I like to get up early in the morning. I rise, drink some water, and sit with a cup of tea for a while. I look forward to a quiet beginning to my day, but when the time comes to put the tea cup down and move into my breath-body practice, resistance arises as a thought to have a second cup, to sit a bit longer, or to scroll through my phone....Sometimes lounging for a while is a good call. But not usually. What I really want is to move my body and quiet and lighten my mind. The lure of another cup and more couch time is simple resistance to change. I know once I start moving, I'll be all about it.
Being present to that moment of resistance helps me shift the pattern. Seeing how my mind is working, quietly luring me towards sedentariness, to one more cup, is a siren's song. I know because I've followed that song many times. It's promise of ongoing comfort doesn't deliver. I know that second cup and more time on the couch won't bring me what I'm really after. Remembering my past experience is what allows me to rise, light the candle, and begin to move. As I start my practice, my body is a full YES and the rest of the benefits, more aliveness, a clearer mind, and a stronger sense of embodied presence, come soon enough.
What's the easy thing in your life that promises satisfaction, but inevitably disappoints?
What's the hard thing you do that actually delivers what you really want?
Comfort and ease are real human needs. Yet when I don't pay attention, I fall into excess in ways that move the needle too far and bring complacency and sluggishness instead. The second cup leaves me tired and wired. Not moving makes it harder to get going. And of course sometimes more couch time is just the ticket. But not usually....
Yoga and Ayurveda support the expansion of awareness--they support my capacity to pay attention to what's happening now. They support me moving out of autopilot and into conscious choice. And it's gritty sometimes. Especially now when there's so much to face in this world. I understand the urge to stay in my comfort zone. And I also know I can get stuck there.
This past spring, I felt a strong desire to push the pause button on my ayurveda immersion and give it an upgrade. The truth is I had a clear sense of that last fall, but I was stalling. I was comfortable with what I was offering, (I've been teaching the program for 3 1/2 years), and my people were getting good results. Still, I knew it was time for an upgrade, I felt the desire to evolve the offering and bring more to it. My inner knowing was speaking to me.
And, it's been uncomfortable. Pausing an income stream, not knowing exactly what my next steps would be, the uncertainty of what this would lead to....I was stalling because I didn't really want to deal with any of that. And at first I felt kind of pissed off about it. "Why couldn't I just coast for a while?" But I was being called to something different, and I could feel it. I couldn't ignore my deeper knowing. It took me several months to digest my resistance to the call and to relax and hit pause. That moment, when it finally arrived, was a relief. Like a kid throwing a tantrum who finally falls asleep. Surrendering to what is feels good, even when what is feels scary.
I'm committed to embodying TRUST in this lifetime, and that means trusting the flow of Life as it moves through me, even when I don't know where it's taking me. This rarely feels easy. In fact, I often feel like the most fearful person I know, with worst case scenario thinking lurking in the shadows of my mind late at night. No matter how many times I take the leap and land on my feet, in the moment, I forget my deeper capacities. It's like the memory of all my past experiences goes blank. Can you relate?
Often the support I need comes simply from seeing others stepping through their version of the same thing I'm going through. There is no substitute for good company. In that I remember that the challenges aren't personal. They have a personal flavor, but I'm not alone in encountering them, nor are their arisings a sign that I'm doing something wrong. In fact, the presence of uncomfortable feelings is often a sign I'm doing something right. Like stepping forward and meeting Life in a new way. Growing my nervous system and remembering my capacities. The grit creates the pearl. Sometimes I have to kick and scream for a spell. And surrendering to how I actually feel: frustrated, afraid, unsure, also guides me through the tunnel and into some light. Even a little light will do.
Being on the path isn't about always getting it right, but it is about a willingness to see what's happening and to work with it. And it's good to remember that I don't always have to know what to do. I can practice resting in not knowing until something becomes clear. Sometimes I take comfort in that, and other times I think 108 sun salutations would be a lot easier. Letting go in the dark and waiting is advanced.
I've been practicing for nearly 40 years and there is no end. It's not like we practice for a while and then we don't have to anymore. The confusion and distortion are deep. I don't have to judge myself for my perceived flaws, or missteps. I can lean into humility and give thanks. As the great Ayurvedic teacher, Dr. Svoboda likes to say, no matter how bad it is, it can always get worse. Remembering that, for me, is a call to present time in a radical way. Why aren't I on my knees in thanks every moment?, I wonder. Why aren't we all?
Let's help each other get quiet and remember the depth of who we really are. Let's be brave and go for what we really want in these ever shorter lives we're living. Let's create a good space within ourselves and around us. Let's show our true face so no one is confused about how it really is. Let's learn to get comfortable in the darkness, as well as the light, to honor our own path as its unfolding without comparing it with the outer surface of another.