Ashram Day

(Written in February 2007)
My heart feels exploded with terror.  My brain’s not working very well.  I can’t tell if that’s because I’m scared, or if that’s what’s making me scared.  Can I bring kindness to my fear?  Can I soften around it?
It eases and comes back.  I feel very blank and blunt and disconnected.  I try to figure out what I am afraid of without success.  What is the worst that can happen?  That I will sit here watching the birds, unable to enjoy them, unable to connect with them, and that I’m stuck here, nothing I do makes any difference.  This is trauma — the stuckness, the disconnect, the terror.  I’m right in the center of it.  This is the worst that can happen — and I’m still here, being present to it as best I can.
I’ve come out of this before, and I will come out of it again.  There’s nothing I have to do today.  I can keep to an ashram schedule.  (did 20 minute sessions because I’m so scared: typing, reading, meditation, painting, snowshoeing, etc.)

I used to do this when I was doing very badly, unable to make decisions, know what I wanted to do or when I was ready to stop something. I’d set the timer for 30 minutes and do one of the following: yoga, meditate, houseclean, read, write, type journals, etc.  When the timer rang, I’d do something else, alternating active & quiet activities.  One day I told someone at Kripalu I’d done “nothing” for several days, and described my schedule.  She said “That’s not nothing, that’s an ashram day.”  I felt much better about doing “nothing” and started calling them “ashram days” myself.  If I was really doing badly, I’d set the timer for 20 minutes.

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