Despite my best intentions, sometimes I get behind. . . way behind! The past couple of weeks has been a whirlwind of engaging in my passions; family, travel, food, friends and teaching yoga. Consequently, although I have been focused on teaching #TheItyProject, I have neglected blogging about the last few virtues.
So let’s see, what have we missed? Non-irritability and adaptability! As I move through the Eighteen Ities in my teaching and personal practice, I am astounded at how much I am learning about myself. Even a week on each virtue allows me to uncover some often unrealized truths.
Irritability is the precursor of anger. When I focus on what causes irritability throughout my days I am able to quickly come up with the usual offenders. Lack of sleep, hunger, loneliness, and feeling overwhelmed are huge triggers in my life. But when I look deeper, past those external triggers which can be prevented with a good schedule and connection – I find the biggest trigger for irritability is my feeling as though I am not good enough. I’ll talk more about this in a future post, but for now I’ll say that my pattern centers around making unrealistic lists of things to accomplish in a given timeframe. When I fail to make it through these lists, I follow-up with negative self-talk and self-doubt. I then become irritable. I am afraid will take longer than a week to sort through and change this pattern, but I’ll keep you posted.
If the last couple of weeks has highlighted anything it is that once a pattern is noticed, it is very difficult to un-notice it. Now that I have begun to understand this unhealthy pattern in my mind I can begin my work.
Adaptability is the virtue that follows non-irritability and if you believe in serendipity it couldn’t have come at a better moment for me. My family and I followed our passion last week all the way to Kansas City to join friends to celebrate the Royals‘ World Series win. It was a last-minute, “fly by the seat of our pants” road trip and it involved juggling of schedules, teaching, practices, school, jobs, pet and home care.
It also involved reaching out to friends for help and making compromises in budget, sleep and those all-consuming lists of things to do. Adaptability is the very expression of constant change according to Swami Saraswati. When we cultivate adaptability, we are able to consciously act. We learn to take a step back, breath and act wisely. When we do this, we have time (even if it is just a moment) to access the best action for ourselves and others.
It is important to understand cultivating the ability to adapt is not the same thing as submitting to a situation or giving away your personal power. Adaptability is NOT self-denial. Adaptability is a mindful balance of one’s needs and desires with those of others. It is the art of compromise and managing one’s energy.
Along with our incredibly fun and spontaneous trip came exhaustion and a back log of work when we returned home. Normally, this may have sent me into a tailspin. I would slide into feeling over-whelmed and grumpy thus ruining the experience we created. Focusing on cultivating these virtues over the past weeks has allowed me to better predict future pitfalls and react accordingly.
If you haven’t been following along with #TheItyProject, join in anytime by reviewing older posts on this blog or following my on Facebook or Instagram.