I love how this graphic looks like a graveyard plaque, because if you’re stuck, if you’re postponing your yes, your authentic self, your purpose, if you’re comparing and contrasting your journey to other people’s experiences, if you’re stuck in bitterness and resentment, then you are, in essence, not living. Existing, killing time, obsessing, waiting…none of these resembles truly living with your heart wide open.
There was a time in my life many years ago when I was very stuck. My, “Before Yoga” days. Before Yoga Daze. I was stuck in blame and anger and excuses and rationalizations and numbing out. I made unhealthy relationship choices, and didn’t take care of myself well. I was pretty miserable. I was attached to my story because it let me off the hook. I could just keep retelling it to myself to explain away my own poor choices. But after awhile, sad stories become really boring and kind of lame. Because there’s another story that could be unfolding if you decided to get out a pen and develop a new plot. And somewhere inside yourself you know that, you can feel that. And the not doing it starts to make you sick in your soul. Soul-sick.
Every day, I see people asking some variation of the question, “Why is this happening to me?” The “this” might be life, or the ending of a relationship, or the loss of a loved one or a job, or some combination therein. It’s a perfectly natural and understandable question to ask, especially if life is presenting you with incomprehensibly painful circumstances. Tuesday as I was driving around having a perfectly lovely day, I found myself with tears streaming down my face at the thought of some situations we are presented with in life. Not me at this particular time, but just the awareness that there are people out there right now dealing with the kind of pain that just takes your breath away.
If you look at life as something that is “happening to you”, as opposed to something you are co-creating (because yes, life is going to present the circumstances, but you are going to decide how you’ll respond), then you’re going to feel like a victim. And there’s just no power in that. I understand there can be short term pay offs when we point fingers and justify, or decide it’s too much, and sleepwalking is a better option, but ultimately if you want to be at peace, that stuff is simply not going to get you there. There’s incredible strength that comes from forgiveness. Forgiving yourself, other people, life itself. Unhooking your journey from your painful experiences. Not forgetting about them or denying them, but just sitting with them long enough to release the heat of the pain so you can move forward in love. In compassion. In patience and understanding.
And comparing and contrasting your life to anyone else’s is also a grave waste of your time and energy. Everyone has their own path to walk, to mend, to discover. Instead of, “Why is this happening to me?”, try to keep it simple, “This is happening”. And do your best to be present and aware and awake so you can respond instead of react. We can never control circumstances, but we can work on how we deal with them. There’s tremendous power in that. Taking responsibility for the parts of your life you can affect feels good. Then you can start to get creative with your pen. You can create any plot your heart can hold. That doesn’t mean it will turn out exactly the way you want it to, but if you’re moving from your heart, from your Yes, the journey is going to be beautiful. Even the pain and disappointment will have a sharp-edged beauty to them, because you’ll be awake. And your heart can hold so much when it’s open. Being awake with an open heart is a great way to travel. Start where you are. Sending you love. Ally