When the school board called a snow day for Tuesday, I was thrilled. I love when there is nowhere to go; I love no alarms to set; I love no rushing. I love stopping. I love expanses of unstructured time. And then, on Tuesday night when they called for another snow day on Wednesday, I felt that "my cup runneth over."
But soon, instead of my figurative "cup" running over, it was my literal house. Reality started seeping in through the door frame and all that beautiful time stretching before me became about mitigating water damage.
For the third winter in a row, we have ice dams in our gutters and, consequently, water leaking into our foyer and living room. Nothing can be repaired or changed until all the snow is gone. (I know many of my fellow New Jerseyans have been there.)
That means there is a drip, drip, drip in my life and there will be for awhile.
Some of these drips have "interesting" consequences, like turning into a sheet of ice on the front porch and freezing the screen door shut and yellowing the moldings and making the ceilings bubble.
This kind of situation is what the great yogis have called "a giant pain in the butt."
Kundalini Yoga trains us to deal with these pains and all the inconveniences of everyday existence with grace and ease. It is known as a householder's yoga. A robust practice strengthens our nervous systems, so that the unhappy surprises don't send our whole beings out of whack. Meditation helps us to have more control of our minds, so we can notice unhelpful negative thoughts when they arise and redirect ourselves. Here's how Yogi Bhajan put it:
"The Kundalini experience does not mean you have gone into a deep breathless trance and are beyond this world. … It integrates you more fully with reality and gives you a broader vision and sensitivity so that you can act more efficiently."
To me, this is one of the best reasons to do Kundalini Yoga. While it has some elements that make is seem strange and mystical, it's actually very practical. Everything we do -- breathe strongly, chant, repeat unusual movements -- is all part of a very pragmatic training of the body and mind to sail through life's ups and downs, surprise snow days and leaks and dams.
TIME TO START
I LOVE snow days! I LOVE the kids' glee at hearing the news. I LOVE not rushing them out the door to school in the morning. I LOVE wearing pajamas all day. I LOVE soup. I EXTRA-LOVED yesterday's snow day and was extra grateful for it. It opened up some time and space for something very important to me. Let me explain.
Last Saturday morning, I was racing around -- very UNmindfully -- trying to get things done. There was a full day ahead of me: my son's wrestling tournament and then a family dinner in the city. I dropped my son off at the high school for him to catch his team bus and drove home. As I drove, I ran through my list in my head -- unload the dishwasher, deflate the air mattress, make sandwiches for the tournament, etc. I arrived home. I was still in my heady to-dos and not at all in the present moment. I saw some trash on my lawn. I bent down to pick it up, thinking, "This is just what I need. More to deal with. Why am I the only one who notices these things?" I stood up and...
Conk!!!!!! I'd stood up fast and hard into the metal corner of my neighbor's garage, and it'd knocked me off my feet.
Long story short, I am fine. There was a surprising amount of blood. There were tears, a lot of ice and eventually an ER visit which cleared me of all things serious and concerning. No stitches required.
I feel very grateful that I wasn't more hurt. I also feel grateful that I'm oriented to see it as a lesson.
The first most obvious lesson is that I need to be mindful and present. I can't rush around in stress. It's actually dangerous to do so. Please don't make the mistake I made. Know where you are and do what you're doing.
But also, I've been due for a reset for some time now. I've been feeling the pressure to up the ante on my personal practice -- practice more and do it more diligently. But I've been making the excuse that life is too full.
Yogi Bhajan says, "When the time is on you, start and the pressure will be off."
I know this quote. I've known it for sometime. If only knowing quotes from the masters was all that was required to make real change. If that were the case, I'd be a lot further along on my path to self-actualization.
I felt the time was on me and yet, I put it off. I didn't start. So, I got myself a conk on the head.
I got the message.
I also got a snow day and all the cancellations that came with it, making room for the new diligence.
Thank you, Universe.
And to you, Reader, PLEASE START. Whatever you know you need to do... start and the pressure will be off.
May the Truth in you guide you... to start.
Blog by Cate Baily
Cate discovered Kundalini Yoga by accident over 20 years ago and was surprised and thrilled by how engaged, energized, and inspired it made her feel. She's been practicing ever since. Click here for more complete bio.