I put my hands into the roaring flames


I’ve been listening to New Model Army a lot these days.  I’m particularly fond of the song “Fate” – give it a listen – you might like it. 

Here are some lyrics:

I put my hands into the roaring flames.
I felt the pain as it started to burn
I’ve done the same thing over again and again
As if I never ever wanted to learn
Moving through the world at obsession speed
Leave a dust trail crossing the land
I’m crying out in fury to the gods of fate
Come on, get me if you can 

I feel I’ve been trying to outrun fate these days. Struggling to find peace but not really understanding how to make it last – to come to terms, if you will, with the events of my life.  

So much of my days right now seem to be filled with listening to an inner narrative of what my life should be.  Or more precisely, filling myself with frustration and worry over the things that I cannot change – because they are not mine to change. It’s hard for me, at times, to accept. Accept that I am not all things to all people – and I cannot continue on that path, trying to shape everyone around me so that I can feel like they are living up the expectations that I think others have for me and those around me.  I keep sticking my hand into the roaring flames despite being burned – and I need for that lesson to sink in.  I need to stop. Stop harboring resentment, fear, anxiety, the need to control.  

My Bikram Yoga practice has been a godsend (can an agnostic have a godsend? I’m not quite sure, actually). It’s a place where I can empty my mind of that narrative and just concentrate on what’s at hand.  I can work in the harsh environment with some ease – find some inner peace and give up the struggle.  It’s hard – I won’t lie. I often struggle with the floor series in Bikram – and it’s taken me an injury to realize that this is not a situation where struggle will help. When I just gave up ‘trying’, I ended up doing.  I can’t explain it – but it was like I was trying to cast off these enormous rocks- rocks which weighed me down and pinned me under – too heavy for me to move using brute force. When my hamstring made it impossible to struggle, I decided to just let go of the idea of moving them, instead I started feeling their weight and softening my body around the rocks – then they just started to roll off of their own volition.  I need to translate that into my non-Yoga world.

But here’s the catch. I know what I’m supposed to be doing but I often don’t know how to do it. I am pretty sure I’ve been struggling with the rocks for a while. Now, I’m trying to feel their weight and mold myself around them.  It’s easier in the Bikram hot room.  

I’ve recently started to toy with fasting  – I’m coming to realize that adding another stress in my head, something that requires some sort of pass/fail judgement is not what I need right now.  I am realizing that binge eating is a way to avoid anxiety – I cannot be anxious and chewing simultaneously.  So I chew to calm my inner narrative.  If I work on letting go allow myself to let go of that – I think I can find peace. 

I don’t want to become this person:

Such horror, oh such a farce, a little bit of broken glass
You should think yourself lucky that this was done
You’ll have something you can whine about for years to come


I know this post was kind of all over the place – not really concise – but I really wrote it for me.  Sometimes things have no point, no clear start and end – they just are.  

I just am.



About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Bikram Yoga, Blogging, Eating, Mental Health, Random Thoughts, Relationships, Writing, Yoga and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to I put my hands into the roaring flames

  1. Rohan 7 Things says:

    I’m glad you are getting a little relief through your yoga. The thing is I’d say the vast majority of folk are like this. The problem comes when we compare all our worst traits against everyone else’s best traits. Everyone puts their best foot forward, but everyone is struggling with something or other.

    I hear you about being all things to all people though. Since I stopped that, and just got into being as authentically me as I could, I’ve been a much happier guy!

    Keep in truckin and keep in sharing your thoughts 🙂


    • You got it, Rohan…comparing our worst selves against everyone’s Facebook self (like I think of it) – and then each time I find out that there’s more than that to a situation (one in which I might have envied) I am stunned once again about perception vs reality.

      I think part of my authenticity is a little bit of chameleon – so what does one do with that?

  2. Kylie says:

    It wasn’t all over the place. This was such an excellent post. So insightful. I love the point about giving up trying and all of sudden, you’re doing. I’ll remember that.

  3. leesa jackson says:

    wow did THAT song take me back to days gone by! fate, and the one about “i’m never going back to the bad old world” were my mantra songs when i left tucson 20 yrs. ago. anxiety, and the bad movies it directs in our inside world, followed me tho :-). but on the upside, as time goes by i find i just don’t give a f**k any more about all that inner nagging and the less i care, the more it just doesn’t drop by to hang out. who knew??

