The Perils of Living Behind the Donut Shop
So I have finally returned to this blog, after an eventful summer. Since last I wrote, I have taught to hundreds at an anime convention, I have held multiple aerial yoga classes and workshops, and I have completed my teacher training in vinyasa yoga.
Oh. And I moved away from New Orleans to a small town in Southeast Kansas called Independence.
I have spent the last few months getting to know my new town, which is lovely, and here is what I can tell you so far:
- Independence has a colorful and fascinating history. From serial killers to famous actors to world-renowned musicians, this town has it all.
- There is always something to do here. To quote my landlady, “If you’re bored in Independence, it’s your own fault.”
- Neewollah is the biggest deal here, which just ended. It’s a Kansas version of Mardi Gras, except with the joy of the Midwest street carnival. In other words, it’s my new favorite week.
- The nearest Starbucks is 45 minutes away. The nearest Target is 90 minutes away. BUT, the nearest IKEA is only 2 hours away.
- There is one donut shop. I live right behind it.
In yoga, the two main principles taught are practice and non-reaction. You use the two together to make a change in your life and to stop the cycles of behavior that no longer serve you. (so much more than stretching…) So you might imagine how much I try to practice non-reaction to the lure of fresh donuts every morning.
And since yoga is a practice, it is not perfection.
Which means I have given in to the lure of fresh donuts. Not every morning, but many mornings.
And, as I am eating these donuts, I begin to chastise myself for eating them. I make deals like, “Well, since I ate 2 donuts, that means I have to eat better for the rest of the week.” OR “I can eat these 3 donuts after I do an hour of yoga because that balances out.”
And then I feel like crap. Not only do I feel guilty for eating the donuts, but I also physically feel gross and sluggish because I have fueled it with donuts instead of actual nutrients. And because I feel gross, I don’t do any yoga. (more on that in another post) And I feel even grosser and more guilty because now I have not only eaten poorly but I have not honored my body as I know I should. Finally, I “give up.” I eat whatever sounds good, and drink whatever I think will make me feel better. But it never does. Eventually, I start over. I recommit to eating better and saying no to donuts.
Have you ever had that spiral go on about food? I think that has been a running commentary in the back of my mind since I was about 12.
However, in the past few months, I have become more aware of this cycle. I buy the donuts, and as I sit in front of them, I say to myself, “This is going to bog down my body. How can I help minimize this effect?” And I actually carry through with what I decide. I drink more water, I cut out the alcohol, I get up and walk around or play with my kitten, Ahsoka. (more on her too.) I set alarms to do yoga. I eat simply for the rest of the day. And I monitor how I feel.
This is what practice and non-reaction really are. I know that I have pre-learned patterns of behavior that revolve around this thing: Donuts. And when I don’t react, I have the opportunity to change how the cycle plays out. I can create a new pattern. Eventually, I will be able to fully let go of donuts altogether. I will not react to them. I will practice “not reacting” to donuts.
God, I want a donut right now. Do you want a donut?