Well, one might think the choice would be easy. But not with this brain! Being judgmental can be really….among other things, satisfying.
I have a bit of a twisted relationship with gyms. I’m usually a member of one, but I don’t go. I pay my fee every month as punishment for not going. Then I hate myself, both for wasting money, and for not getting off my ass and into the gym. My intentions when joining are always good. I promise myself I will go. And yet…..opposition happens, and I do almost anything to avoid. Willful girl!
Currently I’m a member at the Y. I joined because there was a climbing wall, and a sliding fee. I only used the sliding fee. I even have the gym schedules on my door! And on my desk! And in the bathroom! And on my phone, ringing me! Ugh. I’ve actually managed to look in the mirror and on the desk and not see the fluorescent schedule. It literally doesn’t compute in my brain. And when the phone reminds me, I generally swear at it.
But, a couple of weeks ago, the Y added Nia classes. I have been fascinated with the `idea’ of Nia for quite a while. A blend of yoga, dance, martial arts…go at your own pace…tribal, pulsing music…everyone looking beautiful and like they just got back from burning man or some natural hot springs (well, on youtube at least). So, I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to think. I just had to go. Period.
Let me first say that all things crystal-bunny-ish and new-agey make me cringe. I’m uncomfortable with self-expression that is waaaay over the top. It’s the English in me. When I’m in situations where people refer to themselves as beloved goddesses, I’m not sure if I want to laugh or cry. And you need to know that before I tell you about the class.
The beautiful thin instructor came in smiling beatifically. Her perfect body was wrapped in gorgeous yoga-wear, a bindi on her white forehead…lotus flower tattoo on her forearm. Namaste. The music was a mix of techno-Enya.
I was in the back of the room, and really couldn’t get out without making quite a scene. So, I just resigned myself to getting through the next hour. How much worse could it get? Well, much, much worse.
We were instructed to `reach for the moon’, `reach out and CATCH the fireflies, CATCH the fireflies’, circle our legs as if we were `taking a bite out of something’ (What?). ‘Your branches are trees, blowing in the wind. Ooohhh, the wind is blowing so hard from the left. Can you feel that pushing you over? Aaahhhh, the stretch it brings!”
I was snarkily adding my own comments to things, feeling very embarrassed…and finally just shut my eyes and danced. Danced my own way for a few minutes. Skills? Come to me now. Did I dare…could I possibly…would I allow myself to….Participate? To just shut up and throw myself in without judgments? Well, I’d try it for 3 minutes. That’s generally the rule: I’ll try it for 3 minutes.
I galloped like a horse. Snarky thought came up, I put a stop sign in front of it. I flowed like a river. ‘Nother snarky thought and stop sign. Seriously, this went on for the next 20 minutes. Accompanied by a lot of laughter, both because I really was having fun, and because my thoughts were having little fits about my having fun. Participation and having fun was so much more difficult than being judgmental! Thoughts of protest rose so often that I ended up singing them. (Oh yes, you’ll get to do this too if you’re doing an intensive program, lucky people). You’ll get to sing your thoughts. Snarky thoughts sung to Enya sound ridiculously funny. Especially when you’re catching the moon and pulling it into your belly.
I have gone to 3 Nia classes now. They’re a perfect struggle to participate fully. Last time I went the teacher shouted at me, `I can see your spirit shining. Yes, your spirit is shiiining!’. I laughed. Me? Haha! And spun around like a windmill turning with the wind.
Sing it! Sing to the tune of Cee-Lo’s F*ck You, “I can see your spirit shining.” It’s ridiculous. Perfectly so!
And just so you know that I haven’t actually turned into a crystal-bunny, I’m going to start publishing things that I wrote while I was in the first couple of years of dbt. It’s not pretty, and I’ve been avoiding listening to the recordings I made of the individual sessions. Because I didn’t just wake up one day being able to put a little `yay!’ at the end of my blogs. It was a couple of years of (mostly) hell. Punctuated with a lot of gratitude and practice.
I still don’t know if I have what I’d consider `meaningful life’. I’m lonely, anxious, sad, grieving etc. a lot of the time. But I have the ability (usually) to actively choose the path of non-misery. Not necessarily happiness. Sometimes joy. Occasionally calm. And being able to choose non-misery, or `suffering’, is huge. HUGE. Huuuge….like an elephant singing in the rain. Sing it!
Really, really hoping all of you who are in the midst of the hell can find just a little bit of hope in my writings. I don’t know you, or exactly what your pain and suffering is about…but it really can get better if you stick with this damn dbt stuff.
I’ll be thinking about you, wishing for you to stay with it. Because it’s the only thing I know that works over the long term. Lots of things `work’ to relieve pain and suffering in the short term…but are really going to be harmful to you in the long run. And I don’t know about you, but I signed up for dbt saying that I wanted a `life worth living’. A life. Not a day, or a week. Hang in there! It is worth it!