Too Busy to Rest

"Maybe you need to dare to rest," Lynn said with a chuckle, knowing the title of the book I'm inches away from finishing.

"Right," I said, trying to smile at the irony.

"We often teach what we need," she said.

Yep. I was on a call with Lynn, a friend's incredible healer in New Zealand, laying flat on my back trying to figure out why a few days earlier my back went completely out. I don't have a back problem. And I definitely didn't have time for a back problem. 

Gotta finish the book (I'd already chucked perfect on one deadline due to a rib injury playing basketball last month!).

Gotta help my 12th grader with his college personal essay (supporting him to write about the impact of his dyslexia on his life is proving quite a challenge!).

Gotta help my 10th grader with high school hiccups (please teachers, I beg you, put all the homework in one place).

Gotta celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary (great day together with a curandera + lunch at our favorite middle eastern!).

I clearly had no time for a back problem. And that's why...I was sent another opportunity to practice what I preach. To slow down. Be still. Get clear on my intention.

Was I practicing yoga nidra before my back went out? Yep. But what I soon realized after a few days in bed is that I was practicing "take out yoga nidra." I was squeezing it in when I could, often not in quiet places, and..THIS IS BIG...I was practicing without an intention. I'd lost my sankulpa.

What's so beautiful about yoga nidra, and what makes it so different from other forms of meditation (other than the fact that it takes you to sleep consciously and other meditations don't) is that in each yoga nidra meditation you are invited to plant your sankulpa (a Sanskrit word meaning "deep vow" or intention) when you are in very deep meditation, a place where the subconscious mind is open. It's like planting a seed in fertile soil. The moment you say your intention in deep meditation it imprints on the subconscious mind and then when you wake you are more aligned to this intention. I've seen this happen so many times. It's with a strong sankulpa that I wrote my play. And yet for the past few months I'd been practicing without one. Or, more precisely, I'd switch intentions just about every day. No wonder my yoga nidra meditations were not feeling as restful.

And no wonder my back went out. I needed some rest time to get re-inspired and clear on my intention. Being flat on your back put a lot of things in perspective.

The book isn't that important.

And supporting my son to write his college essay isn't that important either.

So this week I put everything down. Missed my deadline. Told my sons I'll get to them later. And devoted myself to ME. This sounds easy, but we know it's not, right? When you'be been super busy and everything suddenly stops the idea of having time on your hands feels odd. It's like you have to re-learn how to rest. And re-learn how to be good to yourself. Years ago, if I got injured, I'd go on lots of medication and distract myself with a list of 'things to do while I'm injured." I'd rest productively. How crazypants is that...and yet our default is to do it again and again.

All I can say is a big back flippin' thank you to yoga nidra. The moment I plugged into yoga nidra this time I surrendered. When I surrender, yoga nidra always guides me home. She always re-teaches me how to rest. How to be good to myself. And yet again, when I'm not doing yoga nidra take-out style, she always helps me live with more intention.

I'm not completely out of bed yet (well, I probably could be, but I'm kinda enjoying this!). Next time, because there is always a next time, I'm comforted to know I've got a sleep and higher consciousness tool to get back to what Yogi Amrit Desai calls the Zero Stress Zone. 

What feelings are rising for you as you read this?

Is there a time when you've been sidelined to bed and gone kicking and screaming (like me!), but once you're there you realized, "Whoa, I needed this?" I'd love to hear your comments below.

Okay, gonna lie down now, ice my back, and plug back in to some yoga nidra :)

With yoga nidra love & sleep kisses,

Karen