I admit it. At times, without the soy cappuccino, I don’t think I could get through my next to-do.
… but I only allow myself a tall, soy cappuccino, which, in Starbucks speak, means small.
Now that we got that clear…
It’s artificial. And even though that artificial boost can feel great, I know that moment will come when the boost disappears. If I take coffee regularly, I know that moment will come when I feel depleted of my own prana, or life force, and then I will feel the need to detox.
I think it’s nice never to have to detox.
I sleep a good 7 hours and sometimes I take naps. People think this is appropriate because I get up early for sadhana. But that’s not it. For years, I went to bed by 10:30, got up at 3:50 am, and I woke up rested, needing no naps nor artificial boost, and I felt completely sustained. For years.
I recently told a Bhakti Yogi that I believed my dilemma had to do with (a) my current diet, which is more rajasic than sattvic — a slippery slope to tamasic (the soy cappuccino) — and (b) taking the more moderate approach to my practice rather than going all the way in, the former of which I believe is more challenging. More on that some other time.
The Bhaki wasn’t convinced, at least about blaming my diet. He said, the practice of devotion is what sustains.
I was totally willing to look at this. And I did.
My diet didn’t impact me until something else changed. What changed was how I came to my practice. How I came to my work. How I showed up in my life.
I came to it less devoted, more conflicted. I allowed myself to think about other things that I could be doing or getting done because of something ‘new and exciting’ that had come into my life. What happened from there is, I dropped the thing that sustained me in the name of time management, priority, opportunity, and giving myself a break.
I continued showing up for my practice, albeit a much shorter one, because it was a commitment I made to myself. I was also slightly afraid to leave it because, after all, it did profoundly change my life, and this was definitely better than not showing up at all. But I wasn’t really there. And showing up was sometimes a real drag because I was just going through the motions.
There are levels of devotion.
I am, as most mothers are, devoted to my kids. I love them unconditionally. I get up and take care of them when I am not feeling well and had only a few hours of sleep. No matter how bad it is outside, and how much I am not feeling it, I still take them to, and pick them up from, school. No matter how tight my budget, I find the resources to give them what they need.
When I practice true devotion, I don’t simply go through the motions. I pay attention to them. I dialogue and engage with them like nothing else matters. It makes motherhood that much more enjoyable and sustainable. I don’t ask myself, how much longer can I juggle this? Or, is it bedtime yet? Instead, I say, I love my kids. I love my life. And I mean it with every cell of my body.
One thing that I know about relationships is that in order for me to have a chance at successful ones, I need to come to them whole. No one, or nothing, else can make me whole. Only I can do that. When I can do that, I have a chance at success (joy).
So how can I mother myself into wholeness and stay there? How can I make myself sustainable?
I can, yes, feed myself nourishing foods because the foods that we eat certainly do have an impact on us. Beyond that, I can practice devotion. Devotion makes slippery slopes less slippery.
Devotion had always been the crux of my practice, and I had forgotten. Thank you, Bhakti, for reminding me. Any other reason for doing my practice had made the side benefits (like clarity, equanimity, restfulness, good memory, strong immune and nervous system) more allusive. Without devotion, anything we do is like doing something in order to find, for instance, a boyfriend. You might feel like you are getting close to attaining your desire, but then it slips through your fingers.
When you aren’t looking; when you are paying attention to what you already have, when you practice good stewardship and gratitude (devotion)… guess what happens? Sustained energy. It’s kinda like that. And voila! No more coffee.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” –Audre Lorde