Isn’t it amazing how the universe presents you with the most interesting challenges, often right when you’ve got something really big going on?
Here’s what happened to me:
Two days before I was scheduled to begin writing my exam for Anusara® yoga certification my energy level plummeted and my throat started hurting. The day before I was supposed to start my entire body ached, and the right side of my throat and ear were in a lot of pain.
“Interesting,” I thought. “Intriguing, even. What exactly are you trying to tell me here, Universe?”
Through my yoga practice I’ve noticed that any time something difficult or uncomfortable comes up, it’s time to really pay attention, because that unwanted or unasked for thing could be an enormous gift.
I didn’t lose it, all worried about the exam. I’m not sure I really had the energy to freak out, really.
Instead, I tuned in, went with it, and allowed myself to be taken care of by my excellent family. I stayed calm, trusting in the healing wisdom of my body. I gave meditation my best shot, drifting in and out of fragmented thoughts.
The next day I felt better. Quite a bit better as the day went on. And I started my exam with a deep humility, brought to the surface by the discomfort in my body. It forced me to take my time, and helped me remember to be grateful for all that I have.
And then when I pushed myself, not listening to what my body wanted, I took a step back. The pain in my throat, which had almost cleared, switched over to the other side, and I spent the next day in full body ache and fatigue all over again.
Fascinating! Really, part of me witnesses all this with great wonder. That is the power of the yoga practice – to get to this point where even pain can be met with adbhuta, the Sanskrit word for wonder.
That was yesterday. I did small sections of the exam at a time, in between meditating and healing techniques, lying on the couch watching Harry Potter, doing a very slow moving restorative practice, and wincing every time I swallowed.
At some point, as I lay on the couch recovering from the short trip to the kitchen, I thought about how helpful it was for me to feel this weak; how this will help me have compassion and empathy for people who are dealing with fatigue when they come to me for yoga therapy.
Today I feel much better. My energy is back up, though not 100% yet. My throat still hurts some, but not nearly as much as before. And, although I haven’t been able to work out in a week, I was able to do a decent yoga practice today without making little moaning sounds every time I moved, so that’s good.
Somehow, through it all, I’ve managed to get a good portion of the exam written. And it’s been such a beautiful process of finding out what I know, learning things I didn’t, reaffirming how vast the wisdom of yoga really is, and praising the sparkling gems of insight that are scrawled out in my notebooks.
It’s like I was given a chance to either cling and grasp and struggle, or just let go, flow, and empty out so that I can realize how full I truly am. I chose the latter. My practice has trained me to do so.
What can YOU learn from this? Well, I invite you, the next time life offers you a difficult situation, to really pay attention to what gift it holds. Witness it as from afar even as you experience it. This isn’t a separation from what’s happening, but a broader perspective so that you can see the opportunities to learn and grow.
For in each moment there is some glimmer of beauty waiting to brighten by being noticed.
As you do your practice, this choice of conscious participation becomes easier, and even the trials of life can be met with a humble wonder!