May was a manic month for me. I went over my spending budget at least $300, because in addition to going out about twice as much as usual, I also started a vegetable garden, did some shopping for new clothes, and went on the first camping trip of the year. Yesterday (June 3rd) I returned from a two-night, three-day trip to Chicago, which was a great trip, but I could have enjoyed it more if I were in better health.
That’s the problem with burning the candle from both ends: it’s impossible not to singe your fingertips. Once burned, your body requires rest and compassion to heal and carry you forward. In May, the inner resources of my mind, physical and emotional body, and soul were misaligned. In my head, I have endless energy reserves, an interminable immune system, and an undefeatable will. Unfortunately the reality I create in my head only exists for me.
Spring and Summer time bring a lot of interests back around in the yearly cycle. I noticed that my hobbies were seasonal over the winter, but I failed to put that knowledge into practice. Over the winter I buried myself in books, writing, and music. Now that summer is burgeoning I want to camp, hike, bike around the city, explore new yoga styles, and take dance lessons. For me to think that I can explore all these new and highly energetic activities as well as keep up with the workload I had taken on at Indy Metal Vault was naive.
Two weeks ago (May 23rd), I had the biggest interview yet for IMV: a phone interview with Aaron Rieseberg from Yob. The conversation went really well, and I was high as a kite for three days, looking forward to transcribing the hour-long talk. But the recording was compromised, and I lost it. A week later, I got a kidney infection the eve of the next biggest piece I had slated with IMV: live coverage for Sixes at the Chicago Doomed & Stoned Festival. Incidentally, I also missed Thorr-Axe’s set (who are with the same PR company as Sixes, are great guys, and I would have liked to cover as well), for the simple reason that no one in Chinatown, where I stayed the weekend, sells ice. I had to go to the convenience store on Cermak and had a creepy encounter there. Once I finally made it to the venue, I was hassled at the door about my press pass, and the guitarist/vocalist for Sixes (thanks, Stephen!) had to walk me in.
I take note of coincidence and consider it to be a sign of cosmic order. Roll your eyes if you want, but I don’t believe in bad luck. I believe that when you bushwhack a path through treacherous woods and ignore the clear cut trail through sunny glades around the corner that you will naturally come up against more obstacles. In light of the setbacks described, which began crashing through my life May 26th, I must be swimming against the current. After spending yesterday in bed drinking water, reading, and journaling, I think the message I’m receiving is:
“Check your ego, boss-lady.”
When I began to write for IMV, my motivations were to find a sense of community and make friends and to support the local music scene. To date, I’ve written 15 pieces for IMV, and I’m really proud of at least two of them (my review of Eagle Twin’s new album and the anniversary piece I did for King Crimson’s Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, in case you’re wondering). I’ve received praise from my editor and colleagues, I’ve earned two promotions (from staff writer, to contributing editor, to full editor), my press credentials sometimes impress people at shows, and several of the bands I’ve covered have been stoked on and shared what I wrote. These successes have gone to my head, and now instead of seeing my writing as a service to the music scene and a way to connect to people, it has become a hobby I maintain in order to build a reputation.
This is a problem for me, since it doesn’t jive with the goals I have for my personal development and spiritual life. I either have to let music journalism go or find a way to detach myself from the results of my efforts. It was easy to stay detached when no one cared what I wrote, but now that I’ve had a few people commend my writing and tell me that they read my articles regularly, it’s difficult not to identify myself with the works I publish on IMV.
As far as my failing health, if I consider that my body is conscious, or to put it in a more accessible way, if I strive to be conscious of my body, my malaise is evidence she is trying to tell me something:
“Bitch, slow the fuck down!”
My primary intention (sakalpa) right now is to learn to live more slowly, embody temperance, and love without attachment. I set this intention on Thursday (May 31st), and when I neglected to maintain determination in this endeavor (tapas), my body began to break down. She’s forcing me to observe the third step in retraining old behavior patterns (samskara), which is to slow down (shani) or place a pause in between impulse and action in order to reflect. During this pause, it will be prudent for me to ask myself three questions:
- What am I doing or thinking?
- What are the motives behind this behavior or idea?
- Is this in alignment with my intention?
By taking a few moments to consider these questions, I will be enacting the fourth step in changing deeply rooted habits, which is to be self-aware (vidya).
I’ll talk a in more detail about samskara and the seven steps to re-routing deeply ingrained behaviors in a future post. I needed to drain this unease from my cerebrum through my fingertips as therapy. In the meantime here are two pretty similar articles (they pull from the same source, The Yoga Sutras of Patajali*) that define samskara and outline the seven steps useful in redirecting energy toward healthier patterns and habits from Yoga Journal and wholehearter yoga. I’ll wait to write my own interpretation of Patanjali’s philosophy on behavior patterns after I actually getting around to reading the source material.
Coming up in my blogging queue: “Ten Things I Learned While Eating for Gut Health” and an article about attachment, which will be another therapeutic, self-analytical post.
Thanks for witnessing my journey. I hope it makes your own seem less lonely or more manageable.
*Please note that all Amazon links out are Amazon Associate links, which means I get a tiny percentage of the sale if you make a purchase after following one.
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga Publications; Reprint edition (September 14, 2012).
- “Stuck in a Rut?” by Bo Forbes, Yoga Journal (August 28, 2007).
- “Breaking Samskaras” by Rosslyn Kemerer, wholehearter yoga (August 15, 2016).