Mourning the loss of bad habits

Texas Mushrooms on a tree stump

I’ve been a tiny bit sad but haven’t known why.  My girls are brimming with spirit and personality.  My relationships are generally pretty harmonious. I’m through some troubling yet important decision-making.  I’ve even got a nice work schedule and I’m learning a lot in the classes I’m taking. Still, there’s this feeling of missing something.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen a slow (very slow) dropping off of some of my bad habits.  I’m not talking about deep dark secret habits, but of those little things that I’d turn to when I would feel pangs of loneliness (cookies), or dissatisfaction about something (wine) or the need to be moving so fast so I wouldn’t have to really look at the parts of my life that were in need of some sort of change (facebook, coffee).  There are also other habits or samskaras in my relationships that are changing (blaming someone else). As a result, my relationships, digestion and mood have generally gotten better and so have other aspects of life.  Over time, there has been this movement toward making things more simple.  Of slowing down and finding more quiet.  So these days, there’s less drama.  There’s better communication. I’m taking responsibility for myself and am better at maintaining a state of balance.  All-in-all letting go of bad habits means my life is better. 

I think this weird sadness is coming up because I miss those familiar and fun escapes of sugar, booze and buzzing on the caffeine even though I can see that I’m better off without them.  It’s like those were temporary escapes and they just aren’t there in the same way anymore.  Now, when I’m feeling a little lonely, I don’t go for the cookies quite as fast, and there it is… lonely feeling.  And if I want to have the excuse or the distraction or easy laughter that comes from happy-hour wine, I know that it also means I’ll probably be impatient with my girls during bedtime and I won’t sleep as well and then my morning isn’t as graceful. So, sometimes I don’t have the glass of wine and then the feeling that got me wanting it in the first place is still there, hanging out. Now, without those things to eat, drink or turn to, there’s much more quiet.  For a while I was worried that more quiet meant I was bored or maybe boring.  I mulled that over and decided that I may indeed be a little bit boring, but I don’t feel bored.  Life is beautiful, actually. There’s beauty and there’s loss. Without always, instantly, or thoughtlessly reaching for the cookies or reach for my iphone or have a glass of wine when unpleasant feelings arise, there is more time and space for me and those unpleasant feelings to just sit on that park bench and stare each other in the face. Staring is awkward.

These changes and the letting go, the vairagyam, that comes from this yoga practice of mine are good.  I think it’s possible that I can be more comfortable with these feelings that I used to always cover up and avoid with food or behaviors or patterns and now I only do it some of the time.  Maybe this little film of grief that comes from missing the way things used to be, the way I used to handle things, will lessen. And when there is no longer that film, and it’s just me and all that stuff that’s been there all along anyway, I can take a look at it, a clear look right at it, and do something with it.  Maybe the awkwardness will pass. Maybe we’ll become friends.

*If you’ve got the Heart of yoga on your bookshelf, check out the yoga Sutras I.12-15, at the back of the book. I happened to take a look at these sutras this week and they speak exactly what I’m talking about here.  Wow.


Amanda Green YOGA logo

Amanda teaches yoga movement, breath and meditation in Austin, TX and online.  She offers individual sessions to those interested in developing a daily home practice.  More information is available under “classes” tab or contact her by clicking HERE.

6 thoughts on “Mourning the loss of bad habits

  1. So well stated, Amanda, and i can really relate to this idea and those teachings. Looking forward to I.18, Patanjali reminds us that the past will not fall away, memory will have it’s hold and practice is the only answer.

    1. Good sutra, Rebecca. Thanks. Funny how habits sort of feel like old friends. They are so interwoven into how we move through things. They served a purpose and maybe hung on longer than they needed to. Then it’s time to let go and there’s memory. There is loss. So we keep practicing. xo

    1. Thanks, Nan. I think looking back and noticing that it is a path, a process and a journey is so useful. It also helps me to look forward to what’s ahead.

  2. boy, i understand these sentiments very well…doesn’t sound like you’re an ex-smoker or cigarettes would be on that list for sure! but i’ve also been going through a period of cutting back on my ‘old friends’…coffee, cigarettes, booze, late nights, bad eating…all to cope with voids and unfinished business in my life. without them, it’s down to me and me alone, and that’s scary and lonely…nowadays i just inhale as deeply as possible when passing a group of smokers…ahhh…i remember 😉 and then keep working toward learning how to cope with my ish. still have a glass too many once in a blue moon…always regret it when i can’t sleep well…bah. growing up.

    1. me alone. It is kind of scary and lonely until it isn’t. Or at least I think that’s the way it works. I’ve gotten glimpses of it and i bet you have too since you have the motivation to slow down on some familiar habits. I think of those wonderful 50 or 60 or 90 year old women that I admire…the ones that are so completely themselves, and I think going right through the middle of habits an unfinished business and all of it is one way to get there.

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