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The process or period of changing from one state or condition to another.
Development. Evolution. Growth. Passage.
This week I went to a vinyasa flow class that shook me awake.
The teacher, Mimi, was a tiny woman with a smile so big it looked like it would extend past her physical face if she moved too quickly.
She filled the room with such grace and ease that my practice was the most fluid and natural it has ever been. My mind was clearer, I was landing more softly and each movement was executed with such intention. The spiritual limb of yoga was just as present as the physical poses and my practice took on a humility I had not experienced before.
Mimi spoke to us about how important it is to remain in a beginner’s mindset. That we are able to learn from everything should we stay open and willing to receive, especially in areas we believe we have already mastered.
At the peak of the class, as we rooted down in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), she spoke about transitions. How we are able to choose the way in which we move through openings and closings, beginnings and endings. How the ease of the ride is only as gentle as we allow it to be. Whether in regards to those relationships flourishing and those flickering out, a new job or the change in seasons, we are the captains of our own ship and the water will be as calm or choppy as we choose.
And then a well-known quote floated to the top of my mind and lodged itself firmly in there throughout the rest of the day.
“In the end only three things matter; how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
Jack Kornfield (Buddha's Little Instruction Book)
I couldn’t get the last image out of my mind. How gracefully we let go of the things not meant for us.
For me, the shift from summer into autumn has come with simultaneous openings and closings. It’s been a period of regrounding, coming home and rediscovering the ease and calm that exists inside of me. To think that I regularly compromise that peace by clinging to things not on my path feels like sacrilege and yet I have opted for this time and time again.
Mimi’s call to remember that we get to choose grace when we transition, that change does not have to be jerky or painful should we stay in this moment without worrying about the next, came at exactly the right time.
As we transition into this season of slowing down, returning, re-tuning and shedding all that is dead, I’m making a conscious effort to let that which is healed, go and that which is magic, in.
So far, it feels really bloody good.
I’ve never been one to do things by halves.
I don’t wait for the bath to cool before jumping into scalding water. I step in, scream a little and then quietly fry.
I run for the bus and resolve to run a marathon.
I tell people that they are wonderful, incredible, phenomenal humans. I don’t believe that ‘nice’ is ever good enough. It doesn’t tell me if their laugh rumbles around a room or if they give hugs that make the world seem right ways up again.
I’m just not very good at being half-in anything.
And yet, I tried to fall in love half-heartedly.
On our second date I told my (now) boyfriend that not only was I not looking for a boyfriend, but that I categorically did not want him to be my boyfriend. On New Years Eve I turned up to his house drunk and told him ‘funny story but I’m moving to Australia when I graduate’. Before we went away together for the first time, I proclaimed that ‘honestly, I’m just so happy by myself’.
Why would I push something away that was so clearly right? Why would I enter into anything with half of my heart, half of my soul?
Because I was astronomically scared. Of another relationship ending in disaster; of another season of heartbreak that felt like physical pain, that felt like grief ripping its way through me. Of anything that would end in my heart hurting anymore than it already had. But, the thing about trying to do anything by halves, is that it fucking sucks.
“Whenever an act is total, it liberates; whenever it is half-hearted it simply creates a conflict. It dissipates energy, it is destructive, it creates bondage.”
- Living Dangerously
For me, this rings particularly true in my moments of shame, when I act outside of my integrity. When I try to skirt around my morals or beliefs. When I mess up and consciously move outside of alignment. It rings true when I act out of fear, instead of love. When I try to hold the world close to my chest, terrified of things changing, or moving, or breaking. For me, this rings particularly true when I cling to my ego. When I forget that this is my one life; my masterpiece. The undulating, swelling, rippling, growing creation that is me.
So, be fucking heavy handed with your life.
Tell people you love them. Before your heart is ready, before your head can rationalise you out of it. Wear the lipstick that’s obnoxious and brash and truthfully probably quite ugly. Use totally unnecessary curse words, simply for the joy of being naughty. Smile at people. Big. Bigger. Look them in the eyes. Show them you’re here to live. To be seen. To see others.
You are robust, capable, supported. You are the vessel through which all that’s scribbled inside your head, all that’s etched onto your heart, can come to be realized.
So jump in - with gusto, with momentum, with wild abandon. Or stay out - with resolve, with purpose, with reason. Dipping a toe? Testing the waters? Doing anything that you’re not wholly consumed by?
Absolutely not good enough anymore.
Liberate yourself from the embarrassment of being all in, from the debilitating thought that you’ll get another chance at being alive.
Speak your truth, live your truth - forget about the audience.
Feel it ALL. Be free.