of the next few months, I have all these ideas wildly bubbling up in my head about things I want to write about, do, see, try. I'm finalizing details of our yoga program for the Ibiza retreat next week. I'm organizing upcoming retreats and workshops. I'm excited about what's to come from our move back home, and overwhelmed by the amount of packing that needs to be done. I can't believe all the shit I've acquired despite my self-imposed don't-buy-anything-in-Europe-because-it's-certainly-cheaper-in-the-US rule.
My dog needed an MRI yesterday (still don't know what's wrong with his knee!) and I know there are so many viral funny videos of people waking up from anesthesia, but to me there was nothing funny about a 50 pound dog not knowing what's going on and desperately trying in vain to lift his head only to have it smash against the concrete wall at the vet's, his tongue hanging out limply. (We subsequently rushed to his side and wedged ourselves between him and the wall.)
There's an added layer of sadness blanketing everything as I teach my last classes, sometimes so overcome with gratitude toward the students who have been (mostly) so welcoming and kind, tolerating my elementary (at best) German for so long that after they get up from savasana I can barely breathe a "Thank you for coming" as the tears well up.
I recently posted the above to Facebook. One person commented that he was reading it from his hammock and couldn't agree more. Another simply said, "It's easier said than done." And to that I whole heartedly agree.
I'm sitting here, mentally sorting through my current situation, and it is easy to crumble and throw a pity party for one. But maybe this is exactly where I need to be? Maybe there's something to be learned. I keep asking myself, "What's the lesson?"
On the other hand, maybe there is no lesson. Maybe it just boils down to a lot of shit that needs to get done and I'm only one person so yeah, I'm overwhelmed and stressed and emotional. Maybe I just need to take a few things off my plate.
So I set aside everything I have planned to accomplish this afternoon and took a bath. I brought my Kindle, (side note: I'm not a clumsy person but every single time I get in the bath with my kindle I hold onto it with a death-grip, always half-sure I'm going to drop it) and began reading this book. About twenty minutes later, I came across this quote:
Woah, I thought. Am I doing that? My natural reaction is to have a meltdown (which I totally did about thirty minutes prior to today's bath). Did that make things worse? Does it make it worse to write an entire blog post about how overwhelmed and emotional I feel about this move? (Don't answer that, either!)
In the yoga practice, especially the more athletic practices, we talk about the importance on non-reaction. That used to be so difficult for me, to be holding something like lizard pose for 20 breaths and not wanting to scream or kill someone. The rage-filled thoughts that went through my head were continuous like the headlines at the bottom of a television newscast. I thought the yoga teachers who preached non-reaction were nuts. But at some point I was able to flick the thoughts switch off during class and now it's rare that I'll have that same experience.
So can I do that in real life? I don't know. I mean I know it can be done, I just don't know if I can do it. Maybe this post is mostly pointless since I don't have any real concrete idea of how to not react in times of stress. But maybe that in itself is the lesson- the realization that I am great at non-reaction on the yoga mat and the time has come for that to extend off the mat as well. Maybe.