Monday, March 1, 2010
Weekly Reflection (week 9): Facing forward
What am I needing to face in order to move forward?
Years ago, I had the privilege of hearing the yoga master T.K.V. Desikachar lecture at the Estes Park Yoga Journal conference. His name may not be familiar to many, but if you study or practice Hatha yoga at all, you are indebted to his father, Krishnamacharya whose teachings inspired the three main branches of yoga currently being taught here in the West. The workshop with Desikachar was an opportunity to drink from the source.
I cannot even remember what the title or subject of the workshop was supposed to be, perhaps something on meditation? I was surprised to find it was more a lecture style forum and even more surprised when Desikachar walked out on stage, a small man in a short sleeved button up shirt, looking more like an engineer (which he had studied before becoming his father's student) than a yogi from India. He immediately struck me as very personable, sincere, humble, and very profound. Over nine years later, I still marvel at the deep wisdom he shared with us that day.
He talked about making choices on our journey; how there are moments when we may feel confused as to which direction we should go and how often we are conflicted between two choices. He then explained how we should write down on slips of paper the two choices we were contemplating and then ask a friend to pick at random one of those slips. He wisely pointed out that many of us would find such randomness unacceptable. He explained how we should reflect upon each option, visualizing ourselves living each choice and how that might reveal to us a preference for one path over the other. And if we feel still feel equally torn between the two, then in contemplating allowing another person to randomly pick one slip, we may also recognize we favor one choice over the other.
If we still feel conflicted and cannot decide, then Desikachar counseled us to use the slips of paper and let fate decide. And here is the heart of his teaching: whatever choice is pulled, we are to embrace it fully and with the force of our full commitment to that path, allow it to carry us forward. Here is the sticking point for me, and what Desikachar so astutely understood: we make choices half heartedly and then spend our time looking back over our shoulders wonder "maybe I should have gone that way? Maybe I should change directions?" If things don't work out, we then blame the choice we made rather than the fact that we did not give it our full attention or commitment.
How many myths and legends address this notion of moving forward and not looking back? I realize that much of my struggles revolve around my wanting to hold on with both hands the past and the present. I want to make changes, create a new future and at the same time, hang onto the security of my current life even when that is what I wanted to shed in the first place.
I also am aware that there are choices and dreams that have been buried deep in my subconscious that need to be brought out into daylight and either embraced or discarded. What I fear encountering, and what holds me back right now, are the dreams that I need to acknowledge as no longer feasible. At least in this life time. There are certain realities that need to be face, lost opportunities mourned and choices delayed that now longer fit with who I am or where I am in the seasons of my life which must be acknowledge before I can whole heartedly embrace any new path. I have to let go in order to make room for new dreams and realities to be birthed.
I believe in dreaming big and not giving up. But there are times to clean out the closets and get rid of what I can no longer realistically use. Some dreams no longer fit me and as painful as it will be to acknowledge this truth, I must do so in order to move forward open and free.
I know I am being vague here ... I know what dragon I need to face, befriend and set free. The particulars are not necessary; the challenge is the process of letting go and believing something new will come in to fill the void.