  4. Tez says:

    I don’t often comment but this post called to me because it is so like my own experience of over-eating, anxiety and feeling out of control. I eventually got over my reluctance to seek help and found a fab counsellor who helped me retrain my brain through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. She explained the way our brains form strong pathways that become habitual ways of thinking and dealing with problems and taught me how to form new neural pathways that allowed me to have more positive outcomes. When my brain goes to the old ways of playing the negative movies and thoughts in my head, I can use CBT triggers that change the movies and thoughts to positive, affirming ones. It’s not easy but does become so after habitual use, a bit like learning Bikram Yoga, you get better and better at it the more you practice.

    CBT works for me – maybe the same or something as equally powerful that will work for you. It’s all based on the theme, ‘You are enough and beautiful as well’. And you, Rutabaga, are certainly both.

    • Tez – it touches me that you commented when you it’s out of the norm for you- I thank you sincerely. I’ve just started seeing a counselor and I think she has mentioned CBT – I will ask her more about it and see if it’s something that might be beneficial. I very much need to change the pathways and thoughts to positive ones.

      Have a most beautiful day!

  5. Ladycakes, it’s Honeybee here to tell you everything is going to be okay! First of all, I hope you write for yourself always. I understand what you say about trying too hard. I’ve spent my whole life doing that, wishing for something else, anything else than what I had. I realized I never enjoyed what I had in front of me. What I’ve come to realize in time, is that nothing will ever be as you expect and hope it to be. It may be a version of it or something else entirely different. That said, if you want to change it, it’s in your power to make it happen.

  6. twindaddy says:

    Ladycakes, I’m here if you need to talk…

  7. rossmurray1 says:

    I have no wisdom to add except that “godsend” is as perfectly acceptable to agnostics as “windfall” is to people who don’t own orchards. I do find solace in metaphors, believe it or not.

  8. The Hook says:

    “I just am.”
    What more needs to be said?

  9. MissFourEyes says:

    That inner narrative of what life should be, it’s frustrating to listen to. I wish there was a mute button somewhere. We could turn it on when we need a kick in the ass, turn it off when we’re sitting on the kitchen floor in the middle of the night completely hopeless.
    I guess all we can do is go to WordPress. Yeah, that always helps:)

  10. Gah, the music was amazing. Your words filled my eyes with tears
    .Letting go, living in the present, one day at a time. These are all cliches, but are helpful if thought through. Some are downright stupid if dissected completely; using Let Go Let God/dess as an atheist is pointless.
    It’s a humbug day.

    I’m with you: How the fuck do I do it?!I too have been over-eating to compensate for the ‘hole’ in my soul that is empty. This brings more self-loathing. You know the cycle Rutabaga.
    I too thought of fasting (and have done a few in the past. Hell, at 51 there isn’t a lot I haven’t tried) but it is just another way to try and control my insides via my outsides, if you know what I mean.
    Good luck on this dip and whirl. We need to keep each other the good crazy 🙂

    • Rachael – you got it exactly- it’s a cycle that never seems to bring the right results. And I think it’s about control – so much effort to try and control everything – it’s so tiring yet so hard to figure another route.

      I think we know we should let go – but it’s the HOW – always the HOW.

      I’m glad you liked NMA – I love everything they have ever sang. EVERYTHING. Thank you for reading and giving such a thoughtful wise comment.

  11. What is really strange (and wonderful) about WordPress is that I will be feeling something and that same day or a few days later there will be a post with someone feeling the same way. Anxious, sad, scared, lonely, confused – we’ve all been there. I’m trying to keep with the yoga too. It IS helpful to me. I sign up for five classes at once so I have to go or waste money.

    I can’t even decide on a birthday present, that’s how bad it is. I got something neat and then returned it. I panicked. It was too expensive, I didn’t really need it, what was I thinking? Just told my husband I want it back again, so could he like go there and buy it for me? He is an incredibly patient man, ha.

    • I agree that WP posts have been synchronous with things that I’m thinking about (good/bad/indifferent). And it gives me some peace to know I’m not alone or to read/realize someone else’s perspective.

      Yoga – or any exercise – provides that mental calm that I love so. It’s good to hear you’re keeping up with it – but don’t let satan into your downward facing dog, ok?

      What did you get? Do tell – I’m a curious cat. You should have something that you love and makes you feel good.

      • I tell Satan to get thee behind me and check out my butt during my dog.

        It’s a Nook HD+ tablet – like a much cheaper Ipad. It even has Google Play on it and THOUSANDS of apps. I have a Nook Color that’s a few years old I could hand down to the girls to fight over like the hyenas they are. But I just totally panicked. Now I’m like, wait, I’ve researched and I want it! But i don’t want to buy it again in front of the same salesperson, lol.

