Monday, February 10, 2014
Running Against The Wind
Resistance. I have been feeling it, pressing up against it, running away from it, trying to find a way over it, around it, under it, to no avail. I realize I have to go through it.
Even getting on here to write this is a moving into it, moving through it. I knew I wanted to get back to writing, but what to write about? Honestly, thinking about it, I was feeling scared, paralyzed. I want to write about India, but I feel I need more time to process. So if not that, then what is even interesting right now or valuable? I noticed the strong resistance and then it hit me. Resistance has been showing up for me all over the place, in articles, on vlogs, in books, and in my life. So many flags, neon signs, billboards pointing to it like "HEY, look over here! Here is what you are working with!"
Over the last few months in my China experience I have met resistance and fear head on. I quit teaching at the biggest most sparkly shiny yoga studio in all of Shanghai because I was not valued, not seen, not respected. I have been struggling in parenting, we now have two teenagers and one very high energy, big personality eight year old. I struggle here, as always, to find my social footing. Many factors have come into play that were putting me in a space of recoil. I became very shut down, wanting to build some big walls and a moat and hide for a long time. The resistance shows up for me in the impulse that arises to come out and move forward, to risk vulnerability again. I question my value and I am deeply afraid of rejection. This is some deep, murky, old stuff and it is rich with possibility for growth and evolution, but the only way is through it, into its very heart, which seems to me at times to be endless darkness, but my inner knowing detects light. Fear versus faith, what will it be? I know the shift happens by reaching out into that darkness and taking a big leap of faith. I find it hard to leap, and yet I am writing this now, a leap in and of itself .
I run as part of my regimen to fight depression and also find it to be an integral part of my spiritual practice. Yesterday I was out running and it was very cold for Shanghai, windy and flurries of snow coming down. I run on a path along the river to escape the traffic and to feel connected to nature. As I ran, initially I had the wind to my back and could see the current of the river going along with me, but then as I made the turn around to go back the wind slapped me in the face and its force was like a wall. The mere sight of the river current seemed to press me back as well. I felt my effort increase and I began to tire quickly. I realized that I was fighting, muscling against it, trying so hard to break through. It occurred to me then that there might be another way. What if I just leaned in and relaxed? I played with this and my pace was slowed a bit but not that much and the effort was halved, I found ease. I thought now about the wind as my ally who would catch me if I was falling. It is just like the yoga saying, "What we resist persists." I was still running against the wind, but now with grace and peace.
I think working with resistance is like that. Yes, you have to go through it, take that leap of faith, but with the understanding that the resistance becomes a gift, not an enemy, when we take the steps to transform it. Swami Kripalu often referred to "the angel of struggle", the angel of resistance ushers us towards our greatest growth. Ultimately it lies in that shift from fear to faith, and we will go through it again and again. We will forget, go into hiding again and another journey is born.
Every experience comes as a wise teacher, leading us to ourselves. I remember now, and I will have to learn again. Beautiful.
Since my run this song has been playing in my head, so a music bonus, from a legendary musician who we will miss.