The miracle is not to walk on thin air or water, but to walk on Earth.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
Monday, July 27, 2009
Life has taken me away from this blog for a while - which overall is a very good thing, since life is much more important than blogging! What brings me back is a mantra I've been considering recently, something that one of my teachers says: Have tremendous confidence that you can. She usually says this right before we do something the mind warns is impossible, like standing on our heads. I love this mantra because often confidence (or lack thereof) is the only thing standing between me and what I want. I love it because the phrase tremendous confidence acknowledges how challenging it can be to believe, how much effort is needed to act on faith. I love it because I can feel the difference it makes in my body, in my mind, in my breath.
It's amazing to watch myself practice as I was two years ago. Almost from the beginning, I've loved Vrksasana (Tree Pose) and have felt at home in it. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) was a whole different story. Around the time of this video, I was referring to this pose as "my nemesis." The video features me falling in Ardha Chandrasana... on both sides. I'm struck by a couple of things when I see this video. First of all, by how different I now feel in my body when I do Ardha Chandrasana - sensations of ease, grace, lightness. And secondly, by the fact that in this video, it is visibly clear that I had learned to take myself into a posture in which I knew I would probably fall, to practice with joy in the face of great challenge. But I had not yet learned to have tremendous confidence that I could do the pose without falling, in spite of past history and rational or irrational fears.
I feel myself sometimes at this same crossroads in my life off the mat: willing to face challenge with a smile, but at the same time, lacking the confidence to just act without fear. In trying to break old patterns, whether it's falling in Ardha Chandrasana or holding your truth back in a relationship, sometimes you can spend too much time examining the pattern - and the more you look at it, the more it repeats itself. Sometimes the key might be to forget about the pattern, forget that you have ever been in a similar situation before, tap into that tremendous confidence, and step into the pose. With grace. And breath. Breath never hurts either.
When I see myself falling in 2007 and then feel myself lifting into Ardha Chandrasana in 2009, it gives me hope. Maybe the things that seem challenging now in my life will be second nature to me in two years. On second thoughts, I'll drop the "maybe." The things that seem challenging now in my life will be second nature to me in two years. I have tremendous confidence that I can.