Know Thyself

Things that I have learned about myself since consciously devoting myself to the service of Mary:

1. I feel better if I eat a diet higher in protein and fat and lower in carbohydrates, especially bread and candy. Thanks to the Diet Solution, I understand why. Which just goes to show, it is not always a mistake to follow those Facebook ad links.

2. I feel more limber and relaxed if I do the Sivananda yoga routine, rather than Ashtanga or Rodney Yee. I think that it is because the Sivananda routine focuses more on breathing first, rather than simply as a part of the asana practice, but as all I've been doing the past couple days is the warm-up and the sun salutations, I think there is something in the structure of the practice that helps me, too. Ironically enough, this is the practice with which I began my study of yoga two decades ago and from which I somehow declined, despite doing classes in all sorts of styles (Om Yoga, Ashtanga, Anusara, Forrest).

3. It is ridiculous to expect myself to be able to read in the same academic book for a whole day without taking significant breaks, so there is no reason whatsoever not to play with the dog, take walks with friends, start day-dreaming about my course plans, fold the laundry, read something else, or, yes, blog!

4. There is a reason that I feel depressed rather than energized when I start thinking about long-term projects to which I might devote myself, for example, editing Alexander Nequam's commentary on the Song of Songs or revising my translation of John of Garland's Epithalamium. It is not that I am incapable of such sustained work, only that it is not what the Virgin most needs me to do. Put another way: I will willingly devote ridiculous amounts of time to reading up on a topic, designing course syllabi, and preparing for class as long as I feel like there is a question that I need to answer. As soon as it becomes a matter of "filling in the gaps" or "doing service to the field," however, I lose interest. Likewise with the projects I can think of for serving the Virgin: yes, these texts need studying, but I need a reason more substantial than simply because they're there. I take this to mean that I feel energized when the Virgin is guiding me, inert when I am trying to force a project into being just to have something to do (or have done).

5. Although it is much harder on my legs, I find that I can concentrate on my opponent better, not to mention move better on the strip if I keep a significantly lower en garde than I have been in the past. The Virgin helped me see this by getting me to watch the videos that my husband took of me at Summer Nationals and helping me watch them for something other than how fat (not!) I thought I looked. Plus, this would seem to be at least one thing that Lisa Brown would describe as Right Focus because it is something which I can most definitely control. If I start finding myself rushing into the attack, the first thing that I need to do is lower my en garde.

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