Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring is Here!

Yesterday I did 108 Sun Salutations. Spring is here!

It’s not the first time I’ve done 108 Sun Salutations, 108 Vinyasas or 108 prostrations, but it was the first time I haven’t counted. Yesterday I let go, and had faith in my teacher to do the counting for me. I tried to breathe through each salute as if it was the first, or the last, and let go of my need for control. It sort of worked.

Doing 108 Sun Salutations is as much an exercise of the mind as it is of your physical body and your breath, and boy did my mind try to play games with me. In the past I’ve done them in sets of 12, so you know that there are nine sets and you get a break after every 12. Yesterday, I just breathed. Without my glasses on, I counted even see the 108 flowers on the mirror, one of which was taken down after each flow, no way of knowing how far I’d come, or how far I had to go.

It’s interesting to observe where my mind goes, when my body is pushed, there’s sweat pouring from me, and I’m in a room with forty two other dripping people. I thought about work, I thought about my past, I thought about my future, I let the thoughts come, and I let the thoughts go, trying to come back to my breath, and only my breath.

There was also a constant battle going on between my mind and my body, as I worked to find the balance between pushing myself, and killing myself. After five years of yoga I usually know the difference. 

It started with my feet, they hurt, they felt crampy, “maybe you should just take a break”, said a part of my mind. Then it was my calves, and my hamstrings, aching, and a part of my mind saying “maybe you should just give up”. Other parts of my mind fought back, I knew I could do this, I’d done it before, I deepened my breath, deepened my resolve, and my teacher put on the Spice Girls. Definitely not the most reverent or bliss inducing choice, but the absolute perfect thing to give me the energy to keep going.

I danced my way through the next three songs.

Then it got hotter, or it felt like it was. I began to modify my Sun Salutations, proud of myself for getting through so many, as I’ve always modified all of them in the past.

My body is amazing.

I started to shiver despite how hot I was, and started wondering if this was a symptom of heat stroke, even though I know it isn’t, and besides, I was still dripping away. And all of a sudden in amongst the aches, the shivers, the sweat, and the back and forth in my mind, we were down to our last 12. Deep breaths. Jump Backs. Counting out loud. Rihanna. Gaga.

It was over.

I lay in savasana and decided not to move. I was overwhelmed with the heat, and the physical effort and the emotional battle. But, there was a smile on my face, and there is now as I write this. We do this all so that we can come back to savasana. How amazing does savasana feel after a practice like this.

The final mind battle was the urge to flee from the room. In the wise part of my mind I know that the longer the savasana the better, after all that exertion and all that breathing. Other parts of me though just wanted out, to be cool, to have salt, to have sugar, to have anything that wasn’t savasana in a hot room. And I breathed, and I waited, until  I slowly left the room and joined some of my Sangha as we sat and shared our joy.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Do I?

I've been trying to figure out lately whether I like my job. I'm working in a job that would definitely not have been my first choice if I had my pick of social work positions. I accepted it because I was unemployed and it was a permanent job in government during a government hiring freeze. I accepted it on the advice of a trusted supervisor. I accepted it because I had to, or risk losing my unemployment insurance. So, I accepted the job, and I turned down another one just after. I'll never know if I would have liked the other one better. So here I am, new job, and really feeling like it's not an amazing fit but that I can still do some very good work, but do I like it?

Let's start with the good things about my job.
- I'm learning a lot about case management
- I get a lot of independence
- I have an assistant who does my filing
- I get to do a ton of networking
- We have every colour of post-it flag ever (in fact our supply room is twice the size of my last supervisor's office)
- It's downtown so I can go for indoor walks through the skywalks and tunnels when it's freezing cold out
- It's only one bus from home
- I'm learning a lot about geriatrics
- I make more money than I've ever made before

And some not so great things.
- I have very little client contact
- SO much dealing with money
- I never see my supervisor
- I get NO feedback on my work other than grammar corrections
- It's busy all the time but I find the work itself boring
- I feel extremely awkward having an assistant
- We're not allowed to hang things on our walls or put tacks in them
- I work for lawyers.

The bottom line is that I feel stuck. I might like this job more if I hadn't got laid off from the old one. One of the hard things about this job is that I'm resentful about having to be there at all. I also keep coming across stuff the person before me screwed up and having to fix it. On the other hand, I feel like in this job I really get to have a voice for the voiceless, and I like that. I just sort of feel like I could use my gifts and talents better somewhere else. That administration just isn't the best place for me. And yet, I'm not looking for a new job. I want my old job back. Still. And if I stay in government it will be a lot easier. Plus, I really don't want to start anything new, I don't want to have to start everything all over again, I've only been in this job 11 weeks. I'd like to work my way up to having holidays somewhere so my dad and I can go to Europe. I'd like to work my way to having a bank of sick time, in case I get sick. I'd like to be somewhere, and make a name for myself. I was doing all those things at the old place....

There isn't any room for advancement at this job. I'm 26 and I'm already at the top if I stay here. The only way to be higher would be to become a lawyer, which just isn't happening. My supervisor is a lawyer. I also don't see myself being able to have much impact on any policy changes or systemic issues at this job. I can do my little bit, but I feel like I could do more somewhere else. It strikes me that perhaps I need to set a time limit on this job. Give myself time to learn the job, to adjust, and to give it a real and full chance, but if after a time frame I'm still not happy, giving myself permission to look for something new. And really, I'd at least like to get through my three month review...