Yesterday morning, after a strange, struggling dream, I woke up and felt like a mess for half a second. And then, completely unprompted, this phrase popped up: There is so much to live for!
Where did it come from? From deep inside. And it was one of those special, rare moments where it feels like a lot of quite diligent practice has come together—into something golden, strong and loving.
I bring this up today not as a means of spiritually showing off, but rather as a support to anyone who is on the path, having a rough time and showing up anyway. In my years of practicing yoga and meditation, this is one of the biggest, clearest lessons I have learnt: show up.
Sometimes it feels like big, exciting things are happening when we practice; we have an epiphany in meditation, a yoga pose stirs up deep emotions that we feel we can safely release. It can be wonderful when those things happen.
Other times it can just be really hard. It might be hard because you’re working through grief, and you feel hopeless to the point of feeling disconnected from the source, from love. Sometimes it’s hard because you’re tired to the point of falling back to sleep in meditation. Or—and this is a big one for me—sometimes it’s hard because it feels like an issue you’ve been working with for so long is still an issue. You feel like, “I’ve tried meditation, yoga, hypnotherapy, reiki, and still I feel this difficult thing! Nothing is shifting!”
But you’ve been putting in the time on the mat, on the cushion. And time and again, you’ve been showing up for yourself; believing that there’s something beyond the streams of anxious babble going through your mind, or the emotional loops that keep playing themselves super-loudly right next to your heart—like, “This one! Remember this painful thing? Let’s hear it again!”
One of my favorite teachings is from the great yoga guru Sri Pattabhi Jois. He said, “Do your practice. All is coming.” I do not think of this as some kind of pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. In my experience, I do my practice, and then—often when I least expect it—I realize that something has shifted. Like when I received that message after my dream: There is so much to live for. It wasn’t some glib mental sticky-note; I felt it to be true. And this came after a year of big, real life losses, one after the other—and having felt, at one very low point in the spring, like there really wasn’t much to live for.
And sometimes we don’t have sparkly moments like these. Sometimes we don’t perceive shifts in ourselves until a close friend remarks on how much we’ve grown over the years—how much easier we seem in ourselves.
So, I’m saying: keep going. Keep trying. You are doing great.
The more we look after ourselves, the more we facilitate love and connection with each other. As my friend, the yoga teacher Adriana Rizzolo writes: “You and God take good care of your precious life and heart, and I’ll do the same. That way, when we come together, magic naturally unfolds.”