Last week, we spent some time talking about taking our hands off the controls and experiencing true joy in the moment. When the planning and to-dos and dreaming have to take pause so that we can actually experience the moment for what it is and enjoy it. This theme originated out of the experience of my younger sister’s wedding last weekend, but as I’ve continued to sit with this idea of setting aside planning and doing and instead experiencing the present moment, I’ve realized just how hard it is to do this very thing in more difficult moments.
Last Wednesday, I was feeling pretty lousy. I couldn’t decide if I was just overtired or coming down with a bug, but I was definitely out of sorts. Normally on Wednesday nights, I teach a private yoga class for a dear friend and her boyfriend; it is always a fun time to practice and catch-up about our week, but this past Wednesday I just wasn’t feeling it. As I laid on my couch, I went through a very familiar debate –
Should I cancel? No, this is my living. I can’t cancel every time I feel sick.
But what if I’m sick? Wouldn’t be irresponsible to spread germs?
They are good friends; they will definitely understand if I need a night off.
But what kind of example does it set if your yoga teacher blows off yoga?!…
And, round and round we go. After maybe 10 minutes of this mental roller coaster, I caught myself. Let go of the planning and sit in the moment. No it wasn’t joyous and wonderful like a wedding. It was sticky and uncomfortable and filled with feelings of doubt and guilt and insecurity. But instead of pushing all this away or trying to make it better, I used a familiar mantra from Buddhist teacher Tara Brach, “This Too.”
This too. Meaning all of these feelings and thoughts are valid and real for me in this moment. I accept them. And, in that acceptance I could see that I was truly tired and ill and needed a night off. I called my friend and cancelled our lesson. And, as I knew they would be – they were lovely and understanding and supportive. Because everyone needs a night off once in awhile. Everyone gets sick. These are realities for all of us.
So my challenge to you all this week is this: not in great moments of joy, but in little moments of obsession, doubt or fear, can you pause and experience the moment just as it is? Remind yourself, “This Too.” What can attention and acceptance teach you in this moment?
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.