On the Benefits of Withdrawal

(GET Unplugged) Like, totally. (Image sourced from designbuzz.com.)

(GET Unplugged) Like, totally. (Image sourced from designbuzz.com.)

Today, after almost a month of abstinence, I returned to my Ashtanga Yoga practice.

The withdrawal was not a deliberate choice—as were all the other withdrawals that began in December.

Or let me phrase that differently: the withdrawals were the unexpected consequences of fully deliberate choices.

For instance: going to Singapore for an eleven-day Yin Yoga Teacher Training that meant unplugging myself from a personal and professional matrix that had consolidated out of eighteen months of unvarying routine. The collateral damage: my Ashtanga Yoga practice, my morning swims, my increasingly occasional blog posts.

Another instance: going to Tagaytay for a three-day detoxification retreat that meant weaning myself away from the few remaining luxurious vices of my life. The collateral damage: coffee, granola, dairy, sweets.

The withdrawals haven’t been entirely painful (an unexpected reaction to all the unexpected consequences). I honestly anticipated a lot more resistance, a lot more struggle…a lot more, well, drama.

But then again, a lot of good has come out of these forays into the different and the unknown. Suspension from the usual routines and abstention from the customary fares have quietly and unobtrusively permitted a rewiring of sorts. I feel different in my head. I feel different in my gut. Not transformation-on-steroids different—again, nothing that dramatic—just…modestly-new-haircut different (the kind that’s subtle but manages to get across).

The victory I’m celebrating the most though is not the rewiring per se—but the uncharacteristic quietness and placidity with which the process took place.

It means that slowly (and quietly, and placidly), I’m learning how to let go.


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