18 minutes in meditation. Apart from a couple daylong meditation workshops, this is the longest I was ever able to sit. Part of it is the throbbing feeling in my head. Even though I had a painkiller I am still feeling the mini-migraine in my skull. It somehow helps me concentrate better, the throbbing is like a distant rhythmic drum. The other helping factor is the one hour yoga session that I just went through teaching two friends (it was a good session with a nice balance of sweat and relaxation).

After we dropped D. and R. off to the metro, I decided to sit down. I lit a candle in my meditation/yoga room, took out my pretty round red meditation cushion and started the process.

First and foremost, straight/neutral spine (which was easy this time since I was already relaxed from yoga). Next comes the harder part. Sitting down, scanning my body, slowing my breath and trying to tune down the non-ending story telling. The tuning down feels like stories are still going on in my head, but just for this moment I choose not to listen to them. Instead I listen to the ringing sound in my ears, the birds and bugs outside the window, the distant passing cars, maybe my heart beat... I watch my breath passing through my nostrils, filling my belly and lungs, I try to make it softer (as Iyengar says, breathing without hurting a single cell in my body). Then slowly, I feel it: I am suddenly lighter, like a cloud rather than a solid body. I expand and I am small at the same time. I observe myself breathing but I am not my body. It is almost as if I am watching my body from the outside. Breath just happens. My eyes, my face, my skin, I can feel all of them, at the same time I feel as if I am dissolving into air. I am a cloud of energy, I am one with the universe. My stories are silent.
Then, right at this moment, I ask myself a simple question, one that I find myself coming back to 'what should I learn today?'. The answer is one word this time, it appears from within, I see it rising from my belly and becoming slightly louder as it rises up to my chest: 'konusmayi', which means 'to talk' in Turkish. I don't ask 'why?' or don't say 'what the hell!'. At this moment, I am kind of impartial to it. I just take it as it is for further pondering. And I open my eyes. 18 minutes, not bad. I'm proud of myself.
And now the pondering :) I would be the first to admit that talking isn't always easy for me. I am better at writing, I have always been. I get tired of talking (literally my chin would hurt if I talk (or force myself to talk) in a rare occasion where the person opposite me isn't a talker -like mumu :)). I desperately need my silence. It is also hard in my day to day living since I am in foreign waters. I didn't grow up here. Yes I speak English well. But it is a conscious effort. When I am tired or hungry, words fail me. I find myself speaking with vague descriptions or lots of 'you know's. Or occasionally I make up words, like yesterday, here is my new name for mumu's video game 'Star Ocean': 'Space Babies' :))
Yet I find myself in a position where I am changing careers into a job where I am expected to teach yoga mainly through talking. It is probably my biggest fear, struggle and obstacle to get what I think or want to teach through to people who may or may not be native English speakers, by using English language. It's hard man!
This is not a complaint though. I think this is an honest sharing of my obstacles and fears. And like in meditation, I need to be very conscious about the story I am telling myself in real life (and not always listen to it, even change it if needed). Maybe that is the key from today's sitting. Maybe I need to look at my personal story about 'talking'. Is it a story of fear or is it a story where I get to learn something through my challenges? Do I get to experience life better, deeper through this challenge? Can I bring out something good, something better in myself and others by meeting this challenge, by striving to talk better, communicate smoother? Will people judge me by a mispronounced word or according to how they feel at the end of my class or what they saw differently in their lives as a result of my class? As I improve, will I be able to embrace my ever unwinding limitations?

And more importantly, while doing this, am I still myself and am I true to myself, my intentions, and my reasons for starting this journey (to help others help themselves and help them experience joy and happiness)? Do I sleep well at night? At the end of the day, this is what matters to me most.


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