Accepting Limits and Letting Go

I have never been all that accepting of limits and the things I have let go of generally have claw marks on them.  A friend once told me that my issues with authority were so severe that if I were dictator of the world I would stage a coup d’etat.  I once looked backed and saw how much of my life was set up so that no one could tell me know.  I had a lot of attitude and very little trust in others – a product likely of being on my own at such a young age.

But even as a grown adult now, there are few areas in my life where someone other than me sets the limits so when I bump up against a limit I really struggle.

Six and a half weeks ago I had major neck surgery – they cut out a section of four vertebrea in the cervical spine and put in two rods to hold my neck together.  This happened while I was in the middle of my 300 yoga teacher training with a very busy schedule of training, teaching 4 classes a week, two kids and just life happening.

At first I did not want to put teacher training on hold and wanted to miss as few days as possible and was working a plan to make up the time I would have to miss as quickly as possible.  Post surgery in a hard collar life started to change.  I could barely life my arms up to wash my hair.  I was not allowed to drive.  And was in too much pain to do much of anything.  Thankfully I had a strong community, sangha, that organized visits and taking me out so that I would not be too lonely or bored.  My surgeon cleared me to go back to training provided I did no asana.  I went for one day and was in so much pain that night and the next day.  Then I started dreading going back.

I have learned things in yoga.  One is called ahimsa.  Non-violence.  Compassion to self and others.  The other was non-grasping or clinging to things.  I sat with this for a few days and contacted the head of my teacher training and let her know that I would not be able to finish this year.  They are letting me suspend training and pick it up where I left off at no additional cost.  Very kind and gracious.  But it was a big letting go.  I could hear myself saying “I am not a quitter!!”  But then I could hear the quiet little voice saying – ahimsa, compassion.

But there was also the limits my body has set.  I could not drive for six weeks and had to depend on others for pretty much everything.  Hard.  I have a great and kind sangha but I struggle still with trusting that they will be there.  And the limits my body sets every day. That I can only walk slowly right now until my neck heals rather than do all that yoga.  That I can teach yoga now but I had to become practiced at teaching with more verbal instruction/assists and less demonstration.

Everything as I age – I will be 50 this year – is a new limit.  A new opportunity – welcome or not, to let go.  Its hard.  But the moment I let go is the moment that I get peace.  So that I can be happy for my fellow trainees who will finish this year without resentment or bitterness – which would have been a thing for me in the past.  And every yoga pose as I slowly start to do them will be learning what my new limits are and offer me an opportunity to meet myself with ahimsa rather than aggressively pushing through something to potential further injury.

And finally, as I age so do my children and there is big letting go there.  I no longer dictate all parts of their lives and have to let them figure some things out themselves.  Let them make their own choices even if it is not a choice I would make.  With guidance for sure but there are more and more areas where we talk things through and then I let them make their own choices.  Its interesting to watch the progression.  And the progress I make all the time in more easily and quickly, accepting limits and letting go.

As they say, let go and let God.  Surrender.

I Sent You Nothing But Angels

Such a hard thing to remember – that God sent us nothing but angels to help us experience Who We Are in this lifetime.

I was reading Walsch’s children’s book The Little Soul and the Sun and in this book God tells the little soul who wants to have a body so it can experience itself as the One Who Forgives to remember that God sent him nothing but angels to help him.  The point of it is that even the people who come and do things that are hard or that we call bad are doing it not because they are bad but because they have agreed to lower their vibration to allow them to do this thing so that we can experience ourselves the way in which we came into this lifetime to experience ourselves.

The language gets a little convoluted in explaining this but the statement – I have sent you nothing but angels – keeps coming into my mind.  Perhaps because there are people in my life with whom I am struggling.  Marriage is hard.  Friends who are no longer friends can be hard.  The things that people do that can be hurtful are hard.  The lying.  The cheating.  The stealing.  The self absorption.  The unkindness.  We encounter these things throughout our days and lifetimes to varying degrees.  The question for me is to how to let this stuff go and not sit in disappointment, anger, resentment – whatever the feeling is.  For me, the feeling I struggle with the most is disappointment.

But I read this book and the statement I have sent you nothing but angles keeps coming to mind and it is helping me to release some things I have been holding onto from my childhood, broken relationships etc.  To know that perhaps we agreed that this person would do something that would allow me to experience myself as a person who forgives. Or a person who is kind.  And then likewise, that I have agreed to do things that my mind would judge to be bad in order to help someone else on their journey.

I’m not sure what the Truth is.  I do know that it feels better to believe that God has sent me nothing but angels.  I am learning to forgive other souls. I am learning to forgive myself.

Mommy and Me at Playlist Live: The Aftermath

Watching them grow up is often a struggle for me.  My daughter’s excitement about coming to this event was infectious and at times extreme.  So it is no wonder that she experienced some disappointment; she had built it up in her mind to be something so spectacular that it was bound to disappoint in some way.

She is at an age now where the presence of her friends is part of what she needs.  It was nice to be here for her, but it would have been nicer had she brought a friend.  Someone with whom she could share her excitement and disappointment.  She could tell me about it and we can process it but that is not the same as being with someone who shares those feelings.

Indeed, the event was a disappointment in many ways.  She did not get to meet the people that she wanted to meet.  There was not much to do all day except walk around among the perhaps 15,000 people here hoping to meet someone she admires.  And the noise was incredible.  It seemed very much like watching a trailer for a movie that is really funny and then going to the movie and realizing that the only good part of the movie was the trailer.

I found the event fascinating in many ways.  So many young people in one place without any trouble going on.  I did not see any evidence of drinking, drugs, not even much profanity.  They were genuinely well behaved and often quite kind.  There were very young people giving out free hugs, songs, dance, and discussions on things such as bullying, body image, self expression.  And music that seems to appeal to this younger crowd more than it does me.  There were some with shirts expressing ideas that were troublesome (like the shirt that said “dead girls can’t say no”).  But overall I was really impressed with these young people.  That, however, did not make the event enjoyable for my daughter.

Throughout the day I watched her go from excitement and joy to sadness and disappointment and back again.  It was hard.  As the mom there is a huge part of me that wanted to step in and make everything better.  And there were times where I tried to do that.  There were also times where I felt I needed to let her be in the struggle, let her just experience being sad, overwhelmed, and disappointed.

We spent quite a bit of time throughout this long day processing her emotions.  She came to a point where she was able to understand that it did not serve her to be overly attached to having something happen, having a particular person being here for her to meet.  She understands the pitfalls of letting her excitement run away with her.  The need to reality check her expectations.  We called it a learning experience.  She had more independence here than  I have ever given her at an event.  I did not hover constantly although I was constantly in the venue watching over her perhaps without her knowing or sensing that all the time.

So quickly she will be an adult making all her own choices and I have to give her some time to start doing that where I can guide the process and be there to help her understand what went wrong and why and what went right and why.  But she needs to have her journey, not the journey that I want her to have but the one that is authentically her own.  I find my daughter to be a fascinating young woman and while it can be painful at times to let go and watch her struggle, it is necessary to do so.  With kindness, with compassion, with support, with immense love, I know she can face anything.