My client yesterday came in hobbling. She had suffered a fall in a recent ski trip but didn’t want to cancel her training session. So we worked around her restrictions. In the middle of her session, after a challenging exercise that got her heated up, she looked over at me and said, “and you wanted me to cancel this? This is exactly what I need!” We chuckled over that, and went on for a lengthy stretch. She is a self-confessed type A person who is forever busy thinking about the next thing, and I had observed this trait in her and called to her attention for her to slow down and focus on the present moment many times before. As she held her stretches yesterday I used my best unhurried and calming voice (it’s difficult to speak at a soothing speed in front of a type A person, have you noticed that?) and urged her to concentrate her energy on healing. “When a child has a booboo,” I said, watching her face with her eyes closed and a body still somewhat tense, ready to spring up from her repose to action again, “we don’t necessarily know what’s wrong or what to do, but we always hold them and say comforting words to them. When we focus our energy on healing them, tell them that we love them and give them a kiss, they magically feel better. Energy is like that. Use yours to heal your injury now.”
When we finished stretching out one side and ready to move on to the other side, she opened her eyes and said, “I’m ready to take a nap.” A few moments ago when I suggested to her to let go of all thoughts and just focus on the feelings in her body, she had quickly responded that “that’s impossible”. In a very short period of time she was able to let down a huge load and just relax, which, in her own words, “never happens.”
I’d arranged for two friends to come over for play dates with my kids in the afternoon, and after situating them I went up to my own room to take a 100 minute yoga class. Every day I think about yoga, and how much I miss practicing it, and yet for many days on end I let it slip away. During the 100 minutes on the mat I inhaled, exhaled, rooted, uplifted, smiled, and felt pure joy in my heart. Every minute on that mat was a jewel in time, and I marveled at its pricelessness. How is it possible that I let it glide by without grasping these moments more often?
My 7yo twisted her ankle jumping on the trampoline yesterday, and as she came in with tears in her eyes, I picked her up and started kissing her little face until she giggled. “Mommy, it’s still hurting!” She protested with a barely suppressed grin, and demanded a more “serious” treatment. After she took a shower I rubbed some ointment on her ankle and she asked how this potion worked to make her ankle better. “It relaxes you and tells you that everything is ok.” I looked into her eyes earnestly and she nodded an acknowledgement.
My internet yoga teacher had said at one point during the 100 minutes I spent with her that if we really looked into our own bodies, past all the pain, all we see is energy. Nothing is ever “wrong” with our energy as is. It is our interpretations, worries, intentions, judgments, misgivings… that give the energy a name and a direction. How we feel and use our energy is completely up to us.
My husband had taken a road trip to PA yesterday and he called me on his way home and it was clear that he had something heavy on his mind. Our call got cut off by bad signals, and when he got home he picked up the threads and started telling me what weighed heavy on his mind again. This morning before he went to work, we spent some time talking about the same issue, and as we talked I could feel that the immense weight started to lift just a bit off of him. This too, my dear, shall pass.
What never happens, what could have happened, what would happen… our mind spends so much energy dealing with possibilities and impossibilities. We let our mind be impacted by what might happen as we neglect what is happening right in front of us. As what might happen doesn’t happen and what’s happening is a thing of the past, we then move on to feel shame, guilt, and regret, while what’s happening right at this moment is yet again slipping through into the past. Our energy is here, now. We can channel and shape it only for the present moment.
I wish I could make my client feel relaxed all the time. I wish I could prevent my kids from twisting their ankles in the future. I wish I could lift the weight off of my husband’s shoulders so he can sleep soundly at night. But I know that all I can do is to get on my mat more often to commune with the peace that’s inside me, and channel that towards those around me so that their energy can be affected just the same. It’s hard to see past the pain and recognize the energy at its source, the selfsame energy that forms joy, compassion, love, and gratitude.
But it is not impossible.
How and why this plant grows the way it does is none of my concern. I just know that I love looking at it, and that's all I need to know.