Sometimes there’s nothing you can do but let go. This seems to be a common thread in the current chapter of my life; and somehow every time it pops up I seem to gain new understanding of the whole concept. Throughout my yoga practice these past few weeks I have been focusing on this idea of letting go of the attachment I have towards my past. While this cleansed me of so much I was holding onto and has made so much space for new people, opportunity and inspiration in my life and in my being, I found myself seeking more. After having some difficult conversations and at last taking ownership of some of my daemons, I felt this yearning for something more. It seemed to be another tugging that I couldn’t ignore. The past was behind me, and now that I could stop trying to fix my past I could look to filling my future with my every desire. Finally I could reach a state of peace.
I built list upon list that eventually grew into category upon category and soon I had organized and coordinated my every move from when I woke up to when I went to the washroom. My chores were in red, my practice time was in blue, my assignments were in yellow, creative time was in purple, personal development was in orange and the list went on (oh it went on alright). I had everything figured out, I was feeling good, I was maintaining balance in the priority areas of my life, and then all of a sudden - I wasn’t. I felt overwhelmed, I felt a lack of inspiration, and all of a sudden I couldn’t even step into my office for fear of looking at all of my undone todo’s. Naturally I turned to my mat. I tried to quiet my mind and ask for clarity, I tried to work on mastering poses that have been a challenge to me in the hopes that I could gain some sort of sense of achievement. I tried changing up my practice and I tried meditating more often and for longer periods. Where was the lightening bolt of clarity that I was supposed to be getting? I was ready; I was asking all of the right questions, now where were the answers? I eventually determined that I needed to try new things. Maybe I was just getting bored with the monotony of my daily routine. I went out of town, I dusted off my Rosetta Stone dvds, and I started painting again. Still my practices were off, I couldn’t focus on my mat, my meditation sessions were torturous and still, no lightening.
Today I decided to stop all of the madness. I missed enjoying my practice for what it was instead of using it like a crystal ball. I realized there wasn’t going to be any lightening until I allowed myself to delve into the storm. What was behind the nagging? As I let myself surrender into my poses, I simultaneously surrendered myself into the dark. I let myself go to that place we all try and hide from. That place where our fears, our sadness and our weaknesses lie. In this place I saw familiarity. In my quest to seek out clarity from organization, structure, and balance I had created a world for myself to hide in and play out a familiar cycle. I used to hide behind the hammer. I was never happy unless I was fixing something. It enabled me to hide behind the idea that I was growing because I was fixing; however after I fixed the problem I became lost. If fixing meant growing than I needed something else to break so I could continue to grow! After delving into that dark place and getting to the root of some of the scars of my past, I was able to figure out why I am the way I am, and was empowered to grow so much from those experiences - I did not; however, solve my fear of stagnation. This time I was hiding behind my shopping cart. No longer did I need my hammer to fix my past, now I needed my shopping cart to fill with cans upon cans of insulation to than fill up all of the empty space in my future; to fill up the unknown. Once again I came to Savasana on my mat and let my body surrender with the hopes that my mind would follow suit.No storm is enjoyable. No lightening bold ever feels good. But just like holding uncomfortable poses in Yin Yoga, and releasing into them as you offer up yourself and your heart, sometimes it is in the darkness that we find our light. I walked away from today’s Yin class feeling a deep sense of acceptance. I no longer need to fill my future with insulation. Finding peace is not about maintaining a state of balance or feeling in control. Being at peace to me means surrendering. In my darkness I found the fear of not measuring up to my potential. I welcomed that fear. I let it in, I let it wash over me and I told it that it didn’t need to be scared anymore. I also found sadness, embarrassment, and shame. I welcomed them into my heart and let them wash over me as well.
Just as our practice on the mat is a journey of achieving strength and mastering new sequences and poses, our journey off the mat parallels this slow and natural growth and evolution. Being at peace is not a state that we reach through a series of poses. Just as there is no end to yoga, there is no destination that is peace. We must learn to find peace in our daily lives, in our daily practices and in our daily moments. Letting go of control is not an easy thing for me. It’s all I know. Through acknowledgement, acceptance, and a strong willingness, I am choosing to let go of the fight and simply allow myself to be; because I am enough. What my yoga journey has pushed me to discover this month is that being at peace, being joyful, being wise – however you want to phrase it – is not about having your shit together, it’s about being true to your soul being and knowing that right now, in this moment, you are enough. It is this real life experience that I will bring with me along my journey and it is this reminder that I hope to bring to my yoga students.