Today’s post is from the fabulous Anna Barnett (she’s @annabarnett on Twitter).
Super interesting piece. Yay, Anna! And thank you!
Intentions and Epiphanies
When I started The Flailing a few months ago, my mind and I would often play this game about intentions and epiphanies.
If you have a dog, you’ve probably played something similar. It’s the one where you fake the dog out, and the dog goes racing off after the tennis ball that you did not throw, but then it stops and turns around and gives you this look -– confusion, unflagging eagerness, a touch of anxiety.
I’m the dog.
I ask a question, I do my practice, I sit down and close my eyes and wait to see if the answer will appear. And then I go tearing off after every notion my mind throws out, because maybe that’s it!
And then I stop and get that look: This isn’t how it’s supposed to go.
Something is clearly happening after my practices, during shavasana. There’s the swirly, buzzy, crunchy-peanut-buttery sensation. The weirdly addictive mental fatigue. I love it. The thing is, it’s hard for me to put up with it.
Here’s how I realized this.
Once after a short and furtive lunchtime Shiva Nata session on a public footpath, I was leaning against a wall for a minute or two. I wasn’t expecting any big results, since I was doing it so haphazardly. It occurred to me that I didn’t want to pull out of shavasana just yet.
Then I thought, “Huh. That seems to happen a lot.” And it did seem to. More and more, shavasana wanted to snuggle in with me.
But typically I practice before work, and as the buzz lingers on I start hearing from part of me that has things to do and wants to know –- unless I’m going to start having epiphanies right about now -– how soon I can get going.
It was four days later that I thought of this again, and then I realized. Oh. OK, very funny. It’s a pattern. It’s a pattern I’d normally roll my eyes about “realizing”, because it’s old and familiar and I’ve tried to break it before.
I don’t want to take time to rest.
Shavasana interruptus is a cousin to the sickly feeling of working half the day before I break for a drink of water, or web-surfing myself into a daze because I’m too tired to do anything but unwilling to not do anything. Rest: I fight it.
So I already know this.
But what I now get -– I get it! -– is that since I noticed it happening in the dance, the dance can be a tool for playing with the pattern.
Maybe I could try to give myself one more minute of rest even when I’m antsy about moving on, and see what happens. I could do two minutes of movements and ten minutes of shavasana instead of the other way round. I could go outside and lie down in the sun and call that my practice for the day.
It’s a metaphor -– resting in Shiva Nata practice represents resting in life at large –- but better than that, it’s a lab.
Basically, I had an epiphany about something that was going on in my struggle to have epiphanies. And about what I can do differently now that I know. Pretty cool.
This didn’t make me suddenly ditch my restlessness. And I have to admit that lately I’ve been avoiding the pre-practice asking/intentioning because I don’t want to play the fake-out game.
But what I like is that in a lab, it’s easier to mess around with these things and poke them and stretch them.
Especially in a lab where everything is supposed to go wrong.
Mmmm. What a great realization. And what a wonderfully scientific and completely Shivanautical way to approach this stuff.
I love it. Thank you beautiful Anna!
– Havi again