"...I dare you to move I dare you to move I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor I dare you to move I dare you to move Like today never happened Today never happened before
Welcome to the fallout Welcome to resistance The tension is here Tension is here Between who you are and who you could be Between how it is and how it should be
Maybe redemption has stories to tell Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go? Where you gonna go? Salvation is here…"
--excerpted from Dare You To Move, Switchfoot
Yesterday evening a Summer-esque storm blew in. Although the sky looked fierce everything around it seemed peaceful, almost serene. There was a stillness in the air despite the fact that a slight warm breeze blew. The relfection of the clouds on the lake looked stunning (it almost looked as if I were looking down at the clouds from above), challenging me to look away. I couldn't. I stood out on the deck taking it all in feeling the delightful tug of duality -- calm and chaos, flow and resistance, love and fear.
This morning while practicing I realized that I've gotten a bit too comfortable on my mat. My movements are fluid, my body moving from muscle memory, my breathing deep and smooth. It's what one would call a "good" day on the mat. The truth is that I'm hiding.
I'm not really feeling all that much, which is the whole point. What lurks underneath is fear. Fear that I don't want to feel. I want to ignore its existence and rest in the comfort of my typical yoga practice.
Of course this is akin to shutting off your thoughts in meditation -- an impossible feat. The idea isn't to cease all thoughts -- it's to change the quality of the thoughts through awareness. Same goes with my fear -- the goal shouldn't be to shut it off altogether but to turn down the volume. Of course when you deny that there's fear static in the background, you don't even realize that there's a volume to adjust. As the song says above, "welcome to resistance." Or should I say denial?
I decided to change tack and added an 11-minute Kundalini Yoga Kriya to the end of my practice. There was a point during the Kriya when I got uncomfortable. My leg fell asleep. A lot of sensation came up. My brain jumped right in with labeling it pain. I created a story about what was going on and how I needed to stop. I attempted to zone out and think of other things rather than feel. BINGO -- just to show that the adage "how you do one thing is how you do everything," is true, it became clear that I've been doing the every same thing in my life.
It's such an ingrained pattern (I've been doing it pretty much all my life) that I often don't even realize I'm doing it. Yes, all the yoga an meditation in the world won't magically banish all of your unconscious habits/I'm-in-denial-mode patterns. The good news is that I caught myself and called myself out on it this time around. Rather than pump myself up with a "feel the fear and do it anyway" pep talk, I decided to go with a simple approach -- I just felt it. I felt the sensation during the Kriya and felt it and felt it and felt it until the 11 minutes was up.
Then I sat on my meditation cushion and felt the fear that I've been avoiding for the past few weeks. It felt like standing on the deck last night -- peaceful, exciting, foreboding, stunning in its beauty. Hmmmm...not bad, right? Yes, there's joy in that comfortable yoga practice (or, in my case, my denial of what I'm feeling about the changes in my life right now) but there's also an exhilaration in feeling the scary stuff. There's transformation on the other side of a yoga practice that challenges you and brings out all of your unconscious patterns.
So, since I'm calling myself out on all that's going on with me, I'm going to do the same for you -- where are you too comfortable? What lengths to you go to to keep yourself comfortable and how do you avoid discomfort?
Here's a little challenge to shake it up in your body (without hurting yourself, of course). Try one or all of these mini practices:
--Try this Kundalini Kriya -- Liberation Kriya -- which lasts for 9 minutes in total. Notice what happens.
--Break out a timer and set it for 5 minutes (you might want to start with 3 minutes and work your way up to 5). Come into Pigeon Pose. After 5 minutes on one side lay on your stomach and windshield wipe your legs for about 30 secons before hanging out in Pigeon on the other side for another 5 minutes.
--Choose a song that holds some strong memories for you. Pick whichever one seems to call to you in this moment. Sit on your meditation cushion while the song plays and let whatever wants to come up come. [I did this after my yoga practice today and loved how perfect the song I chose was for what's going on with me right now -- perfection!]
Feel. Notice. Welcome any resistance and/or discomfort. And remember: "Where can you run to escape from yourself? Where you gonna go? Where you gonna go? Salvation is here…