Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stagnation or Stillness

I awoke today in a bit of a frenzy. I turned over to see the clock flashing 7am, and not realizing what day it was, began to panic that I had missed practice. In trying to arise from the fog of sleep, I slowly concluded that today was Sunday and actually still had an hour of sleep ahead of me.

I love Sunday practices. I think they are especially juicy because I get to sleep in and I usually have no where to be during the day. This day in particular I had no work to do, no tests to study for and no house to frantically clean. There is something to being able to "lolly-gag" on the mat and really sink into the practice, loosing track of time. However, this was not the case this morning. I had come to think that this pervading feeling of "stagnation" that I am experiencing recently during my yoga practice would come to fade when the stress and anxiety of school wore off, but as I practiced I felt myself riding along this forever stretching plateau. It is not a lack of enjoyment or excitement, but more of a lull. In the past two years I have moved through primary series and into second series with a steady pace. New poses bringing new challenges and hurdles. However, I am now into month 3 of consistency, sameness, repetition. No new poses and no new challenges, just the same struggles...jumping back, rising out of karandavasana, backward bends. It is as though I am sitting in my own stew, marinating in the difficulty and lack of progress. It is hard and it is frustrating. It is uncomfortable.

I decided, while biking home, that I need to change my perspective. I will now be trying to refer to this period, not of stagnation (because somehow that conjures up flies and stale sewage) but of stillness. Maybe this is where the learning really takes place. Where the understanding and connection grows. Where practice meets theory. It is so easy to get caught up in the bustle of everything, to get dragged by the current, that when the water becomes still it is as if I have forgotten how to swim. Without the pull and push, I am left to do all the work. But I am thinking this is where development and growth happen. In this stillness. There is a strawberry here somewhere. I might just have to sweat it out for a bit.

As this is my last day on call, I have been thinking a lot about this past semester and the 22 babies I have caught. I have written a lot for today, so stay tuned for some thoughts on the whole baby catching business:)

I was talking with a friend today about blogging and said that I felt it could be a bit narcissistic in some ways. Here I am, assuming that I have something interesting to say, when maybe it is all just a bit of chatter. She suggested that blogs can be a great way to share information. So in light of her brilliant suggestion, I think I will try to share one interesting thing when I blog, whether it be an article or a beautiful picture, or maybe just a silly joke. Here is today's. My cousin's wife is an amazing artist and I am deeply moved by her paintings. There is a youthfulness and playfulness to her work, yet at the same time there is so much depth and mystery. I wish I could crawl into her paintings and get lost in the details. Check out her website!

Mark and I are off to Washington D.C. tomorrow to explore and enjoy. Pictures to come (once I figure out how to post them...and if we remember the camera:)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Not so eloquent

I have been wanting to start a blog for some time now, but for whatever reason just never got the gumption to do so. I posed this idea to a few people in the past week and was surprised that no one thought it was silly, so in response to their response I have begun a blog. I am not a great writer or eloquent in anyway with words, but I will try my best.

What you ask is the topic? I have no idea. I do not see a clear or set path, no outcome or goal desired. Simply a place to place my thoughts. I am transitioning into a time of great change, something that I must admit I am not good at. I am heading into my final semester of Midwifery school, actually my final semester of school period. This semester is quite different than the past 20years of schooling that I have participated in. I will be "out there" really working as a student-midwife. I will take on the schedule of a practicing midwife and work with her as she does. There is no class, no exams, no paperwork, and no case studies. Only good old fashion work...catch babies, work in the office, and come home...sometimes. The only exam that I have to worry about is our comprehensives at the end of the semester. This semester is about honing all the skills I have gained over the past 4 years and putting them to use. A scary transition into a role of great responsibility.

I have never not been a student. I went right from high school, to college, to nursing school, and right into midwifery school. The short break 4 month break after nursing school, I did a yoga teacher training program...again still a student. I will always be a student, but come December I will not be a student in the most concrete of terms. This is a huge change.

Once I graduate in December I will be heading off to India to practice yoga in Mysore, India fr two months. I am an Ashtangi, who is completely captivate by the practice of Ashtanga Yoga. From the time I stepped on to the mat to practice this beautiful tradition on January 4th, 2008, I have been taken away by its impact on my life. I am devoted to this practice and am excited to share my journey here.

The relevancy of this blog in the grand scheme of things is probably small and insignificant, but I enjoy so much to read the blogs of friends. There is a sense of connection that, while they may be far away, or I didnt get the chance to talk to them that day, I am still part of their lives. I get to participate, feel what they are feeling, or ponder what they are thinking. I enjoy their words. Maybe someone will meet that enjoyment here.

So, with my first post I shall set the scene as to the choice of my title for the blog..."Finding the strawberry." I was taking a yoga class a few years ago with a great teacher who had a talent for telling stories. She began with the Zen story below:

The Strawberry

There was once a man who was being chased by a ferocious tiger across a field. At the edge of the field there was a cliff. In order to escape the jaws of the tiger, the man caught hold of a vine and swung himself over the edge of the cliff. Dangling down, he saw, to his dismay, there were more tigers on the ground below him! And, furthermore, two little mice were gnawing on the vine to which he clung. He knew that at any moment he would fall to certain death. That's when he noticed a wild strawberry growing on the cliff wall. Clutching the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other and put it in his mouth.

He never before realized how sweet a strawberry could taste.

I am not sure this is the exact translation, but it is the heart of the story. Somehow, in reading it there is a loss of emotion and energy that was tangible when it was shared by mouth. "Finding the Strawberry" is a mantra that I have used to help get through the trials and tribulations of nursing and midwifery school, as well as all the major life changes that come with more trips around the sun. While I am sure there are many meanings behind this story, I see it as the constant reminder to find the good and focus on that, instead of all the things that are crumbling down around you. These past few years of school have been hard and the struggle to stay afloat seems to become more and more difficult. But, as my dearest friend Elsa always reminds me, we MUST find the strawberry.

Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay!