“When I feel that something I’m writing is going well, everything in my life is good and the things in my life that aren’t good are completely manageable. If it’s not going well, Miss America could be standing there in a swimsuit handing me a nobel price and I wouldn’t be happy about it”
Aaron Sorkin

The Element

Vata here, Vata there, Vata Vata everywhere

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Its winter – the peak of winter. Yesterday we had clear blue skies and the moon shone bright throughout the night. Which means that its freezing outside, possibly -20c or ever lower. It’s jut past 8am and I am sitting in bed writing this post. I didn’t sleep well though I did manage to rest (as is the case on many nights).

I got up and put on a first thermal layer of clothes. Not because it’s too cold (it is one of those freezing mornings, however the thermal mass of the rocket has managed to keep the room from getting too cold) but because the daily routine ahead will involve going out a few times and I want to do so comfortably and retain my body heat throughout the day. Also the hall-kitchen and bathroom are unheated, ie. freezing cold and I do have to pee and then make tea.

I try to be efficient (I don’t like waiting). I pour water from the water-filter into the kettle, turn on the kettle and then refill the water filter with water from the semi-frozen buckets sitting on the floor (our water supply is not working – frozen). I then go back into the room and begin to light the rocket. I put in a few of thin pieces to get it going, light them and then put in a few more chunkier pieces sitting on top of the stove to dry (not too many so as not to choke the fire). I then move a few more pieces of wood from the pile on the floor to the stove-top so that they will continue to dry.

I then take my cup out to the kitchen, dump the old tea bag into the compost bin and take out a new one. I carefully pour hot water into it – the small filter on the kettle is half clogged with sediment from out hard-water – I’ll clean it later. I walk back into the room where we keep the honey and a spoon – I add honey (it’s very thick and solid) and let it sit in the hot water while I feed the rocket again. I then come back to the tea, mix it, place the spoon back on the honey-jar and place the cup on the floor next to the bed.

I will have to revisit the rocket stove almost every 10-15 minutes (we are using scrap soft-wood which doesn’t last very long, had it been a hard-wood it would have lasted maybe even twice as long) to feed it with more wood (and move more wood on top to dry) for the next 2 or 3 hours.  I have already done so twice three four five times since I began writing this post.  At one point I will have to bring in more firewood (which I prepared the night before in a box in the hall). This will repeat itself twice more during the day (though for less time – as it is easier to keep the rocket warm then it is to get is started in the morning).

Andreea, still sleeping next to me, may wake up soon. She will want attention, I will want to give it to her. She will ask me to make her coffee … it is very likely that I will part happily and part grudingly make it for her. There is a good chance I will join her this morning (I have been moving away from coffee again, haven’t had any coffee for almost 2 weeks and do enjoy a bit now and again).  So there is a good chance this post will not be completed this morning … or ever. It’s not in my hands.

The day will include a few more multi-detailed routines. The animals need care. The car will need to be started (so we can go and pick up our fresh milk from the village) and because of the freezing temperatures it won’t start and will require another ceremony that will last a few hours of patient back and forth. I may go out and do some more wood cutting and as we are using scraps it is disharmonious process (I need to pick out useful scraps, they are filled with nails, I need to cut them to length with the mitre saw carefully around the nails, pile the cuttings in the wheelbarrow, move them close to the house, dump them, cut them to smaller pieces with a axe, collect the pieces into the wheelbarrow and organize them in storage next to the house) compared to straightforward wood chopping.

I was looking forward to a restful winter. I was looking forward to getting back on the mat, to resuming a Pranayama practice. No luck so far. Overall it is a period of rest from physical work. However, mentally it is a very demanding period. Very noisy, very disturbing. It has been impossible, so far, to bring myself to a quiet, clean, warm and distraction free state of mind in which I can practice. Life has been and continues to be an unrelenting off-the-mat practice.

I am in full experience and full awareness of a dominant vata moving in me. There is an intense vibration – there is an intense change, a change I asked for and walked into willingly. I believe it manifests most in my restless nights and in my emotional body where I fluctuate between remoteness and intensity.

However, for some reason, it hasn’t taken me over and I don’t feel it doing so. I feel contained … disturbed but contained. I am also not helpless about the situation. I constantly try to make it better by (a) introducing routine and (b) improving the way I do things … making them simpler and more comfortable. Instead of trying to overpower the movements in my mind I am trying to divert them into a steadier flow … not so much changing their intensity but rather their quality. In retrospect this seems to be a simple alchemical formula of transforming turbulent flow into smoother flow. Tasks that were disturbing to me a few weeks ago are still there but more peaceful … dare I say meditative?

However I do believe that my long term health will be much improved and better maintained by reconnecting with my on-the-mat practices. It may take a few years to get there and until then I am very happy to find that years of quality teachings and practices have insinuated deep into my consciousness and are now flowering to support me in this intense period of change.

I continue to be grateful to my teachers and the precious teachings they have shared with me. Teachings that go beyond obvious manifestations of Yoga and appear in the form of a practical consciousness that supports my life.

Andrea is up and the rocket needs feeding … and this post has been birthed into the world 🙂

 

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