I am sensitive to alarms. My bedside clock has a light instead of a sound alarm, gradually moving from a soft glow to a bright flashing light, though I almost always will have turned the alarm off before it reaches that obnoxious level. I am recently using my smart phone as another alarm, setting multiple alarm times in the morning to keep me on track throughout my strange virtual day. Notice how they are called alarms- they are designed to alarm you! I don’t WANT to be alarmed multiple times each day. I search for a different sound setting on my phone- one that will remind me, alert me, bring me out of a happy concentration on something else, to the scheduled responsibility at hand. Minus the jolt of adrenaline. Most recently I tried out the sound they call “ripple.” Ripple has totally disappointed me- it is not at all a soothing, aquatic sound. It is an alarm. I leap to turn it off.

No matter how I try, my body is unhappy with me. I sit at one workspace where my computer is on a riser, yet still I am hunching to read the screen, and the keyboard is not at the best angle for wrists and fingers. In my virtual teaching space I twist and turn my body between my small laptop screen and my big monitor full of students’ faces, my attendance sheet, my lesson notes, and a pad for notes I keep on students‘ participation. I twist to the left to type “invites” to the students who are late to the meeting, I twist to the right to check the lobby to make sure I’m not keeping them waiting to join us. All the time I’m talking, listening, and remembering to return often to center to face the camera and give a warm encouraging smile. I hope this will make up for the hooded look of my eyes while I am trying to see out of the proper band of my bifocals.  My neck is killing me, my shoulders stiff. 

On Tuesdays a friend offers a virtual Yoga Nidra meeting. I can make it during my lunch break. All we do is lie down and listen to her guide us through relaxation imagery. We lie in savasana, corpse pose. That name still has the power to shock me, yet it feels so good. Lie flat on your back in a comfortable place, eyes softly closed. Perhaps a small pillow behind your neck, under your knees. Arms by your side, your biggest decision is whether you are more comfortable with palms up or palms facing down. My bodily kinks start to settle out. I am lulled into an almost-sleep, which is correct and proper and a-ok in yoga nidra, I am reassured. I come out of it by the exercise’s end, feeling good. Feeling well. I re-emerge into my day without alarm.

3 thoughts on “Alarm

  1. I am with you on the alarming sound of alarms – I do not set mine unless I absolutely have to. I cannot understand how people sleep through them! The “corpse pose” – definitely alarming, too. There are many kinds of alarms all around us these days – they, like the virtual teaching, take a steady toll on our physical being as well as on our psyches. I can sense your relief, admire how you sought it for yourself, and am grateful you impart it to us here – your words soothe.


  2. “No matter how I try, my body is unhappy with me.” This captures the essence of mind-body conflict. It’s no wonder to me that many teachers are considering a career change. That physical and psychic toll cannot be denied. Breathe. There’s a Canadian teaching team that blogs and teaches with Room2Breathe at the center of their work with kids. It’s calming just to read the philosophy. No alarms, ever… that’s utopia.


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