Monday, December 12, 2011

Hard Times

“One moment, face flat on the ground, reminded me that these hands were made for pushing strings and feeling thunder in my bones. So if lightning strikes me, what did I expect?”

If I pray for anything, I pray that I continue to tremble, that I continue to weep, that I continue to laugh, and that I continue to become inspired.

And I pray the same for every one of you.

Sometimes, when we talk about life, we talk about how hard it is. Trials, tribulations, dangers, toils, and snares. Among the numerous possible responses to these hard times, there are two in particular that crop up quite commonly: falling in love with our problems, or shying away from them.

Both are instances of victimhood. I’ve played both cards on different occasions: “Oh yeah, I went through this terrible trauma. You would never understand, you can’t even begin to dream of comparing your grief to mine,” “I will avoid becoming vulnerable because I might be forced to delve into my supposed issues, which would be painful and challenging. Not that I have any issues. I just mean if I did. You know?”  It’s either too dangerous to confront, so we continue the pattern and disconnect from others, or we are so proud of our suffering that we, well, continue the pattern and disconnect from others.

Now, it’s very likely that a lot of us have met with our demons, have looked them in the eye, and do not glorify or hide from them. And yet, many times we say, “It’s just so hard.”

Here’s the deal. What are we comparing? We are comparing our current situation with an ideal: an ideal stemming from memory, projected fantasy, or what we suppose another person’s superior situation is. WHY are we comparing? Because we don’t want to be where we are.

Think of your least favorite hip-opener, or any pose that you mentally brace yourself for. Be aware of your reaction. It’s such a hard pose, why am I putting myself in this situation? I would much rather do this other pose, it’s so much more comfortable for me right now. I can’t relax into this, I’m putting stress in other parts of my body, and it’s just so frustrating.

If it wasn’t hard, chances are I wouldn’t need to be there.

If it didn’t evoke such a strong reaction in me, chances are it isn’t where my growth is.

Perhaps a change in vocabulary is necessary. To say something is hard also implies a battle, a fight, something we need to conquer. When in reality, the greatest challenges are our greatest mentors and advisors. Is it work? Heavens, yes! It is beautiful, gritty, joyous work. I count myself lucky and blessed to be faced with such a challenge. It keeps us inspired.

I invite you to be courageous, beautiful yogis. You are worthy and capable of true growth and connection. I see you, and I see where you are. Blessed am I to be a witness to such grace.