Last night I was set to teach a room full of new yogi’s beginners yoga, today I was due to drive to sussex to run a retreat that had been two years in the planning to 16 people.  Tomorrow I had a yoga class with a cover teacher booked.  All have been cancelled.  This week didn’t go as planned.  And that is okay.

I am so grateful for my meditation practice.  It allowed me to approach this week with grace and ease.

It is so easy to resist what we don’t want to do in life…..but it causes so much tension that just isn’t needed for our wellbeing.  Carl Jung said “what we resists, persists”.  He was right.  In life there will always be things that we don’t want to happen, but how we meet these moments will depend on how much we suffer in life.  Here is an example…

6 years ago I became chronically poorly which came like a bolt out of the blue for me.  This would be my greatest lesson in learning acceptance, but boy did I resist to begin with!  I didn’t want to be bedridden, sick and reliant on other people.  I wanted to be well, healthy and active in the world like the majority of my friends.  But this wasn’t the reality of my life at the time.  My health wasn’t changing so my attitude had to. I was physically sick, very sick in my body…but in my mind there was a choice to do one of two things:

  1. To continue to fight the reality of life.  In the Buddhist parable of the arrow, sometimes called the second arrow, you picture yourself walking through a forest.  Out of nowhereyou’re hit by an arrow (in my case this arrow was my sick body). This causes great pain. But the archer isn’t done. Can you avoid the second arrow? That’s the arrow of emotional reaction. Dodge the second by consciously choosing contemplation. It will help avoid a lot of suffering.
  2. To love and accept the actual suffering that has occurred – the sickness in my case at the time, but it could be the divorce, change, death of a loved on, loss of a job, anything really that causes suffering.  Suffering in life is inevitable.  It is part of our human experience.
When we come to a place of acceptance we offer ourselves love, compassion and care.  It’s simply the act of letting go, when our natural reaction may be to feel anxiety and grip even more tightly.  When we let go we can relax more and create a deeper sense of ease.
Little did I know that this life lesson would be the greatest gift in my teaching.  The greatest gift to my own self love and care.  The greatest gift to truly help and understand others that were going through similar experiences.
You see, we don’t know what is going to happen from one moment to the next.  None of us do, yet we are often surprised when something comes that we don’t like and we resist.  We move straight out of the present moment and into story telling “I don’t like this”, “it’s not fair”, “why me”.  We can move into victim mode if we are not careful.

Catching the mind before it goes into a place of story telling is such a gift.  This is mindfulness.  Know your mind and suffer less.  It is simple, but needs practice.  A busy mind is very reactive.

And the beauty of cancelling all my work this week?  I got to watch this stunning film in bed.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6965446/

We don’t get to choose the struggles that are dealt to us in life, but we do get to choose how we show up to to them.

Stunning photo credit to Graham who has just completed the 8 week mindfulness course.  Thank you Graham.
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