During a yoga class, recently, I found myself asking why the hell I was putting myself through anguish after we had been holding a posture for what felt like eternity. “Why did I willingly show up for this hell?!” But once the drama in my head calmed down, a thought bubbled up to the surface: Because it’s good for you. That same weekend a friend of mine took me surfing for the first time. It was a whole lot of falling before I finally stood up. When exhaustion set in and a giant wave smacked me in the face, again I asked myself “What the hell am I doing!?” But after regrouping and sitting on the board looking out into the ocean I thought, “This is a learning experience. I’m game to play with the waves.”
Often enough we relish in the drama. Our patience is tested, our minds start to yell, and then our emotions join the party. Before we know it we’re distracting ourselves with so many fantastically developed narratives about what’s going on instead of sitting in what’s actually going on. Sitting in a posture for a extended period of time allows us to confront ourselves, head on. Once the muscles start aching and sweats falling in the eyes, we come face to face with our threshold and are given a choice. Do I flee from the posture by either jumping out of the pose and/or distracting myself with a novel worth of thoughts? Or do I hold steady and allow the sensation to keep me engaged in the present moment to explore and find a way to find ease within that moment?
I was forced to write 7 drafts of a single script within a week. My patience was tested and I literally wanted to punch someone. But my mom said something pretty wise: “Sweetie, at least with each new draft it gets better.” It was true. The story and comedy came to life in a more focused and specific way with each new draft. And now the final script is exactly what it should be [of course there will always be tweaking]. The excessive rewriting gave me the opportunity to stick with the process through the frustration and eliminate all that didn’t best serve the execution of telling the story.
Each day we have the opportunity to practice staying present through the waves of sensation we find ourselves riding. Through the waves we’re given an opportunity to learn something about ourselves and then we can move on, hopefully a little lighter, slowly removing those storylines and tangents that don’t best serve the story we’re trying to tell.
Don’t flee from the wave. Ride it! Maybe even fall a little. Every time you stand back up you’re bringing newfound knowledge. When fatigue’s set in, remember beneath the wave there’s an all pervading calm we can always return to.