Dither Me This is a publication that presents current, old, spontaneous, or nonsensical musings for the reader to use as a writing prompt, discuss with a friend, lover, or to read and move on. Authors may present questions, creative processes, or thoughtful means to end the week; and while you may still be left staring at the walls, it is not without a new thought mulling the paint into iterative transformation. Thus we send waves into the electronic ether and see what is returned – extending a baton to the world, only a little afraid to let go.
15 – Edges
by Amanda Sandlin
“I don’t believe in laziness,” I heard through my computer’s speakers while on a conference call with the prolific artist and best-selling author, SARK. She was responding to my question, “How can you tell the difference between honest burn-out and laziness?”
I sat back in my chair, pissed. She struck a nerve. My pissed-offness quickly turned into curiosity as I wondered, Why am I reacting this way? What’s triggering me here?
I took SARK’s answer back to friends — fellow creatives — and their thoughts piqued my interest even more:
“What comes up for me is the word JUDGEMENT. When we talk about laziness in our culture and society, there is often a subtle element of judgement. We think it’s wrong and something we should avoid.”
“I think the bigger point is to do what works for you and be nice to yourself.”
This got me thinking. But isn’t some form of self-judgment necessary? I searched for its definition:
the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
Why do we place a negative connotation on the idea of judgment? I believe it’s important to judge ourselves at times, and to do it in a kind, less emotional way.
A few nights ago I took my first yoga class in years, and the teacher mentioned ‘the edge’. Instead of backing off when I felt it, I breathed through it. “Breathe knowing this will not last. See if you can just sink into it,” she said.
What is ‘the edge’? As Alison Stein Wellner writes in Yoga Journal:
“Healthy ambition requires you not to push yourself too hard but not to take it too easy, either. This seems like a fine line, and in fact, in yoga practice it’s often referred to as “the edge.” It’s the place where you’re working at the top of your body’s ability on that day. If you worked any less, you’d be slacking off; any more, and you’d be risking injury. Only you know where your edge is.”
For so long I’ve avoided that edge both on and off the mat.
The idea of ‘finding your edge’ is a judgment. You turn inward and take note of how you’re feeling, and you make a decision based on that. Even when a pose is slightly uncomfortable (note: NOT painful, just uncomfortable) we are taught to breathe knowing it won’t last forever and by expanding what you perceive as a boundary, you are growing as a person.
Isn’t that the whole point of yoga, and of life? Isn’t that why we fall in love, even though we’re scared? Isn’t that why we climb rocks and mountains, even though it’s strenuous? To expand, to grow, both inside and out? How can you grow without being uncomfortable? I’d argue…you can’t.
After SARK’s statement of not believing in laziness and fully allowing herself to “collapse” when she wants, I neglected my work, stayed in bed for days, binge-watched Netflix, drank too much, ate too little, and consequently went into a deep hole of depression and anxiety. (Not surprising.)
I can argue that I was being gentle and allowing myself to do what I needed, but I was actually doing myself a disservice. My inner child took over. I practiced no judgment — no discernment — and quickly spiraled downward.
I believe there is a fine line between self-care and self-pity. At some point you must pick yourself up and say, It’s time to truly take care of myself. You are making a judgment call. It isn’t a condemnation; it’s an observation and a gentle pivot of course for your own good. No one else can do it for you.
I think SARK’s words hit a nerve that day because my gut knew that more rest was not what I needed. I needed to tap into the healthy adult part of myself and tell my inner child it was time to move forward. Put on clothes. Cook fresh food. Open my laptop. Walk in the woods. And take care of myself in a different way.
Next time I feel lazy, I will absolutely judge myself. I will take an honest look inside and see if rest is actually needed or a way of avoiding something that might be a bit uncomfortable. And I will (try to) make a sensible decision on how to act.
There are plenty of times we do need to call in sick (even though we’re not), lie in bed all day, eat a tub of ice cream, take a hot soak, and drink some wine. And then there are times when that will only hurt us more. We have to dig deeper. See ourselves deeper.
Instead of blindly answering to whatever call comes from inside, what if we took time to discern the voices, to find our edge? To judge in a kind, open, and caring way? To me, this is the most truly loving thing we can do for ourselves.
With loving edges,
Amanda Sandlin is an artist, writer and climber who, when not roaming about the mountains, lives in Denver. She is the creator of the #atwildwoman and recently republished EXPERIMENT: The less complicated + reallyreally fun way to become self-employed. You can find her at www.amandasandlin.com and on Instagram at @amandsandlin.