A piece of wisdom that has always come as a deep relief to me is that it’s never too late to start again. This does not even mean in grand, life-changing ways – though that too is possible. This truth reminds me that simple yet profound shifts in attitude and perspective can be tapped into – even within a single breath.
In classes, I will sometimes say that the breath cycle mimics the life cycle. If we rush or hold any part of it, the fullness and benefits we get from allowing the ebb and flow of thoughts, feelings and sensations are lost. We end up creating tension and restrictions in our body; We dam up the life force that wants to flow through us more freely.
So what is the antidote to all the grasping that is largely unconscious and habitual? I think it’s gently bringing conscious attention to the ways we hold – with great compassion, curiosity and patience – first physically and then maybe also mentally so that the body and mind can start to relax into their natural states of resilience and wholeness. In real and practical ways, we also need external structures and support in place so that we feel safe enough for this healing process to even begin.
Safe places in which to heal are sometimes hard to come by, but they exist. For me, they exist in my therapist’s office, they exist on my mat and they exist wherever I feel free to think, write and express myself freely without fear of being shut down, shunned or shamed. Turning on the ‘tap’ of self-expression, though scary, feels like returning to a river or a source of flow and rejuvenation that moves me out of rigidity and into kind, permissive possibility.
In Pilates, which I’ve been studying a lot lately, they say you should mobilize your joints before you stabilize them. In other words, before we can build a new foundation, we need to be able to let go of rigidity so that the foundation we are actually building is based on what really supports a thriving, breathing, moving organism. Then, as the Buddhists say, we can do the work of calibrating so that we’re ‘not too tight, not too loose’ which must be cultivated moment by moment as each moment requires a different response. Optimally, there is a balanced pull of forces on our system so that we are not pulled or collapsed in any one direction. While gravity can have the effect of wearing us down if we collapse to it, it can also have the effect of making us strong if we learn to work with it to grow upright in ourselves.
Working with all the pulls around us is a real art. Like most people, I have a hard time not playing to the extremes. I either want to throw myself whole-heartedly into discipline and self-sacrifice or I want to bathe in a hedonistic pool of decadence and oblivion. Finding ways to inform my effort with ease while keeping a little self-awareness even in my more restful states, has been a huge step toward becoming more conscious in my choices.
It has moved me from a state of hyper-vigilance or collapse to a place of more relaxed effort which I continue to refine, allowing me to trust myself and the process more and more fully. This Middle Way, though seemingly ‘soft’ or slower than the lightening speed of continually producing and grasping in the effort to feel ‘enough,’ for me, is truly where lasting change and happiness live- that place between extremes that happens when we move out of being at the affect of things and start to reclaim our agency and start working skillfully with the forces surrounding us.
Recently, Moksha, the community I’ve been part of for a long time became Modo which means ‘a Place for All.’ I love that definition in the literal collective sense that all are welcome, but I also love that from an individual psycho-somatic perspective, where all parts of ourselves are allowed. Regardless of what is showing up, if we work with it skillfully, whatever feels like the block can actually become the doorway to greater self-love, empowerment and freedom when we have the courage to keep looking with kind eyes and a courageous heart.
As I near the end of a big year of growth and look towards another massive year of possibility and change, I am trusting the skill of finding the Middle Way – out of rigidity and the extremes of pushing or collapse, into the gracious space of a strong and open heart that has the capacity to have desires and vision while holding the need for nurturing and introspection. The capacity to stand in myself without being overwhelmed or shut down by external forces is the movement toward sovereignty and true freedom. It means I can go anywhere and do anything while staying true to who I am – and it all begins with knowing I can start over any given moment.
This was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Beautiful! Happy New year and thank you.
Xoxo C On Sun, Dec 30, 2018 at 5:49 PM When life gives you lemons… wrote:
> jtotheess posted: “A piece of wisdom that has always come as a deep relief > to me is that it’s never too late to start again. This does not even mean > in grand, life-changing ways – though that too is possible. This truth > reminds me that simple yet profound shifts in attitu” >