control + coming apart (long)

I believe I’ve mentioned that I am signed up and committed to a yoga class at my local athletic club, called 40 Days to Personal Revolution. This class, which is proving to be more of an experience/process than a class, is based on a book by yoga master Baron Baptiste.

I have wanted to learn yoga for quite some time. Geoff actually started taking yoga classes several years ago (2004-ish) and would attend an evening class two or three nights a week. He stopped going because the class took him away from our family during the dinner hour and “his wife” complained too much. In January 2008, I started to go once or twice a week and by April I was really enjoying it. As the days got longer and the weather warmed my practice slipped as I chose jogging over yoga. Since then I’ve been hit and miss, but I’ve always had the sense that I would return and make it a bigger part of my life. I *think* I might be there now.

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me in April 2008

Our “40 Days” class meets every Saturday for 90 minutes. I talked Geoff and Kayce into taking this class with me. Each week we are asked to meditate and do yoga at home. Each week the time increases and the commitment becomes more challenging. Each week we meet to discuss our ups, downs and excuses.

The personal revolution is based on 12 laws

  1. seek the truth
  2. be willing to come part
  3. step out of your comfort zone
  4. commit to growth
  5. shift your vision
  6. drop what you know
  7. relax with what is
  8. remove the rocks
  9. don’t rush the process
  10. be true to yourself
  11. be still and know
  12. understand that the whole is the goal

Each week’s meditation + practice + diet + questions have a theme (presence, vitality, equanimity, restoration, centering and finally triumph)

I started this class, like I start everything in my life — with great enthusiasm and great expectations.

Almost instantly, I feel behind.
I told myself it was OK, but I didn’t believe it — anyone relate? Then I told myself it was just the wrong time of year to do this. I told myself that I don’t really need to change anything — I’m doing fine. In fact, most days I’m doing great. I told myself I would do what I could do and be happy with that.

On Saturday, as I listened to Kayce read her response to one of the questions (I btw, did not have my answers written out — in fact, I had forgotten to read the questions) Anyway, as Kayce read, I suddenly fell apart. I started crying and could not stop. Now, I’m a crier — I know this. I have grown used to crying in front of people. In fact, I have even grown to embrace this part of me, and I generally explain that my tears are liquid passion leaking out of me. But, this cry was somehow different — is wasn’t a cry that I was comfortable with on any level, because it felt like it was actually leaking something that I was ready to leak. It was me admitting that this yoga experience wasn’t about confirming everything I already know to be true. This yoga experience is going to teach me new things that perhaps I’m not willing to admit I need to learn.

I know. It sounds like “Stacy Julian” is having a break down.

freaky.

At the end of class, people gathered around and I just stood there feeling 100% vulnerable and there was absolutely nothing I could do. My dear friend, Kerry  tried her best to console me, but it didn’t matter what she said, I was coming apart. I had read Law #2, but I had read it as, “Oh absolutely one should most definitely be willing to come apart — good thing I don’t need to do that”

I’m not posting this to scare you or to elicit comments full of empathy. I’m posting this in an effort to be authentic with you. I’m posting this because I am learning that it’s OK to come apart. It is really, truly OK.  I’m still very much in the midst of  wondering why me and why voluntarily? I mean, I have so much to do right now (see? I need this process!) But, gosh DARN it all … I am going to hang in there.

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Both of my yoga instructors, have T-shirts that say: why stretch when you could reach.

Here a excerpt from this week’s chapter on equanimity:
There is famous quote by the theologian Reinhold Neibuhr that says “God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” When we become centered enough, we have the ability to accept the things we cannot change, and are able to instanty and humbly admit that our willpower and ego are ultimately powerless over most of the realities in our lives. There are innumerable things we cannot change–the rude salesclerk, the traffic, the flu. Rather than fighting, it is so much simpler to just accept that we aren’t in control of these things. Then we can turn our energy toward something more proactive, such as changing the things we can. Equanimity is the art of meeting life as it meets you–calmly, without drama or fuss. This is the way out of frustration and into the light. Living in the light, there is a brightness and a creativity very much like that of a child. The light leads us back to our naturalness. But you don’t get to the light by fighting or wrestling for control. An inner revolution is not about taking control. Control has no real healthy place in our lives, and only robs us of our serenity. We think we change things by taking charge, by “grabbing the bull by the horns.”But if you think about it, grabbing the bull by the horns would be a crazy thing to do. We change by finding equanimity and learning to relax right in the middle of conflict-filled moments.

I am one who generally does OK relinquishing control over rude people, traffic and sickness — but … I most definitely like to control the flow of the day and my own productivity. In other words, I like to go with the flow, as long as the flow is something I control. I *think* I am going to learn how to NOT control the flow and still be happily engaged with it.

