Shoulds and Shouldn’ts

Posted By Mimi on Apr 27, 2011 in Blogs, O2 Yoga Blog | 10 comments


Do you ever get caught up in what you should be doing when you actually want to be doing something else?  Or that feeling that you are not doing enough of a certain thing or of anything? Blogging definitely brings this out in me.   I am often feeling like I should be writing more.  I have an incredibly full life.  It is tough to figure out the best way to allocate time. I have an even harder time figuring out how much rest time to squeeze in there.

I woke up this morning with a headache and sore throat.  I also have an injured shoulder which ached all night long.  My dogs went one way with my arm attached to their leashes and the rest of my body stayed put.  I have been alternatively babying it and pushing my limits trying to figure out which one works.  It seems to get better when I rest it but the rest of me complains.  There is that time allocation thing again.

Hmmm, what would I tell myself if I were talking to someone else.  Well for one thing, time is really irrelevant.  You can’t spend or save time, it just is.  Do what you feel like doing, not what you think you should.  Trust your instincts not the chatter going on in your head.

I have always considered myself a closet crazy.  No one can see or hear it but I have all these crazy thoughts going on in my head;  Fears, doubts, frustrations, bitchy thoughts.  At other times, I feel positive and full of hope, joy and love.  Then of course, there are the shoulds and shouldn’ts.  I should be feeling happy right now, not sad.  I shouldn’t be tired right now, I got plenty of sleep.  I should be appreciating this moment but all I can do is feel frustrated.

I think I and everyone else needs a dose of maitri, the buddhist concept of loving-kindness.  Here is Pema Chodron on the subject:

“Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry.  We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness.  Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better.  It’s about befriending who we already are.  The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are.”

Ah, the buddhists.  They have a way of putting things in perspective yes?  I think I answered my own question about what I should do next.  Get my butt on my mat and do practice. I don’t have to push myself to the limit but I do need to breath and focus my energy.  I do need to steady the waves of my mind.  The goal is not to be someone different. Back to Pema:

“We look for happiness in all the wrong places.  The Buddha called this habit “mistaking suffering for happiness.”  We become habituated to reaching for something to ease the edginess or the moment. Thus we become less and less able to reside with even the most fleeting uneasiness or discomfort.  What begins as a slight shift of energy-a minor tightening of our stomach, a vague indefinable feeling that something bad is about to happen-escalates into addiction. This is our way of trying to make life predictable.  We remain stuck in the repetitious habit of escalating our dissatisfaction.”

Okay, okay, I get it.  Life is not about always feeling happy and satisfied.  It is about the whole ride.  Yoga practice is key for me to finding balance in the chaos of my own thoughts and the craziness of the world around me. What is it that steadies your thoughts?  What do you do to make your mind quiet and calm?  Do you ever feel caught up in the craziness of this world? I would love to hear your thoughts.  Peace, Mimi