Letting go and creating space for something new.
I think most of us have experienced the most interesting of years. With all the newness and awkwardness of what is next, there are some practices (habits) that keep me attempting to keep moving in the right direction. In the Bible, when God did something amazing, he would often tell the Israelites set up reminders… to name a couple, set up 12 stones after crossing the Jordan (Joshua 4), and an alter at Bethel and Ai (Genesis 12 and 13). They served as reminders the Israelites where they were to keep there attention and focus.
While I don’t have huge stones set up in my yard, I do have habits that serve as similar reminders and encouragers.
This last year has been a test to them, and what really works. As someone who needed to close her brick and mortar studio (and still with studio debts to pay off) and much uncertainty*, I believe I have truly put them to the test.
When I look back, to be honest, I was hopeful throughout March-May 2020. I kept thinking I am just getting a break for my body and an opportunity to make things better. And I dove into doing just that. Hours and hours were spent adjusting to our new new… and then when I reached the point that closing the studio was my best option. Well, I felt like I must have just had my head in the clouds and wasted an immense amount of time. While everyone else had been painting their kitchens, I was figuring out new work software, etc. Should I have just painted my kitchen? 😉
One thing after another, almost like on repeat, I have experienced what I believed was a move forward, only to feel like I was being pushed back. Besides for the proof that I have very lovely and supportive family and friends (yogi and non-yogi), there is still debt that remained after closing the studio. And with that, the tension of, am I doing enough, am I pushing where I should be waiting… what is too much and what isn’t enough?
I don’t share this for a pity party. I have felt that enough, but as a testimony. Just this morning, after another, what seemed like a set-back, I was feeling completely defeated. As I was moving and sweating and the self-pity came up… I felt like God was saying, “I’m not crushing you, I’m redirecting you.”
If I was to rewind time a bit, before becoming a yoga teacher, I had some grounding and creative practices, such as knitting and sewing. When I started to teach, I added in a drive to teach, and then to work in my field, and then to teach and have a studio. With the drive time, I felt like I needed to set aside my creative outlets. I didn’t make the choice grudgingly, I just would remind myself it was the season I was in. I missed it, but it was what it was.
This January, with my virtual yoga studio/job being what is was/is… I realized as much as I still needed daily movement and yoga, I also needed a different way to decompress and “get out of my head.” And… I felt permission to pull out my knitting needles and sewing machine.
Stitch by stitch, and lots of unwinding and thread removal, I am slowly making things again. And, my yoga practice is feeling like my yoga practice, and not just my job and my responsibility.
I still wholehearted believe we need movement. Our bodies are created to move and there is no better way to unwind, get out of our heads (and our own ways) and think less and listen more, but we are also created to create. Creating doesn’t need to be knitting or sewing. Some can do amazing things with a pen and paintbrush; or a green thumb indoors or in their yards, cooking and baking… Creativity shows up in lots of ways.
Along with moving, and making, my practicing being still and listening in contemplative prayer (aiming to be silent, versus laying out all your requests and continued sharing my opinion and needs), has been painfully beneficial and eye-opening to my natural tendencies. Some tendencies that needed to go! Whether thoughts, actions, and/or just stuff….
(Homework, kind-of, sort-of): This week I would like to you to take notice of what are the things/practices, that keep you getting back up and moving forward. I also would like you to begin to assess the things (practices/thoughts/stuff) in your life that attribute to you feeling stuck, or keep your eyes from looking up.
No worries, I’m not asking you to declutter, just yet. Just build in some awareness. Journal about it. If you don’t want to write or type, record an audio file with your phone, and save it, so you can play it back. And then begin to set the items on the table, not physically, but mentally, before the Lord. And then give yourself time to listen and feel what emotions come up when both the positive and negative come up.
*There was more happening “behind the scenes,” that has been more difficult than closing the studio, but I do not feel I have the liberty, nor am ready to share. And I know for many of you, there has been cancer and other major health issues, as well as so many people affected by horrible shootings that have taken place within the US. My intent is to be real, and share actual circumstances within my own life. Please do not think I do not consider others life circumstances lesser than my own.
Image from project made in 2015, Nangou, by Melanie Berg. And a project that still brings me joy when I put it on to wear.