Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Holding On

Ever since I started meditating daily, a little more than a year ago, I've started to notice where I'm holding tension in my body.  I always used to think it was exclusively in my neck, my shoulders, all those trouble spots I get a talking to from when I go to the chiropractor or for a massage.  I didn't realize it, but there's more.

Lots more.

Do I have that much tension?  It doesn't seem like it, especially since starting meditation and getting back into yoga (asana) practice...you'd think I'd be as relaxed as relaxed can be.  Or at least I think I should be!

So imagine my surprise when every single time I sit in meditation, the muscles in the back of my right knee and thigh tense up almost immediately.  When I first noticed this, just a few weeks after I started meditating regularly, I was intrigued by it.  I tried everything I could to relax it.

I thought maybe it was how I was sitting, that the muscles in that leg somehow thought they needed to fire differently to support me.  But I was sitting in simple cross-legged pose.  How much easier can it get?  So I tried sitting with my left leg crossed on top...didn't help, nor did my left leg respond the way my right one did to being on the outside.

So I tried just being aware of it. Being aware of it does help -- noticing it matters and gets me to consciously relax it every time I feel it. But it hasn't made it go away. Isn't that what they say, being aware of the problem is the first step to recovery?

Where's the recovery?

So I had to ask the hard question: What am I holding on to?  And why won't I let it go?

Part of the issue many of us have with our bodies is that we don't want to feel what's going on, because then we feel we're supposed to do something about it.  We feel a pain and our first instinct is to make it go away.  We think our bodies are supposed to be this perfectly healthy, perfectly relaxed vehicle that we get to cruise around in -- takes all the abuse, requires none of the upkeep.  We expect it to feel great all the time, perform great under pressure, and just show up when we need it.

But maybe our bodies are holding onto things for a reason.  Maybe they've got something to say.

Maybe, this mysterious, constant tension in the back of my leg stays for exactly this reason -- it's got me noticing and paying attention.  It's serving a purpose in the larger scheme of things.  Maybe if it trains me to pay attention to my body in times other than meditation, if it allows me to notice when I've stopped breathing or my shoulders are up in my ears, so I can consciously relax during other times of my day, maybe it's doing its job.

And if it wants to stay, who am I to say otherwise?

Maybe it doesn't have to go away.  Maybe I don't need to control it.  Maybe I just get to listen.  Maybe it gives me the opportunity to practice presence, acceptance, and patience.  And gratitude.

And maybe that's enough.

What are you holding onto?//

What's For Dinner Tonight?
I've got a staff meeting tonight at the bakery to prepare folks for the onslaught of the holidays fun and exciting weeks ahead. I've been saying all day that I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week.  Can you believe it?? Yikes!

So it's a pizza party for me around the production table.

How 'bout you?

Whatever it is, I wish you a great night!

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