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Are you Stiff or are you Supple?

Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail. - #76 - Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell translation)

I pulled the Tao off my bookshelf to teach a restorative class the other night, and was struck by chapter 76. Am I a disciple of death, or a disciple of life? The more I pondered this question, the more I found an aversion to my internal dialogue. It seems that I lean

towards being "stiff and inflexible" as opposed to "soft and yielding". I have many preconceived ideas about how life should evolve, how people should behave, and what service I expect when going out with friends to restaurants. These last few weeks I have noticed how irritated I can become when I believe someone is not "living up to" those expectations, and how my internal reaction begins to spill out into my external communications.

This is also showing up as I look for a new space to call "Om" for hopefully the next year or more. I envision a space steeped in a "sense of yoga". That feeling of community, connection, and mix of spirituality and contemporary feel of "all are welcome here". That my desires are hindering the quest, because of this "perfect space" rigidity that has sunk into my mind and my bones. I have become a disciple of death..

How to break this cycle? How to turn feelings of rigidity and expectations into notions of fluidity and potentiality? Trust. Trust is a hard word to swallow. It implies (at least for me) a lack of control. A notion that if I just "let go", that all will be well, and the Universe will provide. Breathe in the unknown, breathe out the known. Wow! I'm not going to lie, there is some anxiousness that comes along with the unknown. Even though I feel I have been living with the unknown for several years now, I realize that my unknown came with certain known expectations. How my teaching would evolve, how my implementation of nutrition as a business adjunct would seamlessly flow into existing business, how my love life would look. It seems that the expectations that I fenced around my "unknowns" have effectively prevented a true expansion of not only my business, but my heart and soul as well. To trust is not giving up of control, but a leaning into the idea that sometimes other methods, other opinions, other assistance is exactly what we need to propel us forward into the LIFE OF OUR DREAMS with less effort and more ease. Like how the breath propels us into a yoga posture that once felt rigid and prescribed, now feels pliant and easeful as we trust the practice.

Where do your loyalties lie? Are you a disciple to death, or one to life? Take a deep breath in and meditate on that question for a few may be surprised at what you find.

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I think our culture conditions us to build defensive walls around us and to view others as threats. It’s hard work to return to our child self where we trust others and learn from them instead of thinking we have all the answers and (in my case) think my answers are the right ones. But the fact that we are asking the question is movement in the right direction.

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