Sunday, March 20, 2011

Time to get un-stuck

Happy Super Moon day!

Step 1: Clear brain of negative, turbulent and anxiety-causing thoughts with sound therapy.
Step 2: Get myself a massage appointment to build some happiness and positivity.

These were both unplanned but they happened in that order anyway. An acquaintance of mine is studying to be a massage therapist so I volunteered myself to be practiced on for a discounted price. Super tough favor, I know.  What an awesome friend I am to agree to this arduous endeavor :-) I was expecting nothing more sophisticated than a superficial swedish massage, maybe even some awkward pressure applications that would be more uncomfortable than relaxing. Turned out only a few month into his studies, this friend's skills have already surpassed some of the licensed massage therapists I've previously visited. Score for me! And I want my money back from these licensed professionals, because some of them really didn't put what they learned at massage school into use at my sessions!

After my surprisingly awesome massage session (in which some of my muscles/fascia might have been rearranged/realigned.. so sore right now), I went out and bought myself a meditation cushion set, in preparation for the Vipassana retreat that I plan to do right after I graduate (an odd grad gift to myself, I know). I was planning to get a zafu at this well-known all-things-spiritual store, but on the way there I stumbled upon this other nice little Thai shop where the price of a gorgeous zafu + zabuton set was the same as just a plain zafu at the bigger store. However, I didn't leave empty-handed at the all-things-spiritual-mother-ship store either. I came across a book on-sale called "Stuck - Why We Can't (or Won't) Move on" by Anneli Rufus and bought it immediately.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

"In lands of plenty, in the lap of luxury, in the fast lane, we're stuck doing -- over and over -- things we do not want to do. Stuck in places we do not want to be. Stuck with people we do not want to see. Stuck with stuff. Stuck without enough. What irony. You and I will almost surely never be sold into slavery. Those days are gone. We will not become indentured servants, will not be shanghaied and dragged off to sea, locked in the hold, hands chained to oars. We were not betrothed at age ten. That's stuck.

In all of history, no population anywhere has ever been so free as we.

And yet -- somehow we all feel stuck."

That's what I was feeling half way through grad school, then I came across yoga, was happily distracted for awhile, until I got obsessive wanting to absorb all these new information that I was completely unaware existed before: theories behind each yoga asana, anatomy and psychological effects, the Bhagavad gita, Yoga sutras of Patanjali, etc etc.  When I accidentally came across Tibetan Buddhism, that just opened a whole new can of worms. Given I don't plan to become the next John Friend or Sadie Nardini (I'm not even 1/10 as charming as these yoga super stars), nor do I have the faintest hope of ever coming close to becoming nearly as awesome as Pema Chodron, so why the hell am I trying to perfect my knowledge of all these spiritual teachings again?

I'm trying to get un-stuck. That's why I dove into all this yoga and meditation stuff. Except I got into my old pattern of hungrily trying to absorb all information for the pure sake of acquiring information. I've completely forgotten my original intention and purpose.

The same thing with the Japan nuclear power plant. I got obsessive with information gathering, reading up on experts' explanations of how a nuclear plant works, closing following the progress of the Fukushima workers, as well as all the conflicting analyses of the situation provided by various so-called experts from various countries, patting myself on the back for understanding the basics of nuclear reactor diagram, forgetting that I will neither be able to build a nuclear reactor nor come up with a solution to solve the problem at hand even if I fully internalize every single detail of the over-simplified layman's diagrams provided by the media.

I got stuck and I lost the point of why I do the things I do.

I think that accidentally getting a brain-cleansing and subsequently gaining happiness + positivity with awesome body work provided me the foundation to thinking clearly again. Some fresh ideas came into mind and I've re-gained some motivations.

1. As much I absolutely enjoy reading all of your blogs (they have been the highlights of my day for the past few months), I'm going to have to refrain from reading yoga blogs for awhile. Initial goal = 1 week. Let's not get overly ambitious here :)

2. I'm going to stop blogging for 1 week too and see if I can get more done at school, as well as freeing up more time to do some home cleaning.

There's no way I'm going to cut back on yoga.  3 times a week seems pretty minimally acceptable for maintaining my basic fitness, my prana, and my meditative mind. I will however attempt to eliminate reading any yoga-related writings or watching any yoga-related videos for a week. I will also give my pretty meditation cushion a try.

If this little experiment works out, I will report the details of my success here. If I can make it for longer than a week, more power to me. If it completely fails (ie. I accidentally find myself 1 hour into reading Elephant Journal articles Monday morning), um, I may or may not admit my failure here. We'll see :D

Adios for now and see you all very soon. Best of luck with your yoga practices and your pursuits for liberation/enlightenment :) Please keep on blogging though (I will enjoy going through your posts again when I succeed in getting un-stuck), unless you also feel that taking a break from blogging will benefit you somehow.


  1. I've been thinking the exact same way ... and interestingly so have 3 other yoga bloggers I know and am in email contact with ... I may join you! Have a great week!

  2. It's funny, I've been thinking something very similar lately. I spend way too much time reading blogs, then feeling disgusted with myself for not reading a book instead. So I've actually been cutting down a bit on my iPhone/blog time lately, and it feels really good.

    If you're having trouble getting work/studying done, having issues with straying to the internet all the time, I'd really recommend NetNanny. I used it when I wrote my MA dissertation last summer and am using it again now - with that you can make the internet inaccessible to yourself at certain times of the day, or for a certain amount of hours per day. (You'd have to have somebody else keep the password though. My husband has mine so if I really need internet he types it in.) It's really useful, keeps me hard working!

    But can I ask one little thing for when you come back again from your break though? Would it be possible to make your full posts available to readers like Google reader and reader apps on iPhone/iPad? As it is now, only a snippet is given to readers and then one has to go and load your full blog page to see the full post. But for somebody like me, who lives in the boondocks with really bad internet, that means that I rarely get to read the full posts since most of the time I download the blogs onto my iPhone google reader app so I can read them later. And I would love to read your full posts whenever I do read blogs. Anyway, just a suggestion. :) Happy break!

  3. Hi Loo, 1 week away from blog reading was super tough for me! I hope you're doing better!

    @pakistaniashtangi, thank you for your suggestions! Once I'm done school I'd love to have a period of time where I could gorge on non-academic novels, yoga-related books, as well as yoga blogs! I changed the settings; let me know if you still can't read my full blog. Thanks so much for reading :)