In my yoga classes lately I have found the need to suggest the theme of strength again and again. I see students coming in to enjoy the physical asanas, yes, but also to regain composure, breath, discipline, and ultimately find strength to move through their day.
We may find a general lack of interest or curiosity in our lives. Or perhaps it goes deeper to where we experience pressure mounting in some way at home or at work. Perhaps some of us are at a tipping point where we need to face change and are in what I call “Limbo Land,” where we aren’t sure of ourselves and where our lives are taking us. We are going through a deep challenge, an illness, a relationship breakup, and aren’t catching our breath, let alone embracing the change.
Yet when we stop and listen in, lean in to our feelings, we can see in amazement all the past trials and obstacles we have already been through. We can see the bridges we have crossed and where they took us to a new reality. In each of these times, we not only handled those situations but in most cases, unknowingly embraced the new situation with grace and with inner strength.
Pema Chodron says “You build inner strength through embracing the totality of your experience, both the delightful parts and the difficult parts. Embracing the totality of your experience is one definition of having loving-kindness for yourself.”
When we see that fork in the road ahead, we may tense up in anticipation, not sure of the right path, whether we can “deal with it” or find our inner strength. Let us change the conversation in our heads to instead keep going, to believe we are being guided into a loving situation. Choose to be kind to ourselves and to love both ourselves and the resistance we are feeling at any given moment. Even in moments of being overwhelmed, we can stop and feel the moment. Embrace the deep feelings arising and choose to persevere. We can offer ourselves loving kindness and compassion, and remember we are stronger than we know. In this way we become more attuned to seeing when we are falling for the bait, when we are getting caught in the “emotional undertow.”
The truth is, whether we are inherently ready, sometimes life pushes us into the change. Why not find strength in both the delightful parts and the difficult parts, and to love yourself along the way. Imagine yourself grabbing your hand, and calming leading you across that bridge out of Limbo Land and into a new reality, a better you, all with love and grace.
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