I DON’T WANNA!! Thanks for making me.*


*This post is not about the use of violence to make someone do what they don’t want to do.  Do not for one second that I think that NO means anything other than NO.  I’m talking about doing what is RIGHT even when we don’t feel like doing it.

It’s Monday.  My oldest kid is yodeling something truly awful in the shower and my youngest kid is reading 5,000 Calvin & Hobbes comic strips at the top of his lungs.  My dog ate my shoes, I need to do laundry, it’s a holiday where everyone is a slug all day and I have to / get to teach two classes.  This whole day oozes “I DON’T WANNA!”

Really, what is it with boys and volume?  Annoying volume.  Pointless volume.  Incessant volume.  Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Moving on.

Anyway, there’s been a lot of talk about “I don’t wanna” around me lately: kids not wanting to shower (don’t get me started,) husbands not wanting to go to work, dogs not wanting to be decent living beings, me not wanting to cook, folks not wanting to go to the gym or to the gyno (believe me, they both can be horrible, any number of people not wanting to leave the bar, leave their beds, leave their Mama’s garage (Twitter joke, sorry,) and folks not wanting to do Utkatasana or Ustrasana or anything other than Savasana (more about that in a minute.)

Yesterday was Sunday Funday and I found myself lounging around my house reading all morning.  It was beautiful – guilt free reading and lounging and the like.  I had made a huge breakfast and the kids were stuffed, I was still able to be in denial about the laundry situation, and my dogs weren’t being complete assholes, so I was deeply engrossed in my book for hours.  About 1:30, my husband waltzes in to my little book nook and announces that we should all go out for a canoe ride!

Me: But I’m reading and the kids are playing! (truth)

Him: But it’s a beautiful day! (lie – it was overcast and muggy as hell.)

Me: BUT I’M READING!  (serious truth)

Him: I’ll do all the work. (97% truth)

Me:  I have to plan a few classes, do laundry, and a hundred other things. (true, but I prob wasn’t going to do them)

Him:  We won’t be gone long, just a little float!  (Hmmm,  I smell a rat)

Me:  I am fine and happy just staying here!

Him: Okay, we can just stay here, babe!

Me:  Fine, okay, shit.  Let’s go, dammit. sigh.

And so he loaded up the canoe and the trolling motor and battery and a cooler and the bug spray and fishing stuff and I loaded a pack full of resentment and huffiness and away we went.  Oh yeah, we packed the kids in there, too.  We made it to our spot and unloaded everything and hooked it all up and, whaddya know, the battery for the motor went dead.  See, normally that’s not a big deal because we have oars and it’s not like we’re on a yacht or something, BUT this time we were loaded down and everything was heavy and we had a headwind and .. guh. So, of course, I unpack my huffiness and air it out a bit.  The husband, however, was undeterred! We unloaded the trolling motor and the battery, dumped out half the ice, and played rock paper scissors to see which kid would get locked in the car and took off.

Okay, I’m lying about that last part, but it would have made a good story, eh? 

 It wasn’t long before our load got even lighter, though.  Within 20 minutes, I had thrown the heavy resentment and huffiness overboard.  It was positively gorgeous out there!  The sky cleared up, the sun shone brightly, and everything was perfect.  There were only a couple of other people in this HUGE system of lakes, so we kind of had the place to ourselves.  We made our way through a tiny, incredibly shallow passageway.  We saw egrets and fish and crawdads and frogs and beaver homes.  We laughed and sang and joked and fished.  Eventually, we made it through the maze of old tree stumps to the swimming beach.  It was deserted, so we shored up and let the kids run and play.  We watched them hoop it up and laugh and wade in the water.  Before we knew it, they stripped down and dove in.  They were trying to catch fish with their hands and it was so much fun to watch!  Husband and I just laughed and smiled and wondered at the greatness of it all.  All too soon it was time to go back and load up.
That little float turned into 4 hours of awesome and I am SO glad I did what I didn’t want to do.
I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to go to work, to take a shower, to move out of your mama’s basement, to act like a decent living being, to cook, to go to the gym (and the gyno.)  No one wants to do these things, but we always feel so much better when we do them.  When you boil it all down, it’s not even the event that is so horrid, it’s the anticipation of the event that stinks.  Once we do these things, we realize it’s not really that bad and life is better for having done it.  The same goes for yoga.  There are days I do not want to practice.  There are days when I walk past my mat many times before rolling it out (I can’t lie, I’ve even been known to flip it off,) but I have never once regretted the decision after the fact.
Pattabhi Jois said “Practice and All is Coming.”   It means suit up, show up, do the work, and all good things come your way.  Don’t practice and nothing happens.  There are so many lessons we learn on our mat and they come in countless forms.  Sometimes we learn that it is the dedication that makes it special.  Sometimes we learn that we can survive really hard things.  Sometimes we learn that we can fly and others we learn that we can fall.  Most times, however, we learn that it isn’t about the pose or the destination, it’s about the practice and the journey.  It is said that we need to practice most often the poses we like the least.  Those are the moments that change us.  Those poses are the path to enlightenment.  We learn to endure.  We learn to not want to, but to do it anyway.  We learn that we can make it through and it’s often not nearly as bad as we think.  Occasionally, or eventually, we might learn to love that which we didn’t like at all.  And that, my lovelies, is the best practice of all.

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