Photo by William Farlow on Unsplash
I’ve practiced yoga for over 12 years, and I consider myself a beginner in many ways. Some poses I consistently do well, like the warrior poses. Others I struggle with, like crow. Why I am still shaky on that after 12 years, I just don’t understand. Some poses I have never even attempted, like headstand. I can freely admit that I am afraid to try it because I have visions of breaking my neck. One pose that seems easy but I haven’t fully mastered yet is shavasana, the rest pose.
Why would it be hard to rest? One might ask. This pose isn’t just lying down. It’s releasing everything in that moment and being in complete surrender. It is a conscious choice to surrender. How many of us choose to consciously surrender?
Many of us confuse surrender with giving up. In fact, they are two different things. Giving up is throwing your hands up and refusing to believe in anything or actually do anything. Surrender is allowing things to unfold and accepting what happens regardless of whether or not it is what we think we wanted. It’s acceptance without scrutiny and without judgment. It’s making peace with the reality that has presented itself before you. Is that difficult? Absolutely. I’m still learning. I haven’t fully learned how to silence the catastrophist in my head that keeps me from attempting a goddamned headstand. But what I have learned is questioning, condemning, and lamenting makes matters even more difficult. It disrupts the moment and takes you away from it.
One of my favorite things to do is walk in nature. I explore hiking grounds and parks wherever I can. One of the best lessons I learned about surrender was when I took a new path in the woods recently. Many times, when I take new paths, I have a fear of getting lost. I don’t fully enjoy the walk sometimes because I am anxious about getting lost and how much time that will take up.
Recently, I took a new path and just decided to enjoy what I was taking in. I thought to myself: It’s not like it’s the Alaskan wilderness, where I could die if I got lost. Even if I do get lost out here, I will still find my way. It will just take longer. No big deal. When I did that, I found I was excited to keep going forward and seeing where it would take me. I found that the path took me right to where I parked, and I got there quicker than I thought I would. I just let go, enjoyed, and got to where I needed to be.
When I just let go and find ways to enjoy whatever I am doing without concerning myself with the end result, it goes so much smoother. It’s all about the experience, not just the outcome of it. The outcome is either a lesson or a blessing. If you haven’t beaten yourself up along the way, most times you’ll find a blessing.
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...