I’m relatively sick today. A sore throat scratching my esophagus and my ears doing their usual, “I’m not going to cause you an infection right now but I am mad at you so, for one, I’m not going to say what about, and for another I’m going to swell up and be all itchy inside.” Itchy innards. That’s what I’ve got.
I can tell that I’m sick because I have enough energy to want to get up and do something but not enough energy to actually do it, which causes me to burst into tears. Now those are the true indicators of sickness. They’re the kind of tears that want to crawl into bed in the fetal position and go to sleep, or read on the couch for most of the day.
Having checked off those two most important tasks of the day I’ve also been able to put energy towards wondering where the heck am I going to live after this current housesitting gig ends next week (assuming the current plan doesn’t work out), thinking I really need to take more responsibility for my life, and doing the dishes. Luckily there weren’t a lot of dishes because really, I don’t have that kind of energy.
I’d been feeling grouchy prior to Christmas and have been, naturally, taking it out on the person I see most often. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve been grouchy after Christmas, too. What I’ve realized through all of this: today’s sickness and the general grouchiness, is that I really do get to choose how I respond to my life.
I have all these yogic tools and whatnot in order to fall back upon. I get to fully reflect on what responsibility means, I get to practice speaking with clarity saying that I really won’t split paying for something half-way if I’m not going to use it as much, and I get to choose my words when I’m grumpy.
Somehow this last one has always slightly eluded me as a yogic concept. Sure, I’m not going to react out of anger when I feel it flare up within me—my calculated and measured comments will be perfectly tolerable in their seething, silent way. You won’t be able to say I’m irrationally expressing myself. No sir-ee.
Yet what do those constrained and suppressed moments of interaction do if not completely and utterly go against what I aspire my goal of yoga to be: to know myself. To know union.
Okay, so I can reasonably and effectually assess myself to be grumpy. I can step back and see what exactly has added to my grumpy state by triggering issue X, Y and Z from my upbringing. I can comprehend any current situation as temporary and liable to blow over quickly. Yet for some strange reason I can still act from the seat of jiltedness from which my grumpiness resides.
The task in front of me, I now realize, is to step forward with brazen abandon and get to the other side of my grumpiness. Intellectualizing it is not enough, witnessing it in an effort of dispassion is not enough. I want to make choices that will pull me out of my grumpiness.
My best tool for this is naturally going to be my breath. I can follow the ups and downs of my diaphragm and be gently rocked to the rhythm of the universe when I follow my breath. It can pull me up out of places I’ve been dwelling and into a bigger vision of my reality. I love that. I love how something so simple can do that.
Next I need to actually make a different choice than the one I feel entitled to make simply because I’ve labelled myself as “grumpy.” I’ve made the steps of recognizing my feelings and talking them through. Next I get to get over myself. Be kind. Say something nice. Add to the productivity of love and compassion in this world. It’s fun.
It doesn’t always feel like I have the inner resources to step out of grumpiness, but I’m glad I’ve felt the understanding that it’s only up to me to do so. That’s the kind of responsibility I want to take in my life.
As for feeling sick I presume I’ll get over it soon. I’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping for 12 hours a night, and I have a feeling it can only benefit my current phlegm-to-throat ratio. Plus we’ve made it through the solstice another year and the light is returning. Especially gorgeous from the top of this hill I find myself on.