For the Love of Coziness

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You’ve heard it before –all of the excellent reasons why getting up early is good for your health, for your business and for your laundry pile.

Maybe you’ve even heard that early morning is the best time for your sadhana.

But sometimes you’d rather just roll over and be…untroubled…by it all.

I know, I know.

The world is such an uncomfortable place sometimes. It really makes you long for softness and warmth, doesn’t it?

Well.

You’re not lazy or weak.

And you’re definitely not alone.

Let me tell you a story:

When I was a teenager and into my early thirties, I was invigorated by austerity. In the ashram, I ate tapasya for breakfast. Pre-dawn awakenings, cold showers, hours of hearing and chanting and rituals…I loved it. In fact, as I write this, I’m starting to hyperventilate. I’m telling you, it was better than great.

So what happened?

I’ll tell you what happened.

Somewhere along the line, I developed a doppelgänger –an alter ego who represents the most sinister, forbidding, baneful brand of pure, unadulterated eee-vil …or so I thought.

I will call her Cozy Girl.

Turns out, Cozy Girl is actually her own brand of superheroine, whose unique superpower is that she has the highest tolerance for comfort of any living entity in the world. In the world!

Her purpose: to remain unchallenged by the forces of obligation.

Her rallying cry: More blankets!

It was understandable, perhaps, that I considered Cozy Girl to be my nemesis; a kind of cartoon devil on my shoulder, if you will, but with footie pajamas.

She was nothing like her arch-rival: the lean, self-disciplined yogini on the other shoulder, who could run through a veritable fire of self-sacrifice.

But here’s the thing:

In many ways, I liked Cozy Girl better.

I mean, if I had to choose one for a friend, it would have been her. Sure, she was a little bit soft; a tad self-indulgent, at times –but she was also very nice.

Nice and humble and fun.

And so very, very understanding.

So, we started hanging out.

We had some delightful times, C.G. and I, until I began to miss the magic of those early morning hours —specifically, the stillness and the cooling sensation of having been handed a clean slate, rife with potential.

My mission, therefore, was to inspire Cozy Girl to get out of bed in time for the brahma muhurta (roughly an hour and a half before sunrise), the time considered by yogis to be the most favorable for spiritual practice.

So, inspired by the lovely monster dialogues and conversations with walls that Havi Brooks of The Fluent Self engages in from time to time, Cozy Girl and I put our heads together.

It was pretty casual…

as conversations with slipper-clad facets of one’s ego go.

Anyway, what I learned was that so-called self-defeating behaviors are in place for a reason. As misplaced as they might seem, they’re always well-meaning.

My doppelgänger wanted me to have safety & softness –and a stronger sense of personal sovereignty. So she hunkered down and pulled up the covers 1) to wrest control from the slumber police and 2) to defer sitting with unpleasant feelings.

And sometimes? She really just needed more sleep.

After I’d acknowledged this lovingly, the stalemate was lifted, and now Cozy Girl and I relish early morning practice “together” often –but not always. And that’s okay.

…..

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

~Rumi



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16 Responses to For the Love of Coziness

  1. Shanna Mann says:

    I love this poem. I love the early morning hours too.

  2. Kylie says:

    I can picture Cozy Girl so clearly I can almost see her sitting next to me. It’s interesting that Cozy Girl is kind of an alter ego for you. For me right now, I think Cozy Girl is the superhero version of me. She is who I aim to be, unequivocally, these days.

    And that part about the footie pajamas made me laugh so much.

  3. I am glad to hear you’ve found each other and built a strong, lasting friendship. ;)

    • Rupa says:

      Can’t you just picture the two personas running toward each other in a field of daisies? Thank you for your blessings, my friend.

  4. Sara says:

    Rupa, it’s fascinating that you’ve had this whole other life that I can hardly even imagine, and I love reading these glimpses of it in your stories. Thank you too for the reminder of that beautiful poem.

    My own Cozy Girl is frequently thwarted, and yet I don’t have the balance of an early morning practice. I guess I let myself think it was too difficult to fit in, but this has inspired me to find even a small space for it.

    Oh, and those slippers? I *really* want some :-)

    • Rupa says:

      Thank you, Sara!

      Much of the power of an early morning practice is the opportunity it gives to set a clear intention for the day. Typically, there are less distractions in the early morning, but really, it can be done anytime.

      And it can be a simple as a cup of tea and a prayer.

      p.s: frog slippers! :-)

  5. Om La La says:

    With everything it’s so important to strike a balance! I know I find it tough myself because I’m the reverse,I’m constantly in permanent Cosy Girl mode but one day I hope to build a better relationship with my other half and really ‘Yog’ both halves together. Thanks for this post, it was such a great, honest read that really has got me thinking about my relationship with myself!

    XX

    • Rupa says:

      To “‘Yog’ both halves together”! I love it! :)) You’re so right, Om girl.

      You made me suddenly remember Bhagavad-gita 6.16, where Krishna says naty-asnatas ’tu yogo ’sti na caikantam anasnatah
      na cati-svapna-silasya jagrato naiva carjuna

      “There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.”

      Moderation in all things! Thanks for the reminder. XX

    • Hana Alireza says:

      “Her rallying cry: More Blankets!” So hilarious, smiling at my computer as I nurse my cup of tea at TEN THIRTY am !!!! @Om La La, you said exactly what I was going to say! I am Cozy Girl, but I long to be lean disciplined yogini up at the crack of dawn. My superhere is busting to come out though, just started a blog inspired by this very premise http://hanaalireza.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/my-alter-ego-is-a-surfer-chick/

      Learning WordPress is a actually largely responsible for the too-late nights and my stubborn cosying in come morning. But my two shall meet in a field of daisies, I am determined!
      Found your post through Marianne Elliot and working my way through her 30 days of yoga, it’s helping! Here’s to finding that round, open door.

      • Rupa says:

        Here, here! I know what you mean; late-night blogging has been responsible for Cozy Girl’s appearance (in my bed!) more than once. ;)

        Honored by your visit, Hana, and humbled to have been introduced by Marianne.
        Thanks for your great comments.

  6. Erin says:

    Hi Rupa,

    I followed you here from ‘Feed the Spark’. Mornings to me have always felt like my other lover – I feel so much more fulfilled when I spend time in them. but i’m usually pretty happy with being up by 9 or 10 am….

    I have often felt an envy of people who are up before or with dawn – a feeling that there is a greater spiritual purity in it that I desire – and when I look over why I don’t just wake up at dawn, then – I find a similar thing – what if it’s uncomfortable? what if i get bored and agitated or restless or cranky and ruin my love affair?

    my CG even loves mornings, but she doesn’t want them to austere or anything like work – Instead I struck an agreement – We don’t have to get out of bed at any particular time – but we must get up when we wake up (instead of going back to sleep right away or lying there for a while) it brought the two urges a lot of ease. but there could be even more – early morning practice time and late morning cozy time – you’ve inspired me to check in with them to see if we can come to a new agreement.

    E.

    • Rupa says:

      Erin! Welcome!

      I so appreciate both your love affair with mornings and the agreement you struck with your CG. When my CG agrees to an early morning practice, I will often appease her later, should the naportunity arise. “Everybody” seems to like this. :)

      R.

  7. Rupa!

    I adored reading this – it touched the warmth of my heart and brought a little-Buddha-smile to my face.

    Adorations to your dear self,
    Reba x

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