Monday, December 6, 2010

Let's do nothing

This morning I heard the same story on KUOW for the third time in three days. The odds of this made me think that there must be a reason behind it. Why was I hearing the repeated weeping of the surviving mother of an Iraqi war casualty three times in three days? Maybe I was hearing it because my 6-year-old is pushing every button in my body and I feel unmotherly feelings of less than love for her! Maybe there was a message for me in this woman's tragedy being aired on public radio?

I'm always surprised by what I hear. So often the radio or a conversation at a party can be white noise for me, with just snippets becoming audible. This happens for me constantly in yoga. Last night I practiced in a state of exhaustion, which is often the most relaxing kind of class for me. I love it. Mostly Kristen's voice was background music, but periodically I heard, "Let it go" or "Let your muscles relax." Different instructions that began with "Let." It was the perfect combination for me in my fatigued state. I didn't have to do anything, I just had to let myself be some way.

It was kind of epiphanic for me. Instead of telling myself to relax or release the tension in my neck or my toes, I just had to let myself do nothing to get to this natural state. We all have this capacity. It's like a baby sleeping. Their shoulders and hips and knees seem almost double-jointed in their relaxed state. It's because they aren't doing anything with their bodies. They are void of all the repeated movements, traumas, stressors that we adults have quietly absorbed in our years of development.

So, when Kristen told us last night to "Let our jaws be slack" or "Let our brows soften", I heard it anew. "Don't do anything" I told myself. Do the opposite and see what happens. So far so good.

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