Tonight at yoga my teacher said something that has my head on fire. “If you pay attention, you’ll notice that there are a lot of feelings going on that you might not have noticed before.” He was referring to physical sensations but I read his words in a different way.
As I was laying down on a block in what was possibly the most uncomfortable position of all time, my mind couldn’t help but drift to the weight of what he said. The goal of the class was to draw attention to important, yet often ignored, sensations in the body. We spend so much of our time physically (or metaphorically) wiggling around pain, around problems, that we avoid them all together. He was calling for us to choose to surrender.
We do have feelings. We have lots of them. They all have a place and a purpose. Life is not always funky, groovy, fun but, of course, we never wiggle around the good stuff. It’s the anger, the hurt, the sadness that we want to avoid. And who wouldn’t? But they too have a place, too.
Traveling alone for the first time, I’m starting to recognize all sorts of sensations that may have existed in me before but I never took the time to deal with. For the first time in my life I am alone. Actually alone. I always thought I liked that. As one of 5 kids, I craved my space, my solitude. Now I’m starting to realize that maybe I only loved it so much in context. I found comfort in knowing that there would be someone home at the end of the day. But here I am in a new place, without friends, without family. It’s just me.
I want “just me” to be good enough, and I hadn’t realized that I might’ve ever, deep down, thought it wasn’t.
The first 30 seconds on that block, I was sure I was headed into what would be the most awful 5 minutes of my life. In each dramatically uncomfortable position, we sat together for five minutes, in silence, recognizing our pain. No, this wasn’t some whacky hippy dippy love circle. We worked to acknowledge the existence of something hurtful. And then we breathed through it. We realized that it wasn’t going to kill us. It wasn’t even really going to hurt us. Rather, feeling our feelings gave us the strength to deal with them.
Surprisingly enough to me, there are tons of other people here walking around, alone but not lonely…or so it seems. Conversations are started like wild fire and new plans are made before coffee is finished. But that is where I have to pause, breathe and recognize.
Do I wiggle around my discomfort with being alone by buddying up with new friends? Maybe adjust my own plans to theirs so I’m not solo?
It’s time for me to choose to surrender. I am here to pave my own path, to build my own life. It’s time to breathe, resist the temptation to avoid my discomfort and stick to my plan: just being okay with me.