There are times that I think my yoga practice might be a cover up. It reduces my anxiety, it gets me calm, it makes me feel better immediately – but long term? I’m still carrying around a lot of the same shit I did before I started yoga.Occasionally I think that the work I’m doing is suppressing, rather than diminishing, my negative emotions. Because this is how it works: I’ll be calm for many days, and nothing will get to me too much, and little things that will irk me I will set aside and “let go” – only to blow up about it a few days later, after apparently it’s been building up under the pressure of my outward need to be calm.
Clearly, this is not the intention of yoga. Am I doing it wrong? Are the techniques I use helping me to avoid my problems and put them in that little pressure cooker, or are they helping me to actually let go – I’m just not that good at it yet?
I think it’s hard for me, as a recovering perfectionist, to let go. I’m trying, guys, I really am. I swear I try to not get upset when Keith doesn’t do the dishes or finish the bathroom project he started five months ago. I try to see it from his perspective and when I do, I understand – logically – but that doesn’t take away my anxiety that it’s not yet done. That there’s something unfinished and I need it to be done and I need it to be done now.
It reminds me of that old country song, “I’m in a hurry to get things done, oh I, rush and rush until life’s no fun.” I am definitely in a hurry to get things done. Keith lets the dishes linger in the sink and get all crusty, but when he does, he does them well. I do them immediately, and they “get washed” but they’re not always very clean. Same thing with folding laundry. Keith will wait until all of the laundry is washed and leave the clean laundry sitting in a basket on the kitchen table (sometimes for a week, because the laundry isn’t all done at once) – but when he folds the laundry, it’s impeccable. I fold the laundry right after it gets out of the dryer, but I do a shitty job, and I don’t care.
Which is funny, because you think as a perfectionist, I would be impeccable with my housekeeping. But it’s quite the opposite. I’m a perfectionist about things being finished.
And while Keith is pretty good at letting go of my crappy dishwashing techniques and bad laundry folding, I only appear to be good at letting go – I really just let it build and simmer until it all comes bursting out of me at once.
That doesn’t seem like such a healthy response, yes?
So – how does this change? Two years ago I had this realization – that anything I wanted done, I needed to do myself. And that helped, a lot. But I realize that I need some interdependence. I need to be able to actually let go – because Keith is going to do shit that drives me crazy. For the rest of my life. And I can either choose to let it drive me crazy or choose to let it go.
I remember getting pissed off once in a meditation class, because it seemed like a coverup. I was upset that day, and I thought that imagining all of my problems were drifting away on the ocean was the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard. It seemed like avoidance.
There must be another way – a way in which there’s no avoidance of your problems – that you get into them and deal with your shit, so you actually learn to let go rather than just imagining it away. Where is this? What am I missing?
I guess my answer to this question is: yes, the yoga works. It calms you down, immediately. It makes you reflective and introspective. Without the yoga, I wouldn’t even be realizing this in the first place. However, I do feel like I’m missing a piece of long-term sustainability. How can I take the immediate benefits of yoga and make them into long-term benefits? How do I let go, not just superficially, but deeply?
These are my reflections this week as I get deeper into my month of meditation. Also, I purchased a book on anger by Thich Naht Hanh, so there’s that.
Here’s to actual peace for all of us, to dealing with our shit, to stopping the cover ups and starting the healing process.