January 28, 2021

The Struggle Beneath the Surface: Over-Discipline & Chaos of the Mind.

Like the ducks gliding effortlessly in the pond.

While out of our sight, they are paddling with much effort.

For an in-class assignment, Waylon Lewis asked us to: 

“Describe how you feel about yourself right now. What do you expect to get out of this maitri course?” 

We were also asked to write our answer using 10 words in only one minute. I love these live writing prompts and the limited time frame. However, this was the first time that he did not tell us to be specific. 

 I wrote: “I need balance between the chaos in my mind and the over-discipline in the physical space.”

I used 17 words—sorry, not sorry.

See what I mean? My creative chaos chose the words, disregarding the rules. My disciplined self actually counted them after posting in the sidebar chat.

This prompt then turned into our homework assignment to write 400 to 500 words. He did repeat that by saying, 400 to 800. I am not counting, for now.

I needed food, then outside air, immediately after our live session. For me, it falls at noon, which is my main mealtime, so, no meal prep or eating time until after class.

Then after eating, washing the dishes, I must do a post-prandial rest and digest for 10 minutes (max 20) in a supine position with my feet on the floor or bed and knees bent. No thinking, just slow breathing. Then I must air out with a walk outside.

Luckily, it is a windy day, and the Vata of my Vata-Pitta loves to walk in the wind. Although sometimes, she, the wind, is too overly stimulating to my Vata. My mind is Vata; creative chaos rules daily. I have written about that side of me before.

So, walk I did. I let my thoughts float in and out as my hair danced in freedom, not even tethered by my mask. Inspiration needed.

I walked to the water along the north side of the apartment complex and saw a duck family. I was soothed by their graceful glide through the wakes. But, I knew that, under the water’s surface, they were paddling with much vigor.

How do I feel about myself right now? I actually feel the way I described above most of the time—well, daily. And to be truthful, I have for most of my life. I am not sure I want it any other way.

Well, the physical polar opposite of my inner chaos is sometimes a tad too much. When I practiced tai chi, then taekwondo, and added the tai chi back with the taekwondo, the physical discipline was a good balance for my scattered thinking self. Sometimes it was too much, and my pitta was stronger than my Vata for a couple of decades.

My Vata moved back into first place when I turned 60, but I started practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga to keep my balance with a regimented physical practice. I missed the martial arts I left behind at age 54. Ashtanga was a good fit. I kept balance, though, by practicing yin and also restorative as well.

I let the Ashtanga practice go, gently and with good memories. My current mat practice is an eclectic blend from eyes to toes of numerous exercises, with strength training added three times per week.

I turn labels to face forward in my fridge, cabinets, and also spices are in vertical rows according to type. (I got a 100 percent on my cabinet, fridge task in the cooking course I am currently taking. I won’t bore you with the details of my closet, but I could find anything without turning on a light. It’s scary.)

So I appear to be rambling. But, do I need to change?

Why did I sign up for the Maitri self-paced course, do it, and now find myself revisiting my pages of notes and enrolled in the live course portion? Good question, Waylon. Thank you for asking.

I am still seeking tough love for myself. The need to find acceptance fully and yet know when something needs to change.

The live gatherings are a refuge, a way to connect with others—a community of folks sharing ideas, sharing their struggles, their good days, their tough times.

Hearing and reading the stories others share brings a host of emotions—a plethora of ideas—of light bulb clarity, sadness, and grief.

I lost my heart twice this year, and it is only January 16th as I write this.

It is not to be shared publicly, but as I keep revisiting it and sitting in the sidebar on Saturdays, I hope this course will drop the shields I put up when my heart was broken.

I just looked down and left and see my word count has reached its limit.

How is your heart doing right now?

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