triathlon duhkha

Most yoga classes end with a resting pose called savasana. After a few minutes, the teacher breaks the silence gently, asking participants to gently wiggle their fingers and toes, essentially coming “back to life” through movement.

My transition back from a weekend with family in Vancouver this week felt more like someone yanked me upright by pulling my arm out of its socket, yelling “WORK! TRAIN! BE PRODUCTIVE! FIX YOUR PROBLEMS! BE HAPPY!”

Moksha Yoga Burnaby

Moksha Yoga Burnaby, the adorable studio where Matt works.

Lighthouse Park Vancouver

Hiking in Lighthouse Park.

I always feel at home in Vancouver, even though I lived there only briefly in what feels like a past life. It’s so different than North County San Diego. Darker and colder and whispering its beauty rather than broadcasting it — and I love it, that Pacific Northwest sadness and big-city grit.

We talked, ate, hiked and practiced yoga at the studio where my brother teaches and plays live music. I ran a few times, soaking in the dense, mossy air. Happy hour with a dear friend and Easter dinner with my cousins filled in the leftover minutes, both with darling babies I hadn’t yet met in tow.

Stanley Park seawall

My family strolling the seawall in Stanley Park while I got lost.

Vancouver seawall

Vancouver’s seawall, site of a disaster race-esque chest-pain inducing run.

It was one of those post-race recovery weeks where my inner dialogue goes from telling myself I need the rest to fending off guilt. My one attempt at swimming while I was away was thwarted by an Easter Sunday family swim and I had a disaster run (chest pain wise) in Stanley Park.

Of course life is not all “bunnies and unicorns,” as my yoga teacher training leader likes to say. In a subculture that’s often too touchy-feely-perfect, it’s shorthand for the fact that life is full of duhkha, or suffering, or — my favorite way to look at it  — “stuckness.”

JJ Bean Commercial Drive

At the cafe where I used to work, JJ Bean.

Long-time friends.

My general attitude right now is decidedly lacking in bunnies and unicorns. The momentum and motivation I had leading up to Oceanside have abated. I finally got on my bike yesterday for my first ride since racing, needing to shake off the travel blahs, and today was a day for dragging myself out of bed, for routines and grocery shopping and moving molasses-like back to the pool. For tying up my shoes and plodding over familiar trails, of going through the motions hoping sparks will fly again.

I guess the nugget here is that these phases of life, if nothing else, help to restore my gratitude for the sweet times — the times I don’t even think about because they just work. 

Family walk.

Tomorrow I head back to my esophageal doctor for a follow up on the medication I took leading up to Oceanside, and that had no effect. I’ve had worse “daily life” symptoms, which concerns me. It’s starting to interfere with going out for beers with friends or eating a regular meal. I came home from Vancouver with a renewed commitment to figuring it out or at least finding a way to control the symptoms, but also with a sinking feeling that if I can’t, things might need to change.

So that’s the unpretty side of life right now. And it’s OK. It just is. I’ll probably feel different in a day or two.

6 thoughts on “triathlon duhkha

  1. April 9, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    i don’t think it’s worth fighting the lull in motivation to train and race. i do think it almost always comes back and it comes back faster if you give in to your body and mind craving time away. time away from the training AND the guilt. you have a lot of different things going on in your life and maybe it’s worth figuring out what is most fulfilling to you now instead of trying to fulfill you with lots of various activities. i am not sure that even makes sense? regardless, you are not alone and if you figure out perpetual happiness, let me know your secrets :)

    1. The Hippie
      April 9, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth…you are so right and I think we have a lot of similarities in this area. How’s the wrist?

  2. April 9, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Healing thoughts to you!!! While training injuries are annoying, things that get in the way of non-training life are even more frustrating. Hopefully your doctor will work with you to get you where you want to be!

  3. umaalon
    April 10, 2015 at 12:57 am

    I made it on your blog. Yay! It was awesome to see you and spend time with your family. About the things we talked about that day, I know you’ll figure it out. Hugs.

  4. Sheri
    April 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Love you Jen, and loved reading this beautiful post!