Friday, February 10, 2012

circles and waves

Four months.

Four months. So much has changed since my last post. There’s something we should know about each other before I start updating you. When I’m working through things, I write a ton. When things are going so well I could puke, I write, too. When I’m content, I write little. I’ve been teetering between pleased as can be and content for the last four months. I’ve also been so busy that I haven’t had time to write. I want each of these posts to be a rather meaningful portrayal of my experience growing through yoga. And I sure as heck don’t want this to turn into another Dear Diary Blog. Those are just the worst.

That being said, I’ve been day-dreaming a lot about shapes lately. I’ve found, throughout this process of growing my yoga practice, that life is a circle within a wave. (I’m not on drugs. Bear with me.) Here, let me show you:

As you can see, we’re born on the left there. We start at the bottom of our potential. In yogic texts, it is believed that we are our purest form when we are babies. We are totally present, not affected by the world’s distractions. I might seem like I’m going a different, more contradicting route, but it all connects at the end. Promise.

So, we’re born. Bottom of our potential. Nowhere to go but up, but we’re pure. Clean slate. Focused on the present. Not distracted. Great place to be. As we grow, we ride the waves, which come in a series of ups and downs. These are different for everyone. An up for me might be when I finally got a job; an up for you might be when you quit your job. Some ups might be higher than others too. It’s all quite relative and perspective-based, as you can imagine. The lower portions of the waves are our low points in life, or big struggles: the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, depression, break-ups and divorce.  When we’re low, we also much closer to a pure state because all we can see is what’s happening RIGHT now. Grief is consuming.

Everything on the wave from the top to the bottom is the journey to and from these points. This is the part we ignore, typically. Many of us see life as a series of high points and low points without taking note of how we got to each location in our journey. We should try to get better at that.

Then there’s the circle.

My favorite part.

If you’ll notice, the dotted line in my [beautifully crafted] diagram not only creates the top half of a circle that the bottom portion of the wave completes, but it bears the word, “Potential.” Even when we are at our highest points, we can think of higher places we’d rather be. “Okay, so I got the job. Now I just have to save a bunch of money and then I can do A, B, and C.” When we’re low, we don’t look back at the last high point or even toward the next one, we stand in the bottom of that wave and look straight up at what “perfect” might be, and we say, “THAT. I want that.” And we reach. The longer we stand there and reach up, the longer we stay in that low point. Sometimes we’re in our low point and we don’t even know it. Change does not occur until we shift our gaze and look at where we are, gather the facts and start walking, in any direction. Just walk.

Eventually, as we continue to stay present, things get “better.” We start walking the incline. When we get to the next high point, we turn around and we look at the low out of which we crawled and the high from before that. Usually the feeling associated is pride. Also fear. When you’re on top there’s nowhere to go but down. So we try to ride this wave as long as we can. Inevitably, there will be another decline. If we’re smart, we’ll use the tools we learned from the last lull to lift us out of the next.

Now, I’m going to assume that you aren’t a terrible selfish person who doesn’t care about the happiness of the others around you. This is where the circle comes into play. Where ever you happen to be standing on your wave, you can see the circle – you can imagine it. You know there’s a reason this is happening, you have no idea what it is, right now, but you know it’s there. People tell you there’s a reason. It’s up to you to watch patiently and allow the reason to reveal itself. When it does, don’t ignore it, no matter how frustrating that lesson might be. Put it in your tool belt and keep marching forward.

Once that reason is revealed to you, you are able to see why all of those things happened to you, and life, as they say, comes full circle. It’s up to you to widen that circle and share that experience with others. You never know who may benefit from your stories, your ideas and your lessons. We are all connected, as I’ve said before, and we should be kind to one another by helping each other along.

The scary part about all of this is realizing that we are going to experience a lot of ups and downs in our lives. For some reason, we think there is a recipe to happiness and that someday we’ll just be okay if only A, B and C occurred. Some of us are so fond of this concept that we can trick ourselves into being happy if we have these things. I don’t envy those people. I need my downs, they make my ups that much higher.

Resigning to the fact that life is a journey of ups and downs removes the ups and downs altogether.



Slower this time.

If you are somehow able to be present throughout the ups and downs, they won’t be seen as up or down. They will just be. And that’s it. If you’re okay with being whatever you are right now, then there are no highs or lows. No happiness or sadness, just presence, peace and contentment.

That, however, is ridiculously hard to do. I barely understand it myself. So just go with the wave thing. Watch your life as you live it. It’ll pass you by so quickly and seem so sad and empty if you don't.