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"Start With Yourself, As You Are....Here And Now"

This quote by Pema Chodron has settled into my heart fully. It is a concept that I have been working with, I believe, since yoga found me fourteen years ago. The hardest thing for me to do is to be with myself, as I am, right now. Those of you who know me well, know that "the Now (as Eckhart Tolle says" can be a hard space for me to sit. Many times, as soon as I sit down to connect with the present moment, my mind fires up all its horses and starts dragging me around from one opportunity to another, one failure to another, and one fear to another.

These swirling thoughts are what have continue to propel me to seek, to look for the next educational opportunity that will "make me feel complete and worthy" of this thing called life. Especially since becoming a yoga teacher, it seems the quest is ever greater to feel worthy of the lineage, of the traditions, and of all the potential residing in this beautiful practice called Yoga.

A friend of mine was ribbing me pretty heartily as I rattled off the number of trainings, certifications, retreats, and books I have acquired, attended or read over this last decade plus. It seems that with all that stack of paper and knowledge, I still come back to the original can I feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. Allowing not knowing to be the knowledge that is needed, rather than Googling an answer. Sitting in stillness and listening to my inner teacher to understand that it is enough to just be here, breathing, observing, and feeling whatever arises. "Feeling whatever arises", those are three words that can bring up a sense of fear, flight, or doubt. Feeling happy, confident, good, and loved are the easy feelings. It is the feelings of sadness, loneliness, fear, and doubt that make me put on my running shoes, close down my senses and run for the hills (or the next certification to hopefully fill my sense of ineptitude).

There is an idea deep within me that feels if things go "wrong", or are hard then I have lost my way, or am not meant to be on this particular path. Just like the labyrinth I jumped off of while on retreat in Taos, I jump off the path of uncomfortable and search for ways to feel grounded and easeful again.

What I have been learning since April on retreat, is that when I can stay with the "icky and sticky" parts of life and just watch what is happening and feel the feels, they soon depart and the feelings of confidence and compassion come roaring back in. Like the roller coaster pictured above, when all of life feels upside down, or topsy turvy, if we wait 30 seconds, the cars right themselves, and the ride continues to the next loop to loop.

I am now really experiencing that if I start with myself, as I am, here and now, the sensations that once sent me running, are now becoming something I want to sit and observe. What are these? Why are they coming up now? Where are they challenging me, and how can I respond, instead of reacting to the way they make me feel?

Where in your life or your practice do you feel yourself jumping off the path (or the mat), when things feel difficult or challenging? Where may you spend your time creating a cushy, padded, rose colored glasses experience, when what is required is a jagged, hard, present, eyes wide open technicolor roller coaster ride?

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