Is it too late to make a resolution? Or set an intention for 2015? One of my favorite teachers, Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga, picks a word to guide her every year. Now that we’ve gotten started on 2015, I’ve finally settled on my word–gentleness. I want to be gentle with myself this year, which is the same thing phrased as an intention or resolution.
I realized that I’ve made Gentleness a heading in my last several posts. I’ve been thinking about it a lot in the past few weeks, and I’ve decided to double down on being gentle and see what I can learn by going more deeply down this rabbit hole.
Gentleness and Fatigue
As a person with multiple sclerosis, fatigue is a part of my life. It’s more prominent in the winter, when it joins forces with seasonal affectiveness for a one-two punch of not having enough energy for life. Pushing through fatigue doesn’t work. It just makes it worse. Fatigue is like quicksand in this way. Also sometimes it feels like what I imagine quicksand might be like too. Pretending fatigue isn’t there and isn’t a thing is a great way to make it a bigger and more difficult thing to ignore, so I’m working on prioritizing. Which items on my to-do list can I get to today? Can I make space to rest? Is there a way to build rest into my day? Is there a relaxing way to do anything I need to do? Asking these questions helps me.
The other lovely thing for fatigue is yoga. When I don’t have any energy, it’s hard to face a very physical practice, so I try to start with Legs-Up-The-Wall, and then just do anything that feels good afterward. Or nothing. No judgment here. Sometimes a yoga practice that peaks at downward-facing dog and slows down from there is just the most delicious thing I could do. And sometimes the rest of my practice is a few easy poses lying on my back.
Gentleness and Judgment
I think that for most of us, judgment and expectations are just pervasive. I think that we internalize a lot of it from the culture around us, and the phrase that springs to mind is from Star Wars–judgment, like the Force, “surrounds us, and penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.” I think these expectations are kind of a societal glue that we use to demarcate separations between “us” and “them,” in many ways. This could be good or bad. Like the Force, hurr.
At this point, though, I’m working on being gentle with myself in the face of expectations. Fatigue sometimes limits how much I can accomplish in a give day or week, and I am trying to get better at being OK with this. I can’t fix it. Sometimes another cup of coffee will buy me another completed task, but sometimes there’s nothing in the world that would help. The judgments I’ve internalized say that I’m a failure for not getting those other five things done, or being behind on this or that project. A gentler way would be to say, it’s OK. I will do what I can tomorrow, and then the next day.
What are you working on for 2015? How are your resolutions or intentions coming? Are they going the way you expected, or have they morphed into something new?