There seem to be certain lessons that I am supposed to learn during this lifetime. Some I figure out pretty easily, while others I wrestle with. That’s the funny thing about life though—you can ignore and resist the clues and messages all you want, but life will keep putting circumstances in front of you that give you the opportunity to learn the lesson. For me, the lesson that keeps coming up, despite my very stubborn tendency to fight it, is that life is easiest and most enjoyable when you are present and embrace the now.
What does that mean? How can we not embrace the now? Whatever is, just is, right? Sometimes staying present can be difficult though when we allow ourselves to become tied up with expectations and ideas about how things should be.
I experienced this exact phenomenon just a few days ago. I was feeling very stressed and anxious and decided to drop into a free yoga class that my gym offers. I hadn’t been to this particular class before, but had taken other yoga classes at my gym so I felt like I knew what to expect—danger zone.
I went into the class prepared to have a very calming, meditative experience where I could let all of my worries go and simply focus on my postures. As I was settling in and getting my yoga mat and towel neatly laid out, the instructor informed us that this class would be a little bit different than most other yoga classes. Hmm.
She began the class with a series of basic yoga postures—so far, so good—nothing too out of the ordinary. I was focusing diligently on my postures, attempting to let go of the thoughts that had been troubling me, when suddenly, the teacher announced that we would shift into the dance segment of the class—dance segment? I was hoping she just meant some dance-inspired vinyasa, but no, she meant Dance. And not smooth, graceful, meditative dance, but high-energy, hip swinging, 80s aerobic video inspired dance.
This is not what I came here for! This is not what I wanted! The thoughts rang out loudly in my head as I wondered how rude it would be to just leave. I struggled with it for a few minutes as I looked around the room at the other women in the class, mostly middle-aged to retirement age, rocking out, weights in hand, to “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. I was FRUSTRATED. I NEEDED a quiet, calming yoga class!!! But then, something unexpected happened.
A gentle, warm voice in my head said: Why not?? It was almost a dare.
Sure, I felt a little silly. While I am not a professional dancer, the moves that the instructor was modeling for the class felt a little bit like the “chicken dance”, but wasn’t it still a way to move, to get a sweat, to let go of what was troubling me for an hour? Perhaps it was not what I had planned on doing, it was not what I expected or thought I wanted and needed, but was it necessary to deem the experience a waste of my time? Absolutely not! There was fun to be had, if I could just let go of what I expected and wanted the experience to be. If I could accept the now, appreciate the positive parts, and embrace the challenges, it presented an opportunity to learn, to grow, to push a little further outside of my comfort zone. If I could just let all of my seriousness fall away for a few minutes and allow a little bit of playfulness into my approach, the experience would be so much easier and more enjoyable.
And there it was. The lesson. Again, staring me in the face. I could have chosen to leave the class, to hold on tightly to my frustration and disappointment, but I decided to stop fighting the lesson and stay, embrace the now, trust that it had something special to offer me. I danced with the women in the class and as I looked around, I could see how much joy, release, and empowerment this moment was bringing the women around me, and as I opened up to the experience, all of those gifts became mine too. Presents for staying present.
“OUR JOB is to simply EMBRACE who we TRULY are and LET GO of the details. The ENTIRE UNIVERSE conspires to pollinate a SINGLE FLOWER. We'll be just fine.”
Frank Gjata, Conscious Ink Founder
Join us, and Conscious Ink Founder Frank Gjata, in transforming the world by transforming ourselves. Be supported. Receive periodically personally-written articles, empowering quotes, and tips for transformation.