“You have to become your own teacher and your own disciple.”
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what it means to be careless: thoughtlessly interacting without much attention to what you’re doing; an utter lack of intention behind the action. But what happens when you’re intentional and the worst happens anyway? What occurs when you do your best and despite all odds, shit hits the wall and you come out the other side afraid to let go?
Two weeks ago, I had an experience where regardless of how intentional I am in my physical health and fitness, I lost complete control of my body, and as a result wound up very sick for a few days. My illness ended with surgery and a week recovering at my mom’s in Maple Ridge. My body is healing slowly, but I’m currently dealing with a frustration burgeoning on anger towards my inability to do any physical activity for the next month, including yoga.
Yoga is an integral part of my life, a core element of my identity. Movement is a way I release stress, exhaust my mind and body, express myself and articulate my enthusiasm or sorrows, connect to the community, and develop relationships with myself and others. Yoga is my way refining my capabilities, of learning and teaching awareness of the body and the habits of the mind and the patterns we create.
Do not fight your body. Do not look at your body like a stranger, but adopt a friendly approach to it.
Watch it, listen to it, observe its needs, its requests, and even have fun. To be sensitive is to be alive.
– Vanda Scaravelli
I’ve transferred my loss of the asana practice into a more dedicated meditation practice, but I can’t help but feel disconnected from myself and my body. Regardless of how long I sit, I’m saddened and disrupted from my routine and modes of expression. Until this point in my life, I’ve been fortunate and resilient in my health. Until this point, I’ve taken my body’s agility, response to stress, and reception to duress, for granted.
Part of my personal meditation calls me to delve into this sadness and experience it fully, which is where this exploration of carelessness arrives and probes the question: can I appreciate that the act of being careless doesn’t necessarily operate under my control?
CARE • LESS
I’ve been willfully careful in my actions and intentions, and yet I feel like my circumstance is a direct result of a carelessness that occurred outside of my authority.
Whenever we are struck down by some event outside of our control it’s in our basic human nature to examine WHY this happened to ME. To examine all events leading up to the tipping point and ask: what could I have done better? Where could I have made a different decision that may or may not have impacted this result? Is there something I can do differently moving forward to avoid such a dire event in the future?
Which, of course, there isn’t. There is no easy answer; no magic wand we can wave to diminish the blemishes on our lives.
The contours of all our virtues are shaped by adversity.
– Gregory David Roberts
My need to discern where I was careless is part of our very essence as humans: we want to progress; we want to advance our ideas, knowledge, identity, success, wealth, lifestyle; we’re all desirous of moving in a direction that benefits our wellbeing and society’s wellbeing as a whole. We want to contribute in a way that’s meaningful and productive and, when we encounter obstacles or mishaps along the path, it’s natural to want to examine the how, why, what, and where, our experience went wrong, and if we were careless at some point in our course of action.
But, despite the questioning and my obsessive desire to understand what I could have done better or differently, unfortunate events will occur; shit happens, and you can choose to react with compassion or agitation.
I’ve come to see that it’s important to care less about the events that arise outside of your control; to care less about what has happened and focus more on the present moment; to care less about the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things that arise and appreciate the overall process as life expands and occurs around us.