One of the greatest lessons of my practice is finding peace from within you, despite the chaos that surrounds you. Life is full of imbalance, change, and uncertainty. The reality is, everything and everyone will not always be okay. But even though everything is not okay, does not mean that you can’t be. Even when situations are strenuous, you can remain at peace.
My practice constantly teaches me this. When I am on the mat, working through a challenging posture, I am required to breathe through it. I learn that even though this pose does not feel okay at this moment, I remain okay. When I sit in meditation, and my mind is racing from one discombobulated thought to the next, I practice finding a moment of quiet within that. My practices ensue their own sort of chaos. They are not perfect. They are full of imperfections. And that is exactly how they should be. Through the flaws, I learn how to be, how to breathe when everything is not as I hoped it would be. The more I practice these lessons on the mat, the more I see them percolate into my days.
Right now, everything in the world is not okay. There is a lot that I remain concerned about and that I am working on in my personal life and that we are working towards as a society. However, despite these things, I feel the most content I have ever felt. I know everything is not always okay, but I know how to breathe and work through the uncertainty and strain. Through this, my practice humbles and reminds me that the best possible thing I can do in this world, is to focus on how to be.
I share this lesson when teaching youth. This last year, I worked with a lot of ESOL and inner city youth through ceramics and yoga outreach programs. Being a kid, especially today, is a tremendous challenge. Many of the ESOL youth I practice with do not understand what is happening in the political world (nor do most of us). Their lives are embedded in uncertainty. On top of the trials of being a middle- schooler with language and cultural barriers, they mat not know if they will have to leave the country tomorrow. From anger to disruptive behavior, this manifests in them in a number of ways. And I don’t blame them.
While every bone in my body wants to tell them that everything will be okay and to explain it and boil it down to a misunderstanding, I cannot. The reality is, I cannot fix any of this for them. But, I can help them feel okay through these things. I can offer them the tools to deal with their anger, stress, and the never- ending uncertainty they face. I can help them recognize what while they cannot control the things happening in the world around them, they can control themselves. I can empower them and give them the tools to be the very best person that they can possibly be. I can teach them how to be, how to breathe when everything is not okay. By providing these tools and abilities to find stillness from within, despite the chaos that surrounds them, the seeds are planted for lasting change.
Today, I encourage you to practice taking care of yourself. Find stillness and peace from within yourself, so that it may ripple into everything else.
Being “Okay” Life Isn’t:
- No matter what is happening, find your breath. Let it ground you. Focus on the inhale and the exhale. No matter what is going on, your breath is there. Let go of the rest, and be with your breath.
- Take time to be with yourself. Whatever arises, be with it. Feel it. Focus on you and how you want to be. Carry that way of being into all that you do. Change begins from within.
- It is always going to be a constant practice. Never be discouraged when it is time to begin again.
Focus on taking care of yourself, and in turn, taking care of your community by practicing with me on Friday evening and Saturday morning to support Project Yoga Richmond’s outreach programs!