Come as you are
Some days I leap out of bed, full of beans, eagerness and enthusiasm about what the brand-new day ahead will bring. I flip doing the laundry into a gratitude practice as I give thanks for my loved ones and the honour it is to be of service to them. Well that’s a day in my wildest dreams to be honest but some times I get close. There are other days when I want to watch crap on Netflix and eat doughnuts all day as I trip over the never ending trail of pants and socks chucked in the general direction of the laundry basket. On those days you’ll find me growling and screeching obscenities at my boys.
On planet instagram it appears that yoga makes you insanely happy. All of your days are awesome and to prove this there are endless images of yoga teachers sitting under palm trees drinking green juices all day in between contorting their bodies into pretzel type shapes. It’s on instagram so it must be true and, no I’m not jealous, because I‘m going to live there one day. Just me and my laundry fairy.
In the meantime I’ll continue to show up to my practice as I am. This is of course easy on those days when I’m happy and energised but on others when the familiar demons of anxiety or depression are lurking in the background not so. of course it's when difficult emotions are there that the practice has most to offer. On the days when I don't want to do yoga the greater the benefits are if I do even if it's just for ten minutes of breathing. Through my daily practice I get a greater acceptance of the way things are and get to step off the pendulum of highs and lows. Yoga offers me a sweet space of refuge where I can show up as I am some days there’s sorrow, irritation, frustration and other days joy, elation and vitality. All states are temporary and all states are welcome.
Kahil Gibran writes it more eloquently than me:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.