I’ll keep you posted.
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Comments

  1. thank you!

  2. I love YOGA and only wish I could do it more. I hurt my back doing what not sure but the xrays show my spine bent to the side. So Yoga is out the questions just for a little. It truely is the most relaxing , cleansing , beautiful thing to do !!! ENJOY :)

  3. Stacy- Thanks so much for this post! :) I have been an on and off Yogo Go-er (is this even a word?)….and really loved more for the relaxation and thinking time it allowed me. It really centered me. I really wish we had a class that was like yours here in MT. :) I would go in a heartbeat.

    I loved your “liquid passion”! :) Beautifully put! :)

  4. kat-in-texas says:

    Let it out, girl!

    p.s. cute toes :)

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today. It was as if you were speaking directly to me and only me. The past few months have been extremely hectic and trying, and out of my control in many circumstances. “We change by finding equanimity and learning to relax right in the middle of conflict-filled moments.” This is what I need to remember! I have started a Zumba class (exercise dance class) and it has helped me stay sane! I might have to try Yoga too! Again thank you & Aloha!

  6. Christine H says:

    Thank you for sharing this…my dad alway says “control is only an illusion.” He’s right. I suspect your faith will help with letting the flow go….if we do, then maybe we are flowing with God!

  7. Great post Stacy, thanks for showing me the “authentic” you! I am discovering Yoga for the first time and thought along with your class you might enjoy this… http://www.lululemon.com/
    By far THE best yoga/athletic wear out there!!!

  8. I need that class – sounds wonderful (even in the midst of breaking apart).

  9. What an amazing journey this must be. Keep it up. Your excerpt on equanimity was a deep breath of fresh air.

    PS. You just gave me an idea for my YOGA photo for my “ME: The Abridged Version” album. Thanks

    • yeah, I wish I looked good in tree pose, but I’m not quite there. I’d love to see your yoga page in your meTAV album!
      sj

  10. You’re awesome – I love your authentic, true, real self!

  11. Can I just say how much I love you!! LOVE reading your blog. LOVED Simple Scrapbooks. LOVE Big Picture, though my new job and busy life doesn’t allow me to participate as I would like. My therapy is checking your website every night! You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your life and beautiful family with us. Thank you for sharing your ‘break downs’ with us so that we can feel like it is OK when we also have our break down moments. We don’t have to be perfect all the time, but it’s nice to feel perfect most of the time {wink}. Post too long-will stop now. :-)

  12. Your post is to me like one of the tender mercies of the Lord that president Bednar once talked about. Thanks!

  13. That was beautiful, thanks for sharing all of it.

    Trying to reach, myself.

  14. Stacy – I can truly relate to the difficulty of letting go of control over your own productivity. Yesterday I had a very long “to do” list. The first item on the list was a doctor visit to get an epidural steroid injection (herniated disc, radiating left leg pain). I thought after the visit I would feel better and be able to get so much done. Instead, I spent the rest of the day laying on the sofa on my right side – finding even sitting to be painful. I got NOTHING done. It is very very hard to let go and just be. Sometimes we have no choice. Today I’m trying to feel grateful for my day of rest and hoping for a more productive day. ;)

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this experience Stacy! I have always been a runner, longing to give yoga a try but never making the time or committing to start. I recently injured my knee pretty badly and I’ve been thrust into slowing WAY down. I have always been a believer in things happening for a reason and I think my knee injury is trying to teach me something. Through this situation, I am keeping my mind open to learning from it and your post today was just what I needed to hear. I relate to the tears, the control, and the possibility that I will learn things that I’m not willing to admit that I need to learn. I need to learn equanimity. I only wish I could be sitting next to you in that class. :) Hugs!

  16. Barbi in Ottawa, Canada says:

    I LOVE yoga too and I want to do more but I just don’t seem to. Thanks for sharing your struggles with committing. And….oh my, I can cry at a drop of a hat at certain things which turns out to be a lot of certain things! And I married an engineer, and he is so in the right profession as he is logical and a problem solver. And sometimes has a difficult time with his very sensitive, empathic wife. : ) Yin and yang. I really just wanted to say thanks for sharing this personal journey with us. It helps when you see similarities with other people as it is such a human condition to think we are the only ones having a certain struggle(s).

  17. Beatriz (spain) says:

    Hi Stacy, thanks for sharing this experience. I am also thinking about doing yoga, I think I need firmanente and will be a benefit not only for me but also for my husband and my son (he has one year). My work took me a long time (time with my family during the week very little) and I need to focus, balance and calm.
    I’ve preposed not try to control everything around me, just so that I can and enjoy 100% while my family. Also this year I discovered the Scrapbooking, Bigpictures and a wonderful scrap network (blogs, websites, etc), this is what I was looking to unleash my creativity and did not know I was looking for.

