September 4, 2012

A Classic Case of Chronic Dissatisfaction Syndrome. ~ Antoinette Villamil

Source: ehow.com

Only 10 days into a more than three month yoga teaching and therapy training program in Mumbai, India, and I’m already thinking of leaving early.

Like, in-a-couple-of-weeks-instead-of-a-couple-of-months-early.

“The training isn’t what I want,” I resolved a few days ago. “I don’t even want to work in the yoga field anymore. I’ll just get back to North Carolina and get an office job.”

And the next day I decided, “The food isn’t working for me. It’s giving me heartburn.”

And the next, “I don’t sleep well here, sweating on this thin, hard mattress. I’ll get sick if I don’t get enough sleep. I should go home.”

How easy it is to convince oneself of, well, just about anything. Do you feel sick? Focus on feeling sick and, very quickly, you will. Thinking that your partner isn’t what you want anymore, that you’d be better with someone else… Focus on her negative traits and you’ll soon leave her. Feeling homesick? Keep thinking about it and you’ll soon find yourself on a plane.

What I love and loathe about being here is the rawness of things, from the filth on the street to the way people speak curtly and honestly.

“What’s that on your face?” a student asked me one day, referring to the unsightly blotches on my forehead and cheeks, evidence of sun damage I acquired after living in the desert for so long. I can’t imagine someone I just met in the U.S. asking the same question.

Further, the vast amount of suffering here still baffles more than upsets me. I have to keep reminding myself that we see suffering everywhere we go: it might be the well-dressed lawyer on the verge of a heart attack who hates his life but keeps making the same choices each day; it might be the dog I saw on the streets this morning, wandering aimlessly, his skin pink and hairless, his tail and ears singed, his body covered in burns. When I spied him by the train station, I quickly employed a trick I learned from a friend who has spent much time in India: to make my eyes unfocused, blur my vision, so I can’t see such sights clearly. Otherwise, I won’t be able to stay.

But somehow the harshness of daily life for so many is not even the hardest part about being here. Neither is the heat and humidity, or the feeling of never being clean or rested, or eating strange food that, some days, I don’t even like. These obstacles are manageable because I know that I can be back to my old life in 36 hours if I choose.

What is difficult is quite surprising. That one classmate that grates on my nerves; or not having the time to go shopping like the spoiled American princess that I am; or being required to be in class at certain times. In other words, it’s the same old silly stuff, what I like to call chronic dissatisfaction syndrome, that creates problems.

The absolute beauty of yoga, this science that teaches how to control the modifications of the mind, is that one can truly learn how to live. We are alive, but do we know how to live? How to eat and breathe and think and stretch and relax properly? Do we know how to find peace in each moment, regardless of how painful that moment might be? Do we know how to be quiet, to close our eyes and focus on our breath and be truly still, if only for a couple of minutes? I’m trying to learn this, but it certainly isn’t easy.

Chronic dissatisfaction syndrome flares up and I think of my aching back and my rumbling stomach and all the reasons I have to be unhappy with what is presented to me in the moment, not the mention my worry about the future. The mind has to focus on something, but the good news is that, although practicing it still feels impossible, I finally believe that I can choose how to focus my mind’s attention. As a teacher in this course said last week, “Instead of the mind as your boss, make the mind your slave.”

Unfortunately, the boss is here tonight and the image of that burnt dog is etched into my mind. I’m struggling to find something positive about his plight but I am unable. Is the answer to simply look away, to go home and stay tucked in my cushy middle class life in the U.S.? Or, just accept that this is his course in life, his karma, and that I can’t do anything to change it? I have no answer. At the very least, he makes me increasingly grateful for my own problems and happy to greet them with a smile. Perhaps that is a selfish reason to stay, but for now, I will.


Antoinette Villamil received a Master of Fine Arts in poetry in 2007 and is currently at work on her first book. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and a feisty cat.





Editor: Seychelles Pitton

Like elephant Adventure on Facebook!

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

http://www.bayareashod Mar 16, 2013 1:51pm

I am sure the majority of the webpage people have no doubt about the strength of your social websites advertising plan. Furthermore, many people have no doubt about who advertising thru social websites will skyrocket your web site rankings in addition to strengthen your web based occurrence. What precisely the majority of the online surfers are not familiar with is usually -how you can take advantage of the strength of social websites with their modest organisationrrrs bonus. Other ways a few tips which could assist you in ones social websites interests. The most important thing to consider concerning social websites is basically that you want to create an interesting in addition to user generated content. It is a types of material what folks will want to give away to the colleagues in addition to supporters on their community background. Establish material that is educational in addition to appealing, if not no one will want to discuss it all. Intriguing material http://www.cloudcontessa.com may drive the attention from your enthusiasts in addition to enthusiasts. They will most likely need to discuss the application, which could raise your opportunities to get additional supporters in addition to customers. Leave room with regard to research in addition to errors rrnside your social websites system, specifically in inception. Await that which is and what’s no longer working. Analyze every little thing. Try to get alterations while essential. An item efficient with regard to similar organizations would possibly not be good enough. You might want to learn on ones research in addition to issues. When employing these advertising and promotion, you may have to regulate in addition to rekindle ones focus in addition to desired aims regularly. Like that you might stay with target. Are available your countless points which may bring ones advertising downward sudden techniques. Therefore it is advisable to re-evaluate your route it’s going regularly. Undertake it more regularly. Look at activities and discover what type is among the most productive. xrtiu6fd8gf

pamela caudill Sep 5, 2012 4:43pm

Excellent. Very insightful Nena.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

elephant journal

Elephant Journal is dedicated to “bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society.” We’re about anything that helps us to live a good life that’s also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant’s been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter’s Shorty Awards for #green content…two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? Send to [email protected]