I feel free. What I mean by that is: for my entire life, every step of the way, I have either had a goal I am working toward with a very specific outcome, stressing, working, running, crying to accomplish it. Or I have worried myself sick with anxiety about the uncertainty of what’s next. Just this week I caught myself telling a friend that though there are a few next steps in place, I am not sure where they will lead, and I have this sense that I still don’t know the outcome. (Really, we never do!) The second friend I told, a college pal, said “Really, you don’t sound like the Andrea I remember!” She was thrilled for me, and it was a comfort that she could affirm this change in me.
In his book, Start Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie mentions how all fear is rooted in the unknown, and also that everything in life is an unknown, isn’t it? Even when we think we have control, we do not. It’s an illusion we have created to feel secure. Unless we want to be afraid of everything, we can begin to recognize these mind tricks we are playing on ourselves and let go for a second, maybe a minute or even a day or the intense compulsion to grasp our lives so tightly we leave little room for surprises or inspiration. If we can let go long enough, we might be able to hear our voice within, or the still small voice of the Divine reminding us that the future will blow us away if we can relinquish our desire to control it.
Spending 10-15 hours each week encouraging others to do just this, has had an impact on me! I desire to live feel of the burden of micro-managing the chaos of life, and that desire, teaching yoga, as well as my personal yoga & meditation practice has allowed me to cultivate an inward sense of freedom.
So, today, I feel free! I don’t feel this need to control tomorrow or the outcome of my 500 Hour Ayurvedic Yoga Teaching Training at Kripalu. Yes, of course I have goals, responsibilities, desires. But for the first time, ever, I don’t feel tied to them. I feel open to the possibility that everything I intend may change, everything I dream now may be overcome by a bigger vision, or a pathway that better suits who I am. I just do not know yet what is to come. And I am excited. So excited in fact, I had to share it with you!
Try this for a minute (yes, 60 seconds): Read the following, then begin:
Set your timer. Close your eyes and notice your breath. After 5 deep full breaths, acknowledge that one nagging thought that is keeping you from fully being present to your breath (perhaps a small task you want to accomplish, a big deadline, your phone blinking with a message). Avoid talking to that thought, avoid even telling it to go away. Simply acknowledge its presence. Then keep breathing. Move your attention to your breath, maybe 10 or 20 breaths now, and anytime you go back to that thought, or another, do your best to refocus on simply inhaling and exhaling.
At the end of a minute, observe any changes in what felt like absolute necessity to attend to that nagging thought. Still nagging? Reset your timer for 2 minutes and focus your attention to the tip of your nose as you breathe.
How did it go? Would you rather focus on your breathing longer now than attend to that task? Whether or not you now prefer this breathing exercise to accomplishing your to-do-list, now you can attend to it with the calming of your own breath, the power of your own commitment and the realization that relinquishing control for even a moment can truly heal the tension within our minds and hearts.
A deep honoring from my heart to yours (Namaste),