Peeling the onion

Woke up at 3 am with wanna-be Monsters running around my head. The ring leader was sleeping in his bed, but looters—less dangerous, but still annoying—were buzzing around me… mere gnats compared to the dragon.

They were reminding me of irritating minor details such as:

  • don’t forget to repaint the studio bathroom
  • you didn’t pay the bills yesterday
  • what if Wilbur isn’t open on Thursday… you really should check
  • you forgot to order the ayurvedic herbs again

Of course these feel like life-changing omissions at 3 in the morning.

In the midst of this, I realized something very fabulous: since Recess, I have not had the heart palpitations and rapid breathing that I frequently experience during the night.

Even last night with the gnats, my nervous system was not freaked out. Just awake.

In sharing this realization with some friends today, one likened the emotional unraveling that occurs during time off to peeling an onion.

We think each layer is the last.

There are tears along the way.

We don’t realize how far we are from the core, from rest, from ease.

As we peel and go deeper, it becomes clear that we’ve been bogged down, smothered.

I feel like I’m maybe one or two layers in. A month off, two and a half weeks so far, and just a couple of layers.

I’m not disappointed or complaining, just amazed. We all work so hard, so long, so fast. Our “onions” keep getting bigger, more and more layered.

I am so grateful for this time and the support of everyone who’s made it possible. And for 2 weeks with no palpitations.


How do you peel your onion? How do you release the layers of stress and tension?

Is asana/yoga enough? Do you take hiatuses? Punch the bed pillow? Drink?

Do tell…


5 Responses to “Peeling the onion”

  1. 1 Kelley M February 18, 2010 at 3:28 am

    I’m a few layers into my onion too. I take solo journeys away from everything. I think it’s a step to calm my mind and remind me of what it’s like to just be me. Not a mommy, not a wife, not a boss, not a friend, not an anything (pet owner, neighbor, etc.) It’s pretty cool and a little scary too. Usually I go with just my kiddo cuz no matter what she needed a mommy but this time I’m solo for 10 days as she’s older now. I guess it’s all about breaking the cycles so being out of town is helping but taking the computer is not. All of our roles and habits are very hard to put down but it’s getting easier and more comfortable each day. However, I think learning how to de-stress at home is a bigger process. First I de-stress away from home and then I’m super when I get back but it only lasts maybe a week or so then it’s gone. That’s where Yoga helps bring it back. Good luck. I’ll keep reading your blog in hopes that you’ll find the answer and share it with us.

    P.S. Next time take off March. It’s got 31 days instead of 28 silly bear.

  2. 2 Tami February 18, 2010 at 3:41 am

    massages. lots and lots of massages.

    pajama days.

    lots of yoga.

    sometimes a cocktail or two…

    plus summer vacay really, really helps. i can’t believe i ever lived without it. although i guess i wasn’t really living before i had it. just wound tightly and drinking and working a lot. and working out a lot. in other words, it sucked.

    yes, time off is absolutely necessary for sanity.

  3. 3 elizabeth February 18, 2010 at 4:25 am

    mostly reiki. then yoga. reading. napping. but i don’t know if i really know how to release it yet.

    even on my sabbatical from work a few years ago, it felt like i was do-ing a lot of the time so, at the end, it was like i needed a vacation from my 10 week vacation. sheesh.

    clearly i need more practice.

    your recess is so inspiring to me!

  4. 4 janeen February 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    i shop. compulsively. but i haven’t done it since taking the ‘new year’s self care challenge.’ thanks largely, in part, to you! now i’m blogging every day. some days it’s good, some not so good but i always feel better when i put my feelings “out” to the world! I love this post.

  5. 5 blogasana February 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    @kelley – girl, i love seeing those updates about where you are and what you’re doing. it ROCKS that you take solo vacas. truly a detaching from the roles name badges you wear. SO brave. we’ll compare notes when we’re both back. enjoy the rest of your journey!!

    @tami – how does anyone live w/o summer vaca? we all need time like this – an extended amt of time *off*. or 4 hour work days. or some combo of both. massage, pajama day, drink, yoga = love it.

    @elizabeth – i think i know what you mean… i’m feeling a little like that. i can do all the “right” things but still be holding on. sheesh is right. i’m amazed how much time it takes just to eat, clean… blog. =) it’s all practice…

    @janeen – yay for no shopping!!! how’s it going??

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