As a species, we love certainty. We want things to make sense, for life to be orderly, to follow our well laid out plans. Many of us take it personally when things go awry, from being stuck in traffic, an airport or even to the extent of facing our mortality before we are ready. We ask the dog chasing the tail question….Why? Why me?
We forget that all around us is change and impermanance. The sun rises and also it sets. Spring turns to summer, to fall and to winter and back around again. Babies grow to crawl, walk, and run (if that is within their ability). Children grow and we mark the progress on the walls in our homes with the dates and their changing height. Our hair turns gray, our eyesight changes, the beautiful laugh lines deepen on our partner’s face and also our own. We celebrate, we mourn, we live, we love.
The older I get the more I can release attachment to certainty. I do not know if there is a correlation with this for everybody but in my experience. I am realizing the enormous amount of wisdom I do not yet embody so there is a sense of curiosity and wonder that I invite that I did not in my younger years when I thought I already knew everything! If I considered myself an expert in any given thing, I would not have room for growth and possibility. Many patients and families in my work as a Certified Music Practitioner ask me how long it took me to play the harp. I always reply that I will be learning to play the harp for the rest of my days. Each time I come to that instrument or any other instrument I play, including voice, I find something new if I am willing to let go of what I think I know and be open to what I can discover.
In the practice of yoga, I can go deep in any given yoga form if I am willing to approach it with the Beginners mind. When I was younger, it was about mastery and almost a sense of conquering the body and purely celebrating the physical. Now, I know my body that has survived trauma, birthed children, loved deeply and intimately, taken me to far corners of the world, has laughed, cried, felt despair, great hope, fear, compassion and much, much more is something to be explored and discovered with curiousity and kindness in my yoga practice. It can be just as physical but it is not goal oriented or attached to an outcome of time, duration or mastery. Just presence.
There is much to discover and entering the day with a curious and kind presence can alter everything! Instead of asking Why me? We can ask in any situation, what else is possible here? What else is present? Often in times of great duress, specifically when my daughter has been hospitalized and we are dealing with immediate crisis, that is my go to question. Fear arises, I feel it in my stomach, across my neck, shoulders and brow. I acknowledge fear when it shows up. It can be helpful and keep me alert in a situation where that is called for. But I always have to ask, what else is here? Often what shows up is Grace. Grace that allows me not to be swallowed by my own fear, but address and deal with what is in front of me with a measure of clarity. Grace that allows me to expand my awareness that I am held in space and deep and boundless love that will always. always be with me and is a vast and glorious mystery.
So, plan your day, plan your life. But allow space for possibility when things go awry. Alow and invite a beginners mind to your day. Walk a new route. Try a new food at your favorite restaurant where you always have the same thing. Try really listening to someone you disagree with. Invite curiosity! Awe! Wonder! and if nothing else, listen to Louis Armstrong!!! What a Wonderful World!!