(You can read background on Satya and my week 1 here)
Week two: My assignment this week is multifaceted and a little confusing. I'm supposed to spend the week in "self-expression"; to "make movement toward the external world with my internal hopes and dreams"; "act on life-giving opportunities, despite consequences(??)"; observe everything that happens, and if I find myself in "self-indulgence, ask, 'What am I not expressing?'"
Can you see my confusion? That's a lot of seemingly unrelated tasks to attend at one time, in one week.
So Why does Adele throw all these ideas together and call it Satya? She's is an incredibly economic writer, succinctly illustrating how all of these concepts are both important and related in a mere few paragraphs that I'm going to try to whittle down to one sentence:
When we hold our shit in, bad stuff happens.
When we're not expressing our true uniqueness, when we feel tamped down or imposed upon by external pressures, we may turn to destructive ways of dealing with what's being pent up, like over-indulging in harmful behaviors such as over-working, drinking, shopping, internet-scrolling, etc.
This is the first weekly challenge that has really tripped me up. I had to re-read it every morning because I kept forgetting what it was. To me, it lacks cohesion--seemingly four separate ideas grouped together. But maybe it just appears challenging to me for personal reasons that I haven't sussed out yet. In any case, some things I did this week to express my unique self were:
1. I finally communicated to my parents the fact that I don't feel they put much effort into seeing their only grandson. I've been feeling for a long time that they don't prioritize seeing him, other than asking me when I'm coming down to Florida to see them. It's been festering within me and I've talked to other people about it, but not directly to them, so that's something I will re-iterate and make sure is clear. (And I did re-iterate it about a week later and feel much better about getting it out there, being honest, and communicating clearly)
2. Self-indulgence: I'm very aware of the times when I want to escape the present, indulging in a large glass of wine (or two) or some shitty TV show (shoutout to 90-Day Fiancee) to take the edge off and numb out. Since this is already an ongoing practice for me, I tried to scrape below the actions to ask what I'm really trying to escape, or if maybe I'm compensating for not letting out something else that needs to be expressed. Honestly, I didn't come up with anything revelatory, just kind of the same old shit. BUT, I do notice that when I'm working more, which is absolutely life-giving, I feel much less draw to old self-indulgent patters to escape the moments that are less stimulating. So that's progress, I guess?
3. This next one sounds shallow, but I'm seeing it as a symbolic representation of a larger truth...I started noticing a lot more gray hairs popping up about a month ago, and instead of making an appointment to hide them, I'm letting them run free (and multiply!) for now.
Big deal, right?
For most women, the decision to cover or not to cover grays is kind of a big deal. The pressures on women to arrest the aging process are intense and prevalent, especially in certain cities (New York) and certain industries (fitness). But even if you're a factory worker in Iowa, women can't escape the constant messages from all forms of media that looking older is undesirable.
So my grays are becoming more abundant and I don't like the way it looks. I don't like that it's a sign of aging. My ego enjoys the fact that I've always looked younger than my years. I love it when someone is shocked to learn my age (41 as of Monday), and these grays are giving me away. But instead of worrying about them or about what they may reveal about me--which would be the TRUTH of my age--I'm going to let it go and embrace the reality of my appearance. Partially I'm curious to see what I'll look like, but I'm also inspired by living in the doctrine of Satya in this way. Coloring my grays IS erecting a barrier to hide the truth, the truth of my physical appearance.
Week two of Satya is the first weekly challenge that I've felt really challenged by. I definitely don't express myself as much as I should, and expecting to change a lifelong personality trait in one week is unrealistic. But the awareness has been planted and I'm consciously practicing it.
* * * * *
Week Three tells me to pay attention and go S-L-O-W enough that I do everything right the first time, so I don't have to backtrack to apologize or correct mistakes. I am told not to run from hard tasks that present themselves, but to face each moment head on with clarity and courage.
Why? What does this have to do with truthfulness? Basically, avoiding things we don't want to do, or doing them in a half-assed manner are "acts of cheating truth that result in messes we eventually have to clean up."
Here's how this concept manifested in my week:
1. Prepping for a new client
I haven't had a new client since before I went on maternity leave. I put in a lot of extra time, excavated old paperwork (thank god it was already done), was very thorough in preparation for our first meeting. I feel good about putting in 100% effort when I could have devoted much less time for someone who was just a potential client and who may not be a regular one. Still, it gets my motivational ball rolling and gives me life.
2. Just do it, and do it well
On Sunday I really needed/wanted to go for a run, but I had put it off all morning and found myself debating over whether or not to go at all. By 2:30 I still hadn't gone and it would have been so easy to say fuck it or to just do an easy one. Instead, I put in the little extra effort for a longer run to build on my miles and avoid a plateau I'm in danger of dwelling in.
3. Slowing down my teaching pace
I am ALWAYS working on slowing down when I teach my classes; it's my biggest challenge, so this week it was my #1 priority. I've been saying I'm working on slowing down my teaching for probably two years now, but am I really working on it? Or am I just telling myself and others that I am?
4. Let others set the pace
This week I made a concerted effort not to rush walks with my toddler son or my senior dog, both of whom walk torturously slowly. I really tried to just let them be the pace cars.
5. Think before I speak so I don't have regrets
I was intentionally gentler in some minor interactions with my husband. He's not a sensitive or emotional person, so I sometimes forget he has feelings at all and am too harsh with him. I tried to think before speaking so that I wouldn't have to backtrack or regret the way my words came out.
Reflections on week 2 & 3:
The intention behind this whole project of studying the Yamas and Nyamas in this particular format is not so that I can complete tasks and move on to the next. The idea is to truly experience and integrate each principle into my life as I move forward to examine the next, gathering in and holding on to each one. I'm only 2 months in and already it's clear I'll be repeating this same process next year, maybe every year, because I'm barely scraping the surface. My consciousness already feels near its full capacity.