Competition

That’s the new pose I tried tonight. It’s called crane and it didn’t look exactly like that when I did it, since I didn’t quite get my feet that far off the ground. After several tries, I did manage to get my feet about half an inch off the ground for about 15 seconds. That’s not great but this is a really hard pose and I’m really proud of myself for managing to do that.

That by the way, being proud of myself, I mean, is quite an accomplishment in and of itself. I’m a pretty competitive person. Now I don’t mean athletically competitive. Unless, of course, the competition is how many time one can fall over their own feet in a set amount of time. No. What I mean is I’m competitive with myself. I guess maybe this could be better described as extreme perfectionism. It’s not necessarily that I want to be the best I can be. It’s that when compared to everyone else, I want to be the best or the most or whatever other superlative you can think of period.

I’m pretty sure that this has always been true for me. I’ve always felt that if I wasn’t doing something better than everyone else, then I wasn’t trying hard enough. I don’t know the root of this constant feeling of inadequacy and feel like I probably will only discover that with years and year of very expensive therapy… And that’s not going to happen and I’m fine with just acknowledging that I’m extremely competitive.

Throughout college this got pretty extreme and I would literally spend days in the library researching and writing to make sure that I got the best grade in whatever class I was taking. You would think that law school would only have made this worse. And to an extent that’s true. I was a lot harder on myself in law school than at any other time in my life, but after that terrible first year, I realized, for probably the first time in my life, that I was doing the best I could do. It wasn’t the best period. But it was the best for me and working even harder would have meant I did nothing other than study, eat, and sleep. So in that sense, accepting that my best wasn’t THE best, law school was good for me.

Yoga has helped me with that even more. In yoga, it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing because no one has exactly the same body as me. All that matters is what going on with you. So, in yoga, I really can’t compare myself with the person next to me to see if I’m THE best. I can really only compete with myself. And I’m finding that a lot easier to do lately. Most days I go through an entire class completely focused on me, my breath, and my poses. And the best part is that on these days, I find it so much easier to actually go deeper in the poses and try new more advanced things.

I think the moral of this is that I need to stop measuring myself against all others. When I can stop doing that in all aspects of my life, when I stop trying to be perfect in everything that I do, maybe the perfection (or near perfection) that I’ve been chasing will find me.

This got a lot more personal that I wanted it to, but this is an insight that I’ve had into myself lately and I just wanted to share it. Hopefully, this can help all of you as well.

Where has the time gone?

It seems like it was just yesterday that I last posted, but looking back it’s actually been a very long time. I know you have all been waiting with bated breath to hear what I have to say next… and, honestly, I have so much to say I’m not sure where to start.

I guess we’ll just start with this past weekend. It was a beautiful weekend here in Kentucky. It’s August and usually in Kentucky that means stifling hot temperatures, humidity levels so high that the air literally feels dense and damp, 100% chance of thunderstorms and 0% chance of enjoying anything outside a dehumidified and highly air-conditioned space. But this weekend was amazing. The middle of August felt surprising like the end of September; the mornings were slightly chilly, the afternoons and evenings were warmer but there was still a chill in the air.

The weekend started out pretty terrible. On Friday, the bear dogs and their voracious appetite-for-all-things-that-dogs-should-never-eat struck again. While the Hubby was out playing Frisbee golf, one or both of the bear dogs knocked the new extra-large container of Folgers from the counter. Of course, the lid did not stay on the can. And, of course, all of the best-part-of-waking-up (imagine me singing Folger’s theme extremely off tune) spilled onto the floor. Initially, the Hubby thought that the small indentions in the pile where dog nose prints and that they had just spilled the coffee and walked away.

I suspected otherwise. I not sure why, but I believe the extreme hyper-ness of the bear cub (aka the tea party participant) may have tipped my off. The suspicions were confirmed when she later and quite suddenly projectile vomited coffee grounds three times in a row.A call to the doggy ER, which is permanently stored in my phone, revealed that there was no need to bring her in unless she started pacing and/or having seizures. Not exactly the calming advice I was looking for, so the Hubby and I spent the rest of the night waiting for the bear cub to start seizing. The most interesting thing that happened though was that she feel asleep with her eyes open (snoring and all).

You might be wondering why we weren’t that concerned about the larger bear dog. Good question. Easy answer: To date, the bear dog has eaten a large bag of bite size Reese’s cups, an entire apple pie, about a bushel of apples, an entire bag of carrots, a hot pepper, peaches, an entire watermelon, spinach, full packages of saltine crackers, a bag of lime flavored tortilla chips, and half a pound of crunchy peanut butter. Oh and a pack of orbit gum. It was only that last one that sent her to the doggie ER.

