First, a story:
Long day; the last of too many yoga classes: I was burned out, exhausted and not exactly rooted in my best self.
A student walks up to tell me that she didn’t really like the class; it was too fast, she felt lost, and she liked the other teacher better….ouch.
I was stunned and embarrassed and a little pissed off.
I mumbled an apology, maybe an excuse or two, and she left.
And there I was, alone with full-blown resistance toward myself, the student, and the entire situation. My face was flush, my body felt tight, my mind was spinning, and I just wanted the whole thing to just go away.
For the next few days I went through a series of reactions—I felt sad, irritated, angry; tried to forget it, flung out excuses, pretended not to care, and imagined the things I should have said…
I kept pushing and it kept pushing back.
Finally, after I had grown tired of the wrestling match, I tried a different approach—I invited it in. It wasn’t pleasant and I didn’t like it, but I sat with it anyway. And when I did, I realized that my resistance to the situation was softening. My body softened, my mind stopped spinning, and my heart started to open just a little bit.
When that happened, I started to listen.
What can I learn from this situation?
The student had been right; I was moving too fast, I was unengaged, disconnected, and not teaching from my heart. I didn’t want to accept it, but it was true.
And when I accepted the reality of the situation, I found myself in a space of clarity; a space with options; a space where I could actually facilitate positive change.
And so I did.
The experience became my wake-up call; a call toward positive change and necessary introspection. I reevaluated my schedule and lightened my load. I didn’t love the way the message was delivered, but sometimes it takes a hard hit to get the point across.
My point is this: Acceptance isn’t easy and you don’t have to like it, but if you can drop your resistance to yourself or the situation, you will enter into a space of clarity—a space where you can proceed with wisdom and grace.
If you have resistance toward something; pay attention. Be brave; look at it; invite it in, and most importantly, listen.
And then look at your options with clarity:
“Leave the situation, change the situation or accept it, all else is madness.” –Eckhart Tolle.
Whatever you do, don’t let it bind you into a tiny ball of resistance, because when you resist, you’re closing yourself off to the good parts of the experience.
Your practice for the next couple of days is to watch for moments when you slip into resistance—the moments when you don’t like your body; the moments when you’ve been dumped with more work; the moments when you wish you hadn’t said what you said, or heard what you heard. And pay very close attention to the moments that you wish would just go away.
Those moments are the doorways to something bigger—they’re the doorways to greater awareness, greater compassion, greater understanding…..greater versions of you.
Contraction precedes expansion. Moments of non-acceptance aren’t meant to tear you down; they’re meant to teach you how to get bigger; find space; and then proceed from there.
Now it’s your turn. Dive into the work, and see what insights you can find in the moments you wish weren’t there.
And if you can’t quite get to a place of acceptance? Accept that you’re trying and that’s good enough.