I’m Bored, Too
My husband recently had a bad episode of back pain. I encouraged him to do a few very simple exercises. While sitting in a chair, he extended and bent his knees slowly, one at a time. After just a few repetitions, he said, “I’m bored. Someone like you can do this because you’re disciplined.”
I am disciplined AND I also get totally bored sometimes with repeating movements over and over as well.
Here are a small sample of what bores me:
Sun Salute Boredom
One time I said to a fellow yoga teacher, “I am so bored with Sun Salutes that I add variations to change things up.”
They said, “If it’s not broke, why fix it?”
Feeling embarrassed and put in my place, I’ve kept my mouth shut about my Sun Salute thoughts after that.
I teach very few Sun Salutes in class. There’s usually just one, always with some modifications, creative stretches and moves to make it fun.
My workouts can be SO slow and boring. It takes a very long time to do a set of 10-15 slow 2-sec Bicep Curls lifting up and 2-sec lowering down! Nothing is happening other than counting and muscle fatigue. In fact, there’s no immediate sense of gratification as the stress on my bicep does not even create strength in the moment, only later as my body rests and recovers the next day.
More Boring Workouts
My workouts are even more boring because I’m exercising alone in my studio, in silence without music or other audio input. Somehow I manage to stay focused on my body, technique, sensations, challenges, and my breath. By comparison, the one day a week that I workout at the gym is REALLY exciting.
Resting is Also Boring
Between workout sets, there’s a necessary rest period before my body is ready to go again. While this can be a welcome moment of respite, the minutes add up and this can also be quite boring, too!
So how do we overcome this sense of ennui?
Start Tolerating Boredom
We’re programmed to go faster, multi-task and work to be more and more productive.
Slowing down enough to be bored is important because within that space we can develop the capacity to become aware of our body, emotions, and thoughts. Gentle repetition is the foundation of learning, changing, and healing.
Boredom is a part of life and with time, patience and helpful tools we might do better with managing our challenges and pain (even anticipatory pain.)
We spend so much time resisting boredom. But the spaciousness of being bored, without the entertainment of distractions, might be where our creativity hides, waiting to be seen, felt and uncovered…
Zadie Smith says:
“I like writing. But reading is the biggest thing for me. And just resisting. Just try resisting a little bit. Like actually resisting the influences that are coming at you day and night. That seems to me really important right now.”
Be OK with Boredom
When I was a kid, being bored was a really, really big, bad feeling. So I’d go to my Mom about it and her response was always, “Then go into the kitchen, get out the pots and pans, and have a parade.” Her silliness diffused my worry. And naturally, I’d never be caught dead having a parade by myself with pots and pans.