One of the best things I have really begun to understand this year is the Buddhist concept of the capacity to not follow our thoughts. It has a name but I can’t recall it. (Obviously didn’t feel the need to follow that particular train of thought.)
Who knew we don’t have to believe everything we think?
When I started doing yoga seriously, like every day at home, and classes three times a week, I found myself crying on occasion and I’m not the only one. I’ve seen chat on Facebook that there are lots of women who won’t go to yoga classes because it makes them cry. Regular readers will know I’m a huge fan of ‘getting that shit out’ and if it means a good cry on my yoga mat, than so be it.
Our bodies need to release the locked in memories, particularly in the hips.
First time I had a big cry I was in a safe place with a teacher trained in Yin and Therapy Yoga. We were in half pigeon pose and I was overwhelmed with old memories and sadness that had obviously been locked deep in my hips. I also had a recurring memory of my first husband and I walking across the paddock near our house. No drama, no pain, just walking and talking. Who knows why I keep recalling that.
When I started daily meditation, I was in a very deep emotional hole and I wanted out. I was sick of myself, to be honest. My meditation was a mix of Vipassana (silent meditation) and guided meditations like The Wheel of Awareness (Dr Dan Seigel) or Joe Dispenza’s Space meditations which are like a super charged yoga nidra. The silent sitting, concentrating on my breath was powerful but like everyone I was beset by ideas and thoughts. I took to keeping a journal next to me during meditation so I could write down things that came to mind. I had started writing daily and was convinced that every thought was a potential gem for the story I was writing.
I certainly got some great insight and inspiration from those sessions but I see now that I could have separated the two; do my seated meditation THEN do my journaling. Anything important would have come out in my Morning Pages.
This year my personal meditation practice has again focused on guided meditation and pranayama techniques like yoga nidra and Nadi Shodana. I seem to be able to sit in Vipassana after yoga which after all was the original purpose of the asanas; to quiet the mind for seated meditation. I’ve just done 15 minutes of vipassana and my goodness, what a busy head I have. Mind you I interrupted every thought and allowed it to dissipate. That’s the second step in the process, the first being recognising the thoughts. After almost 3 years of daily meditation I have worked out how to interrupt and thought and not follow it even to the end of the sentence.
Whatever it is, it can wait.
But the memories are the hardest to ignore.
I’m on a short vacation at the Sunshine Coast, a place I have visited since childhood. I have some great memories here and I’m enjoying making some new memories with my husband. Last time I was here I let myself think too long about all the place that remind me of my first husband and the laundry list of things I did wrong as a young woman.
This time I am using the interruption of thoughts to just stop each memory as it bubbles up. I am also cursed with a ridiculously good memory, one that is strongly tied to sense stimulation. A scent, a song, a particular bend in the road, a view… My deja vu game is strong! But this time I am putting up a mental road block and saying goodbye to all the unhappy memories, to all the ways I could have been better or done things differently.
It’s time to let those things go because all I can do is forgive myself and be better NOW. As try as I might in my writing, I can’t go back and do it all again. It’s time to start travelling a bit lighter…a little interior minimalism.
I’m doing Nanowrimo again this year and because I’m a goody two shoes and a stickler for the rules (sigh) I’m working on a new story. Instead of working on The Circle of Ashes or the LA post-apocalyptic stories/series, I’m writing 1700 words a day of a story set in Australia this year.
And in the usual vein my story focuses on strong women, regret, grief and love.