Monday, November 14, 2011
Beginning again (and again and again and...)
The closest we got was (sorry had to look up the term in Light on Yoga) Siddhasana, one heel on top of the other and the toes tucked in. Even that we eased into, one leg bent with the heel to the crotch, then the other, then the second heel up onto the first, then tucking in that foot's toes, and then the other's. The teacher (Dean Lerner) suggested that we all work on that for a few minutes every day so that next year, when he does this workshop again, we could try lotus.
Driving away, I thought about it. Thinking that I'd like to start getting really into yoga, to establish a regular home practice, maybe someday even do teacher training...
The thing is, I thought that last year too, when I was driving home from the same workshop. I practiced regularly at home for a while, but it didn't last. Neither did my decision to start meditating regularly. And I've not been in a pool since August.
Its not just exercise and other personal goals either. I started again on my ivories article at the beginning of October, but now haven't worked on it in a few weeks. I'll have to start on it again - again, again, again...
That seems to be the way of my life. Always starting over. And starting the same things. Yoga, swimming, meditation, the same group of articles - and of course the book I've been working on off and on and off and on again for -- 9 years, or something like that. I'll have to start again, again, again (etc.) on that next semester. I have one more new chapter to write and then I'm thinking that I need to redo the parts I wrote about 9 years ago - the intro and the first chapter. So I'm probably going to end up starting that project again in the ultimate sense of going all the way back to its beginning.
I suppose all this starting is not a bad thing. Not starting up again, giving up instead, would be worse. And for some things, like yoga or meditation or swimming, I don't really mind being the perpetual beginner - it means I never have to get to be all that good at any of it. So what if I never do full lotus, or meditate for more than a few minutes, or swim more than a couple of laps? What difference does it make? With all of that, I can just go around and around and around, starting and stopping and starting and stopping again, like following the folds of the Buddha's garment from under his armpit over his chest and then up and around his halo and back to the armpit again, and again, and again... Being the perpetual beginner can be humbling, especially for a compulsive perfectionist like me. But a little humility is a good thing.
For writing, though, all of this beginning again and again is frustrating. There are other projects I want to be working on. A few other books I want to write. But if I'm always beginning again on these few projects, and so never finish any of them, I'll never get to begin the others for even the first time. Will I ever be able to begin a project and simply see it through to the end?