    Greetings from Spain.

  18. My friend! We are in a similar place, except I’m “melting down.” Not in a scary, what’s wrong with me kind of way, but in a “let go” and just be kind of way. Things falling off so that they can eventually be replaced with other things.

    It’s an analogy I heard from Martha Beck in her book, Finding Your North Star (or something like that). She talks about the process of butterflies being transformed. They completely melt down and then try and try again to reform themselves. It isn’t until the time is right and all the pieces are in place that it happens.

    So let it happen. It sounds like you are. I can’t wait to see the new beautiful butterfly that emerges in you!

  19. I often feel like I fall apart on a daily basis, but I always put the pieces back together in the same way. Now I am thinking: how can I fall apart with purpose instead of with a crash, and how can I reassemble the pieces so they work better together and dont’ keep coming apart?

    Your post gave me much to think about. Thank you.

  20. The first thing you need to do is allow (forgive) yourself to be OK with not being able to do everything you think you should be able to do for yourself and for everyone else. That’s the letting go part – and it’s very hard to do. Control is a powerful thing.

    Women get like that – we feel we must do it all. We think we CAN do it all. But the reality is, we can only do so much, even if we feel the need to do everything.

    Just look at your company BPS, your blogs, your books, your lovely family, and your cute figure. How can you balance everything equally to be fair, how can you divide yourself up into so many pieces to get the jobs, tasks, and everything done? How can you divide your time to love everyone the way you think they should be loved?

    There is only so much of Stacy to go around. That’s why you cried. There was just not enough of you to satisfy your need to do. You cannot give everyone and everything equal time. And it’s hard to accept that defeat. But the good news is that everything you do, even the tiny bit, does have an impact on your and other’s lives.

    Just know how grateful we all are that you have given a bit of yourself to us..in your words and your creations. You don’t need to give us all of yourself all the time, but we appreciate the small part you do. And that’s enough.

  21. Candace B. says:

    Well, I’m here to offer sympathy…because I think it’s because we are getting old….and then there are those pesky hormone changes….I don’t think we have to go any deeper because not everything is at a spiritual level… Have a great Thanksgiving!

  22. I completely sympathize!!! I guess everyone needs to loose it once in a while. It is cleansing! Didn’t you feel a little better afterwards??

  23. Nilaja Whitaker says:

    maya Angelou once said that the best complement u can give a person is to say thank you because it’s what we say to God. So thank you stacy. You are one of the friends I have in my head! I respect you so much. So Thank You again for sharing your world with us. Your growth helps us to grow also. I wish u & your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  24. Thank you Stacy for sharing this part of your journey..you are an amazing person..

  25. Michelle Evans says:

    I, too, am a public cry-baby. When reading your story, it felt like my story. I’ve been crying alot lately because of a painful decision my teenage son made that has affected our whole family. I tell people that I cry because I feel so deeply.

    I have wanted to “explore” Yoga for some time after taking one “teaser” session last Spring. It’s a little scary (OK alot scary) to think of learning to let go during this season of my life, but maybe it’s just what I need.

    Thank you for inspiring all who read your blog to live honestly and to push themselves to do better — in whatever part of their life that might be. You are a true inspiration.

  26. Amazing! Not clear for me, how offen you updating your stacyjulian.com.
    Edwas

    • Edwas,

      I update my main blog three or four times a week. I update *sprinkles* and *I Love Color* once a week. My goal is to add a new podcast or two each month — so far, I’m not meeting my podcasting goal.

      Does this help?
      Stacy

  27. Wow..it’s 3:25 in the am-woke back up and am wide awake…so I decided to visit my wise friend, Stacy. This is just what I needed-a few hours ago I was saying, I need to go back to yoga. I had a hairy, emotional, unexpected shocking news kind of day-been trying to make sense of things and have been keeping it all together… til now..I let myself fall apart. Sometime we just need to let the flood gates open so we can cleanse our soul. thank you…you are surly one of my heros.

  28. Stacy, I needed to read this. I am the kind that holds it all in. I’m NOT a crier. I won’t let myself be. I think I am afraid that if I start I will never stop. And who would be there to pick up the pieces. Now, like AmySo, I’m thinking how can I fall apart with purpose instead of with a crash, and how can I reassemble the pieces so they work better together? Thanks.

  29. We spent a good number of hours reading magazines the day after Thanksgiving at the bookstore. I came across a great article on crying- and why we do it. I thought for sure I would remember which magazine, but I don’t. I will have to go back and check it out and let you know. I thought of you when reading it. It talked about one possibility of why we shed tears- its our bodies way of releasing chemicals/hormones that build up during stress. I will check it out this week and send you a link, or reference. Thanks for being so honest and sharing your experience.

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