Exercising Choice – and Accepting What Is…
Grief comes in many guises and over many things – both big and small.
We feel grief not only for the loss of loved ones and relationships, but also for changes in our circumstances which we perceive to be detrimental to our comfort and identity.
Sometimes this grief hides itself below the surface, bubbling away under the radar of our consciousness until we’re ready for it to pop in and expose itself.
Then BOOM it’s right there!
As an example of a small but for me significant “ah ha moment” let me share with you what happened in the shower this morning….
There I was, washing my hair and letting my mind wander when I was swamped with a feeling of anger – the raw, stomping “it’s not fair” style of anger that runs parallel to “it shouldn’t be like this” thinking.
Out of “nowhere” I felt angry, then upset and sad. The feeling flowed like the water I was washing with – hot then cold and back to a comfortable temperature, all within about 5 minutes.
What was that all about…
Well, some of you will know I broke my wrist 18 months ago. I’ve written and spoken about the “oh well” experience at the time, and physically I’ve mended well since then.
During the original hospital processes I was given a bone scan, which showed the beginning of osteoporosis in my lower spine. My Physiotherapist advised me to moderate my exercise routine, and my Pilates Instructor was very helpful in planning a new regime which would help both strengthen and protect the affected area.
However, for the last 40+ years I have loved going to Yoga classes. I’ve been hooked since the first class I attended way back in the 1970’s and have explored various different styles, and had found a brilliant Iyengar teacher nearby.
For me Yoga is part of my identity, it’s “what I’m good at” – I’m small and bendy, and over the years my flexibility has greatly improved so I have loved exploring with increasing depth both the physical asanas and the spiritual aspects of my practice.
But since my accident it has slowly dawned on me that Yoga was not going to be an option moving forward, at least not at the “level” I had previously enjoyed.
Suddenly inverted postures, or downward and upward facing dog plus anything which puts too much pressure on my right wrist are no-no’s. That screws the Sun Salutations for a start!
So I’ve avoided even trying a less advanced yoga class or taking some private tuition with my teacher.
I thought I was OK with this, but now I’m feeling fitter again my body is saying “what the f#*k – when are you going to let me loose on a yoga mat again??”
And my reply has been “Shut up – I can’t do that anymore”.
Which actually translates to “I’m not willing to accept this new level of ability – I want to be fully mended so I can be as “good” as before – otherwise I’m not doing it again”.
Except I hadn’t heard it as that until this morning in the shower when those thoughts hit me.
And boy was I (ergo my Ego) angry about what I’d “lost”! Well, until I went into self-pity mode and that wasn’t pretty either.
I thought I wasn’t OK.
At that moment there was something to fix and mend, repair and renew. Something to run away from facing, something to look to the outside to make better.
And we all know what a fruitless direction that is!
After this tantrum subsided, there was a question – “so what have you been blocking to keep a hold of all this?”
The answer seemed to be “allowing yourself to enjoy Pilates as much as Yoga”.
Oh. Hadn’t seen that before!
Felt a bit sheepish, as I often berate myself for “not getting” something in a Pilates class and add the rider “huh, I’d have understood this if it was in Yoga“, or “I’ll NEVER be as good at Pilates as I was at Yoga”… (etc etc).
I’d been making it more difficult for myself!!
But for those random, made-up thoughts floating in to my sub-conscious, I could have had a much more enjoyable time in classes!!
How was I EVER going to get full value out of Pilates if that was going on under the surface?
Like the invisible 89% of the iceberg under the surface of the water, those unconscious thoughts were colouring my experience and feeling about Pilates classes, and I didn’t know it!
Now, understanding that life works from the inside-out, I know I don’t have to try to change or fix my thinking around this, because the moment I had the experience of seeing what was going on, in other words insight (in-sight), there was the opportunity for the appearance of new thinking around this area to come along.
So I went to my 10.30 a.m. Pilates class this morning feeling lighter and open to enjoying it.
I challenged my boundaries, free from the old, contaminated thinking that was previously holding me back.
I trusted my body to know when to push forward and when to use the easier option.
And, (no) surprise – it was a whole new ball game (literally, we did that running round to catch the illogically bouncing ball thing, which I usually view with “why?”, but just took as a fun thing to try this time).
And I came out smiling, instead of reviewing my performance and picking faults in it.
I did my best in the moment and that’s OK.
When we have moments of insight such as the one I had today, we get to see how we create our experience of reality through the Three Principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness.
Those feelings were coming from a memory – thoughts bought forward in time about something that happened once.
This clears the way for the possibility of experiencing the next Pilates class, or each fresh cup of tea and, in fact, every moment in a new way – rather than believing it has to be the way it’s always been since xyz-circumstance happened.
How liberating and healing is that?
Dwell in possibility.
Here’s a photo I took when I was in Canada last month, to me it captures a moment of tranquility so I’ve called in “A Quiet Mind”
“A Quiet Mind” – Dusk on Salt Spring Island – June 2015
And I leave you with a quote from “The Missing Link” by Sydney Banks…
” Though on its own is a completely neutral gift.
Thought is not reality; yet it is through Thought that our realities are created.
It is what we as humans put into our thoughts, that dictates what we think of life”.