        • Hee hee – I got the original Nook for my Bday years ago and I panicked when my husband gave it b/c it was EXPENSIVE. But he insisted I keep it – and I love it (well, I wore it out and now have the $79 version of the b/w nook – which I love just as much). Keep it – it’s for reading… reading is a valid excuse for money spending.

    • True Ththat Alice!

      P.s. Your Husband: WANT! Actually I do not want your husband. Would love one similar to him though -smile-

  12. erickeys says:

    Living in the present is hard. Doing what your hand finds to do, planning but planning only as loosely as you can, enjoying what you have,… Tough stuff, yes?

    • At times yes – for the most part I’m pretty good about it – it’s when things start to change – too much change, then I grasp for control all around me.

      Living in the present – yes, it’s hard b/c we’re always thinking about what the next minute might bring…

      Planning – lists – etc… I tend to be a black/white person – I need to find the gray.

  13. El Guapo says:

    I’ve gone through this too.
    A long time I learned a really good lesson about just appreciating a moment that I was able to carry with me through the years.
    It was also reinfoced by someone telling me (in a sticky situation) “Just breathe. Don’t forget to breathe. As long as you can breathe, you’ll be alright”.
    Not sure if that will work for you, or if it will stick without having context. I hope you do find some way to make it work for you, or find something else.
    Because life is too often too silly to take too seriously.

    Rock on Rutabaga.

  14. It doesn’t sound all over the place. It sounds like you know deep down that the only way out is through.

    • Too true – through is hard – it hurts – it makes us LOOK and ADMIT what’s what.

      • Yes. One common element of all recovery programs is that we have to acknowledge that we can’t get well alone. We don’t necessarily have to believe in a higher power but we need to reach out and ask for help. Looking and admitting what’s what is the first step. Then, we have to acknowledge that our way isn’t working. Sometimes that part is harder because we have to let other people in.

  15. Your posts about Bikram are so inspiring to me! I’ve been to a few classes again, and I can’t wait to start up regularly next week. I’m glad you’re trashing the fasting idea, but also that it gave you an awareness about yourself. I’ve got a similar “chewing” problem! It doesn’t matter what I eat, but I sometimes just get the compulsion to eat, eat, eat. A lot of times I try to modify what I eat when I can’t overcome this, and that helps– like having a “snack dinner” of edamame and stovetop popcorn. I think it just has to do with feeling occupied for a period of time. How do you grapple with it?

    • Thanks Vanessa – I can’t wait to hear about your classes. I find them amazing – all the time.

      I don’t know how I’m grappling with it – before, I would just go to sleep. Sometimes I feel like I’m just saying “F YOU!” to this need to not eat stuff – like I’m just filling my face in case I don’t ever see those foods again. It’s insane – but I think I’m just trying to keep myself occupied so I that all those demons I’ve been shoving down for years don’t come up. Or something else entirely. I have been modifying what I eat so I feel some what less guilty – and trying not to spin into a tunnel of remorse.

      I think a lot of it is growing up in a culture where eating is what you do – for all sorts of reasons – but then there’s this compulsion to judge everyone around us that are eating whilst making them eat.

      Thanks for reading –
      Is it weird to read the inner thoughts of your student’s parent?

      • Well, you saw my cake post, so you know I get you there. CAKE!!!!!! If I eat this stuff, for a moment the anxiety is pushed down. My therapist told me to quit trying to figure out why, and quit fighting it. Just accept it. I am anxious. Okay. But wow it’s hard, and I grapples for something, anything that will take that feeling away. Something that will make me all better.

  16. Yeah, I know this feeling. I don’t do yoga, but I do know what you mean, sometimes just letting go helps. Stopping with the whole trying thing. We put SO much pressure on ourselves. And I totally feel you with the anxiety eating, Ladycakes. I do it too. Meh. But you know what I’ve been discovering lately, if I stop putting so many restrictions on myself, stop with the “you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t eat that, you should do this, you need to do that” then I feel a lot less anxious and then I feel like it’s somehow easier to do the stuff I should be doing, because I’m not nagging myself about it. Does that make any sense?

    • Yes – a lot of sense. I tried some of that last night – we had donuts (I know – but it was consolation to the Bruins losing the Stanley Cup) and I had one with everyone else – the whole thing not just bits and I didn’t end up eating half a dozen in the middle of the night as fast I could. I was surprised that I didn’t crave that kind of need to just cram it in.

      I wish I knew how to let everything go that needed letting go. That for me, is the hardest part. HOW!

    • I have been so incredibly anxious lately. It’s so nice to be reminded that I’m not alone and I should give myself a break.

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