This morning I found myself confounded by my situation. Unlike most other mornings in my life, today I had the rare experience of having nowhere to be. Nothing I had to do. No child to manage. This morning the plan was to relax. It is so amazing to me that a good portion of my life involves teaching, practicing, writing or thinking about yoga, and still relaxing for me is like committing some kind of white-collar crime.
My milieu this morning was perfect for relaxing. I'm mid-way through a book that I love (A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century, by Jane Vandenburgh). It's my favorite kind of read-- tragic memoir with a heavy dose of cynicism and hilarity. My coffee maker had brewed me another fantastic pot. My house was actually clean. My laundry was done. When I woke up, I decided that I would let myself stay in bed drinking coffee and reading for as long as I wanted. About an hour in, I started thinking, I should go to 10am yoga. I have to teach this afternoon, so that would mean two trips to the studio on my "relaxed" day. So, I let it pass. While I poured my second cup of coffee and let go of 10am yoga, I decided I'd walk to work later. Somehow this decision made it okay not to go to yoga. After about another half hour of my decadent read-a-thon, I got a text. While on my phone, I looked up the pool schedule. "I'll walk to work and on the way, go for a swim" I thought.
It's like some sort of weird trading card system I've got going in my head. "You can read in bed for two hours, but you have to walk 4 miles and swim 1600 yards." In my mind, relaxing is some kind of an earned status. The other day I had just finished teaching the 5pm class. Gary was up to teach the 7pm. While I, like usual, frenetically finished my teaching duties so I could gather my things and get to the PTA meeting (late), I said to Gary, "I'm really bad at doing nothing" to which he replied in his laid-back, subtle, southern drawl, "I'm really, really good at doing nothing. I'm actually great at doing nothing." And he was completely serious. He doesn't have the thing I have. I imagine some people would say it's guilt. (There's some joke about Jewish guilt or Catholic guilt in here for sure.)
A big part of this blog is trying to figure out this stuff. I've thought about this a lot, why I'm a multi-tasking, crazy, nutbag. But the answer is that I really don't know why. Once in a moment of pure appreciation and gratitude for my students and the existence of yoga in my life, I told the class, "If not for yoga, I'd be a chain-smoking, road-raging, alcoholic homeland security agent." I like to think that's an exaggeration, but who knows. Even though I fought my plan to relax in bed this morning, employing weird trading card games to justify my decadent morning, I did it. What yoga's given me is the ability to move through the resistance to relax a little bit more easily. Today, I stayed in bed for three hours. Three long hours, an eighth of a whole day. I drank my coffee. I read my book. I relaxed. And, while writing this post didn't bring me the answer to why I'm a relaxaphobe, it did keep me in bed a little bit longer. I'm getting up now to walk to work. And I'm skipping swimming.