When I was younger, I was high maintenance. I would require multiple trips to the playground during the day, one parent walking me around during dinnertime while the other one ate, and 3 bedtime stories before I would actually be able to settle in and sleep for the evening. Needless to say, I required a lot of entertaining. A lot. My parents often joked that the reason they had my sister was because I needed someone to keep me entertained.
I don’t really think it’s that far off from the truth.
The worst punishment possible was to send me to my room. Because there was no TV to distract me, no people to play with, nothing but me and my already irritated thoughts about whatever I had done to get into trouble. Being by myself was torture. I would be so BORED and by the time my parents came to fetch me I was happy to apologize for anything just to get myself out of that room.
All day long we have distractions to keep us from dealing with ourselves. We have TV, we have video games, we have people to complain about, we have work to moan about, we have partners to unload our irritations on. It is very easy to find many other things to do than to deal with the very core of our beings.
Especially when our core is out of balance.
Ever notice when there is an issue in a relationship you all of a sudden get really busy doing other things? When there is a hard conversation to be had you have the undeniable urge to clean out the fridge? When you’re not feeling up-to-par people around you seem to start acting like idiots? When there is a difficult task to be handled, it is so easy to suddenly be all-consumed with everything else around it.
This is one of yoga’s most challenging but important lessons.
When you are on your mat, you are stuck with your SELF for the entirety of the class. You are stuck with your thoughts, with your emotions, with your struggles. You cannot deny the foods you have eaten, the water you haven’t had, the abuse your body has endured. You will blame the instructor for your issues, you will blame the person in class next to you, you will blame your mat, you will blame your hairdresser.
Eventually you will have no one to blame but yourself. And that’s when the real work, and the healing, actually begins.
The only reason we ever get bored is because we turn off our connection to our core and turn our attention outward. It’s much easier. It’s also not usually very helpful. Sometimes the more life around us seems to drive us nuts, the more we need to stop paying attention to the outside chatter and do some listening to our own inside chatter. Spend some time alone. Do some self-reflecting. Yoga is helpful because it quiets the mind by coming in through the door of the body. By working through our physical selves we start to connect to our mental and emotional selves.
It’s not easy, nor is it comfortable. But over time and practice, it can turn the dread of being made to spend time with yourself into the enjoyment of spending time with someone you really, really like.