What do you wish you c/would start but can’t/won’t because you are daunted by how long it c/would take you to do it? What if you took a good, hard look at whatever deadline you’ve created in your head for this thing you want to start and gave it a kiss goodbye? What if you decided to shift your focus from “done-ness” to doing? Rather than being focused on the finish line, could you choose to celebrate the fact that you’re doing what you wanted to do? When your inner narrator says (and s/he will), “This will take forever! A lifetime!”, what if you were to choose to reply, as you show up and do the thing, “Luckily a lifetime is exactly how long I have.”?
One of the hardest thing for us humans is not knowing. For me, the process of allowing new information to rearrange stories that have been mine for as long as I can remember can feel a lot like standing up after sitting cross legged for too long. Though it hurts to move when my legs are asleep, the only way forward is to press gently and slowly through the resistance of my body. Once I’m moving again, I always feel better. (Same goes for the mental process, by the way!)
I don’t like messes – physical or the less tangible kinds. I prefer order in my environment – bookshelves organized, laundry put away, gardens weeded, to do lists filled with more checked off tasks than not. In short, messes make me uncomfortable, antsy, and agitated. I am learning through my practices of yoga and meditation that many of life’s messes, though uncomfortable and sometimes painful, can be the fertile soil of growth and change – but only if I resist the urge to clean them up.
“I was thinking about the GPS in my car. It never gets annoyed at me. If I make a mistake, it says, ‘Recalculating.’” Have you ever considered the spiritual role model your GPS could be? Calm. Even keeled. Gracious. Creative. Endlessly patient. Even (especially!) when finding solutions to some ludicrous mistakes and wrong turns. Can you imagine accepting your mistakes and wrong turns with such poise? Can you imagine extending the same grace to your partner or your children? What would it take (short of being a piece of technology) to navigate life with such a certainty that all will be well? That all that is needed is a moment to calculate a new route?
We live every moment at the frontier of what we know and what we don't know. It is at this frontier that we explore the growth and possibility of our lives. Living here - as I learned as a child from Laura Ingalls and her family - requires grace, courage, focus, and a willingness to embrace the reality that none of us know where we are going and that is wonderfully OK.
"You can be the sunshine for another person." It is simple - love one another. It is also difficult. Love takes effort, courage, creativity, generosity, and trust. It is also the most empowering thing we can do. Sharing your light in this world does not dim your light at all. In fact, sharing your light actually makes your light shine brighter. It is in giving ourselves away that we receive the riches of this wonderful life we're here to share.
A truck drove into a bridge in front of my house, inviting me to imagine how a yoga practice could have helped the driver avoid some of the mess he made. He might still have had the accident (nothing, not even yoga, makes us perfect). Yoga could have helped him minimize the swath of destruction caused by his reactions - which he and my neighbors would have appreciated very much.
"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely." Accepting (even welcoming!) change takes great fortitude. Unlike the rigid strength of resistance, however, it is a flexible strength that allows us the resilience to bow, bend, and bounce as we choose to allow life's changes - welcome or unwelcome - to become growth opportunities.
Sometimes life leaps out at you with a well-timed “BOO!” It is in these moments of startled upheaval that your practice comes into play. Seasoned meditators, experienced yogis, and deeply spiritual folks may seem calm on the surface. But I assure you that they are, like the proverbial duck, paddling like the dickens to maintain what looks like serenity.