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.

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.


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.


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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