What if I turn into a blob? I’ve had people ask me this in all seriousness as both concern and inquiry. This question comes from people who are beginning to be touched by their practice, but not necessarily touched deeply. So often our depths have risen so high they’ve become an entity to consciously run away from. We’ve let the dam rise. So the choice to run becomes conscious, instead of that vague gnawing of an unidentified discomfort that we roam around with.
I think what people are really asking is: “What if I lose control? What if all that hurt comes up and it lasts forever? What if I can’t rein it back in again?”. Unknown territory of any kind can feel like we’re standing on the shore of the Atlantic. We’ll pace that shore, asking friends and family, strangers even, “But what if?”, and “What will happen to me if I let go and feel this?”. Unfortunately, the only way to truly find out that you can trust your process is by letting it happen, letting what you’re trying to suppress actually surface. There is no other way to learn for ourselves that emotion comes and goes, and its intelligence is trying to tell us something. We can be told a thousand times, but we’ll never trust it until we’ve done it for ourselves. The reality is, we’ll land safely on another shore, even if we can’t see it.
When given the freedom to move, emotions never last forever, they rise and fall to varying heights, they stop and start, and they can even come as more than one at a time. How many times have you laughed and cried at the same time, then wondered, “How did I just laugh when I was so swept up in how terrible I felt?”
We feel the hurts of anything and everything, ranging in severity from things like the loss of a child, to a partner having been unfaithful, to the sadness of a lonely life, and on the stories go that are as numerous as there are humans on the planet. These aren’t easy things to feel when we sense a hurling of ourselves into a pool of the unknown; and unfortunately, we wait to test our trust when we’re faced with an extreme situation.
But given the level of pain that can exist within a human being, wouldn’t it be normal to hurt for a while, to hurt in a way that no one else has in quite the same way, to hurt for a time that might not be the same length of time that another “got over it”? We can never look at ourselves then look to another as a gauge or comparison. We’ll know what we can get through and we’ll know what we can’t, and what we can’t, we will seek help. These things come naturally to us when we’re in the flow of the feelings we fear.
Yes, you might be a blob for a while, and you might be a lone blob, but if we don’t willingly let it, that blob will rise and it will find its own way out. So why not trust ourselves before the blob does it for us? It’s the fear that dwells at the shore of anticipation that’s really the worst part. Once we start flowing, the relief of letting go and trusting where we’re taken, is a life and a freedom we can’t know when we’re living an existence of clamping down our humanity. We find ways of moving through art, through music, through laughter and exercise, we access our creativity…the giver of new life, new joys, new ways of seeing things…and yes, a new tolerance of undesirable emotions. We’re reborn through the death of what we could no longer hold on to. And then the empathy, ahh the empathy that arises….that’s another story. --with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com
image credit: indulgy & a-contresens
The word “pandemic” used to be one of those eye-popping, mouth-gaping jingles, limited to 1960’s Sci-fi movies and books like 1984, or Brave New World. Always stimulating delightful horrors of physical illnesses causing mass hysteria and zombies, aliens and popcorn. But as I write this, the word “pandemic” has twisted its way through 6 o’clock news broadcasts…rarely, but as if networks are testing out the possible reality of our times. I have a further question about “pandemic” though: Does it need to be limited only to mass physical illness? Are there levels in which we’re currently existing, that a pandemic could already be spreading? My thoughts: Possibly. I am beginning to consider society’s broadening disinterest in “something greater than ourselves” as a moral and psychological break in our humanity. Not only muddling up our understanding of how to relate to others, but how to relate to, and understand, our own selves. This, to me, is as valid as any global physical illness, stemming from green reptilian sea-monsters.
To lose this connection within our personal nature is like cutting off our right arm. It makes us sick with diseases like self-centeredness, elevated pride, depression, isolation, anxiety, etc. To lose that understanding of, and experience of something greater, is giving up our life force, our passions, our dreams…and all of the emotions that make those real. We’re slowly giving up what is integral to our survival in any kind of thriving, autonomous way. We lose the gifts of humility, forgiveness, patience, faith and trust.
Consider Rights of Passage: the main ingredients are courage and bravery, for the very reason that they require faith and trust….in what? In something greater. The very nature of the Right commands our own faith and trust forward. And it’s parents and grandparents who toss the kids into these situations! They’re not worried about being the child’s “buddy”; instead, they have the wisdom to know that it’s more important to walk through life having faith in something greater, and having an understanding of where we fit in to the larger scheme of things, than it is to be friends with your child. By needing to be liked by our children, we’re depriving them of living life with an inner sense of themselves. Rights of Passage are marked experiences within our own personal life cycle that set us up for the journey ahead. This Right of Passage in itself, seeds that relationship with something greater. They’re moments of endurance that cultivate courage and independence to face the challenges that lie ahead. They ignite the faith that something greater than ourselves is walking with us. They teach the humility that keeps us in our place. This is the only way we understand the purpose of a challenge, and the meaning it’s trying to bring to us. This is essential…for everything.
Rights of Passage are marked vows, commitments to something greater. Without them we lose that urgency to be accountable to it. Without this, we no longer need to be accountable to ourselves or each other. There is a great sadness in this, a devastation, which we can see in places where humans have impacted the Earth. We lose our sense of place, our sense of home, the anchoring that’s brought by comfort, and the wild innocence of wonder and awe. We rarely find things truly special because we’ve lost that intrigue of where it all came from.
We’re at a point of needing to re-inspire ourselves. To hold ourselves up to the courage to love….to truly love….an other. Few people know what this is. Being courageous enough to give your heart and soul is a power that gives return in ways we can’t predict…because of the very fact that it’s responded to from that something greater. We only have the courage to truly love when we know where we fit in to the larger scheme of things and when we know where we came from. This awareness will help us land a solid foot on that threshold into the future, a threshold we approach each and every day. Placing that foot there is a decision, and in that decision do we have the resources we need to step through? We never know until we’ve done it, so when we’re about to do it, all we can do is trust, trust that we’re not alone and that the path is much more adventurous when we surrender, when we stop toiling around in a self oriented indifference thinking we’re at the helm.
"If we fill our lives with things and again with things, if we consider ourselves so unimportant, that we must fill every moment of our lives, with action, when will we have the time to make the long slow journey across the desert, or sit and watch the stars, or brood over the coming of a child. For each one of us there is a desert to travel, a star to discover and a being within ourselves to bring to life." Anonymous
--with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com
*image credit: poster-merchan.myshopify and flickr