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Grains of sand

Over the weekend I spent some time with a cousin who is 25 and in a transition process from being a student to being an employee…the beginning of an adult life waiting to unfold. As I listened to him wonder aloud about how his life might look in the future, so much of what he said resonated with me, despite our 20 year age difference.

Whether we are 25 or 45, life unfolds in ways in which we are not fully in control. When we are so lucky to have dreams, plans and desires, how can we live up to our expectations and imagination?  An added complexity is that over time we morph from being one holder of information and preferences, to another. We accumulate and dispose of experiences, people and objects along the proverbial walk of life, and this all contributes to our changing sense of self. Our tastes, as well as our path and purpose can change over time. We could call this our dharma. When we start to discover what that is for each of us, it means that sometimes certain aspects of our life need to shift to allow for our dharma to unfold.

In order to truly unravel what aspects of our lives need to change, we need to unpick the habits, arrangements and details on which we cling. As we get older, it becomes more complex. Change can take time, even when we are desperate to get out of a place that feels static and uncomfortable.

In order to reach a place of integration, sometimes we need to separate to find clarity; only then do we understand truly what are own needs are and what we are able to give.

A lot of the practices of yoga lead to separation, not union…at least not right away. You see, most of us come to yoga all jumbled up. We are confused about who we are, what we want in and what we are able to give, and often our bodies are a reflection of this. There are an infinite number of patterns that all result in a lack of awareness and often, chronic pain. As we move mindfully over time, though, the outer body starts to change, and we are able to become more and more specific. We can move our shoulders in one direction, the hips in another. As we twist, bend and extend the body in new ways, there is room to start understanding the breath and its relationship to the body. We start to be able to discern the separateness of the sensing physical body from the mind and the intellect. What follows from there is space. We might gain a sense of more blue sky between the clouds, making visible the expansive abyss of a thoughtless mind and a body that is at rest.

Through a regular, curious practice, we gain clarity so everything isn’t cluttered together in chaos as a confused body-mind.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but by moving one grain of sand at a time life’s path unfolds and we realize that we may be in control of a few tiny things, but not much else. A good lesson to remember when you are awaiting an important call about your next job, or about life, unfolding.

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