Saturday, December 4, 2010


I've been contemplating renovation lately. It's definitely not time for spring cleaning, but the holidays and the coming of the new year get me into pensive contemplation mode. I walk around the house, thinking, "If only I had the motivation to re-pot those chili plants. They've been hanging on for dear life for 9 months now. Gosh, I wish I had the time and the interior design know-how to replace those gnarly curtains in the bedroom."

You would not believe the curtains in the bedroom. They're red, they're IKEA (like, cheap, old IKEA), and they've been sagging and pretty much non-functional since I installed them two and a half years ago. I've been wanting to replace them since about five minutes after I put 'em up. I have ambitions to get a lot of projects done over the winter break because once the semester is under way, I'm lucky to be able to  shower regularly. 

My house needs a lot of work, but even more than my house, the inside of my head needs a little dusting and rearranging.

There's a very cool Ani Difranco song, "Back, Back, Back," that addresses exactly the idea of working on yourself now so that you're not stuck later.

She sings, "When you sit right down in the middle of yourself,
you're gonna want to have a comfortable chair
So renovate your soul before you get too old,
'cause you're gonna be housebound there."

OK, cool. Learn how to be contented with life now, because as we age, the many distractions we desperately cling to now are likely to disappear. I think most of us believe in the validity of that message, one way or another. But how do you actually renovate your soul? And what does the final "house" look like?

One of the things I'm constantly working on is my tendency to over-please. I realize that I do so even during yoga class. I think I know why I love taking classes from new teachers: I perceive them as having no expectations of me, and as a result, I "do" better. When I take a class from my studio owner (whom I love love love, by the way), I stress myself out. I wage an unnecessarily silly mental battle with myself. Because I've been practicing with her for a year and a half now, I have this self-important idea that she remembers stuff about me and holds me to a certain standard. "You NEVER sit out this posture, E. She's gonna remember! Get your fingers to your toes--that's what she's always seen you do before!" Ridiculous. Ludicrous. And as a result of that silly inner-battle, I stress myself out and add to the intensity of it all.

So, when I saw that my studio owner was teaching this morning, I made a promise to myself, a promise I apparently need to make myself before every class. "This class is NOT about her. Just listen to the words and focus on your body." Hand to God, the class was about 50% better than it normally was. I was able not to worry about what I perceived her to be thinking.

Maybe today's class had nothing to do with the actual renovation process. But maybe, I at least took out and contemplated the tools.

One day, I will actually take down those disgusting curtains.

Enjoy this cheesy video for Ani song :-)

1 comment:

Martina said...

This is so great! It instantly made me think of the relatively new bed sheet we have stapled to the window box which is far more elegant than the nothing we previously had that allowed all the neighbors and dog walkers to see who knows what going on inside the middle of myself. I think it’s little things like that which have a HUGE impact on my overall well being. I didn’t realize how anxious I felt being on stage to the neighborhood until the sheet was up and I was so much more relaxed. Just like the little things that have a HUGE impact on my practice. Like not having a sweat towel anymore, I don’t worry about it or fidget as much…just let it drip. And sucking in my stomach on so many postures…so much more room to go so much farther in the stretch. And not chugging water right before spine strengthening series…why did I ever do that? It’s the little things that clutter my practice and the middle of myself.