Where's the map?
Hello yoga friends!
I hope you are all safe and well. Last week's newsletter* got me thinking about urgency, and how we've all been forced to slow down due to COVID. But despite (or maybe because of) my less-filled schedule, I find myself caught by the urge to do something for the sake of doing something, to feel like I'm moving forward, and to make it happen NOW. Urgency override! Like a computer update that's bouncing up and down on my screen, heyheyheyheyhey wanna do something else because if not don't worry I'll ask you 40 more times today, wink emoji.
The current state of things doesn't allow for a whole lot of planning, which makes me uncomfortable. I like planning. Doesn't matter if it's for the next hour, the day, a backpacking trip, a whole year - in general, humans like maps and guides and lists. We like feeling prepared. Which is why in uncertain times like right now, we get thrown for a bit of a loop. Excuse me, I didn't get my Guide to the Great Northwest American Pandemic? How am I supposed to plan for this hike if I don't know where the path goes, what kind of terrain there will be, and what previous trekkers think about the quality of the wildflowers? Is it muddy? Are there snakes? Will I like it? WHAT SNACKS SHOULD I BRING?
(My snack of choice for long hikes: Haribo gummi bears. Just be careful to keep them out of the sun so they don't melt and re-solidify into a giant glob of chewy bear Transformer...)
This feeling of "Where's the map" is familiar to me. It partners with grief, breakups, job changes, moves, relationships, and the time my baggage was lost at the Delhi airport while I was en route to Nepal. It shows up during times when I wasn't sure what the right choice was, or how to figure it out, but I just didn't want to feel crappy any more.
It's uncomfortable to sit still and to be in the not-knowing, the mapless state, to be looking at the path and thinking, 'I'm not sure where this goes or how I'm going to get there.' And of course it's uncomfortable. Normally, we live in an economy of urgency: we have quick food delivery apps, we are expected to reply to texts and emails immediately, we rush from one activity to the next to do all the things. Why shouldn't uncertainty, and the pain and doubt and frustration that come with it, simply adjust to our busy schedules and go away when we're tired of feeling it? I'm tired, can't I just get an Uber and go home?
Being in the not-knowing, the mapless state, the path through the dark woods, the course that goes beyond the sight of shore, is difficult. But it's where the magic happens. The gateway to the magic is to get comfortable being uncomfortable instead of pushing those feelings away. Uncertainty is an invitation to pause, get still, to listen, to sit through the fire of transformation. An invitation to growth, to evolution, to be more in alignment with our truest self.
The magic comes from within, not from any map or guidebook authored by someone else. It's there, all the time, and always has been, if we take the time to listen.
“The challenge of wonder is to tolerate uncertainty. If you do not relax into uncertainty, wonder may start to seem like insecurity.” - Lorin Roche
Love and gratitude,
* Speaking of newsletter, from now on, the content, sans Zoom links and schedule, will also posted on my blog - feel free to share with others and post/share on social media!
Some things that I've found helpful to recharge & replenish myself: