From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we settle in at the end of the day, our ordinary life offers us a colorful mix of choices to make.
How do you choose? And why?
I’ll never forget when I first laid eyes on this question. It was in 1996. I was in training to become a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist (PRYT). Michael Lee, my teacher, asked us to pay attention to this question in the following hour of yoga practice.
He had guided us to Half Moon Pose and asked us to hang out there and breathe
A simple one for me! I thought.
A profound awareness grew in this hour. I learned so much more about myself than to pay attention to how well I performed this posture. I learned to understand how I do what I do. And to inquire if it serves me or not.
I heard Michael say: “What informs your choice in how far you have moved into this stretch?” and
“Can you hang out here for a while?… Feel your breath?… Is there ease… or struggle?”
I did feel my breath, and I felt a struggle. My left shoulder hurt. And I knew why. My story popped up, me holding my girl to my heart while she was still on the respirator. I was tight and afraid — ahh and the frozen shoulder.
“What thoughts go through your mind? Notice commenting. Critique. Judgments.”
Boy, all of the above!
As I struggled to hold this simple posture, my thoughts were on a battlefield. From comments about the pain (victim mode) and how silly it is to struggle in such an easy pose (judging) to thinking why does he not move on… I want out. (blaming someone else).
And then he said:
The choice is yours. There are no good or bad choices. Only consequences.
On my journey, I want to learn something about myself. I want to grow and leave this planet as a better person who loves herself unconditionally.
- I want to be up on the tight rope with my little elephant balancing. Because I trust!
- I want to continue to keep my heart open no matter the stress level I’m under.
- I want to be aware of the choices I make when I comment on something. I.e. when my little ego-self is hurt and lashes out because I feel someone doesn’t love me enough.
- I want to embrace what’s possible!
Is what you choose informed by an experience of the past or a worry about the future? Come into the present moment:
Pause, put your hand on your heart and feel your breath. Please don’t read ahead… please gift yourself this pause.
Feel your breath touch your body and ask this question again. Is what you choose informed by an experience of the past or a worry about the future? Your body always brings you into the present moment while your mind is the master in tricking you into what’s long gone or hasn’t happened yet!
When I wake up in the morning, I hug my body and feel my breath and I say thank you. I remember what I chose to let go of from the night before with an exhale. I form an intention around what qualities I want to grow that day or simply said: How do I want to feel?
Based on this awareness I can discern about what choices I make:
- I can choose to struggle or not.
- I can forgive myself if I fail.
- I can choose how I want to be with EVERYTHING.
- I can choose joy instead of defeat.
There is one more helper 😇 that actually made me write this whisper. It helps me pick myself up when I failed. It makes me slow down and lets me try again.
It’s a sentiment Pema Chodron shared in her workshop This Sacred Journey
“There is always a beginning and an end to everything. It’s all little lifetimes. You enter a room and you leave. A day begins and it ends.”
This lesson found its way into my 🌴Tiny Island practice.
Pause for a breath each time you enter a doorway.
Inhale notice your step as you enter
Exhale with the next step as you pass through
And let go everything you just did or thought.
Leave it behind! Let it go!
Inhale as you enter the new space
Welcome everything you notice there
Choose to step toward your intention for the day.
🐘Embrace what’s possible!