This statement is from a seeming wise few sentences that came through me to a student in the midst of her deep sorrow. A few months ago, one of my lovely students from one of my trainings sat in her car, sobbing because she was going through a very, very difficult experience and didn’t think she could complete the training or anything in her life. Her instinct was to leave town and run away from the pain. “I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I just can’t.” And then these words came through me:
“You ARE doing this. This is what doing it looks like.”
We are messy in the doing as we move, bit by bit, through the sweat, mud and terror in our mind, edging closer to growth. This is how it is supposed to look and feel.
Due to the increasing use of social media and all media in general, it appears that people just effortlessly press into a difficult yoga pose, slide into a deep meditation and just get out of bed looking amazing. This is not true for any of us. When we are in the mud of challenge and difficulty, this is when we are inching closer to a new level of change and evolution. This will happen, as long as we keep inching forward, regardless of the discomfort.
The Yoga Sutras from Patanjali define “tapas”, (the heat that comes from our will and discipline), as “accepting discomfort as a form of purification.” I love this perspective and try to keep reminding myself of this wisdom. Many of us are happy to work hard on our mat, dripping in sweat, knowing that we are purifying our bodies. How many of us are willing to be in the discomfort of a connection with another? The discomfort of sitting still for more than 10 minutes? The discomfort of our ego getting a beating as we see someone else shine when we feel it’s our turn? This is the “black diamond” of discomfort, willing to sit in it, even in some pain, trusting that our ego and character are being purified. (I am not condoning abuse and encourage us to honor our healthy boundaries.)
In the past three months I have lead a glorious retreat in Mexico, taught the last 100 hour portion of my 300 Hour Teacher Training in Spain, completed my 200 Hour Teacher Training in Solvang, CA, and taught workshops and Master Classes in Europe. In each of the projects I had students who didn’t think they could get through the training, course or workshop. There were times when I didn’t think I could get through the day or the project, for it was uncomfortable and I wanted it to stop. But I got up the next morning and kept going, tiny piece by tiny piece. The photos of happy faces at the end of a journey rarely show the sweat, tears and struggle that had to happen in the middle, which light the smiling eyes at the end.
We are experiencing a very difficult, painful and uncomfortable period for our country and world. May we keep moving forward, with the attitude of hope and peace, for maybe, even though it feels like we are failing, maybe we ARE doing it as we strive towards creating a better world for the next generation.
I leave you with a few offerings in the near future. For my Los Angeles friends and students, I’m here for a few weeks. For those in Europe, see my new online classes and keep your ears peeled – I’m in the process of scheduling 2017 with hopes to see you all very soon. (Let me know if there is something you would like me to offer.)
May the rest of your summer have some lightness to your heart and mind. May you experience some joy as you continue to move forward through any uncontrollable imperfection in your life. Maybe we ARE doing it, after all. Maybe doing it looks like this – in the fullness of the mess.
Blessings and peace,