"Counteracting obstacles", by Susana Laborde-Blaj
For a 54 year old woman who grew up with the taste of corn, sunshine all year long and the dry soil of central and northern Mexico, it was a challenge to come back to Northwest Oregon from our last retreat in Guanajuato. I found myself scratching around in my tool box, making an extra effort not to dive into Seasonal Affective Disorder, bouncing like a ping pong ball from anxiety to depression to irritability to sadness, and dragging myself into doing my personal practice, even if I felt gloomy in my soul, and because I felt gloomy in my soul.
How far I feel from what we call the “six treasures”: Tranquility, Self-Restraint, Renunciation, Endurance, Faith and Mental Balance. Probably closer to what we call the “Antarāyas”, the nine impediments or obstacles in our practice, mentioned by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra-s. Adding a check mark after almost each one of these obstacles as I read this list yesterday made me consider my situation and want to look for a way out.
The list of "Antarāyas" looks like this:
Disease or illness
Self-doubt or lack of confidence
Absence of passion, lazy
Sensory temptations or preoccupations
Not achieving the level expected
Relapse and regression
I clearly needed to do something, so I opted for this simple list in order to counteract the other one.
Pranayama & Meditation last night before going to sleep
Wake up this AM and get out of bed
Take a shower and wash my hair
Dry my hair with a dryer (the heat feels so nice!)
Have a nice hot tea; then hot cacao with chili powder and species; then my favorite chia & oatmeal cookies
Teach a class and be open to see the students and have fun
Work on updating my website
Celebrate talking to my husband with a smile
Plan: Go to the movies
So my advice today, in case there is some dark corner in your soul, or in case one of those obstacles seems to be blocking your path: make your own attainable list of simple things that can bring some warmth and sunshine to your life.
I’ll keep working on updating mine!