The other day, I sat out a second set of Camel pose and the first set of Rabbit. My heart fluttered like a hummingbird's wings and my mind hovered on panic mode. Feeling eminently sorry for myself, I flopped onto my mat and took my head into my hands. I turned gradually to look out the studio's two small windows. Rain was falling, as it has been often this San Diego fall, dripping quietly off the rafters and onto the water-logged cars below.
As if matching the level of intensity in my life, my yoga practice has been spotty. At times, I'm a fiery ball of energy, plowing through the postures with a strength I hardly recognize. But mostly, I can barely make it through class. Everything in my body and brain feels cluttered, and I feel like I'm about to suffocate.
There's just so much to do. Mid-semester evaluations. Committee work. Grading. Stopping the cats from fighting. Figuring out who to vote for. Oh, and all that regular stuff we've all gotta do, like being with loved ones and trying to care of ourselves. It can begin to feel like a house overstuffed with furniture and endless lists of chores, all so important I don't know where to begin.
I heard a line in a song that same day (the refuge of music, right?) that was like a tiny lightbulb flickering on and off. "Our heads are just houses without enough windows," Arcade Fire sing on their brilliant new album, The Suburbs. The line resonated. And then, it pissed me off.
A house without enough windows sounds pretty bad, right? Could be a prison. Could be like some of the classrooms I've taught in. Sometimes I run around feeling frustrated or sad that there aren't enough windows to open up. Why didn't the architect plan better? Didn't he think to add lots of windows? Can I hire a contractor to cut a few more holes??
I guess that's not really feasible, at least not now. I probably won't be able to transform my "home"--my head, my ego, my brain, my mind, whatever--into a cool, airy, Zen room anytime soon. Maybe, instead, the solution is to learn to just sit by the windows we do have, few as they may be, and watch the rain fall, cool and gentle, on the ground below. Maybe a tiny sip of that cool air is all we need.
Listen to "Half Light" by Arcade Fire! Do it!