March has always held a special place in my heart. After the excitement of the holidays (starting on October 31st!), the build-up of Valentine's Day, and for my childhood, the long Mardi Gras season, March comes along and I get my own little holiday, my birthday, midway through the month.
This March I am giving myself a present I've both wanted and avoided, a mini-sabbatical from teaching my weekly yoga classes.* When I decided to do this, back in December, I had hit a wall of exhaustion. My responsibilities at home and work had piled up, and there was, it seemed, nothing I could let go of to give me some breathing room. I wrote in this very newsletter about how dark this felt, and how a reprieve came only when I was able to slow down and listen to what was driving the depression. Continuing to "do" wasn't working, I had to stop and pause.
Since then I have realized that I have been working this pattern most of my life. I have lots of energy naturally, and plenty of ideas of what to do with it. With all of this energy I am apt to constantly set things in motion, throwing multiple balls in the air. This would be no problem if I were able to catch all of them, place them in my pockets and take a little break to consider what balls to throw up next. Instead, I often feel as if on a train, unable to stop "doing" things on my inexhaustible to do list because I never feel "done." Even after dedicating to yoga practice and a more mindful lifestyle, this pattern has continued because I wasn't quite ready to find and pull up its roots.
My speeding train seems to have an unconscious driver, a deeply held belief that if I don't "do," I am not worthy. If I am not in motion, I am not contributing, or not doing my part, and therefore don't exist, or deserve to. So I end up hitting a wall, or having a train crash, both messy ways to slow down, and not very fun for those around me. In order to slow down this train, or get off it entirely, I have to see clearly what is driving it, and come to this aspect of myself with compassion.
This month I am committed to taking more loving pauses, smelling the daphne and witch hazel that are blooming, and being with friends and family. I still have work to do, a house and family schedules to attend to, but I will keep watching for the unconscious driver, the habit of doing that draws me like a drug. I'll give it a smile of understanding and then I will gently slow the train to a sustainable speed, one that allows for scenic views, stops in small towns, and a long rest back at the station every evening.
Anne Phyfe Palmer
Owner and Education Director
8 Limbs Yoga Centers
*I will still teach the Thursday 10am at 8 Limbs Capitol Hill on March 8 & 15. All other classes will be taught by my fabulous subs. Join me at a Partner Prenatal or Yoga & Writing Workshop.