Princess and the Pea


Once in a while, your health becomes one of those distractions to practice and the pursuit of all of the various disciplines that make up yoga practice.  It’s like the pea below the mattress, just there to test you.

Right now, I am recovering from a summer cold that I got while down in Encinitas.  I should have been taking big blasts of vitamin C or Echinacea or Airborne or whatever, but I wasn’t and bang.  Now a summer cold is almost more comic than it is serious.  But, of course, despite the best advice, I got on the plane to come back to SF and the cabin pressurizing sucked the congestion into my ears.  A week later and I can still barely hear out of my right ear.

So, I should have treated this as a test of pursuit of the all of the restraint that I require for my yoga practice as well as an opportunity to see what practice sounds like when you can only hear the inside sounds, when your equilibrium may be challenged.   But instead, the pea has completely knocked me down.  Everything has fallen apart in pursuit of getting rid of the pea, but it has also become an excuse to have a glass of wine, eat whatever I want – comfort food on call….  I might as well have been resting on the couch with a box of bonbons, watching TV.  I’ll give you an idea of how bad this got, one night last week, I had a glass of wine, a HUGE bowl of Cajun food (not the most veggie cuisine on the planet) and watched “Big Brother All Stars”.  Even I am a little disgusted.  I think part of the issue is the doctor recommended that I shouldn’t fly and that the ear my take a while to clear.  As she is saying this, my internal dialogue starts to catastrophize the whole thing…  “No flying, take a while to clear, ….but but but I am leaving for an extended trip to Asia in three weeks…..but but but….”

Everyone has tried to reassure me that this too shall pass and that it shouldn’t get in the way of my trip, but it is really irritating and this princess, requires EVERYTHING to be perfect.  Absolutely everything.

But the ear is starting to clear, slowly.  And I have had a chance to notice the effect of the a blocked ear in practice.  I never knew how many sounds the body made during practice, pops, door opening sounds, …  I never heard them in the past, because I was focused on all of the sounds outside my head.  The other thing you notice is how much of the practice you spend in an inversion or forward bend.  Everytime you go into Down Dog, you can feel the increase of pressure in the ear.

So, this princess has to remember to hold on to her equanimity better when a pea is placed under the mattress.  If in fact, this doesn’t pass by the time I am supposed to go to Asia, I can always postpone for a week and hope that it clears.  If longer, then so be it.  But,  I doubt that (pray that) it is not that serious.  And that Bali and Mysore are not impacted at all.

Me thinks, it is all in my head, or in this case in my ear.

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