My friend Sam wrote beautifully about “the place between” in asana, the place you explore before you arrive at the final form of the pose (http://livethelightofyoga.blogspot.com). For me, her words were a beautiful exploration because she connected “this place” with the difficult transitions we each face in our lives and she was generous and thoughtful in the ways in which she used herself as an example.
As I have faced loss and grief in my life, what I recognize is that I have developed a very challenging relationship with “surrender.” Because early on in the grieving process, full surrender, full-on letting go, for me, has simply meant “more loss.” And until you arrive at full surrender in the time it really takes, you just aren’t ready to let go, because more loss when feeling loss, is just, well, too much loss.
Grief requires making and accepting transition. Right now, I cannot do anything but just be in the pain of all that I am feeling. Each morning when I wake up and feel heaviness in my body, I tell myself to move from resistance to surrender. I tell myself that this is my task.
I have heard language in my head which has caused me to grip in further pain.
“I can’t.” was something I heard myself cry one day.
In all my life, I have NEVER heard myself say such a thing. So I knew it wasn’t the truth.
The truth was I wanted to make a choice towards self-preservation that was more along the lines of “I won’t.”
Can v. will.
From the time I was around five years old, I began fighting with my grandmother who used to tell me “I can’t change, it’s my conditioning.” For some reason, I couldn’t bear to hear that kind of language. I rejected it even at the tender age of five. I may not have had the skill to write a dissertation about it then, but I knew in my bones that I would not allow that thinking to be acceptable to me. Each of my parents used those words, and in addition, to me, a far worse word, the word “impossible.” I rejected that language constantly. So I grew up like the ball inside a pinball machine, getting hit on every side, but working very hard to find my way to a home somewhere inside of myself.
Can: to have the ability... the POWER or means to.
Will: going to. Sure to. To bring about.
I think I understood this as a child.
My father left when I was two years-old. And although my mother was the one who remained IN the house, her presence lacked real presence. On both sides, I truly believed both of them COULD have done better.
I believe it is a choice to do better.
I believe it is an act of courage to do better.
I am currently facing deeply painful questions. I am asking deep questions of myself. To uncover and reveal more to myself requires sitting in more pain. Demanding more of myself than ever.
Can I do that? Yes.
Am I doing that? Yes.
Growth is a decision as far as I’m concerned. And one I am going to keep choosing... until I take my last breath.
Presently, I am working very hard to heal my heart. And given that my default mode has been grief (because it has been so familiar to me), I must be very careful to find the proper balance. I must tend to the places in me which need healing. But I must not stay too long inside of the pain. Because I know my default, I am recognizing this distinction now. What must be healed and what must be left behind.
What I know is that my heart is pure.
What I know is that I don’t have the answers. I am eager and willing to step into this place of courage knowing I can surrender and bow to the place of asking, of seeking answers which may or may not come... but I believe will come just as healing eventually comes. There’s just no mathematical formula.
Surrender is a matter of trust.
My job right now is to collect my heart. The stories and murals of my life are barreling towards me now and it is my job to simply sit still and listen. Without reacting. Because I am not at the final pose yet. I won’t listen to language emerging from inside of me which does not serve my growth, but I will listen to language which inspires it.
I’m not looking to get to the final pose. I’m just looking to be super steady and easeful and able to say I WILL through every transition.
Perhaps what will come is a patchwork. Because I know a “bissel” (Yiddish for “little”) from here and a “bissel” from there goes a very long way.
So what I know I can do, and what I know I will do... is slowly and steadily, kindly and lovingly, reach for a bissel at a time from resistance to surrender.
From resistance to surrender.
Until I no longer have to remind myself that this is what I need to do.
Until... I no longer have to remind myself...
Until I no longer have to...
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