Preface: immediately after writing this, a nerve seized up in my neck and I was forced to be unmoving and patient with real pain for 11 days. I realize there are worse injuries to suffer and I also realize that the body will tell us what we need, especially when we’re not listening to its wisdom. I needed a pause to address how much more painful it is to live in doubt and self-judgment than in creative questioning. I needed a pause to remember that it’s ok to not know. It doesn't matter how much I meditate but rather how kind I am with myself and how honest I am about it all.
I’ve fallen off the seated meditation wagon. Why? Because I’m enamored with the high of running and with lazy evenings of Netflix. Because I’m exhausted with the hustle of rushing to teach yoga. Because I subconsciously favour my relationship with my phone. Because I'm trying to do it all and am lacking the intention behind it. Perhaps the most honest answer is that I’m not making the time for self-care and now I’m really examining if I actually live what I preach. I’m passionate about creating a fulfilling career but am I living any of the messages I try to spread?
I’m not sure of anything at the moment. What I do know is I’m sure as hell not in the mood to sit in meditation. There are so many distractions and easy projections that lead me away from the hard, clearing work.
Instead of focusing on the problem, I should embody some Buddhist principles of seeing the good in everything. Here, I should digress to acknowledge and celebrate what led me to loving meditation in the first place, why does it feel so right and helpful?
Several years ago, immediately following my first 3 day silent retreat, I was in casual conversation with a close friend and realized a deep seeded desire = to offer meditation and self-inquiry workshops out of my home.
Each process of sitting in silence in magical forests or on majestic mountainsides has helped reveal insights on my thought patterns and life-changing uncoverings that I knew others had to also experience. Everytime I withdraw and sit, there is pain, there is heat, there is judgement, there is confusion but the light that always holds these terrible undoings is connection. No matter how much I cling to separation, to loneliness, I see that my work is kind communication with others. Open and real communication with others. The consecutive hours in meditation made much of this clear.
The evolution of meditation groups that I started running has been beyond anything I could have planned for. I have been fully met with open, committed and curious beings who have all been my teachers, as much as I have been theirs. Looking back, it’s almost laughable that I jumped right in to holding space for that kind of healing, while I was still healing myself.
But I set out with one value that still rings true every time I show up in personal meditation and in group: complete honesty. Teach, share, learn, listen, move, pause, grow, be vulnerable in complete honesty.
That is not to say that I will only teach what I think I know, but that I provide insights into what I’m honestly working through and trying to integrate into my life. And boy do I work like hell to study and understand how change happens.
But right now, I’m in a phase of feeling stuck. I’m stuck and I just can’t see what lies ahead. Have I reached a stage of rebellion? Or am I scared of how much work there is left to do? Or am I bored of sharing my dark sides, my vulnerabilities, my craziness: do I just need a break? So many questions and so much awareness of how much I do not want to face any of them.
And wonderfully real are my justifications that only perpetuate the stuckness: “I don’t have enough time to meditate and reflect on this”, “I don’t have enough time to journal about my future and goals”, “I’m too preoccupied with daily work tasks”. Wonderfully real is that I’m spouting off the excuses that I hear regularly from those around me. I’m not immune to any of these mind tricks it seems.
And so I’m stuck between feeling lazy and uninspired, hoping ideas will surface and grow naturally while feeling mistrust of all the methods I’ve relied upon for years. Because of my uncertainties and resistance, I'm in a phase of trying different types of meditation and self-care but I feel like a fake. I do find calm and peace through my self-care techniques (such as baths, yin yoga, jogging in the forest), but the doom of not knowing what’s next lingers. I can’t face it in meditation. But to openly share this unavoidable hiccup on any path is liberating, it’s authentic because honesty is what guides my process. Sometimes my process boring, sometimes it’s shocking, sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s confusing but it’s honest and it eventually helps me along my way.
And now that it’s all out in the open: my resistance to sit, fear of facing myself, worries that I cannot maintain the momentum I’ve created, my excuses, my yearning to know what’s around the corner and how to get there, now feels like the perfect time to sit and marvel at what comes up. Now is the right time to let go of calling it ‘stuck’ and to create new thought patterns.
I will continue to live all the questions with honesty, if it’s all I ever do. The work is hard but so fruitful and keeps the wheels of change in motion….
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” (R M Rilke)