I found the weirdest thing in my….backpack

While this blog challenge slightly irked me because up until very recently, I found absolutely nothing weird or interesting in any weird or interesting place, I can now write confidently about something I found in my backpack while I changed for my Self Defense class in the Public Health building this morning at 8am.

I was unpacking my freshly starched ghi (pronounced with a hard “g,” rhymes with “she.” And I look hot in it.) and noticed some extra material clinging to it for dear life. Yes, it was underwear. Underwear. Two pairs of my newly laundered, tighty-whiteys managed to use my lack-of-dryer-sheets-problem to their advantage by sticking themselves to my ghi and slightly embarrassing me.

I wash my ghi once a week, along with my other light-colored clothing.  I suspect that as I haphazardly folded this load of laundry that lay on my bed for hours before I pulled myself away from my Argumentation and Public Policy paper long enough to fold it, I rolled a few pairs of underwear inside of my ghi, then stuffed it all into my backpack for my Self Defense class the next (very early) morning.

My cousin/roommate and I sporting our ghis and aggressive fighting stances. Don't mess with us.

Perhaps the inevitability of this occurrence should anger or embarrass me more, as I strive to combat my tendency to walk about this world in complete oblivion, but lately I choose to embrace the words on the bumper sticker plastered on my car: Feel the Flow.

Sure, the phrase is somewhat redolent of menstruation, but it actually functions as a significant philosophy in yoga.  Feeling the flow refers to the way we react to stress, anxiety, and fear.  Inevitably, we experience stress, anxiety, and fear on a regular basis.  However, if we shift our relationship with these human states from one of suffering to one of acknowledgment, we can avoid their damaging physical and mental effects on us.

When we feel the flow, we acknowledge the fear that faces us, but instead of surrendering to it by wallowing in inadequacy or paralysis, we keep living. We take steps to deal with that fear, but we refuse to let it rule our lives and prevent us from accomplishing tasks and ultimately serving others (our life purpose, by the way!).

Representation of the culprits in my backpack, found via Kaboodle.com

For example, my underwear debacle embarrassed me and exacerbated my feelings of self-consciousness, something that this vulnerable, soon-to-be grad already experiences everyday. However, instead of wallowing in embarrassment and paranoia of other’s opinions of me if they noticed two pairs of my Hanes stuck to my ghi (though I controlled the situation quickly), I decided to enjoy a good-natured laugh at myself and move on. I told myself that the next time I launder my clothes, I will fold them shortly after they’ve dried, then distribute them to their proper places in my dresser and closet in a timely matter.

If I continued to chastise myself this morning for my lapse of awareness when folding laundry, I would have sacrificed my ability and desire to fully engage in my Self Defense class. If I wallowed in the embarrassment and self-consciousness that I experienced for a few minutes, then my thoughts would have obsessed about my underwear, not my round-kicks and free-sparring techniques. I would have been mentally absent from class, which would have inhibited the physical skills I’ve cultivated over the semester, and ultimately sacrificed my grade.

Remembering to feel the flow by choosing to move on instead of obsessing about my mishap with my unmentionables helped me shift my relationship to this stress and continue accomplishing goals throughout the day. If we choose to suffer from the inevitable stress, anxiety, or fear that arises in our lives, then we risk our grades, productivity, and relationships.

Happy Self Defense students who feel the flow

Acknowledge the stress, deal with it, and move on. And have a laugh or two.

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