Falling off the wagon: an important part of the (yoga/meditation) practice

Sometimes life gets in the way of our best intentions and commitments.  A few months ago I committed to blogging weekly or so about all manner of things yoga and meditation designed to help you, and me, live our best lives.  And then, well, life happened.

See, when I’m not teaching yoga and meditation, writing, thinking about, or studying yoga and meditation, I have another job.  I am an employment lawyer-turned human resources consultant with my own business, where I work with organizations on, among other things, sexual harassment prevention and remediation.  In the wake of #metoo, my phone has been ringing off the hook.  Which is not a bad thing.  It’s important work and I’m really honored to be a part of making workplaces better.  But in the midst of the juggling act that is my (and, I imagine, so many of yours too) life — I got a little out of balance and was simply not able to keep up with everything.  I think it’s actually been a couple of months since I last sat down to write.  My meditation practice took a hit too.  I did not stop meditating altogether, but many days I was lucky if I managed to get in a five minute practice.

I was feeling really badly about myself for not being able to do everything I wanted to do.  Until I realized that this, too, can be a really fruitful part of my practice.  Sometimes when we fall off the [insert-whatever-you-are-working-on-here] wagon, it helps clarify our goals and commitments.

Take healthy eating as an example.  When I eat junk food, I feel pretty lousy.  Lethargic and bloated, to name just a couple of typical side effects.  When I do eat well, I tend to feel nourished and energized.  Every now and then it’s ok to remember how important it is to eat well by not eating well.  This may seem paradoxical, but experiencing the bloat and lethargy can be a good and even healthy reminder that I really do need to eat well to feel and be my best.

Same thing with meditation.  By not meditating, I could see how caught up in my head I was, how much more reactive and stressed, too.  Again, it did not feel great in the moment, but it did serve to reinforce my overall commitment to my practice.

So I’ve decided to look at my “failure” as just another part of the practice.  This path of yoga and meditation is just that, a path.  It’s not a destination we arrive at finally one day, slap our hands together and say “nailed that yoga/meditation thing.”  It’s something we work on, again and again and for a lifetime, sometimes with varying degrees of effort and commitment.  And when we fall off, we simply reenter the practice when and in whatever way we are able.

It’s good to be back.