I had been riding a long, slow, turbulent wave, and once I let go of pushing against it, I gave it space to be my teacher.

The pushing had lasted too many days or weeks or months or years—I don’t know when the pushing started, just as it’s unclear where a wave begins in the ocean. The more I fought against the wave, I found myself empty on the hard sand, exhausted. You know, that barely-able-to-sleep exhaustion.

When the wave crested and fell to the trough, it felt that the world I thought I understood came crashing down. Uh, yes, it seems overly dramatic now, but isn’t that how it feels when you’ve had to confront how you used to be? In the midst of the wave, it’s nearly impossible to know what’s sky and what’s land.

In the crashing, I pummeled and bruised myself—I should know this old pattern. I should know. I should. I know. I should. I know.

During the crash, I did only what I knew to do: try to sleep; weep a lot; breathe fresh air; put my feet in the grass; and be on my yoga mat.

Every single thing that drains you will eventually empty you, just like the wave empties onto the sand. You will go dark. Draining people, activities, and thoughts—all knock your body out of homeostasis.

When you arrive on the hard-packed sand, completely depleted and out of balance, you must find the only thing you know to do that replenishes you. You must refill. Do not numb. Do not run. Stay with you through the wave. Withdraw, not from life, but into your source of life—into yourself.

And just continue to ask the question: what am I to see that I can’t see now? No matter how long it takes to get an answer, just keep asking, because when you are unsuspecting, the answer will arise.

At my 4th yoga class in two days (yes, I kept going back to my mat, again and again), I was invited into the pose, Humble Warrior, a posture of surrender. The pose requires the upper body, supported by legs in a lunge, to bow forward, deeply and completely, with fingers inner laced, arms stretching along the back body and toward the floor overhead. The invitation for closed eyes completes the surrender inward. As a humble warrior in this life, I asked, “what am I to see that I can’t see now?”

In this moment, I know nothing, because I’ve never known this moment before. This moment is the accumulation of past moments, but it’s a moment like none other. In this moment, I both know all of me and nothing of me.

That’s when the inner shift happened. In a moment of surrender, I saw everything and nothing. I saw my own magnificence and insignificance.  I saw what I hadn’t seen while riding this wave: that I can’t know the next version of myself until I see her.

Somehow, that was enough. In this new space, the difficulties didn’t dissolve, but I was at peace. Sleep returned. Tears dried. Perspective was gained, in time, as I stepped forward.

 

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