I almost always manage to make it to Restorative Yoga on Monday mornings at Halifax Yoga on Purcell Cove Road. In some ways, it is an hour that is better than my infrequent Sundays at Quakers lately. We spend time breathing, letting go, setting intentions, letting go and by and large relaxing the hell out of ourselves. At Quakers, if the Light is on, I should be prompted to an action that reflects my values and nourishes my relationships, but as you will see, I'm not sure I want any promptings to action.
I learned about "sun-culpa" this Monday. It is a theory that instead of stating an intention as "May I be....(loving, relaxed, strong, healthy etc.) the intention is stated as "I am.....(loving, relaxed, strong and so on). It changes the intention from the hopeful potential future to the declarative present.
On Monday, I decided my intention was to be balanced. May I be balanced became I am balance. I have been giving myself a hard time about my schedule, not getting everything done in a week or a day, slapping my own wrists for having too much on my list so I set myself up for disappointment when I don't get it all done. Even at the day's or week's end, when I look at the pile of stuff I did get done, I judge it and feel it is inadequate.
I spent a silly hour ranting at myself. If I were to do everything on my intention list my day would look like....
wake up, aerobic walk, personal hygiene including flossing teeth, sort laundry, make bed, make breakfast, eat breakfast while reading improving pages from an improving source, do dishes, get to studio, do studio work of a writing, sewing, blogging, spinning, weaving, drawing kind of thing, take a tea break, do a quick chore, back to studio, stop for lunch, while eating lunch clean one of the floors of the house including dusting or paying the bills, read some more improving something or other, get back to studio, studio time, go for a fast walk to compensate for the chocolate bar I pretend is part of my intentional practice since it is fair trade chocolate, do two chores, begin dinner, do another chore, serve dinner, practice recorder while Steve does the dishes, find moments to call parents or children or friends who I haven't heard from lately, organize a coffee time with friends, fit in yoga, oh yes, somewhere on the days that I don't have a yoga class, do some yoga moves, remember to shave my legs once in a while, try to fit in baking a desert or muffins once a week, go to my Bee and go to my other Bee, go to recorder lesson, get to the market and grocery store and since it is nearly November, start Christmas shopping, get some charity knitting in, read some of my latest novel, go to bed, read some more improving words, sleep through the night without hot flashes, do not toss cat off bed when it gets too hot, do not scream at Steve for snoring when it was my own snoring that woke me up.
Does this look sane?
And I don't work out of the home. Is this a rational list from which to carve out balance? Nothing on that list seems out of whack with living a normal life, but it looks demented when it is written down or spoken out loud. What if I had to add back in: clean up after kids, clean up kids, listen to kids, listen to teachers complain about kids, supervise homework, do homework. What if I had to add back in: get to work on time, pay attention at work, work, go home from work, buy things to compensate or support work. I haven't even mentioned sex because you don't need to know what that list looks like. Great God almighty, these are the lists that make us a society that is discontent, racing madly in all directions and unable to settle down if a quiet moment presents itself.
But what do we or I cut out of that list? Everything on those lists has an important element about it. It is the sheer quantity of it all that makes it mad.
My conclusion is that the intention "I am balanced" is not about the list, it is about the attitudes I take into the actions. Am I angry, sad, hurt, sleepy, happy, nervous? Can I breathe and let go of the negative energies? Can I breathe and use the positive energies to enjoy the activities? If not, can I find a neutral energy, neither angry or happy but resting? And once the incredulity of the lists has diminished, can I look at them dispassionately and really assess what is needful and what isn't? Or what is timely and what isn't?
Needful and timely are two words used in old-timey Quaker literature. Where a person is in their life's journey, what they are needing or providing leads to the phrase "....speaks to my condition." In other words, the fact that I have reduced obligations to my children right now means I have increased opportunity for studio work. My condition has changed, what is needful and timely today has changed from two years ago. And if I try to approach this 'opening' or new condition with a calm mind, then I can enjoy it and use the positive energy that generates to be ready for the next item on the list or possibly a prompting for further action that I haven't thought of yet.