I used to set my alarm to music – but all too often I would just incorporate the sound into my dreams until i was lulled back into a state of unconsciousness. Same with the more pleasant sounds of bells, harps, and chirps.
No … I needed that deafening alarm that could drown out the sleep and force my eyes open. One where the only way to make it stop was to get my ass out of bed and actually do something about it.
Because nothing wakes us up like the scream we can’t dull – as pain gets our attention like nothing else can.
About a month ago, I started having a dull ache in my low back. It wasn’t enough to stop me in my yoga practice (yet) – it was more annoying than anything. But eventually, I’m so skilled at avoidance that I just incorporated it into my daily routine and though I always knew it was there, I found I could tolerate it without further investigation.
I guess you could say, I’m not just a heavy sleeper – but a committed one too.
But soon the pain I was experiencing went up a few decibels and would not be ignored. Seemed I’d have to actually wake up, check it out, and figure out a way to turn the sucker off.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” (Carl Jung)
So over the last few weeks, I’ve gone through my practice like a fine toothed comb, taking mental note of everything I was doing – or not doing – that brought about this pain.
I won’t bore you with all the details but once I started paying real attention, I realized some bad habits I have and behaviors that don’t serve me so well. Truth, part of me wanted to change the practice itself to escape the pain, but instead – I committed a hard look at my own actions and reactions within the practice and made a conscious decision to create change in the way I was doing things.
I’m happy to report, it worked and I’m back to happy – or my back is, rather. :)
Because not all pain is injury – though admittedly it can become crippling especially if we never address the root cause. Pain is just a symptom and healthy doses of avoidance and blame may ease our immediate suffering in the short term, are no more lasting than hitting the snooze button.
Too bad I’m not so wise in life as I am in yoga. Because I’ve also managed to pick some pretty bad habits in my daily living that have proven pretty painful as well. One in particular seems to cause me great angst …
“I don’t let people make their own mistakes.”
I put quotations around this statement because I didn’t make it. A friend did. Only she said, YOU don’t let people make their own mistakes. See, I thought I was coming to her for sympathy but what she gave me honesty instead. Ouch.
Yet she didn’t even have to point out all the areas in my life this was showing up. As soon as she said the words, I knew was right. It IS me. It’s my own behavior, my own actions and reactions that are truly causing me my pain.
It’s hard to change our own behavior and easier to lay blame for the suffering we experience. It’s easier to quit and walk away – yet over time, impossible to ignore. Because unlike the alarm clock, this shit follows us and shows up again and again. Until one day, we decide to leave our slumber and do something to make the noise stop.
Sure, this “fix it” mentality isn’t always bad and has gotten me pretty far as it can serve me and others well … until it doesn’t. I’m usually the first person people come to with a problem because I can be pretty intuitive and thoughtful (this is good) – but I’m also apparently a bit too willing to save everyone their own learning curve by “bestowing my own wisdom” (this is NOT good).
Great to have a friend/mom/partner like me around who is so capable – until it’s not. Especially when what I think a mistake is not mutually agreed upon. Because then it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong – and if we’re talking about learning, we are either both or neither.
So I either just hit their snooze and saved them their own wake up moment OR I’m kind of just being a dick. Neither one is appealing, though I happen to find the second more distasteful. But both hurt, one way or the other.
This isn’t going to be as easy as it was in my yoga practice. I know my go-to method of operation and it will require oodles of awareness and effort to restrain myself from doing what I’ve always done. Yet while this may be a hard habit to break – I also know, it will be more painful to not.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, that alarm WILL go off again (whether I like it or not). So I’m thinking that this time I’ll just wake the fck up instead.