I’ve heard and said that word so many times in the last few years that I can’t remember a life where I thought one could go without it. I can’t remember being the person who would rigidly fight for her dear life with any decision, or any opinion, that disagreed with her’s.
This fault-line opened at a gracious moment when I first surrendered and accepted life as it is. It was a leap of faith, courage, and of immense heart opening. I thought I was done now with this lesson. This surrendering, I’ve figured it out.
But today after a moment of absolute clamoring madness, in a room with my mother, I saw myself cruel and unkind to her. I saw how I did not have patience, and I did not have any compassion for her anymore. I was saying the right words, but I did not feel them in my heart. And not surprisingly she didn’t hear my words, as right and logical as they were, she felt my with-holding energy and before I even knew it I was back in a melodrama, playing my part to perfection. Our dance had not even begun to end.
I sat back in my car and felt like I was bleeding from inside. It was too much. I couldn’t take this anymore. This terrible grief, this terrible pain, I just don’t want it anymore. I ran through the motions, watched myself move through the city with an angry arrogance, and at home, the point where I bowed down to pray, I became angry at God. I heard my own words, and I felt my tears and then as swiftly as they came, I felt them disappear. And I remembered what I read just two days ago:
“The reason we’re often not there for others –whether for our child or our mother or someone who is insulting us or frightens us — is that we are not there for ourselves. There are whole parts of ourselves that are so unwanted that whenever they begin to come up we run away…Only to the degree that we’ve gotten to know our personal pain, only to the degree that we’ve related with pain at all, will we be fearless enough, brave enough and enough of a warrior to feel the pain of others.” – Start Where You Are, Pema Chodron.
I had confided in some friends and felt a little bit more supported. I have a beautiful loving family and again I felt less alone in my pain. And then, tired as I was, dragged myself to my friend’s house, to take a yoga class in his open garden. A yoga celebrity, my friend gives classes that are notoriously challenging. In fact many times I have laid in dead pose or childs pose while he talked the class through super vinyasas. Today he was going to take it easy, and I sighed with relief. Knowing his easy, meant, well I’d still have a difficult time keeping up.
I moved through the class with precision and grace. My mat is as familiar as my own breath. When I’m on it suddenly it does feel as if I’m on sacred duty and I have surrendered to what will arise in me, and I will watch it, breathe through it, and be completely present with my contradicting & conflicting feelings.
We got into Warrior II and held it for almost 2 minutes. 1 minute in, my legs quivering, I kept looking at my focus point (dhristi) and surrendered to the pain. I knew this was just the first side, the weaker leg, and I continued to be there for myself as I was debating: should I stay with the feelings or should I escape them? Sometimes I had to release the pose, and then resume it. But I did not push the pain away. I did not push to create more, but I accepted what it meant to be a warrior. I realised deeply that surrendering was the ultimate task for any warrior. Surrender to the moment as it is, “because we escape, we keep missing being right here, being right on the dot. We keep missing the moment we’re in. Yet, if we can experience the moment that we are in, we discover that it is unique, precious and completely fresh. It never happens twice.” (Chodron).
And as I finished yoga today, and felt the incredible connection and peace within my soul, I wished for a moment it would not go away. And then, a new practice came into being. I embraced the impermanence of this feeling, felt gratitude for it, and understood that soon it would be gone. I returned to my car again, and I asked myself, what do you need to be there for yourself right now?
Surrender control.desire&escape from pain. And yet while all these voices are clamoring for attention, just relax into them, ending today right where you are.