Life on Hold

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I received some beautiful advice from a teacher a few weeks ago, and I’d like to share it with you. She said:

“Anytime that we are left waiting for something to change it is kind of interesting to look at the waiting itself.  Life is on hold and is this ok?  It doesn’t mean that we have to be doing the perfect thing but rather how we are using the energy in that moment.”

If this strikes a chord in your soul as it did mine, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What am I waiting for?
  • Am I waiting for some circumstance or another person to change, or…
  • Are there parts of myself am I not willing to accept as they are?
  • If I didn’t wait, what would be the worst that might happen?
  • When I am waiting, what message does that send to others, or to myself? 

Sometimes these questions seem painful. Why go digging around, creating a new wound?

Here’s the thing, though: When I hear a difficult truth- when someone says something to me and my initial reaction is “ouch,” or even defensiveness- well, the wound is already there. These are signs that something isn’t right. At this point, gentle inquiry is merely peeling off the Band-Aid, exposing the damage so that it can be cleaned and properly treated.

There are lots of areas in life where you might find that you are putting yourself on hold. As a yoga teacher, although I don’t ask, people often feel like they need to tell me why they don’t do yoga. I hear a lot of this:

I’m too out of shape… I’m not flexible… My husband doesn’t like me to come home late on weeknights… I’m too old. When my kids are bigger, I’ll have more time. 

It’s fine with me if you don’t want to do yoga (really!). If you really want to do something, though, and you feel like you’re waiting for something to change- then maybe it’s time to ask yourself these questions. Listen compassionately for the answers, and let yourself be led by your own wisdom.

This week in class I’m sharing this beautiful poem, Love After Love by Derek Walcott:

The time will come, when with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome

and say, sit here.  Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine.  Give bread.  Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you.

all your life, whom you have ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit.  Feast on your life.

Note: If anyone knows where the original image is from at the top of this post- please let me know so I can give credit! 

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