Life….it flows, it surprises, it lifts and drops. Sometimes, it drops more than it lifts. And sometimes, no matter what we do to alter unwelcome circumstances, we have no choice but to let go and sit in what is happening. To not strive…to stay in the sensation of the experience…to allow tension to transform to strength. While it works to respond actively to many situations, when we surrender — while surrounding ourselves with support — we learn to love the truth that is right there, patiently smiling upon us.
That truth finally snagged me, when I became a mother to two boys…two very busy, delightful, public boys. It was a process though…I continually turned my head to the chances to be enlightened — I really thought — not proud of this one — that I had reached my mountaintop of maturity and wisdom, that I was equipped to rock this gig of motherhood. I had always worked with children, what did I not know? And not surprisingly, my arrogance was swamped by the first rough wind that took me to my knees…a wind that knowingly whispered, “Self-anointed ‘I’ve-got-this’ mama, these boys are here to teach you…so please listen.”
And listen I did. But trust what I heard, I did not. I was a slow learner. I was intent on — dang it — being the writer of my family’s story. We all have periods in our lives where we feel wildly tossed about by rapids, and we madly paddle to avoid the inevitable waterfall — we hear its roar, and it terrifies us. While we wonder how — or if — we will reach a peaceful shore before the cascade envelops us, we strive to fight the inevitable, to change the story. Oh, oh, I wanted to change the story. I did not want to be in the spotlight of teachers and administrators who were dialing my number. I did not want to consult experts to guide us along the way. And worst of all, I did not heed the messages that each of my precious sons were sending me…I was too frantic, too busy, too scared.
So I shook. I pushed back. I cratered. I chose to pull hard, away from the uncomfortable sensations; I was resistant to releasing the hold that fear had planted inside of me. While my precious sons were shining their little rainbows of uniqueness and wonder at me, I was franticly responding to the messages that I had been given my whole life, and to those that were being given to me as a mother, by the small — not always kind — world surrounding my family. “Try this, try that, if you don’t do this now, they’ll do this later”…and one day, my paddles broke, our boat flipped, and we all went over the waterfall.
There is good news here, and it took a trip into the dreaded abyss to trust it: the truth that lies below the fall has been waiting patiently, for our arrival. In order for my story to be changed, I had to first let go and embrace the story that was present. That precipice, that torrent of water and where it landed us, was my lovely truth. That free fall down the current, into the calmer stream below, forced me to let go — to hold myself and my family in love and compassion as I recognized that my story was, indeed, a beautiful one.
When life’s current determines our direction, we must power up and actively engage, while also dwelling quietly in the sensations of the experience. Both are necessary. The active response — Yang — fuels us for motion, and the passive response — Yin — heals, informs and sustains us. While we use our strength to paddle, we give in to the force of the current. And no matter where we finally settle, it takes both engagement and surrender…Yin and Yang…to arrive. Beauty in strife, strength in repose…balance. I so love nurturing that balanced, life process, as it is mirrored in my own practice and teaching of Yin Yoga…to release the struggle, and to witness the beauty that then flows.