Saturday was a better day though. I know it’s because the day started with me attending a free outdoor yoga class in a local park. It was a perfect morning. I didn’t expect that the morning would be so cool, but I was pleasantly surprised. And I was even more surprised when I got to the class and found out that it was being taught by one of my regular teachers and, even better, it was a yin yoga class! When I started doing yin yoga, I wasn’t that sure about it. It’s a much slower pace than my normal vinyasana classes and I find it a lot more difficult. Not really physically, but mentally. In yin yoga, you hold poses for a long time, usually about 3 minutes, so you have a lot of time to contemplate things during that time. Or at least I do. The point is actually to meditate while holding those poses. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m really bad at meditating. Really really bad. Meditating makes me a little nauseous. And I don’t think that’s normal… anyway, despite this I really like yin yoga and I was actually really excited to do it on Saturday morning. Apparently that’s exactly what I needed to start my weekend out on the right foot, because despite the fact that, thanks to the bear dogs, I had had no coffee before class, I left class feeling clearheaded and wide awake. And that feeling lasted all day long!

I spent the rest of Saturday outside, doing some much needed cleaning inside, and ended the day having dinner and drinks with some friends. Which brings me to another point: I love drinking outside. Something about sitting outside with a drink, friends, and not-too-loud music just makes me feel really really happy. Also, the bar we went to may become my new favorite.

Sunday I woke up early. I’m not sure why. I wanted to sleep late, but I woke up at 8 a.m. And I’m glad I did, maybe if I had slept late I would have missed the beautiful September-like morning and the how playful it made the dogs. I went to another yoga class Sunday morning. This one mostly focused on meditation and I am getting better at it. I spent most of the meditation time slightly aggravated instead of nauseous. I think that’s an improvement. The rest of the practice was great. I even did full pigeon for a minute! The rest of the day was just a great. I read a book outside while enjoying the weather and just generally relaxed. It was just what I needed.

A lot has happened during my blog break and over the next few days, I’ll fill everyone in on my new insights. Have a great night!

I heart my job!

So I started my new job today. I’m a judicial law clerk for state court in the county where I live. It was only day one but I can tell I’m going to LOVE this job. At this point there are two reasons I love it. First, I get health insurance at no cost to me. Second, my hours are 8:30 to 4:30. And when I leave at 4:30, I take no work home with me. Awwweeesooome!

But its not all cake. I also only get all the state and federal holidays off work and only acculmulate a few days of vacation (not counting sick days) a year. 🙂 Ok. I lied. Those are pretty awesome things too. Especially for someone who has been in school for the last 23 years of their life.

In case you’re wondering what I’ve done with myself this evening, since I had no work to catch-up on, I went to yoga class and the grocery store. It was nice. But here’s the big news… I did full wheel in class today!

 
Let me explain why this is a big deal for me. It’s not for the obvious reason that its a HUGE back-bend. It’s because I’ve always been afraid I will fall on my head and break my neck. Considering I’ve actually been doing this pose for years without falling and breaking my neck, it’s a little unreasonable. But it’s my fear and it’s been preventing me from doing this alone (I mean, without someone supporting my upper back when going in to it) for at least 3 years. Today though, I did it! I went from bridge to full wheel all myself. And, even though this may be obvious I didn’t fall and break my neck!
I feel like this is a pretty big step for me. Maybe its symbolic of my new independent life? Or maybe it’s a sign of my freedom from  all my obligations? Or maybe its a sign that I realized I’m not going to break my neck simply because I lift my upper back from ground… I’m not sure yet of the meaning, but I am sure that’s it’s exciting!

PBD (Post-Bar Depression)

As ridiculous as it seems, I have PBD. This time last week all I thought I would be ecstatic to be done with the bar. You can image how surprised I was when I woke up on Thursday morning feeling nearly as stressed as when I woke up on Wednesday morning. I assumed that would gradually pass. It didn’t. And I spent the rest of the day moping on my couch and declining calls from friends and family (if I screened you don’t feel bad, I screened literally everyone). I was so distressed that I skipped yoga class, but by the end of the day Thursday, I was feeling a little better. Friday morning I got up and went to the gym and expected that my good mood would continue. I was wrong. PBD returned a couple of hours after the gym.

Why?

After talking with a couple of friends, I noticed that we were all a little “off” after the bar. For the most part, we don’t know what to do and that’s distressing! The last three years and especially the last three weeks have been a marathon of studying all leading up to one huge test: the bar. But now that we’re done, there’s nothing to study, nothing to do, and feel a little purposeless. And that feeling of purposelessness, as if there is literally no goal to work toward, nothing to accomplish, is PBD.

And it sucks! I don’t think this is because I have a hard time relaxing (although that may be part of it), but now that I don’t have something to do everyday nothing is getting done! I decided on Friday to clean my house. It’s now Monday and all that I have done is unload and reload the dishwasher. Quite a task, I know, but I think a 4 day turnaround on a load of dishes is some sort of record.

I can slowly feel the PBD lifting though. I’m getting used to not having something that must be done everyday and it’s pretty nice not having a terrible event like the bar hanging over my head. And in just a few minutes I’m going to my first post-bar yoga class. So very very slowly I’m returning to the land of the living.

Wish me luck!