Viewing entries posted in January 2013
About four years ago, a friend motioned me aside at a gathering. As he glanced nervously from side to side, he beckoned me a bit closer. As I sensed he was about to share a deep, dark secret, I glanced over his right, then his left shoulder for his would be assassin. Or perhaps something less lethal, maybe….that he was involved in the ritualistic puppy sacrificing sect and wanted me to join. He looked at me and asked… “Dude…you do that yoga right?” I could feel my breath release and relax. “Yes”, I replied, “love it!” “ME TOO!” he said in a raised voice which he then quickly lowered when realized he might be overheard. He then retreated to his hushed tone. “That shit is HARD!” he mouthed over the din of the people. I smiled and nodded in agreement. Since then, I must have talked to half a dozen yogi dudes all doing their thing to Tony Horton's P90X yoga in the safe confines of their basements.
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Over the past few days I have mulled over the concept of “letting go”. Around the world we ‘Rang in the New Year’ and said goodbye to the old, perhaps resolving to change, or grow, or evolve in some way in the New. As I observed many messages of welcome for 2013, I reflected on the proverbial message of ‘letting go’.
Vairagya, the practice of non-attachment in yogic philosophy, acceptance of what is; we can explore this in our own ‘on the mat’ practice of yoga, beginning with the breath. Inhaling the breath always requires an exhale. Have you ever found yourself holding on to an exhale, holding on to tightness in your physical body, holding on to emotion in your spiritual body, holding on to a memory.....instead of just experiencing and accepting what it was and letting it go.
How we approach our New Year our “New Beginnings” can often carry wisdom for our lives. So too, can the way in which we let go of the Year that has passed. On this Second day of 2013 was it with a ‘Good Riddance’ attitude that you said goodbye to 2012, or was it lamenting the moments of the past year? Were you anxiously rushing into 2013, or are you fearfully awaiting the possibility of more unknown, ‘unhappened’ pitfalls of 2013? How you let go may hold just as much possibility as the act of letting go itself.
There is great work in ‘letting go’, and probably even greater work in letting go with grace. I can think of many times, upon self-reflection that I was forced to let go, sometimes because it seemed the choice was not mine. The ‘letting go’ wasn’t in the act itself, it was in the emotion that was embedded in my response to the action: when I chose to ‘let go’ of my emotional response, only then could I truly engage in the act of ‘letting go’. This dissolve requires time, patience, acceptance, stillness......and maybe a friend along the way, before a resolve for a new perspective can take shape. As I reflect back on my 2012 year, as it goes, life had ups and downs. The emotionally charged events, both good and bad, are those that I continue to work hard at letting go. But perhaps the work is in diminishing the emotional charge, accepting with good grace.
Accomplishments and disappointments are inevitably riddled with emotion. Feeling the emotion in the moment, celebrating, sitting with sorrow, anger, excitement – feeling until there is no more attachment to the event, the outcome, the emotion – the act of letting go. It requires constant observation, self-reflection and work – but being unattached to your thoughts, feelings, and emotions can be liberating. We do the best we can and the act of letting go is not an act of giving up, or caring less; it is in fact an act of caring more and living more deeply. ‘Letting Go’ as a constant way of being, allowing you to experience each moment more deeply as it happens. Pain and Sorrow are inevitable just as happiness and excitement, success and failure – we must do the best we can with each, and then let go and be ready to embrace the next moment with clarity and contentment.
As we all symbolically said goodbye to 2012 and welcomed 2013, may you enter each day with renewed clarity and contentment, even if that means accepting the things you cannot change but freeing your burden and letting go. After all, at the end of an inhale sometimes all you need is a sigh, as an exhale.
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