I have been making friends with impermanence. It may sound silly, but after a profound meditation experience, I came face to face with the realization that I am a control freak, and while that control has helped me in some ways, it has also caused me much suffering. I’ve opened up to the reality that everything is in a state of impermanence — the seasons change, each day is different from the previous one, all living things grow, relationships change, the years go by.
At first this was rather scary to me, as it brought up all of my fears of the unknown. I wanted to hide in my usual pattern of planning in order to maintain some power over the future. Then it dawned on me: My life is in a much better place than it used to be, and that is due primarily to the moments over the past few years when I let go and went with the flow.
As I awakened to this reality, I became aware that my relationship to myself has changed, and with it, so has my relationship to my yoga mat. When I began taking yoga classes 15 years ago, I thought there was only one way to get in and out of a yoga pose. I did everything I could to master that way, such as practicing with teachers from only one school of yoga and maintaining a strict home practice.
But the underlying lesson I learned was that we are never really in the same pose twice. Our bodies are constantly changing, our moods swing, and our energy is fluid. With all these variables, we aren’t going to strike the perfect pose every time. And when we do, it’s best to enjoy that feeling in the moment and not cling to getting back to it over and over again.
Two steps to let go and embrace impermanence:
1. Tune in to compassionate awareness
We’re all human, and as humans, we can sometimes have very strong emotional responses to people and events. We all cry, we all scream, we all have good days, and we all have bad days. Embrace these feelings, stop fighting them, and allow yourself to feel them fully. Breathe these feelings and the energy around them into your being and let it expand out and energize you.
2. Be mindful of your breath and body
Most of us spend our entire lives layered in the armor we have worked so hard to keep us strong and protected, and yet we feel so alone and vulnerable. Yoga awakens the mindfulness of our breath to reach out to the stuck energy in our body and release it, realizing that there is strength in softness. We don’t have to shield ourselves from the world. In order to live in it fully, we need to harness our natural strength and goodness to face the world with dignity and grace.
Embrace all of the strength, all of the compassion, and all of the beauty within you, then send it out into the world. Enjoy the journey…
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